The PJ Tatler

How a hobby turned into a $100M business

I am reading a new book by CD Baby creator Derek Sivers entitled Anything You Want. The book boasts “40 lessons for a new kind of entrepreneur.” And indeed, Sivers is one of a new breed. He chronicles his own experience going from starting up CD Baby to help his friends sell their CDs online to turning it into the largest seller of independent music on the web.

Sivers has some rather unorthodox advice that frankly, looks refreshing. When his company grew to fifty employees, business-to business services told him he needed an “official review plan, sensitivity training, Terms and Conditions postings, and all this corporate crap.” He said “no” to all of it. His advice? “As your business grows, never let the leeches sucker you into all that stuff they pretend you need.”

He talks about the strength of many little customers and suggests you design your business to have “NO big clients, just lots of little ones. When you build your business on serving thousands of customers, not dozens, you don’t have to worry about any one customer leaving or making special demands.”

Overall, this seems to be a great little book if you are an entrepreneur with your own business or aspiring to be one.