Before today’s guest built a successful company in China, he was just a wandering 20-year-old backpacker, only looking for an adventure.
He planned on making a brief stop in the city of Beijing to earn some funds, see the Great Wall, and move onto his next adventure.
Turns out, that trip would do more than just earn him enough funds to travel, it would lead him to become a pillar of Beijing’s pop culture. He is the founder and Creative Dictator of China’s first streetwear clothing brand, Plastered T-Shirts.
He has also been awarded the British Chamber of Commerce in China’s Entrepreneur Award in his home country of England.
He lives near his flagship store in Beijing with his wife and four children, and is far happier now than when he first arrived in the city.
Let’s hack …
In this 33-minute episode Dominic Johnson-Hill and Jon discuss:
- How immaturity helped him better his business
- Why the things that got him into trouble in school are now his super powers
- Being wrong is normal, as long as you accept it
- How knowing the worst case scenario helps to overcome fears
- Focusing on and appreciating where you are right now
The Show Notes
Immaturity, Impulsiveness, and the Art of Becoming an Entrepreneur
Jonny Nastor: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at Hacktheentrepreneur.com/Rainmaker. That’s Hacktheentrepreneur.com/Rainmaker.
Voiceover: Welcome to Hack The Entrepreneur. The show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now here is your host, Jon Nastor.
Jonny Nastor: Hey, hey. Welcome back to Hack the Entrepreneur. I’m so glad you decided to join me again today. I’m your host Jon Nastor, but you can call me Jonny.
This episode comes to you across the Great Firewall of China. Before today’s guest could claim ownership of an $800,000 a year company, he was just a wandering 20-year-old backpacker. He planned on making a brief stop in the city of Beijing to earn some funds, see the Great Wall, and move on to his next adventure. It turns out it would be more than just enough to earn him enough funds to travel.
It would lead him to become a pillar of Beijing’s pop culture. He is the founder and creative dictator of China’s first streetwear clothing company, Plastered T-shirts. He’s also been awarded the British Chamber of Commerce in China’s Entrepreneur Award in his home country of England. He lives near his flagship store in Beijing with his wife and four children and is far happier now than when he first arrived in the city.
Now let’s hack Dominic Johnson-Hill.
Before we get going, I want to take a minute to thank the awesome sponsor of Hack the Entrepreneur, FreshBooks, for making my life easier and for sponsoring the show. What is the one thing that I am not good at? I am absolutely horrible at staying on top of my bookkeeping and accounting for my business. I’m terrible at it. FreshBooks is designed for small business owners like you and like me. FreshBooks integrates directly with three things that I use every day in my business: Paypal, Stripe, and MailChimp.
But it goes beyond that now. I can fully integrate it with my credit card and my bank accounts, so I don’t even have to worry about keeping track of my expenses. It does it all for me. I think the only thing it doesn’t do for my business is actually make the money, but it keep tracks of it all of the other side — which is amazing to me.
To start your 30-day free trial today, go to Freshbooks.com/Hack, and don’t forget to enter ‘Hack the Entrepreneur’ in the ‘How did you hear about us?’ section.
Alright, we are back on Hack the Entrepreneur, and we have another awesome guest today. Dominic, welcome to the show.
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Thank you.
Jonny Nastor: Alright, Dominic, let’s jump straight into this shall we? What is the one thing, Dominic, that you do, that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?
How Immaturity Helped Him Better His Business
Dominic Johnson-Hill: I think if I look at everything that got in me trouble at school, I see now as my biggest contributing facts to my success. At school, I was immature. I was impulsive. I was always getting into dangerous things. I was a day dreamer. I see all of those things as the reason why I’m successful now. I got kicked out of school. I dropped out of school, and I didn’t get into university. I was impulsive. I left England at age 17. I went to Africa. I did dangerous things in South America.
And then I was adventurous and came to China in 1993, and impulsive, and a daydreamer, and I started these creative businesses in Beijing without any plan and just went about doing things my way. I think that all of those things that got me in trouble at school are the things that made me successful today. I can remember, my teacher — when I got in trouble at school — writing a letter to my mom listing all of these problems that I had, and I realize that those problems are actually my super powers because education really fits the mainstream. When you become an entrepreneur, all those challenges you had in schooling actually become your super powers.
I’m in the creative industry, and I see that being immature is one of my greatest strengths. When you’re immature like a child and you think like a child, you have a more creative mind. But the conundrum in life — that’s a new word that I’ve learned. I’m so dyslexic, I can’t even spell it — the children are creative, but they don’t have the skills to bring about their creative ideas.
We get older in life. We gain these incredible skills, but we lose our creative edge because it gets washed out of us by society and family and all of these things. When I arrived in China, I went into the creative industry, which is an industry here which is very untapped. The reason is, in China, it’s a very practical country. It’s a very numbers-driven society. If you’re going to compete with Chinese entrepreneurs, when it comes to numbers, you’re going to find it very hard to beat them.
Why the Things That Got Him into Trouble in School Are Now His Super Powers
Dominic Johnson-Hill: But in my world — I’m in the creative world. I create artwork that goes on T-shirts and apparel and other brands that I create artwork for. I’m in an industry that’s very small, and I have very few competitors. My immature side has brought about some of my best artwork, and my impulsive side has brought about some of my best ideas and my best businesses. What’s given me an edge is all of these things that really got me in trouble at school and have brought me a certain level of success here in China.
Jonny Nastor: I love it. I love the answer. You can’t compete with Chinese business people on numbers, obviously.
Dominic Johnson-Hill: I can’t. I’m not a numbers guy.
Jonny Nastor: Most of us can’t. A certain type of business person, they’re good at that. Then you say the creative side, but did I read it wrong that you don’t actually do the artwork because you’re not an artist or a painter yourself?
Dominic Johnson-Hill: That’s right. I can’t use design software.
Jonny Nastor: That doesn’t stop you either, right? “I’m not good at the numbers. I’m not good at the art, but I’ll still make this amazing business.”
Dominic Johnson-Hill: No, but I’m a dreamer, and I’m a day dreamer. What I did with my business is I took Chinese icons — I took Chinese everyday items — and I played with them. I add color. I found artists, and I found designers to take my ideas and make them come to life. Any piece of artwork that I generate is a collaboration, and a collaboration always makes artwork more beautiful and more exciting. All my artwork is aimed at the Chinese market, so I collaborate with Chinese designers. It gives it a Chinese edge.
Although I can’t essentially do anything, I can’t even use design software. If I draw a dog, it’ll look like a five year old is drawing a dog, but it doesn’t stop me from having ideas. I live for my ideas. My goal in life is to bring about my ideas, to make them happen. That’s what makes me excited. It’s not an Excel document telling me my net profit. It’s looking at an idea and it coming to life. Even when it doesn’t hit a mark and no one buys it, I still find that exciting.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. I love it. I love it. So you got in trouble in school with the things that have now made you successful as an entrepreneur. Were you still in school when you realized that, actually, “these teachers in this society telling me that this is not how I’m supposed to be, that they’re actually wrong and that I can do big things with this”? Or is there a time, especially as you’re getting older like later high school maybe and you start to mature, maybe you’re like, “Maybe these people are actually right. Maybe I do need to be boring.”
Do you know what I mean? I struggled with this stuff myself. I didn’t have the same path as you. I didn’t go to school. I went into a band, and I did things. But there is that struggle. Do you remember this happening, and you just being like, “No, screw it. I know what’s right for me, and I know I can do big, cool things”?
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Yeah. I didn’t gain the confidence to think that I can do big, cool things until I became an entrepreneur, but I remember my mother, after I failed my quarter of high school, taking me to this terrible university, which is basically for dropouts who are from posh families. We’d go and study how to manage their family estates. And on the way, I put on a Jimi Hendrix cassette, and I remember listening to Jimi Hendrix and thinking that I wanted to do something adventurous with my life.
I thought, “If I remain in England, I’m going to remain in a society where people expect things of me. I’m from a certain family, I should do this. I’m from a certain part of England. I have a certain accent.” There’s a lot of pressure when you remain in your own home and society, so I just thought, “I need to get out of here.” And I went to Africa. Suddenly, I had a whole new start on life. I realized that my schooling had ended, but my education had just begun.
Then I started to learn all these skills and languages traveling around Africa, South America, and India, and I spent three years doing those three countries. Then I arrived in China, and there was nobody here. At least there were no foreigners here then. There were two bars in the whole city, and the city was flat — now it’s a big high-rise city — and I just saw opportunity everywhere. It was a little playground for an entrepreneur like me. I just started doing things that were very simple and common sense that people had done all over the world but hadn’t been done here.
So I was very fortunate that I took myself out of England. I challenged myself. I embraced adventure. Then I ended up falling into the right place at the right time and just starting businesses. Most of which were quite successful because of timing.
Jonny Nastor: Wow. Can you remember and tell us one of these common sense things you did for money early on, like back in early ’90s.
Dominic Johnson-Hill: My first business, and you won’t believe it because it’s absolutely insane, was I did an English teaching job for a tobacco company. Then they asked me to do some market research for them in China to see where their cigarettes were selling because they were selling cigarettes all over China. They sent me with a bottomless account to travel and stay in any hotel I wanted to all over China to see where their cigarettes are selling. Simple information, distribution, pricing, and the codes on the packets.
After providing that information, I asked them for a job. They said, “You don’t have a university degree, you can’t have a job for this big company,” so I thought, “Screw you. I’m going to start my own business.” So I started my own business with $400. I traveled to all the cities in the North of China where they didn’t have offices, and I set up a network in every single city. The first person was a taxi driver because the only people with cars were taxi drivers. Then I went to 40 kiosks that sold cigarettes, and I had them on my books.
Then I went to the wholesale markets, and I met the big guys that were wholesaling the cigarettes. The taxi driver’s job was to go to the kiosks and the wholesale, get the information, put it in a simple form — I bought him a fax machine. It was the days before the Internet — and he would fax it to me in Beijing. I would put that information together of the 14 cities that I set up on $400 believe it or not — getting around on train — and they would fax me this information.
I’d take the information. I had a Chinese student who then put it into an Excel document for me, and I started selling it to the tracking companies. I was charging them $15,000, $20,000 a month for this very basic information on their product. And all it was, was the distribution and retail, the wholesale, what was being said on the street, and this whole thing was being done for me by people who really had jobs — the people who owned kiosks, the people who worked in wholesale markets, and taxi drivers.
Once a month, I would travel to these cities. I would meet with the wholesale guys who were giving me the real juicy information, take them out, get them drunk. That was my very first business. It was hugely successful because cigarette companies were making billions or millions in China selling cigarettes, and they couldn’t get information on their distribution where their product was going. And they needed that information because, in China, it’s all about pricing. If you have a pack of cigarettes and it’s worth $2, people buy it.
If it drops to $1.50, they stop buying it because it’s not worth as much to them in terms face value when they go into a meeting and they put it on a table. So it’s very important for them to have very stable pricing. If they over-supplied the market and pricing went down, they’d lose their market share. That information I was providing was incredibly valuable, and I was the only one doing it.
Eventually — I did that for five years — I lost my market because the market became so big they ended up doing it themselves, and I had no passion for numbers and all this kind of stuff. But it supplied me with an incredible lifestyle because I worked about a week of the month, and I was making crazy money.
Jonny Nastor: Wow. It’s interesting. I guess you learned at that point how valuable information is?
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: Information that you got from the taxi driver that could find it for you and you just compiling it and you giving it to a company was extremely valuable.
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: So you have $400. “I’m going to go to these 14 places. I’m going to talk to a taxi driver.” At some point in the back of your head, you’re like, “Either I’m a genius, or I’m completely out of my mind.” Seriously. It turns out you were a genius.
Dominic Johnson-Hill: I was kind of morally bankrupt as well because, as soon as the cigarettes started to take off, I looked at the other products, too, because I had that network there. I started doing alcohol as well. So I ended up basically being a drug czar in terms of information. I was providing information on cigarettes and alcohol and flogging it to these companies overseas. Again, I was just in the right place in the right time, and no one was adventurous enough to get out there and do it.
These cities were just opening up. It was China in 1994. The doors had only been open for a few years. The market economy had only been there a few years. I learned Chinese quite quickly — it’s not a difficult language to speak — and I love travel. I traveled to way out places in the northeast, the Muslim part of China, sorry, the northwest, and then the northeast where foreigners hadn’t even been. So it was super exciting for me. It was very basic because I’m not a numbers guy, but all I was doing was putting together really basic information.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. And Chinese isn’t a difficult language to speak?
Dominic Johnson-Hill: No. I think people get frightened by it. Again, with my immature gene, I learn languages like a child. I just listen, and I copy. And I just say it back to them. If I get it wrong, they correct me, and I remember. I’ve never had a lesson in Chinese. I just picked it up. I even have a TV show now in Chinese, and it’s just something I picked up and didn’t give an awful lot of thought. A lot of people struggle with it because they think too much about it and think about the tones. But, really, if you just speak it, it comes naturally.
Jonny Nastor: Wow. Nice. Alright, at the beginning you told us what it is you’re good at, what has defined your success. You told us numerous times you’re not good with numbers, so we don’t want that for an answer. But, as an entrepreneur, what is something that you are not good at, besides numbers? Something that you just struggle with and you’ve had to either just ignore and not do, or you need people to do that.
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Ooh, where do I start? Management, I’m terrible at. I would say self-discipline, I’m awful at. Sitting down, I can’t sit down for any certain time. I’m hyperactive. I’m ADHD. I don’t spend more than 10 minutes in the office at any time. I do all my meetings walking. I’m awful at management. The numbers, forget about it. I have an awesome team that do that for me. I’m terrible at tons of things.
It’s taken me a while to get the right people on board to do those things for me with my current business, but I don’t have an awful lot of pressure because I’m not out in life to build the world’s biggest business. It’s never been the dream of mine to build the biggest. It’s just to build the best. I’m highly competitive. When it comes to any sport or anything, I have to win. I love to win. But I’m not out to build the biggest business.
I just want to be better than everybody else. It takes a lot of pressure off me. I’m in the creative field here, and I can guarantee that my current business is the best in the market here in China. And I’m proud of that. If I see someone come along that’s in the same industry as me, I’m just out to beat them, and I love that. I love that, the competition of business.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. As entrepreneurs, as human beings in general I guess, one of our biggest struggles is the fear of being wrong, making mistakes, and just failing at something. In your business, when you follow your gut or make a decision to act and go this direction and it turns out that you are completely wrong and you set your team in the wrong direction, how do you deal with this? Can you walk us through how to be wrong?
Being Wrong Is Normal, as Long as You Accept It
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Yeah, I don’t really see that as a wrong and a right. As entrepreneurs, we all know that we learn our biggest lessons from making mistakes. I’ve led my team in the wrong direction many, many times, but I’ve also hit some real gems as well. I think that when we do something wrong, we look back and we see what we did wrong, and then we learned for the next event. But in terms of the process of doing things wrong, I’m a very impulsive guy. I think that too many people spend too much time doing research on this, that, and everything. And then throw themselves into that idea after spending too much time and money researching that.
I’m impulsive. I have an idea, and I just go with it. Many fall flat. I would say the majority fall flat, but I’m in this game in life to make my ideas come to life. The ideas in my head are awesome. When I get the final product, I almost undoubtedly always love it, and if the customer doesn’t like it, that’s unfortunate. But looking back in life, all the things that went wrong with my current business and as Steve Jobs would say, “When you line up the dots, it all makes perfect sense.”
I just try to keep thinking along those lines. Of course, you take knocks. You have mornings where you don’t want to go to work, and you shouldn’t smoke that cigarette and go back to bed. But you do occasionally, and you get a bit down on yourself. That’s natural. I’m an insecure person like anyone else, but I have a great support network in terms of I have an incredible wife and children. They’re an inspiration. I think getting it wrong is just natural. You just got to embrace that, and you’ve got to move away from being scared.
You can’t think about what other people think, or you’re just going to live their lives. I wouldn’t be here, where I am today if I was continually worried about what my family and other people thought about me. Got to stick with my super powers. Be impulsive. Be a risk taker. Take life by the balls and know that I’m going to be wrong — all the time.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. I agree. I was wondering if maybe it would be harder because of your competitive nature and the fact that you want to be the best, but you are also aware that it’s not a straight path to being the best. There’s going to be all kinds of things hitting you. I like that you said that there’s some days you wake up and you just want to have that cigarette and go back to bed, because it’s true. Things sideswipe us all the time in business. We get hit from things we don’t even expect, or we’re wrong in some crazy way. And it does, it takes us out for a bit, and then we get back into the game and just keep going forward. It’s all we can do, right?
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Yeah, that’s it. For me, there are two sides to what you’re saying. One is the idea side, the creative idea side, which is what I live for. I don’t believe I’ve done anything wrong on that side. I love every single creative idea I’ve ever brought to market. The other side is, when I open a new store and it completely fails. No one buys the product. I’ve invested a large amount of money into that store, and we’ve open up in a new city like Shanghai. And this has happened to me.
The revenues weren’t good, and I had to close that store down. The team takes a bit of a hit. That hurts for sure. If I were to walk you through that process, it’s very simple. I wanted to open a shop in Shanghai. I opened it up. The profits weren’t there. I hated traveling to that city. I wasn’t good at managing a satellite city. I’m much better at keeping things close. I learned a hard lesson, but I’ve ended up now realizing that I want a small business. I want to keep it close. I want my life to be fairly simple. I don’t want to have to be working 16-hour days. That’s the lesson I learned from failing in Shanghai.
Jonny Nastor: Wow. You’re still going to get impulsive. You’re still going to want to take on new challenges, I’m sure. With all of you’ve been through, how do you decide — I was going to call it a project, but it could be a new store, it could be going into a new city, or a new country, or a new neighborhood — whatever that happens to be.
I’m sure at some point, you’re still going to want to move into new directions. How would you decide that, “Yeah, this is a direction that impulsively we’re just going to go for it. I got the feeling in my gut that we’re going for this, and that’s it.” You know what I mean? What is that? What are you looking for? What are you trying to achieve?
How Knowing the Worst Case Scenario Helps to Overcome Fears
Dominic Johnson-Hill: If it’s a creative decision in terms of a new product, a new design, a new direction, one of the brand promises we have in our business is it comes from a Mao Zedong saying, that we are in a constant state of revolution. I just continue to look at challenging the market, the creative market, and the art market here, and how people think. If it’s crazy and it’s a bit edgy, it could potentially end me up in trouble. It’s naughty, it’s immature, then I’m definitely going to go with it, without a doubt, because I know that I cannot fail then. Because I know I’ll end up with something that I’ll absolutely love.
If it’s a business decision, investment into a new market, or a big new product that could bring a certain amount of danger to the business and its cash, I just have to think carefully. On that side, I’ll speak to my accountant. I’ll say, “This is how much money I want to spend. If it all goes wrong, what’s the worst case scenario?” I think the worst case scenario is a good one in many things because, quite often, we’re terrified of making a new step.
But if you look at what the worst case scenario is, it’s never quite as bad as you think. The worst case scenario is a good one for me as well because I try not to think about losing face. I try not to think about being embarrassed or what other people might think about me. In terms of the business thing, it’s really, what’s the worst case scenario? “Am I going to get bankrupt?” Well then we might have think about that. Or, “Is it just going to hurt the cash flow? Maybe I’m going to have to not send out bonuses for the next six months.” If it’s something like that, then I’m probably going to go for it.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. That’s a good way of looking at it. Have somebody else to deal with the numbers and show you the numbers.
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Absolutely.
Jonny Nastor: Not you trying to guess, right?
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: OK, so over a long time now, you’ve done a lot of cool things. You told us about the first business from China. You have now built Plastered Tees up to something very substantial, and it’s really, really, really impressive. Looking from the West over here to Beijing, China, to what you do with business and with T-shirts, seems that the last place in the world you would possibly ever want to do that, which I don’t know, right? I’ve never been there. I don’t know. It’s what I’m thinking, and it’s bold and brave.
There’s this thing I’ve been dealing with, which is called the ‘entrepreneurial gap,’ which is, as entrepreneurs, we are always setting goals for ourselves, and as we hit those goals or even before we hit that goal, we instantly throw five or 10 loftier goals ahead of ourselves. We’re always, always, always looking forward, which we have to do, but we never stop and turn around and look at where we’ve come and congratulate ourselves on the amazing stuff that we’ve accomplished up till now.
It seems to be a thing where we never live just today and congratulate ourselves. It’s always, “No, in six months, I’ll be so much better. In a year, my business will be so much better.” Can you stop right now first, Dominic, and look back at all that you’ve done in business and in life, and tell us whether you are happy with what you’ve accomplished up to this point, or not, and how you feel about it?
Focusing on and Appreciating Where You Are Right Now
Dominic Johnson-Hill: I might be different then in that respect because, actually, I’m very grateful for where I am, and I do quite often go on a long walk. Take three or four beers with me in my backpack around a beautiful, old historical area of Beijing. Drink all four beers, very quickly because I’m a quick drinker. Put on some Franz Ferdinand, and I think, “What an incredible life I have and how far I’ve come,” and I celebrate it. Sure I celebrate it because it’s that good energy that then starts to bring out ideas in my head again.
I set goals, but I don’t set too many goals. I take life at a fairly good pace. I don’t work that hard. I don’t want to work that hard. Much like in the Four-hour Work Week, the guy’s all about how to generate cash now. I’m very much about cash now and spending it now and having fun now and spending that money on experiences, going traveling. I just came back from a six-day motorbike trip around Laos and to the middle of nowhere in the mountains.
I take time off work all the time, and I truly appreciate where I’ve come. I do celebrate how far I’ve come, and I’m very proud of that. I’m not too audacious in setting too many goals. I’m sure I set goals and health goals, running goals, physical goals, business goals, but not too many. There are times where I get disappointed with myself and I think I don’t get enough done.
But they’re outweighed by the times when I sit down and I think that I’ve done some pretty awesome things. I’m pretty proud of where I’ve come, and I like to have those moments. I like to have these four beers and go for a walk and listen to Franz Ferdinand. It’s inspiring to me.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. That’s awesome. You should be proud because you’ve done some amazing things, and it’s an inspiring story you’ve had. So we’ve talked in passing, Dominic, just about your business, can you specifically tell everybody where they can go find out about your business and about you?
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Yeah, my website is Plastered.com. I started a creative T-shirt brand here in Beijing. Our whole market is aimed at young Chinese. We have a website, Plastered.com, and it’s just creative design artwork that inspires me about China. It’s basically a celebration of my life here. All the artwork is the celebration of things that I love and my life here in Beijing. I have a very fortunate life. It’s all passions to me. I love art. I love artwork. I love T-shirts. I love Beijing. That’s what my business is all about.
That’s it really. You can Google my name, ‘Dominic Johnson-Hill,’ and you can see some of the art projects I’ve been involved in and some of the immature things I do if you look at the videos that we have on our website. They’re probably about as immature as they get. I’ve got myself in trouble many a time, including with British Royalty. If you Google my name, you’ll see that I was very rude to Prince Andrew once. These are things that I’m very proud of.
Jonny Nastor: Excellent. Excellent. OK, well thank you so much, Dominic. I’m going to post Plastered T-shirts onto the website for everyone to find. And I’m going to set up a challenge for all the listeners who are mostly in the West, but somebody has to be the first one to go to a Plastered store in Beijing and say hi to Dominic for us. I might make it out there with my family first, but we’ll see if somebody else can beat me to it. Thank you so much, Dominic, for your time. I appreciate it so much. Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s really awesome.
Dominic Johnson-Hill: Thank you so much, and thanks for the conversation. I really enjoyed it.
Jonny Nastor: Dominic. Thank you so much. That was such an awesome conversation. The conversation actually went on way before and way after because we kind of hit it off. But aren’t you tempted to just go to Beijing now and walk around that lake he talked about and drink four beers really fast with him? Sounds like fun. He runs a business that doesn’t control his life in any way. It just gives him freedom to be artistic, be creative, and to travel and spend time with his beautiful family.
That’s amazing. That’s what business is about. But, Dominic, you said a lot of smart things. A lot of smart things. But he said one thing. He said one thing, didn’t he? We’re going to go back to the beginning because we just can’t skip over this. I think it’s that important. Did you get it? Did you hear it? Let’s do it. Let’s find the hack.
Dominic Johnson-Hill: I think that all of those things that got me in trouble at school are the things that made me successful today. I can remember my teacher — when I got in trouble at school — writing a letter to my mom listing all of these problems that I had, and I realize that those problems are actually my super powers.
Jonny Nastor: And that’s the hack.
Dominic, thank you. That was beautifully said, man. There are two things here. The schooling part and the things that we can think back to grade school — getting in trouble and whatever it is, however our schooling went — sometimes those things and things that even in your family or things that maybe made you stand out and maybe not quite perfectly normal. It’s okay to not be normal. It’s cool. But you have to think of those things, that is you. That’s how you are. That’s what you are. Don’t try and really change those things.
Maybe try and emphasize those things, and know that you, yourself, is all it takes to be awesome. Then he says that, when we become entrepreneurs, those are the things that become our super powers. That’s amazing. We become entrepreneurs. People aren’t born entrepreneurs. I hope I’ve made that explicitly clear. That people aren’t born entrepreneurs. You are not born one or not born one. Some of us just step up and call ourselves entrepreneurs and start building and making cool stuff.
It’s just the way it is. You can do it. It’s there. It’s just really about just stepping up and saying that you are an entrepreneur and becoming an entrepreneur. That’s really just all there is to it, and I love the way he says it. Because after we start making stuff or building stuff or creating things, then it’s easy to look back and be like, “Oh, wow, she’s an entrepreneur.” Was she before? It doesn’t matter. She is now.
That’s amazing, Dominic, and I love that because you’re definitely entrepreneurial in the lifestyle you’ve created and what you do. I love how you shared that. Thank you so much, Dominic. That was just a lot of fun, man. Hacktheentrepreneur.com is the website. Please check it out. It’s pretty cool.
I have a wicked thing going on. I do this email once every Sunday. I’m writing my best work every Sunday afternoon. I’m sending out one email to you with something cool that’s going to help you kick ass throughout the week.
The email list gets even better for the next five weeks starting this Sunday. That was actually yesterday, sorry, but that was yesterday. But, still, it’s going for another four weeks for you. I’m giving away 10 copies of Seth Godin’s new book. Seth Godin was on the show last week. If you haven’t checked it out, go back and listen. I’ve been told that, that is the best Seth Godin interview somebody heard. Somebody told me that on Twitter. It must be true. Anyway, I’m giving away 10 copies of Seth Godin’s book.
Get on my email list. Go to hte.io if you wish. It takes you to Hacktheentrepreneur.com/Seth, and that’s my newsletter. You’re going to get my newsletter, and every week for the next five weeks, I’ll announce two people that read that email will get a free copy, signed by me if you want unless that’s ruining it for you, I’m not sure. I’ll email you. We’ll talk about it. I will mail you a copy of Seth Godin’s new book called What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn) because it is your turn.
So please get on that email list, Hacktheentrepreneur.com/Seth. Alright, I’ve drank way too much coffee and talked way too much. So until next time, please keep hacking the entrepreneur.