I never thought that I would have to buy an idiot’s guide for anything.
The sushi chef handed me a plate of California rolls. I set them down next to The Idiot’s Guide for Starting Your Own Business and took a bite before going back to the chapter about writing a business plan. The restaurant was near empty, which made it easy for me to study and take notes. With each new page that filled my notebook, my doubt and worry grew.
I really had no idea what I was doing.
There was a jingle at the door. The sushi chef gave a hearty hello to two mid aged couples. They sat at the sushi bar next to me. One woman chatted away with her quiet husband, her voice turned up an octave by a few drinks. Her eyes stumbled in my direction over my book and the notebook full of notes.
“Oh! What are you reading there?” she asked. I lifted the cover up and showed her. She pursed her lips into a smile as she read it. I tapped my pen with worry.
“That’s so wonderful! When I was a young woman…” she trailed off onto a discombobulated story about her attempt to start her own make-up company and how it tanked in the first year. My pen stopped moving.
“What kind of business are you starting?” she asked.
“I’m starting a publishing company,” I said.
“Do you have any experience in publishing?”
“No. Actually I don’t know the first thing about it. I just know that I want to help people get their work published.”
“Don’t you think you might need to have some hands on experience first?”
For a person slurring from sake, she made a really great point.
I looked down at my notes and searched for something to say. By the time I shifted back to her, she had already moved on to conversation with another couple. I closed the idiot’s guide and my notebook, put down my pen, and asked for some warm sake.
Her silent husband kept a steady stare on me. Seeing that his wife was occupied, he got up and sat in the chair to my left. The cup froze at my mouth as I watched him sit down.
“Listen,” he said, “I’m going to tell you one thing and I want you to remember it,” he said. “Action and momentum.”
“I’m not sure what you mean,” I said setting the alcohol down.
“Just go all out and go big. The learning and experience will come as you go. But for now, take as much action as possible and keep the momentum going. Because if you wait and try and learn the industry, you’ll be working as a peon in a publishing house for 20 years and you’ll wonder why you didn’t just go for it. So…go for it! Go hard, and don’t stop.”
Later in our conversation I would learn that the man’s name was John Schofield, the CEO and founder of a BioTech company. He started out just like me. And here he was, 10 years into his success.
I couldn’t write down his advice fast enough as we spoke together for an hour over cold sushi.
It is this advice that I pass on to you: Go for it, and don’t stop. Everything else you’ll learn as you go.