An old and very successful salesman told me once, “I never got anything without asking.”
And in general it’s true. If you want anything, you have to ask. Call this principle “Just Ask.”
Another important principle is that you just have to do something. A successful entrepreneur in his seventies told me his motto, “You can’t finish unless you start!”
Waiting for stuff to be perfect is never the answer. You have to go. You must act. Fortune favors the bold. Call this principle “Just Act.”
Finally, the important corollary of both of these principles is expressed in the Hippocratic oath: First do no harm. When you implement Just Ask and Just Act, you are exercising power and influence, and it is incumbent on you to do so in a way that helps people and the world around you.
Phew! That’s a lot of philosophy for an early morning blog post. You may wonder, “Why are you writing this stuff, Miner?”
I’m so glad you asked! Let me tell you about it.
Ever since I launched Design Independence in summer 2016, I had my eye on a series over at www.1500days.com called Ten Questions. In that series, the fabulous Mr. and Mrs. 1500 Days offer personal finance bloggers the opportunity to share the substantial online platform they’ve created, and discuss their own blogs. In July 2016 I wrote down a goal to have a Ten Questions article accepted on 1500 Days.
But I wanted my blog to be perfect (like this one), before I sent my article to Carl and Mindy. I wanted to finish my Grad School series (still incomplete). And I wanted to wait until I had my e-mail list working properly (coming along, but highly imperfect). And I wanted to wait until I’d launched a huge WordPress site with all the bells and whistles (I need the Design Independence business to generate quite a bit more revenue than at present before that will happen).
These were all self-imposed rules, and they were wrong. They were wrong because they were not supportive of the vision of Design Independence, which is to reach high earners with the good news of frugality and FI. Design Independence offers wisdom, experience, and high-quality writing. But if no one knows about my site, it does no good! And here were two bloggers I admire who were willing to share their site with me, and I was throwing obstacles in my own path.
I almost missed the boat.
I knew 1500 Days was in countdown mode to their goal date (since reached). And, officially, 1500Days had already stopped accepting guest posts for Ten Questions. Determined still to ask for the opportunity, I sent Mr. 1500 Days an e-mail from his contact form.
I received no reply. No doubt I looked like just another self-promoting blogger. I knew that I needed to up my game. I needed something to catch their attention. What I needed was an image of a praying dinosaur.
You won’t need to spend many minutes on 1500 Days to find images of dinosaurs everywhere, involved in all manner of ridiculousness. Surely if I could demonstrate creativity, a deep knowledge of the significance of dinosaurs, and supplication, I’d have a chance.
I Googled “praying dinosaur” and found just what I needed: An image of a chicken strip that looked like a dinosaur praying. I stuck it in a photo editor and added my caption.
Both Mr. and Mrs. 1500 Days responded immediately! I was on cloud nine.
I re-sent my imperfect post, telling the story of my imperfect blog, and amazingly, on February 4th, my gracious friend Carl shared my article. Several hundred of you have found Design Independence since then.
Today, in addition to releasing my 1500 Days guest post on Design Independence, I also wanted to share those two principles - Just Ask, and Just Act - as an encouragement to me and to you to ask for more, and to get more done. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of progress. Serve others, sell and ship.
And this post is my very warm Thank You to Mr. and Mrs. 1500 Days. Y’all are a class act, and I hope to shake your hands at FinCon in Dallas this fall.
Yours very truly,
Excerpt from my letter to 1500 Days:
"As I see it, my entry can go one of two ways: Either it becomes an example of why not to procrastinate, but instead to ship a minimum viable product, or, and here’s where you both have the chance to be heroes, it can demonstrate the power of asking for what you want, even if you’ve missed a deadline or broken a rule. I’m really hoping it’s the latter.
In any case, your work has been a benefit and a help to me, and I wish you both all the best with your lives post-February 2017. One of these years I’ll see you at FinCon."