Anything You Want by Derek Sivers [Book Summary]


Stay real to yourself; however, be flexible! Create a business strategy that makes investors have faith in you; however, make it simple! Delegate; however, don’t delegate excessively!

Perhaps you’ve already tried really hard with balancing some or all of these apparently unbalanceable things when beginning your own business. Perhaps you’re feeling very lost. And could you use some guidance?

In Anything You Want, that’s precise what author Derek Sivers will offer you. From his own personal success story and targeting to untie the tangled threads of beginning a business, he assists you find out the solution to the question: How can you make your business be anything you want it to be?


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Chapter 1 – Beginning a successful business entails endeavoring to improve your ideas while making it simple.


When the author started in the business field he never had the plan to establish CD Baby, an online independent music store. As a matter of fact, he’d formerly tried out numerous other businesses just to end up unsuccessful.

Therefore what allowed this one work?

A significant step was knowing that the more you improve your ideas, the higher the probabilities are that you’ll devise one that’s really successful. Meaning, if you’ve been developing your “perfect” idea for years and it’s still yielding nowhere, it might be a time to make a change. That entails that if you’re not getting a positive response – and many of it – it’s maybe best to leave your idea.

Rather, you should attempt new choices and work to improve your ideas. Because if you’re improvising your idea regularly, you’re guaranteed to stumble on an idea that people will love. For example, the author was completely astonished when one of his ideas abruptly caught fire among his musician friends. His hard work had yielded good results, and he made something that would assist both himself and others.



However, devising the right idea is only the start. The next thing to do is to create some simple numbers and form the principles of a business plan. This doesn’t need to be a difficult, 100-page document with financial plans for the following two decades; however, a simple document that lays out how your company will work and the cost it’ll need to do that.

The main thing here is to make it reasonable and easy to understand. The reason is that the more accurately you write, the better people will understand and believe in your idea. It’s actually not needed to throw around difficult numbers. You only have to clarify how you’ll earn money and if it will cover your costs.

For instance, when the author first started CD Baby, he used just two numbers: how much the musicians would need to put their CD on the site and how much they would earn on every sale. These easy, fixed numbers were adequate to calculate his likely success.


Chapter 2 – Know your target audiences and make your business according to their needs.


It might be difficult to settle on a particular group you wish to sell products to; however, knowing a target market is significant to fulfilling your customers’ needs. A good approach is to form various small customer groups, instead of one huge one, making a flexible and secure business.

For example, picture making your good or service to full the needs of a single client with the anticipations that she’ll invest more in your company. By doing that, you only base almost every choice on her opinions and desires.

However, what if all of a sudden she changes her mind and withdraws?

Your business would suffer since you put the needs of one customer above the other customers. Therefore, it’s better to know which group of customers is the most significant and how you can fulfill the needs of the majority.



By doing that, you’ll become more flexible and independent and won’t be in ruin when one customer chooses to move on. Additionally, you’ll also have access to hundreds of views to direct your plan.

Anyhow, you can’t expect to satisfy everybody. As a matter of fact, as your business develops, you’ll probably get many requests from all different kinds of people. When this occurs, it’s important to bear in mind that you don’t have to satisfy all of them to be successful.

In fact, quite the opposite is true. Just abide by your principles and don’t forget the pledges you’ve made to your customers. Therefore, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. It’s completely okay to let some people’s needs go unmet.

For example, the author always got requests from record label execs who wished to have their newest talent on the site. However, he would repeatedly decline their requests because the shop was particularly made for musicians who didn’t have a label. The reason is that, when the site was created 15 years ago, these musicians didn’t have any other distribution choices.


Chapter 3 – You don’t need a huge amount of money to realize a huge idea.


When most people talk about beginning a business, their concentration is on getting enough money before actually investing in the idea. However, having zero-funding can really be a big edge.

As a matter of fact, nothing is wrong with financial limitations. You only have to begin with the bare minimum. Therefore, if you don’t have enough money; however, you have a grand idea for your business’s future, don’t bother. Money isn’t what makes ideas develop. What makes an idea grow is being helpful to people and that should be your main attention.

Make use of the resources that you have, maybe personal or anything else, even if they look insufficient. For example, assuming you want to begin a tutoring company; however, you don’t have the cash to start it immediately. Don’t abandon the idea, just begin teaching somebody something right away. You’ll start knowing potential customers and be spreading your understanding.

As a matter of fact, being broke really enhances creativity. The reason is that key funders can buy you the great tools, employ a top-tier worker and rent the extravagant office; however, do you need those things.?



Usually, not having the money for material extravagances assists you to brainstorm creative answers to make things very easy, cheaper and faster. In the best circumstances, you’ll even grow your own understanding. 

For example, a lot of people are flat broke; however, they possess a great fashion sense– some people even dress well than wealthy people. The reason is that they just purchase things that they really love that go well with what they have, and which give them numerous styling possibilities.

Therefore, having small or no money can make your job more difficult and take time; however, the long-term outcome will be a business based on personal understanding and creative problem-solving.


Chapter 4 – Chase what your customers need.


All of us are conversant with the saying that “the customer is always right” and it’s obvious that pleasing customers is significant to a successful business. Nevertheless, they purchase your goods!

Understanding this, you should build choices on your customers’ needs. The reason is that good business isn’t only about you or making a profit: it’s essentially about the people you serve. Therefore, pay attention to what they want and do it.

For example, your business started with an idea: one that would make the lives of specific people easier. And it’s significant for this aim to stay central in every of your business choices. Therefore, you should be basing choices on customer opinion instead of your richest investor or your bottom line. Because if you think of what your customers would mention about the choices you’re faced with, you’ll be setting your business on a way to profitability.

However, if the unlikely occurs and your business is finding it hard to remain afloat, don’t allow yourself to get stuck in survival mode. The majority of the companies try to regularly grow and develop; however, at times the best choice is to basically give up. 



Nevertheless, all business idea starts to fulfill a need or fix an issue; however, what if that need vanishes or that issue is all of a sudden solved?

For example, if musicians discovered an easy method to establish their own online store, CD Baby would lose all its business base. As a matter of fact, the author acknowledged this likelihood; however, he didn’t bother about it. The reason is that his aim was to fix an issue and, if the answer was already there without him, he could change to fixing a new issue.

Hence, at times it can be hard to stay in touch with your customers, it’s completely significant to success. Just bear in mind that: provided you have got something valuable to give, people will be glad to hear about it.


Chapter 5 – You can share duty; however, not a lot.


What is the common thing among most self-employed? They have no idea how to delegate.

This can be a huge consequence since forming a delegation mindset is a complete requirement if you want to guard your cherished resources against depletion. Nevertheless, if you begin a business yourself, doing everything on your own, it can be hard to abruptly begin sharing tasks. A lot of entrepreneurs find it hard to even find the time to employ and train workers to take charge of specific responsibilities.

However, not delegating could cause something really worse: burning out.

Hence, it’s important to look for the time to formally teach your workers. For example, you could have a training manual. It’s very simple to do. Just have a running list of issues you meet while beginning and managing your business together with approaches to fix them. As time continues, workers will learn to fix problems on their own and you’ll be free to concentrate on strategic duties or other interests.

Therefore, not delegating is risky; however, over-delegating can be a tragedy. For you to stay safe, ensure that your delegation is based on trust and control.



This is how:

First and foremost, ensure to nurture a trusting relationship with your workers. Allow them to understand that you’re sharing duties with them because you trust them. Secondly, create some simple control mechanisms. You shouldn’t monitor your worker; however, you should create some rules and procedures everybody follows

For example, the author shared tasks, giving his workers a great deal of freedom to decide their work pattern. However, he got a call from his accountant afterward, saying that a profit-sharing plan was being implemented based on a choice decided by a staff person. This specific worker had decided that the entire company’s profits should be shared among the staff without telling the author about it, at which point the author understood he had a lot.


Chapter 6 – Making your dream job is your decision. 


A lot of people have dreams of becoming a CEO at a point in their careers while others dream of it being a management nightmare.

 What is your feeling about it? 

If you’re in the category that trembles at the imagination of being in a conventional CEO management position; however still wish to begin a business, don’t do it. You will get duties that you basically don’t want to do – and you shouldn’t feel the intimidation to get to a position that won’t make you feel happy

 For example, let’s say started a restaurant because you like to be in the kitchen. However, as the restaurant developed, you saw yourself with less and less time to really cook. Now your work entails logistics, management and managing a company – a reality you never prepared for.

The same applies to your workers. Meaning, they as well have to take pleasure in what they do. In order to make this a reality, you shouldn’t ask your workers what they’re good at; however, what they like. And bear in mind that: you don’t have to be in conventional positions such as Head of Finance and Head of Marketing. You can basically allow your workers to pick positions and titles based on what they like.

 By doing that, you’ll see that there are people happy to handle even the most annoying work!



Also, lastly, bear in mind that traditional business approaches might not work for the manner you do things. Therefore,  anything the consultants or alleged “experts” might say to you, directing a business is a creative work that needs creative approaches.

For instance, if you have just one aim to cover costs and you aren’t concerned about growing, that’s completely okay. If you only want to manage a small tech startup without any visions of becoming the next Steve Jobs or being purchased by Apple, that’s your choice. Even things that look completely okay, like regularly posting to social media, are still choices you should make on your own, without being scared of judgment.


Anything You Want by Derek Sivers Book Review


Beginning a successful business is only an issue of looking for a perfect idea, harnessing the drive to please your customers and creatively fixing your issues. Therefore, while it might not be the standard, forget about large sums of venture capital and consultants; just focus to make your business dream turn into a reality.


Make business decisions that work best for you.

The manner in which you decide in business is personal. Therefore, when confronted with questions about your company’s future, ensure you answer them in a manner that works best for you. For example, while it might be the standard to begin work at 9 a.m., you might discover that a workday that begins later is better for you and your workers.


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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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