Entrepreneur Inspiration: Jeff Bezos Amazon HQ 1999

If you are a lean startup owner or co-founder, you are quite familiar with humble beginnings and bootstrapping your business to greatness. We have all heard of the rags to riches stories that so many entrepreneurs have lived to tell about, if they are lucky. Some have lived in their cars and others have maxed out a dozen credit cards to give themselves a shot. 

One of the most impressive of these frugal beginnings has got to be Amazon's founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

The picture above shows the world's richest / second richest man (along with Bill Gates depending on the prices of Microsoft and Amazon stock on any given day) in his office in 1999. This marketing mastermind started his business in the mid to late 90's when the internet began, was laughed at, but then picked up steam after the dotcom bubble burst. 

Now Amazon is one of the most valuable brands on earth and Jeff Bezos could be on track to be the world's first trillionaire. You might need to live lean and humble early on, but it can pay off like you never could imagine!

Last year, Amazon was worth $800 billion. To put this number in perspective… if you spent $1 every second (or $3,600 an hour, or almost $85,000 per day) you’d spend a million dollars in 12 days. A billion at the same rate would take you 31 YEARS. Which means that if Amazon were to spend every last penny they are worth at the rate of $1 every second, it would take them 8,680 years. To put that in perspective… the length of the entire recorded history is about 5,000 years, give or take. Here is what most people who want to make money online via email and ecommerce don’t realize. 

Regardless of what they pick as their business model - information products, services,  drop shipping, Amazon FBA, YouTube, Facebook, or whatever. They want to become the “Amazon” of their niche right away! Which - you might have already guessed - is not how things work. If you try to run before you can crawl, you just won’t be able to do it. No amount of positive thinking will help you. It is like if I went to a gym and tried to deadlift 1,104.52 pounds (the current world record). 

No matter how excited I am or how positive my thinking is, if I haven’t trained for years and I haven’t eaten right for years, it is not happening. I have to start with less. In this scenario, “fail your way to success” doesn’t really apply either. You only learn when you fail at things that are within your reach because then you are able to figure out what went wrong.  If you try something that’s completely out of your reach, well… you’re not going to learn anything. (Except maybe reinforce your inner belief that you’re not good at anything — which is what you don’t want to do!) Yet, that is the way almost every failing internet marketer tries to do things. 

Here is what you do instead. Before you serve a hundred thousand people, you have to serve a thousand. Before you serve a thousand, you have to serve ten. And before you serve ten, you have to serve ONE. When Amazon started, they were a simple online bookstore. They were not anywhere close to the ubiquitous online behemoth they are now. 

Amazon, too, had to serve their first customer and I happen to know who that was. It was someone named John Wainwright, an Australian software engineer based in Sunnyvale, CA, who bought a (presumably, very exciting) book named “Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought” by Douglas Hofstadter. And the rest is history for Amazon. What about you? Are you paralyzed about having to serve a whole ton of people? Are you overwhelmed about having to build logistics to serve thousands and thousands of customers? 

Don’t be. Start with one. Then, scale to ten. Then, to a thousand… a hundred thousand… and more. Everything will become much easier when you adopt this mindset - no matter what it is you decide to do to create your wealth online. Oh, and you don’t even need all that many customers to do well. If you only charge 10 people $1,000 for something, you are $10,000 richer, just like that.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about lean startup living.

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Read Related Resources:

• How To Keep Company Culture Consistent 

• Positions You Need To Fill To Have A Successful Startup

• The Importance Of A Company Recycling Program

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