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  • Julianna Sweeney

Anything You Want | Derek Sivers

Entrepreneur Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby (a renowned music distribution company), writes his account of scaling his business from $0 to $20+ million in revenue. It's a short read, but very insightful.

Throughout the 96 pages of this book, he discusses what it takes to really make an impact through your business. These unconventional principles, however, can be applied to a whole multitude of facets in your life.

I cannot recommend this book enough - especially for artists. Remember, you are a small business.


  • Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.

  • Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers. Make every decision—even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone—according to what’s best for your customers. If you’re ever unsure what to prioritize, just ask your customers the open-ended question, “How can I best help you now?” Then focus on satisfying those requests.

  • Starting small puts 100 percent of your energy into actually solving real problems for real people. It gives you a stronger foundation to grow from. It eliminates the friction of big infrastructure and gets right to the point.

  • You need to confidently exclude people, and proudly say what you’re not. By doing so, you will win the hearts of the people you want.

  • If you set up your business like you don’t need the money, people are happier to pay you. When someone’s doing something for the money, people can sense it, like they sense a desperate lover. It’s a turnoff. When someone’s doing something for love, being generous instead of stingy, trusting instead of fearful, it triggers this law: We want to give to those who give.

  • When you’re thinking of how to make your business bigger, it’s tempting to try to think all the big thoughts and come up with world-changing massive-action plans. But please know that it’s often the tiny details that really thrill people enough to make them tell all their friends about you.

  • Even if you want to be big someday, remember that you never need to act like a big, boring company. Over ten years, it seemed like every time someone raved about how much he loved CD Baby, it was because of one of these little fun human touches.

  • There’s a big difference between being self-employed and being a business owner. Being self-employed feels like freedom until you realize that if you take time off, your business crumbles. To be a true business owner, make it so that you could leave for a year, and when you came back, your business would be doing better than when you left.

  • Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be. Anything you hate to do, someone else loves. So find that person and let her do it.

Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing. Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn’t that enough?

I read this one about 2 years ago now and still revisit it every once in a while. It's helped me rethink many of the ways in which I approach business, music and life. I hope it will help you do the same.

Let me know what you think!

Sending love always,


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