“If you’re working on something important, you’ll never feel
ready. A side effect of doing challenging work is that you’re pulled by
excitement and pushed by confusion at the same time.” – James Clear
The Start-Up Guy is well
underway. I have been working with several businesses, including a very
exciting Johannesburg-based business which is launching in the next two months.
I am so honoured that they used and continue to use my services.
I’ve noticed a common trait
amongst all the guys and girls I’ve been working with recently, and I thought
it might be useful to share because I think many other people are experiencing
the same thing.
Almost all entrepreneurs don’t
know what they’re doing and it’s perfectly okay. In fact, I don’t know of a
single one who, at the outset, knew exactly what they needed to do and when to
do it. Before your mind does that thing where it jumps to conclusions, let me
A start-up is an experiment, a
matter of trial and error. No one can be fully certain about the route it will
take. At best, one can have a firm idea of the intended outcome, but whether
that transpires is all dependent on the market’s response to your idea (and who
really knows what that’ll be? Right?).
Sir Richard Branson has one of
the most interesting entrepreneurial stories, for me, because he started many of
his companies largely by mistake. He dropped out of school to continue a
magazine business he had no idea was going to sustain him. As a way to grow his
magazine sales, he started distributing music records made by unknown artists
to his readers, and so began the journey of Virgin Records. He started Virgin
Airlines after he was delayed by his flight facing maintenance issues before
take-off. This guy is the epitome of just getting on with it. This guy is also
worth $5 Billion today!
As an entrepreneur and business
owner you have to embrace the learning process and continuously learn (by
doing). Learn your market, learn your business, and continuously adapt your
learnings to suit your market as you go. The entrepreneurs who embrace the
learning process and respond to unexpected events in real time are often the
ones who do very well.
Without babbling on for too long,
the moral of the story is that not knowing what to do is not a good enough
reason to not start your business. Passion and a basic idea is enough. Even if
you are physically incapable of carrying out certain tasks, outsourcing skills
is a thing (like helluurrr, this is why people like me are here). It is no
mistake that one of the single most important traits that investors look for in
entrepreneurs is passion, especially in the very early stages of a start-up.
Not “intelligence.” Not qualifications. Passion (synonymous with commitment/dedication
in this regard). A founder who is not passionate about what they are doing will
give up when they face the inevitable hurdles of starting a business. Passion
is the fuel by which a project goes from start-up to a fully-fledged business.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not
saying that you can go and start the next big business with the technical
skills of a toddler. I am merely saying that, within reason, you can start a
business without the technical know-how, as long as you have the dedication to
follow through with the necessary steps. In doing so, be realistic, tread
carefully and always consult a professional when you’re thinking about making
an expensive decision.
If whilst reading this article you had a certain
project or idea in mind, maybe it’s time to pursue it with everything you have.
Why aren’t you? That was not a rhetorical question. Like Richard Branson
famously said, “screw it. Just get on and do it.” If you are really struggling
with how to conceptualise or begin your business, consult me and we can find a
2.2.17 Just a quick shot from my local stationery shop! I absolutely love it here and I keep having to forcibly remove myself. It’s right next to the green grocers so I walk past it every time I get vegetables! I honestly might see if I can get a job here because, having a studyblr, a know a lot about stationery. Xxx emily
They always thought they’d be alone forever. There had been stories of people whose soulmate mark didn’t appear by their thirteenth birthday, but for their first thirteen years Marinette and Adrien thought it was only a story. When their birthdays came and passed, they knew.
Sometimes Adrien felt like that’s why his mother left, because he was defective. He thought maybe that’s why his father became cold. He felt truly lucky to at least have Nathalie, who was the closest thing to a parental figure in his life. Maybe the lack of a mark was why his father forbid him from attending school, to protect him from the ridicule and hate. It took years to convince his father to let him attend school. Whenever magazines asked about his mark, he lied and said it was a secret. Nobody speculated that he didn’t have one for two reasons; one, a lot of famous people refused to reveal their marks, and two, it was practically unheard of to not have one. The last case of an unmarked person was decades ago in the United States; there was no documentation of an unmarked in Paris in all of history.
Marinette’s family was much more understanding. They gave her options and kept their promise of unconditional love. Instead of being forced to hide, Marinette chose to be open. She did not advertise her lack of a mark, but whenever someone asked she told the truth. Some were disgusted, others confused. The bakery even lost some customers but her parents never blamed her for that. She wasn’t happy with the hand life dealt her but she was determined to make the most of it. Years of consoling words from her parents prepared her for a lonely life.
Then a misunderstood blond gave her an umbrella and everything changed. For the first time ever she felt a romantic attraction, a craving for love.
ONE (play is all it takes for her to fall in love)
You remember seeing him for the first time in a school play, all untidy black hair and dark wild eye. He was confident, almost arrogant in the way he commanded presence onstage. You ran to him after the play to congratulate him on his excellent performance.
You expected a haughty smirk from the lead actor, but instead he grinned bashfully and admitted that your pieces in the school magazine was always the highlight of his Tuesday.
“If only I was as good a writer as you are, I could write the greatest play in the history of ever,” he had said.
Just for a moment there, you saw the bleeding edge of insecurity underneath his sunny exterior. All it took was an exchange of numbers, a series of texts overnight, and by the next day, the two of you were already best friends.
TWO (people play acting. or are they?)
Lin is pacing the length of his bedroom, looking absolutely terrified for his audition tomorrow.
“I wish I could help,” you say absently, editing your article on your laptop. His head immediately snaps to you.
“Help me act out some scenes?”
You raise your eyebrows at him. He grins, pulling on his ‘but-I’m-your-best-friend’ face. You’ve never been able to say no to that smile. He grabs your laptop from you and types something, then shows you a list of prompts. So you spend 5 hours switching between at least 20 different characters, ranging from an angry grandmother to a hot girl he meets at a bar. You both turn to your laptop to see the final prompt.
‘A and B are best friends. A’s reaction to B getting married. ’
“Congrats,” you say, turning to him, already in character.
“That’s a lie.” He gives a mirthless laugh.
“I’m not! Congratulations,” you repeat, wondering where he was trying to steer the script.
“You’re lying! Why aren’t you happy for me? What are you trying to say?” he said fiercely, his black eyes boring into you.
“I’m trying to say that I’m in love with you!” you yell.
Right after the words leave your mouth, your heart stops. That isn’t part of the prompt. Your feelings aren’t supposed to get tangled with your improvisation. Wait, your feelings? For him?
“You have no right to say that just before I’m getting married,” Lin hisses.
“I’ve tried, you idiot. You think I want this?” you snap.
“I’m sorry. I can’t do anything about it,” he says, looking down. Your heart drums against your chest, and then you grin.
THREE (times he rewrote the script and it was still rejected)
He slumps down in the seat next to you, everything in his movement looking drained. You ask him if anything is wrong, but he just shakes his head mutely. You try again, taking his hand in yours. And for some reason, he tells you.
“My script was rejected,” he says quietly. “I thought I already knew rejection, but not this. I put everything into this. I rewrote the entire thing 3 times.”
You squeeze his hand. “Keep rewriting. You have all the time in the world.”
His smile is sad, and grateful, and something in your heart tightens. You smile back at him, hoping that he can’t see the butterflies in your stomach. You stare at his brown eyes. They aren’t the colour of the ocean, but you can drown in them anyway.
“Mi corazón,” he says, smiling at you.
“My nerd,” you reply affectionately.
(at) FOUR (a.m. he decides to get a tattoo because he can’t stop thinking about someone)
Lin gets paired up with Natalie, the future valedictorian, for a project. You see them and the first thing that you feel is a loud, stinging pang of jealousy, but in the back of your mind, there’s a click that tells you they’re meant to be. You ignore it and keep it to yourself, because that’s what you do best.
He texts you. ‘hey i’m getting a tattoo of a mic, come with?’
You accompany him to the tattoo parlor as he gets the mic. He’s over the moon as you drive home.
“What do you think?” he asks, trying to catch a glimpse of his tattoo for the first time.
“Personally, I wouldn’t get a tattoo that says daddy in cursive, but-”
“What the fuck?” he yells, wheeling around to try to see his back in the mirror.
“I’m kidding! Who inspired you to get a mic anyway?”
His face transforms into a wide, carefree smile, and his entire being relaxes. “Natalie.”
You turn up the volume of the radio so he doesn’t hear your heart breaking.
FIVE (Gordon Ramsay insults. technically, the last one isn’t an insult.)
You’re there when Lin finally kisses her.
It’s her birthday, and she tries to pass it off as low-key by calling it ‘just a barbeque’, but the truth is that it’s a very expensive beach party. You and Lin are piling food into your plate, trying to fit in with the rich kids by shouting Gordon Ramsay-esque insults.
“The pork is so raw it’s still singing Hakuna Matata!” you yell, stabbing it and taking a big bite.
“Why did the chicken cross the road? Because you didn’t fucking cook it!” He says in a terrible British accent.
“Maybe you should give this piece of meat to the gods; I hear they like burnt offerings.”
He puts both hands on your cheeks. “What are you?”
“An idiot sandwich,” you say, faux tearfully. The two of you cackle in amusement, stealing bits of food of each other’s plate. Lin is about to launch into Ramsay mode again when Natalie approaches the two of you.
“Hey, guys,” she says happily.
“Hello, linda,” Lin interjects quickly, taking her hand. It’s a joke he always uses when trying to pick up girls - calling them linda so they’d say “my name isn’t Linda” and he can reply “linda means beautiful in Spanish” and watch them turn red.
Instead, a dusty pink blush spreads across her cheeks. “Quiet, you,” she laughs. Lin’s eyes light up in disbelief, like ‘holy shit, this amazing girl knows Spanish, she just got even hotter’. His eyes flit to you for permission, and you give him a big thumbs up.
You watch as Lin walk Natalie to the edge of the water, and they sit down. Gently, he puts his hands on her cheeks and says: “What are you?”
Natalie grins. “The love of your life?”
Even from a distance, you can hear Lin’s warm laugh, fading away as he leans in to kiss her. Everyone ceases their conversation to cheer and whistle at them. When Lin pulls away, he’s wearing a smile similar to a Cheshire cat’s.
Daniel, Lin’s roommate, lunges forward and pushes Lin towards the water. Natalie’s friends catch on to the idea and push her towards the water until the two of them are knee deep in water. You laugh along with everyone, until the crowd starts to dissipate. You return to your room.
It’s past midnight when Lin tiptoes into your room to grab fresh clothes that he keeps in your drawer. “Good night, Lin,” you whisper as he passes your bed.
He gasps. “Shut up, (Y/N).”
“I’m happy for you.”
“Shut. Up.” You can’t see his face in the dark, but you’re pretty sure he’s smiling as he leaves the room.
SIX (songs that aren’t even dedicated to her)
The worst thing about being in love with your best friend is that you can’t tell your best friend about it.
Your heart skips a beat when Lin texts you. ‘heya i’m making you a mixtape! it’s cute and adorable and fluffy (like me)’
You reply within seconds. ‘hm, what’s it about?’
‘SHIT sorry that message was for natalie!! actually, since you are a fellow pretentious fuck when it comes to music, can you help me out with the mix?’
‘sure. tell me about it.’
‘okay so i already have Perfect by Ed Sheeran, for obvious reasons, and Don’t You Forget About Me. what else?”
‘are you fucking kidding no way’
‘come on, dude.’
‘fine. I’m also feeling The Fray. How To Save A Life?’
‘no wtf that song is mainstream and irrelevant. Heartbeat.’
‘good one. 505?’
‘YES. also. Cherry Wine.’
‘It’s done! It’s a mini-mix, i’m putting together a longer and better one for her birthday. THANK YOU, wingwoman.’
‘send it to me for prooflistening!!’
My Only Sunshine, by Lin-Manuel
Heartbeat - The Fray 505 - Arctic Monkeys Ignition (Remix) - R. Kelly Perfect - Ed Sheeran Cherry Wine - Hozier Don’t You Forget About Me - Simple Minds
‘nice job, cabrón.’
SEVEN (billion people in the world and she chose to fall in love with the one who doesn’t love her back)
“Natalie’s parents are thinking of saying no if Lin proposes to her,” Chris announces, placing a plate of eggs in front of you.
“What?” you splutter, dropping your spoon. “No. The wedding has to happen.”
Chris gives you a long, measured look. “I thought their wedding being cancelled would save you from a great deal of pain.”
“It doesn’t matter if I tear my own heart in two. Because if Lin is happy, then it is worth it-”
“God!” Chris’ eyes narrows. “What could possibly be worth it?”
“Everything that I have lost!” you shout. “Lin!”
Chris breathes in and out slowly, and there’s something like pity in his eyes when he looks at you. “7.5 billion people in the world and you had to choose the one who doesn’t love you back.”
EIGHT (bottles of beer and she still misses him)
“What’s up, big shot?” you slur, holding the phone in one hand and a bottle of cheap beer in the other.
“Fuck,” he exhales, realising you were drunk. “I’ll be at your place in 5 to make sure you’re okay.”
“You’re so far away, Lin,” you complain. “Souls don’t understand the notion of distance, you know that? They only know how right it feels to be with one another. I miss you even when you’re just a room away, because my soul only feels the absence of yours.”
He laughs, and through the haze of alcohol you feel warmth spread through you, like a sun peeking from behind the clouds. “You only miss me when you’re drunk.”
“I’m drunk because I miss you,” you say softly. A beat of silence passes, and time stands still. You wonder if he hung up.
“Natalie’s calling.” The sound of her name shatters the moment like glass. You can’t find it in you to reply.
“Don’t do anything stupid until I get there,” he jokes. His voice is rough, scratchy, and he mutters a goodbye before hanging up.
True to his word, he appears 5 minutes later in your doorstep. He notices the empty bottles of beer on the floor and sees you lying down on the couch. Without hesitation, he gently pushes you to make space for him and lies down next to you.
You grin sleepily up at him. “Thanks for coming, but I’d rather sleep.”
“Sleep, mi corazón,” he whispers softly, pulling you closer to him. You know that he isn’t going to stay the night, but it’s still a slap to your face when he’s gone in the morning leaving nothing but a note taped to a glass of water.
For the first time, you feel white-hot jealousy flare up in you. All you wake up to is a hastily scrawled note, while Natalie gets to wake up to the life-sized, walking, talking Lin: to the sizzle of him cooking bacon, to his raspy humming, to his brown eyes half-lidded with sleep, to him.
(he’s on cloud) NINE
“(Y/N). You should fall in love. It’s amazing.”
He sounds drunk, but he actually isn’t. Drunk on love, maybe. It’s a joy for you to see your best friend like this, but it hurts like hell to see him like this because of another girl. It’s like he can’t stop talking about her, he always slides her name into every single sentence, twisting every conversation to relate it back to her.
You become so worried about losing your best friend that you check his phone to see what your name is in his contacts. You breathe a sigh of relief when it’s still mi corazón. You look for Natalie’s contact. Mi alma.
Mi corazón, my heart. You’re his heart; you know what he likes, what he hates, you see all his dark and you love his light.
Mi alma, my soul. She is his soul; he lives and breathes her, she sees the stars in his smile, everything he does is either with her, because of her, or for her.
TEN (years after meeting him and she finally lets him go)
Lin appears in your house with two cups of coffee. “I’m thinking of proposing to Natalie,” he says, after taking a long sip from his cup.
“Do it,” you cheered, grinning. He looks at you, searching for any kind of falseness, but there is none.
“I- Are you sure?”
“Yes. When I met you, I thought you hung all the stars and the moon in the sky. But I came to realise that you are just like me. You know the shape of my soul and the words of my heart. You’re my first love, Lin, and you always will be. But I deserve someone who loves me back, so I can be the poem instead of the poet I’ve always been. I’ve been stuck in your orbit for years, and this is me breaking free.”
He bites his lip and stares at the ground. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” you say softly, pulling him into a hug. You savor the moment, drawing it out for as long as possible, and then you pull away. The smile that he gives you afterwards is worth everything.
The next day, you’re out at dinner with Natalie, and you can tell that she has something to say by the way she cuts her chicken into smaller pieces than is necessary. “I think Lin’s going to propose to me.”
“Really?” you enthuse. “That’s great!”
“Any words from his best friend?” she asks.
You’re silent for a long moment, trying to find the words. “Take care of him. He looks like he has enough love to give to everyone, but sometimes he needs love as well. Be honest about his work. He enjoys criticism. He’ll sometimes think he’s the dullest of the bunch, when in reality he’s the brightest. With every word, pen stroke, and touch, you’re going to fall deeper in love with him. Please, just love him with everything you have.”
She holds your gaze, and between the two of you, there was some kind of resolve; an understanding. She knows. And she knows you’re moving on.
“Oh, and Natalie?” you ask, just before the moment fades.
“Yeah?” she says, with a smile that eases your mind. Not many people deserve Lin, but she definitely does.
Gay media is still so white, so straight, and so unwilling to acknowledge where mainstream gay culture comes from — people of color. An Out article by cultural critic Michael Musto drew outrage from many gay black men on Twitter by asserting that straight people steal from gay culture. And as Twitter was quick to point out, Out had a straight white singer cover its LGBTQ Pride Month issue.