The business idea(s) I stole (and ones you can steal too)

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Earlier this week, I asked our Facebook group what type of free email course they would most like to see from us.

The clear winner is 28 Day RV Entrepreneur series—which makes me happy because I’ve been working on an outline for this course for months and I’m excited for Heath and I to co-write it.

But the one option with the most comments and replies was Heath’s “30 days of awesome business strategies that I stole from other people (who probably also stole them from other people)” idea.

Stealing other people’s ideas—AKA the point of reading any business book—is the foundation for all of the businesses Heath and I have started.

How to build Campground Booking through “growth hacking” and make it through tough obstacles? Ryan Holliday.

Getting over the fear of writing to share your words with the world? Jeff Goins.

Our production company where we filmed and marketed online courses? Armosa Studios and Jeff Walker.

Our podcast? Pat Flynn.

In 2015, when Heath and I were starting our second year of living in an RV, Heath found a six-month consulting gig that took us to Silicon Valley. As you can imagine it’s super easy to find an affordable place to park an RV in Silicon Valley.

So we parked “over the hill” near Santa Cruz and drove through a mountain pass for about an hour every morning to get to our client. We clocked MANY hours in the car and inching our way through California traffic.

Fortunately this was about the time when podcasts were becoming the next big thing and Heath and I started to listen to an episode on the way to work and an episode on the way home.

We had two go-to shows: The School of Greatness and the Smart Passive Income Podcast. This means I heard Pat Flynn awesome call himself “the crash test dummy of online business” basically every day.

“I’m the crash test dummy of online business! Crash test dummies are only useful when they are put into interesting situations and then report on what went right and what went wrong. Without that information, I might as well just be, well…a dummy.”

—from his 2014 Income Report

I thought about this strategy a lot.

As a then-aspiring content creator and entrepreneur, I felt the pressure to figure out my blog niche and my unicorn business ASAP. After all, I was daily listening to interviews with brilliant people who clearly had their stuff figured out. I need to hurry up.

Pat’s crash test dummy idea stuck with me. If you’re a test dummy, there’s no pressure to perform perfectly. There’s no surprise when you fail. It’s all a test.

Stealing Pat’s idea, I told Heath that I wanted us to be the crash test dummies of running a business on the road. After all, Heath was constantly telling me that he wanted to start a podcast for people RVing and running their own business, but we didn’t have the experience yet to host it. We need experience.

So we tried… everything.

We tried freelance writing and public speaking and did anything and everything we could. We figured out what we were good at and what we loved (working with and learning from authors as well as writing our own blogs and ebooks).

It was the year I learned how to be okay with trying and failing at something.

I pitched an article to a website and was told my writing wasn’t up to their standards.

I published an ebook that I can’t even read now because I’m too embarrassed that I ever let people read it! (Okay you can actually read my first attempt at writing a book here.)

And every time I failed or felt awkward and embarrassed or like I was clearly faking it till I make it, I thought about a crash test dummy.

It’s the first business strategy I ever stole, and probably the one that’s made the biggest difference in my business.

Before I do anything new—publish a book, start a conference, launch a podcast, get a client whose work is slightly beyond my current capabilities—I remind myself that I’m just a dummy.

I try new things and share them here on our blog to share what worked and what didn’t. Sometimes I’m successful, most times things work out just good enough, sometimes things implode slowly and I find myself wondering what on earth I’m doing with my life.

But hey, that’s business (and life).

What’s one business strategy you’ve stolen that’s worked out for you? We’re always looking for brilliant ideas to steal!