Mo Bitar is the founder and CEO of the encrypted notes taking app Standard Notes. Six months ago he was able to quit his full time job and devote himself to growing his new business. He now has no boss, no timesheet, and unlimited upside to his salary. This type of story is one we hear often. But how did he do it? How was he able to break free from the usual pattern? And more importantly, is it something that’s possible for me?
For most, the path to success is long and winding. To spell out an exact recipe would be overwhelming and most likely not applicable to your situation. That’s why in my recent interview with founder Mo Bitar I asked him simply, “What was your first tiny step towards freedom?” What was that first step that took you from a traditional life to an extraordinary one? And that my friends, is the key. Remember that you’ll never achieve an above average result with actions like an average person.
Mo’s answer was surprising — blind exuberance. When he was still a teenager, he was inspired by the iOS App Store and decided to build an App. It was somewhat crude and somewhat cheesy. Miraculously, it found success! Thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars began pouring in. To a teenager, this is a revolutionary spike in life. Mo immediately quit college and began working on a followup app. Unfortunately, the success of the sequel never came. After six months, he released his masterpiece to little fanfare and no financial windfall.
With the money running down, Mo went out into the job market and worked a series of software engineering jobs. But as you’ll hear in the interview, he was always planning to strike out again on his own. Once you’ve tasted that success and that freedom, he says, it’ll ruin your life.
There’s no guarantee for success, but my goal is to give you the tools you need to strive for it. If we know the details of real world success stories, not Hollywood style movies, we can steal a whiff of how we might accomplish success ourself. One concrete way that some have used to achieve success is young, blind exuberance. The key here is striking out into the world. An idea in your head is worth about as much as a drawing of a gold bar. What separates those who have acheived from those who never will is that they took the risk, they put themselves out there. If you’re unsure about the details, or nervous that you’ll fail, try blind exuberance. Strike out into the world as if you were young and foolish.
Creating your first product won’t necessarily lead to pure success. But success isn’t an action, it’s a pattern. It comes from striking out and then responding. It comes from taking your ideas seriously and being willing to see them through. For Mo, there was a 10 year gap between his first effort and the founding of Standard Notes. After all that time, he attributes his company’s founding to that first tiny step he took towards freedom.
Pretend that today you were young and bold. What would you start? Don’t think, act, what would you do? Leave your answer in the comments below.
Intrigued by this story? The author of this article also offers 1-on-1 coaching for people looking to make more money at their current job. See more info below.