The Expert Curse: How I Overcome Expectations of Others

The Expert Curse: How I Overcome Expectations of Others

at a dinner with my friend tucker i confided with him i was overwhelmed working on okdork.

when you start out in your business and do crazy things or experiment and it works or doesn’t, who cares. there’s no one to watch you fall. you're just playing around without expectations.

one of my favorite quotes recently relates to this expression. it’s from steve jobs.

"the heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again."

this speaks it so eloquently.

the more we add expectations the more others expect of us.

letting all that go releases us back to freedom and the enjoyment for when we started our ventures.

my good buddy adam says it well about that process:

"many successful people stop doing the things that made them successful."

that’s very true for marketing.

you did guest posts, interviews and such to get your site to where it is. yet you stopped doing them and now you wonder why your traffic is down.

i think that applies to almost 100% of you. i know it does for me.

it’s challenging when you create for yourself and your own goals versus the expectations of others.

let me be real with you.

i need you.

okay, i want you. i can live without you.

same for you with your customers.

when you create or service someone (don’t be perverted) and they genuinely thank you for your work there may not be anything greater in life.

but then you get more praise and more recognition.

you think you are great. you may eventually be called an expert by some people.

tucker said this amazingly well, "the moment you become an expert you stop learning."

you take your expert ways and fit the world to look through those lenses.

the expectations of others pushes me to create better articles and stress out to make sure each post gets more shares, comments, opens, email subscribers than the past.

and when it doesn’t, then it was a flop. a waste of time. my ego is deflated.

all along okdork has been my expression for learning and sharing things related to marketing and starting a business.

so where is the balance from outputting 400 word articles relating to my depression or this post that’s not exactly about marketing vs 3000+ word marketing posts that take 40+ hours with editing and hoping to get the amount of new subscribers to make it worth it.

for me…at this point and at points with appsumo and now with (our latest flagship product) i go back to one simple way of looking at it.


you could say this is the why.

am i having fun with the work i’m doing?? ask yourself that…

  • is it keeping me up at 11pm to edit the article or bug someone profusely cause i can’t wait to share what they are writing?
  • is it a challenge to experiment successfully or not new ways that may get new subscribers because I’m curious?
  • is it exciting to see that even 1 person appreciated something even though open rates don’t reflect that all the okdorkians loved it?
  • is it enough that I’m happy with what I’m doing?

lately i keep thinking about the output we do during the week and how it’s reflected when we die.

all of our generation wants to feel meaning.

unfortunately there is no scorecard regardless of how much money you have when we die.

you just die and its over.

so 3 more blog posts or 100 new subscribers unfortunately won’t get you a plot that much closer to heaven.

all that matters is that you feel fulfilled with what you are creating.

loving the work you do.

having fun with what you are doing.

being true to yourself.

so what does that mean in terms of real action, for me:

  • it’s occasionally posting shorter articles i am proud of and believe will benefit your lives. like this one
  • experimenting with newer marketing activities so i can find the things that work and don’t, then share them with you.
  • continued playfulness.
  • spelling errors and doing an entire email without 1 capitalization. yea, like that 🙂

tell me what’s fun for you to work on in the comments!



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96 responses to “The Expert Curse: How I Overcome Expectations of Others”

Alex Metzger
March 30, 2017 at 10:03 am

Wow. Great post. Thanks for the honesty!

“Having fun with your work” is so important. I guess that’s why i quit SaaS business and started ResumeYard. We’re all about helping others find work they love, and work that helps others. I guess for me I want to take it one step further than just the “having fun” part because there is nothing as fulfilling as the feeling of knowing that all the hours went in to help someone else achieve their dreams. I live on those stories … which thankfully are quite frequent.

December 24, 2014 at 4:49 am

fun for you to write, fun for us to read. seems you're in track.

August 27, 2014 at 12:56 pm

This is talked about by almost every successful person. Don't let acknowledgement get to your head. Always continue to learn. Go back to your roots. Some very good advice.

Joel Cerda
August 26, 2014 at 6:56 pm

I love running, mountain biking, learning about online maketing and buisness. Getting things done, audiobooks, addicted to podcast and listening to your interviews. Keep up all the awesome content!! It inspires me to explore and think outside the box in all I do!!! I did not spell check this eather

Jane Atkinson
August 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

So true that when our ego gets involved in the competition (more likes, more shares, more comments", it becomes less like fun and more like work. Great post.

Paul Montreal
July 31, 2014 at 2:04 pm

The ultimate metric: do I feel good about this, am I adding value?

Only you can answer that. We're fickle. 🙂

July 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Hey Noah,
The work you do is great and has created a lot of insight into my own work. Just thought I should share the love. Keep up the good work, and keep it coming with the spelling errorrs!

Eric Bell
July 28, 2014 at 6:52 am

Good post. One thing, how about hitting that shift key just a little bit more Noah. As I was reading I was getting slight fatigue figuring out where new thoughts where (or just new sentences) since you didn't capitalize as expected. I never thought of you as someone who'd want to make communication harder.

Tania Dakka
July 26, 2014 at 8:01 am

I ADORE massaging and molding copy into money.

Tania Dakka
July 26, 2014 at 8:02 am

Thank YOU for reminding me!

July 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I love this post... right now I love nothing. I know this is just because the mundane has sucked the life out of everything else, but at least I realize that... now to pick something... maybe I'll start with MySQL... that sounds fun

Lilia Tovbin
July 21, 2014 at 10:03 am

Great post Noah, thanks for sharing your thoughts and keeping it real! It's definitely something many of the established entrepreneurs can relate to.

Because my business is in education space, I work for more than just financial success and hope for social impact as well. Receiving emails and feedback from grateful educators is very motivating for me personally. I used to think an exit was the ultimate goal, but now I look for ways to build lasting value and something I can be proud of.

I don't think blog posts have to be original - as you read posts of others, you can identify opportunities to improve and dig deeper than original author and I think that's perfectly fine. I don't think writing for the sake of putting out something new/fresh on a forced schedule is better than just waiting for a great idea/topic and knock it out of the ball park.

July 20, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I love working on my new web page because it's a whole new experience for me full of ups and downs. I also love trying to figure out how to teach math to children the have math disorders. It is challenging but I enjoy the research and the creativity involved on my part to help these kids and their parents. I picked up two more parents this weekend as I tried using some of your advice from summer of marketing and the kids all have some type of learning disability and I'm so excited to help them and their parents so they can start off the school year strong.

July 18, 2014 at 4:02 pm

What keeps me up at night is relationships! I love learning about why people date the people they do, their dating patterns, how Alpha men/women choose a mate, etc.... This is what's fun for me to work on at 2am and what I can't wait to get out of bed for in the morning to keep working on! Great post Noah!

Kyla Bauer
July 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm

My website doesn't work yet, but I'm spending most of my time bridging discussions about wellness concerns with community members and the experts. I love it when resolution is so much easier than any of us could have thought. I love connecting people.

Jimmy Thong Tran
July 18, 2014 at 5:31 am

I love writing an article/poem for at least 1 person.

Marty Jackson
July 17, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Hey did you figure it's summer. Allot of us don't like working on the biz in the summer. There is too much living to do.
Remember your list from earlier this year...? Take some sailing lessons. Then go sail! And do that whenever you feel like.....

David Wolfe
July 17, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Noah, dude, this is an awesome post. Keep it up buddy! Tallyho

July 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm

fist of all, thank you for such a great email.

I really love international trade, being able to connect countries, cultures and share experiences with pros from all over the world really makes me happy. I understand what depression can do for someone, and strongly believe that every entrepreneur should live it once in order to put shit together and prioritize what really make you happy in life.
I really really love creating a business from nothing, love talking to people about their business strategies and share with them mine, I absolutely love continuing learning from the Pros... like I do with Okdork ....
Cheers guys and thank you for everything.

Saya Hillman
July 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Struggled with this over my ten-years of self-employment. All of my crazy, wacky, "no one will pay you for that" ideas when I first created them were incredibly easy to implement. Not easy because the work-load was light, it wasn't, but easy because I had a blank slate. No comparisons, no expectations. People were just excited to jump in.

I now have HCP after HCP (high-class problem) --
"But last time, they had t-shirts!"
"But I saw photos of past participants tubing, why aren't we tubing this time?!"
"But the playbills were color last show, why are ours black and white?"
So wonderful that my offerings are successful and continue to exist and grow, but I beat my head against the wall with all the comparing/complaining.

I've come to deal with it relatively well by
1) really targeting my market to people who are open, flexible, go with the flow, which cuts down on the comparers and complainers, and
2) realizing that one of my most favorite perks of being self-employed is the simple one of if I'm not having fun, I stop doing it. I realized that when I was stressed or unhappy, much of it was self-created. So I stopped putting myself in non-fun situations. Breath of fresh air! And now I spend 99% of my time doing exactly what I'm good at and what makes me happy (1% goes to taxes, which I can't figure out how to cut out of my life without going to jail).

Adults need more fun, play, and laughter in our lives! #LifeOfYes

Rick Corbett
July 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Noah, thanks for the heartfelt comments. It shows me you are not actually a machine! lol
After having been a business owner for over 35 years (5 different brick and mortar businesses for 22 yrs & network marketing for 13), Today I am co-founder of a startup which launches our iOS app next month and can say that working in a startup is the most fun I have had in a long time. Yea, the hours are ridiculous, been working 7 days a week for 18 months but I love every minute of every day. A startup is unlike any business I have ever owned and the challenges are sometimes overwhelming but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Learning something new every day is exciting and makes me look forward to every day. #LovingLife
BTW, thanks for all the help and great content. Kudos to you, Tyler and your team. You guys rock!!!

Suzanne Sanders
July 17, 2014 at 10:24 am

I've been a subscriber for about a month or so, but your cred immediately went up a notch when I read your post about depression. Too many people spend so much of their time selling themselves as "experts" and "gurus" and "hackers" and less time talking about the challenges we all face as we continue to expand as human beings. If you aren't facing challenges, there is something wrong and you aren't pushing yourself hard enough, personally or otherwise. So thank you for being vulnerable and putting your real self out there in a real way.

brian brown
July 17, 2014 at 9:33 am

Damn Noah thats deep man. Your words are real and make me think. You rock. I would say the the making headlines different squeeze pages optins adding the content and pics ideas to make brilliant optin pages is whats fun to me . Getting traffic and eyeballs makes my head hurt and makes me want to bang my head on a wall. There is so many fake clicks and fake leads you cant tell who really wants what you got . Thanks Noah!

July 17, 2014 at 8:12 am

Cheers Noah! Have been thinking similarly these days, trying to get back to a path I identify with and umming and ahhing far too much over which track to pursue. But my conclusion - doesn't matter which as long as it can be made fun and meaningful; enjoy it. That's the whole point of quitting one's highly paid jobby job and starting your own thing anyway. And another conclusion of mine - bring cool people with you; not just the usual build a great team schtick; try to involve people whose opinions you value and that you really like and respect. Good on you for sharing...

July 17, 2014 at 1:38 am

Totally love the honesty, refreshing change from all the "million dollar how-to coaches" who make it seem so easy. What I looove about what I do is seeing others grow, learning from them and being able to pursue my own interests until any time into the night. And yes, when in doubt, I head for the gym or the tub with a good book 🙂

July 16, 2014 at 10:28 pm

"3 more blog posts or 100 new subscribers unfortunately won’t get you a plot that much closer to heaven"

Incredibly well put, and went straight into the quotes archive.

Hopefully whatever we're doing here is what we'd like to be doing in heaven, anyway.

July 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Keep doing what you're doing Noah! If you need a buddy for your next taco run in H-town just holla. You've motivated more over the years than you realize

Anne-Sophie Dumetz
July 16, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Hey Noah: A little while ago, I start to challenge myself by applying this philosophy learned from my children:

"If you're doing to do it anyway, do it the fun way".

But Fun can be hard. Doing things the fun way almost a counterculture move in this world of serious business. Being a fun adult can feel like you're a freak of nature sometimes.

In business, I started to challenge myself to make things funner. Like writing about getting an epic life wedgie to show me I was stuck (it's funner than saying I burned out).... Or later, figuring out I had a marketing wedgie when I was stuck and getting nowhere fast. Or asking my reader for their fairie dust so we can make magic together (instead of 'fill out this survey').

It takes some serious commitment to stay in the fun zone when we have lots of ambition and drive. But then again, who else can add your soul to your life + biz if you're not doing it?

In any case, your post made my day.

Here's to living life the Fun Way, whatever that is!

Maureen Unasa
July 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Thank you. Don't usually comment but fingers have it's own mind. FUN! Enjoying journey at 3am then getting kids off to school by 9am. It is fun. Guess I have 5 good reasons to keep having fun. My fun sometimes looks serious. Other times it looks confused and overwhelmed. Haha. Thank you for clarifying all the different faces of doing what I love.

James Martin
July 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm

I can 100% relate to the slowing of learning once you see some success.

Every time I try something completely different though, I think to myself "why are you going on all these tangents and wasting time? Just stick to what works and what's proven". Sure what I've done has worked to some extent, but as you said, if you're not having fun and trying new things (which is what I love about business) then you need to ask yourself why you're doing it..

Thanks Noah. This helped me more than you know.

Kyle Van Pelt
July 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm


one of the things that makes me happiest is the freeing feeling you described in another comment that I don't have to feel the pressure of scaling to a billion. I start to feel burnt out when growth stops feeling organic and feels forced.

I'm always trying to straddle that line. Growth is great, we all want it, but I want it to come because what I'm creating is good.

That all boils down to building quality relationships for me. When I can have coffee or tacos with someone that I recently met, that's one of my favorite things in the world.

Keep up the awesomeness.

Kyle Van Pelt

July 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm

It's simple Noah. Analyze what parts of your previous project brought you most JOY, and only do those parts, other parts delegate. Or what stages of projects bring you FUN, and work until that stage then just leave it to the team to finish.

Patrick Foley
July 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm

What's fun for me is to think. I can think and think and think all day. The hard part for me is putting that thought into action and doing something useful with it. I need to balance those things, because all thought with no action doesn't pay the bills.

Nice post, Noah. I look forward to the return of capitalization 😉

Susan Lee
July 16, 2014 at 2:54 pm

that was effin fantastic. every line reminded me of why I do what I do + the importance of living a life that is spirit filled. thanks (look ma, no caps for me either)

July 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm

I love to write! For a long time I wanted to be a guru and write, speak and everything else. Now I'm focusing on what I enjoy and good things are happening. My first post for the Huffington Post went live today!!

July 16, 2014 at 2:13 pm

The thing that's fun to work on is the one that has to happen. Not because it's being forced to but because it's automatic. It's the thing swirling in the head getting put into the real world.


Victoria Tolonen
July 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm

What keeps me up at night is studying how to earn more air miles so I can travel more and work less.

Will Wegert
July 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Wow. I am impressed with this post. Thanks for the honesty ...

"Having fun with your work" is so important. I guess that's I quit my job and started Cold Collar. We're all about helping others find work they love, and work that helps others. I guess for me I want to take it one step further than just the "having fun" part because there is nothing as fulfilling as the feeling of knowing that all the hours went in to help someone else achieve their dreams. I live on those stories ... which thankfully are quite frequent.

For example:
-There was the guy who went from $25k per year to $70k after working with me.
-There was the autistic guy who was without work for two years and applied the principles I taught which led to an immediate job offer.
-There was the kid with less than 2 years accounting experience and (and not a CPA, going up against 5 much more highly qualified candidates (all CPA's), yet after my interview training he not only landed the job, but he did it in style! They were so impressed with him after the first round of interviews they literally canceled the second round and hired him on the spot.

Noah, (+ all entrepreneurs reading this) is't it the stories like that (I am sure you each have countless of your own) that allow us to push through the "overwhelm"?.

It's about making a difference. Like you said "all of our generation wants to feel meaning." ... So lets go find it!

July 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Noah, awesome post. I can relate. I just haven't found what is truly fun for me to work on. I'm caught up the "Shoulds, Musts, and Better Dos" of business and life. How can we find our fun without just muddling through sometimes?

July 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Love it! At the end of the day "being fulfilled" matters SO much to me. Its only be recently that I've logged on to this. It helps me remember that creating a product simply for the act of creation is payment enough. And then having fun exposing it and seeing if its valuable to others. If it flops I am still left rewarded because I got to CREATE. Someone recently reminded me of the old movie Citizen Kane and the punch line "rosebud". Can I catch myself enlivened and in love being and doing my own personal rosebud?

Brian Pulliam
July 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Great article bro. I had reason to be reading Letters from a Stoic recently (Seneca) and I think you would find it a great value to read. This reminds me of you: "Nothing, however outstanding and however helpful, will ever give me any pleasure if the knowledge is to be for my benefit alone." -Brian

July 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

Great post. And couldn't have come at a better time. Sometimes I get so bogged down in the "results" that I forget to focus on the most important things: why I'm doing what I do and what I love so much about it. For you it's marketing, and for me it's helping others learn how to code. And every time I get any positive feedback like "That really helped! Thanks!" it makes my heart sore and helps me refocus on on what's truly important to me: helping others, and having fun doing it.

July 16, 2014 at 11:42 am

first of all, you had me at no caps!! i just wrote an ebook in all lowercase, but decided to change it because it was unclear to people. i am inspired to write shorter posts like this one though, with lowercase. thank you for giving me "permission" to do so. 😉

July 16, 2014 at 11:28 am

I so needed this today, it was perfect timing! Thank you!! I have gotten caught up in worrying about how to please everyone that I didn't even know where to begin. Being true to myself and my unique skills and knowledge is what inspires me and makes me feel like am making a difference in the world.

Cindy | The Reedster Speaks
July 16, 2014 at 11:20 am

I clicked through to your post about depression because that is what struck me most about your piece. I'm known as a humor blogger. It may seem weird to say this, but for me, the fun of blogging is mixing up humor pieces with more intense stuff, but trying to write it in a clear-eyed, authentic, and occasionally humorous way (OK gallows humor). The best thing that ever happened to me as a blogger is knowing that one reader just celebrated her year sobriety anniversary. She stopped drinking after reading my post called "14 Years Sober." I don't know if that counts as fun, but it's the best thing that's ever happened to me as a writer.

July 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

i'm not really sure what kind of work makes me the most happy. some things i haven't stuck with long enough to know if it makes me happy, some i haven't tried yet, some things are just hobbies right now (i love reading and watching movies but haven't turned those into careers yet...).

at this point, i know that what i'm doing right now, professionally, is not bringing me any joy. still working on getting out of this rat race and into a healthier, more joyful career and life path.

some of my goals for this year are to finish my novel and publish it, build some healthy habits (working out, eating healthy, daily meditation).

keep up the great posts!

July 16, 2014 at 11:07 am

I like connecting and learning with nice people- your blog rocks

Jay Jensen
July 16, 2014 at 10:52 am

killer email noah. most fun for me is strategizing the next move and trying new things.

Allison Snell
July 16, 2014 at 10:46 am

Dear Superman, uh, I mean, Noah,

There ARE those on the leading edge ~ and you ARE one of them. Your job, and what I believe we, okdorkians, (daring to speak for the entire herd here), would like you to do is create what you are inspired to do at a pace that fills you with joy and happiness. Inspiration could also be defined as motivation from within. You know how it feels when it's flowing through you....One concept leads to the next and the next...... It's effortless.

However, when you exit your stream of consciousness to make sure each post gets more shares, comments, opens, email subscribers than the past, then evaluate the numbers and levee that over your expectations to determine your value, well, you're screwing up the whole thing. Who are these people who have communicated their expectations of what you should be doing and at what pace? Yeah, I thought so. Sunshine, that’s all you.

You control your own thoughts and a belief is just a thought that you keep thinking. The thoughts that you generate will manifest your feelings. Stop thinking things that make you feel badly about your output. In my experience, I cannot create when I'm feeling poorly about myself, my work, my staff, my clients, my anything. My real job is to get into that mental place where the answers come. They never come from a mindset of wanting or lack or my own insufficiency. I don't get quality from those feelings. Yoav suggested meditation (July 16, 2014 at 7:12 am), which is only the process of quieting your mind. Think of something pleasant that has brought you joy. Feel that feeling again. Summon it. Stay in there. Wallow in it 5 minutes. Now, get up and go write something that pleases you. I guarantee that it will please us too.

When we are motivated to create from our inspiration the result has value in of itself, does it not? Please don't give a rip what the majority of other people think as you are creating for the leading edge, the cutting edge, the bleeding edge. What do you think the population count is in that place? Perhaps less than your expected shares would reflect? Hmmm. It's possible that you will be retired and lounging on your hammock in Bora Bora before everyone “gets it". For now, go take a nap. You deserve it.

July 16, 2014 at 10:44 am

I love building things (code, developing new materials, hacking together electronics) that make someone else's life better.

Also, this is probably in the top 10 all time best emails I've gotten. It is well timed for where I am in life right now.

July 16, 2014 at 10:31 am

No badass! Those types of quirky things add another dimension you'll never get by trying to optimize your stats.

I like working on the design of my blog. When I'm busy this slips through the cracks. I'm going to start making the occasional info graphic instead of written blog post to keep it fresh.

Robert Gonsalves
July 16, 2014 at 10:23 am

I look forward to reading your emails, because of your style, wit and wisdom. Keep brightening my day and creating countless unseen smiles.

Emeric Ernoult
July 16, 2014 at 10:14 am

Noah, just a big hug and thank you for that blog, for your honesty, transparency and being such a giver. You make my day everytime I see you in my inbox. Hope that will make you happier about the work you do. If I can help you in any way, I will 🙂

Mike Richardson
July 16, 2014 at 10:08 am

Noah, thanks for the authenticity in your work. You don't seem to hold much back. What you share is regular gold that helps me overcome challenges or blocks of all sizes. Thanks!

Maxie Ouyang
July 16, 2014 at 10:06 am

This went straight to my very core. I really needed this message because I am struggling between time constraints and profit, to just enjoying the process. I haven't read many of your blog posts, but I am looking forward to reading more in the future. What's fun for me is figuring out a system, that can continuously be improved to the point of highest efficiency and excellency, while keeping in mind the overall vision for the process. It's really fun to keep seeing where things can get better and taking action to make those things better. I also find it really fun to let my mind be creative with my team and let our ideas wonder, and just roll with them. Let them take us wherever they choose to go. The weight that I feel from other people's expectations is a weight I put upon myself and after reading your email, I've chosen to let that go. Thank you 🙂 Much love and hugs,

July 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

Always great to hear someone you respect and look up to just be real for a moment, and reflect on the important things in life. Thanks Noah. Even more of a fan now

Brenon Conn
July 16, 2014 at 9:25 am

Problems that seem impossible, and take all of your focus and creativity muscles are my favorite things to work on.

Josh Maitland
July 16, 2014 at 9:22 am

Totally how I feel about making music - my latest release is totally different than the stuff I usually put out, a soulful ballad (I usually do hard rock) - it was different and fun because we collaborated with different people (including a wicked talented female vocalist).

So far a few people have said they really like the song, and that's all that matters. The work was the fun part, I'm definitely going to try and get it licensed too but if the song goes no-where else, so be it - I'm still going to listen to it! If you're keen to check it out, click on my name in this comment, you won't be disappointed.

Jason Waite
July 16, 2014 at 9:21 am

yeah man... just have fun. stay excited.. maybe you just need some fresh flood in your life man..

stay fresh.. see u in austin soon,
jason waite

P.s I'm enjoying learning and experimenting more with business validation, and looks like now i'm going to pick up coding, and maybe apply to some incubators after this 1 year long backpacking trip i'm taking w/steven gerritse..

... keep your head up man. have fun

Edward Endicott
July 16, 2014 at 9:19 am

Thanks for your jerry maguire-esque honesty. love reading your post and look forward to each one.

Chris Nadeau
July 16, 2014 at 9:18 am

As the great John Wooden "What a leader learns after you've learned it all counts most of all" That's why I am here, reading your blog. Just continually trying to get better so I can be better and impact those I come in contact with.

David T
July 16, 2014 at 9:05 am

Hey Noah, interesting post. I agree with some of the others here, really enjoy your short posts (you and Seth Godin both manage to put a lot of info into smaller articles). I think a lot of people would buy if you took your time and instead of super long instructional posts you created a book on what you've learned/are learning about marketing. In fact I would pay-pal you preorder $$$ right now. But only do that if it's fun for you, obviously.

Erin Sarpa
July 16, 2014 at 9:02 am

Hi, this post is a great reminder. What makes my job fun is doing something new and scary. Feels like my favorite roller coaster, terrifying and thrilling at the same time. I consider that "trying" not "failing". If I don't get good results, I still had the thrill and most likely learned something useful.

John Crosby
July 16, 2014 at 8:58 am

for me it is learning, solving problems, & teaching. that is probably why I'm always starting new things and trying to figure out things I haven't encountered before or don't understand.

i think it is good to "be the beginner again", but you can't always be the beginner, right? this post is definitely a great one to get your perspective on having succeeded (multiple times) and then returning to the start.

thanks noah, for the speling errors, lack of capitalization, and the thoughts.

Michael Gaffney
July 16, 2014 at 8:58 am

Damn Noah was going to call you out for not capitalizing your email sentences, but then you called yourself out! What restaurant was this at?

July 16, 2014 at 8:55 am

In my spare time I'm working on building a coffee table right now.

July 16, 2014 at 8:41 am

Okay, I just installed the list builder plugin. The "timing" part of it is a bit confusing. Why isnt there an ability to show the subscription 1-2 minutes after the visitor reaches the page?

josh katherman
July 16, 2014 at 8:37 am

the lack of caps totally caught my attention ha :). nothing I love more than working on my own products, I've burned up countless late night /early morning hours totally zoned into creating awesomeness! other people appreciating the awesomeness that you've created is where it's really at though!

July 16, 2014 at 8:27 am

Thank you Noah. Many days ( ok months now) I am stagnant because a) my expectation of others expectations. Whether it's "will they want to pay me enough" to " "will they like what I do?" to, "will it be worth it" keeps me from even doing what I used to love doing. So, thanks it's time to get back to me, and what kind of fun I can have. On the way to the bank:)

July 16, 2014 at 8:11 am

Thanks for your advice, Noah!
My biggest struggle is to tell people about the amazing app I built - don't know if it's because of fear of failure or fear of rejection - or how it will change my life if it takes off bigtime.
Still, I'm shitscared.


Meredith M Howard
July 16, 2014 at 8:01 am

Starting my new clothing line is fun for me. It's hard work. It challenges and stretches me to my limits. But compared to working in Accounting (which I used to do), it's not work at all.

margaret tollerton
July 16, 2014 at 7:55 am

thank you for this latest post - made more real, more personal by using all lower case. making this world a better world...ongoing learning with ongoing teaching, whether tangible or intangible, don't we owe this to the next generations? like parents played in past generations, marketers now hold an ever increasing influence in thoughts, words, & deeds. may each of us make that influence a playful yet true & positive force. thank you noah.

July 16, 2014 at 7:42 am

Good post my dude. I went through the same thing recently. When trying to get a local Startup and Tech community going my goal was to have fun and chill at some cool fun events through meetup with others. I ended up focusing on how many showed, have a big named speaker and getting local politicians involved...epic failure and not fun. Good to say my next one will be a Coworking Community Builder and I can't be more excited.

July 16, 2014 at 7:37 am

For me, the fun is in the writing process. The second this begins to feel like 'work', procrastination becomes my best friend. And it's an indulgent one at that ....

Steve McIntyre
July 16, 2014 at 7:31 am

For what it's worth (and I can't be the only one) I get way more value from your short posts than your long ones. I'm very impatient and want to get to the point as soon as possible. Usually I can read the short-form posts while doing a poop. Very time-efficient.

What's more important is to do what makes you happy. You deserve it bro.

Love from Scotland,

Noah Kagan
July 16, 2014 at 7:50 am

hahaa Steve. My target market is marketers who poop.

July 16, 2014 at 7:29 am

I signed up make your first dollar course which has made me uncomfortable. It is a good thing.I like feeling uncomfortable such as asking £1 discount at Starbucks. I got my coffee free in the end because of the power of my pushup bra. I like the course and I am glad I joined. I had so many weird metaphor. I could not break through my fear and limitations i created in my head about going towards unknown. What I wanted to do in my life was not even remotely close what i have been doing. I thought long very long about what prevented me from taking the actions that were must to transform my life and career. It was simply fear. Fear of failure, fear of uncertainty, fear of being rejected and not being able to go back my default position which is my current job and life. I will be free of my work and commitments by September when my employment status comes to an end. I am excited for the unknown. I am taking one year unpaid leave which gives some sort of security with some degree of uncertainty. I am starting my own business and will explore different options. For the first time since last 3 years I feel I am growing as a person and thinking outside the box more often and this makes me happy.

July 16, 2014 at 7:25 am

I've just been pissed about being forced to start again due to a bad partnership.

I needed to read “the heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.”


Noah Kagan
July 16, 2014 at 7:50 am

Yea, totally more open now to have other and possibly better things in your life.

July 16, 2014 at 7:23 am

Noah, your email is the reason we like reading you. Seems like it's time to step up and grow others. Build a team of people better than you and start delegating, you will grow faster and get some of your life back rather than the contrary, have other people shine will make you shine even more.

Noah Kagan
July 16, 2014 at 7:51 am

I like when you read me too.

Not everyone wants to scale to a billion people.

Loved the book: that got me to see that in a freeing way.

Claire Pitts
July 16, 2014 at 7:16 am

I get up every morning at 6am to get to work before the house wakes up. The minute I don't will be time to stop 🙂
I love going to bed with an article, a book, a video to help me expand and grow - the minute I don't will be time to stop.
Being brave enough to put my work out there and be ok (isn) when it doesn't work.
Love your blogs, so please don't stop

July 16, 2014 at 7:16 am

One of the greatest accomplishments I have seen in business is exceeding a clients expectations. That look of amazement and true appreciation for what you have helped them do. I had an EVP tell me "you have exceeded my expectations, that never happens." I knew we accomplished something great! I wanted to keep that standard for all my clients.

July 16, 2014 at 7:15 am

I understand how you feel.
I also feel burn-out when I start focusing on the numbers. It makes me lose sight of my purpose. It's stressful. Then, it's not fun anymore.

I eventually regain my enthusiasm when I stop focusing at the numbers and then I remind myself that I'm doing it to share what I know to others.

Your blog has been a gold mine. I have learned a lot from you. Your work also gives me direction. Thank you for sharing what you know. You are an inspiration. Keep it going! You rock! 😉

July 16, 2014 at 7:12 am

One of the basic concepts of Buddhism is that expectations always lead to suffering because no matter how hard you work you can never live up to your expectations.

I've had the honor of working with some great entrepreneurs and they all suffer from the same 'problem'.

Meditation helps because it allows you to be aware of those moments when you torture yourself and is a stepping stone to creating different expectations. Because let's be realistic ... nothing really bad happened when your article generated just 30 subscribers instead of the 200 you were fantasizing about. In fact... you just learned that the subject you were writing about wasn't as hot as you thought. So in reality you just became smarter.

But I think that what's most important is letting go of the shame (as you did) and admitting you have an expectations problem which leads to suffering and then working diligently on a way to solve it.

This was a very courageous post. You are not alone 🙂

Rob McGovern
July 16, 2014 at 7:09 am

Well said Noah

July 16, 2014 at 7:07 am

I noticed the way in which you wrote this post, without capitalizing words. I am curious, has this been shown to increase any conversion/reading rate for posts or email newsletters?

Jesse Hanley
July 16, 2014 at 7:01 am

This is my all time favourite post Noah, the ending is perfect.

For me, nothing excites me more than building new products that make people's lives that little bit better and engaging with people from around the world. Each person provides a new opportunity to learn something unique and new.

When work gets a little tricky/tough/depressing I always make sure to reflect back on the above and teach myself something new or reach out to someone I respect to talk to. That always flicks me back into high gear and ready to get back into playful Jesse-mode.

Keep rocking bro.

Dave Alston
July 16, 2014 at 6:51 am

Thanks Noah,

Really appreciate your honesty and integrity.

Though to be honest, reading this post in my email box was bugging the life out of me because there were no caps in it all. In fact, it was one of the reasons I kept reading!

Maybe it was just me though, because I write. I'm a copywriter. There it's out there... I did a scary thing and posted here which is thrilling and scary to me in equal measures because I'm pretty shy truth be told 🙂

Keep up the good work man!


Wayne S
July 16, 2014 at 6:49 am

Love your stuff mate! I am even paying homage to you with a deal site for airsoft. It's not up & running yet. But out of all the businesses I have started this one is actually fun. I am also following your summer marketing course which is blinding! I appreciate what you mate, so please don't stop!

July 16, 2014 at 2:31 am

Hey Noah, its exactly this kind of posts that made you the most interesting marketer in my feed reader. Obviously I loved all your guest posts on Tim Ferris Blog and discovered you because of them, but starting to really care about what you have to say was because of the personality you show in these kind of posts. It was great to read for the first time about the entrepreneur roller coaster and other entrepreneurs dealing with it on your blog. So keep on going because there are a lot of more lessons to teach beside just marketing 😉

Alicia James
July 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Noah, I have to say that I thought twice before writing a response. But, your honesty and openness touched me so much I had to say thank you. I really hope that entrepreneurs are soaking it all up. I agree that sometimes you have to just put something out there. Your life, business, relationships etc don't need to be perfect to positively affect someone.

Alicia James
July 15, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Whoops. I almost lost my phone in the monsoon. Anyway, I enjoy helping entrepreneurs with the nitty gritty of running a business. The bonus for me is seeing them turn the corner that looked like a mountain.

Nick O'Neill
July 15, 2014 at 9:53 pm

I wonder about the same thing sometimes. At one point I just stopped producing content but that didn't work 🙂 I think what you've identified: shorter posts to fill the time, is perfectly fine. Any engagement is better than zero engagement and you can get a lot of the same positive emotions from posting something that's simple. Being honest and transparent is the best way to connect 🙂

Dustin Lien
July 15, 2014 at 9:39 pm

This is a great post. I of course love the marketing advice and actionable posts, but "real" posts like this are great too. They show you have human emotions like everyone else, and they teach a different type of lesson that a lot of people will find value in.

To answer your question, my blog is what's fun for me to work on. I haven't made a single penny from it yet, and honestly I'm in no big rush (though I have a long-term strategy in place). It's fun to provide free value for a while just to help people do the same thing I'm on the journey toward—work for myself while providing value to others.

P.S. I'm really enjoying the Summer of Marketing course. I'm enjoying it so much that I found this post by testing the url by changing week-4 to week-5 to see if you'd posted it early for any reason 😉 No luck there, but I found the post, so that's a win.

July 15, 2014 at 9:37 pm

I hope you're not too overwhelmed to keep doing what you have been doing lately because I've gotten a ton of value out of this blog over the past couple of months. For the record I also tend to enjoy the shorter, more personal posts as much as the huge tactical guides.