Good morning, John. So I’ve been told three times in the last week
by creative people running cool businesses that they “really respect my business skills,”
and to that, I just would like to say… [LAUGHS] The list of my screw-ups is a mile long
and full of cringe. Now I’m not saying that I’m not
interested in it, haven’t worked hard. There are reasons why I’m fairly good at this. A big one is that I do like solving problems,
I like getting a good feel for them and finding different ways to attack them
and worrying about them. I find this to be fun, creative work that’s
actually kind of similar to plotting a novel? Two, I see it as good.
Employing people, treating them fairly, creating value for the world,
finding ways for that value to sustain itself. Three, my dad has run businesses, and whenever
I have a problem I can call him and he helps me. It’s… extremely valuable! I could go on!
Four, I’ve gotten very lucky with hiring. And all those things have helped, and I’m
happy to take some credit where it’s due, but ultimately I have a secret. And it will be absolutely no help when I tell you about it.
Every business I have launched that has succeeded has been launched with the support
of a really wonderful online community. Honestly, this is part of why DFTBA now gives
all of John and my profit to the Maternal Center of Excellence
in Sierra Leone. It’s why the Vlogbrothers channel revenue
has always been split between charity and supporting
smaller educational video channels. When I look at this honestly and objectively
and I think about where the value came from, it always feels to me like a lot of the value
came from the employees and this community and less from me,
because I’m just one person, right? There are times when I have pounded myself
into the ground to get things done. I’ve had a lot of bad weeks in my life. But in running a business, it’s important
to understand where your value comes from. It’s important to understand your strengths. And this community has always been at the
top of the list of our strengths. And that’s not just like marketing to you.
It’s finding people who can tell us how to do things, finding people to hire. Getting immediate product feedback! Like there’s
a reason I keep talking about soda syrups. I’m trying to get you guys to tell me how
you feel about soda syrups! And basically no one has this asset.
Now, other people have similar assets, but not like Nerdfighteria, right?
Not this good! So I’ve been hesitant to give advice when my biggest
asset is something that I don’t tend to share… but! I would like… for us… to build a business!
Now here’s how it’s gonna work. If you are a business person and you think
you could help this idea by providing mentorship or helping us pick business
ideas that are submitted to us, I’ve created a form in the description,
and it’s next to the words, “I can help.” If you think you have expertise that will
be valuable on a small board of people making decisions and providing mentorship,
fill that out! Second, if you are an entrepreneur, if you have a
product or a service that you are excited about that you’ve started to grow
but you need a push, I’ve got a form for you as well.
It’s called, “I need help.” Now in general, we’re looking for stuff
that’s beyond the idea stage and that it actually has a product or service
or business developed a little bit. You can fill this out with just an idea, but…
it better be a banger, basically. But here’s the sticky bit:
I’m gonna give this business $50,000… but! If the business is able to become successful
over the next three years, we wanna get that $50,000 back
to promote maternal health in Sierra Leone. And every year when you do your profit distributions,
10% of after-tax income should also go to support that effort. If that sounds good to you and you’ve got
an idea that can grow but needs some mentorship and some support from an amazing audience
of cool people who wanna support good things, the form is down in the description. John, I think everybody has the ability to be a
business owner. Now, not everybody has the inclination. But even if you don’t,
I think everyone should watch the Crash Course Business: Entrepreneurship
Learning Playlist. It’s a 17-episode series hosted by Anna Akana
that goes over the basics of starting your own business
and also of business in general. The link to that playlist is here
and in the description, and those forms that I was telling you about
are down there as well. John, I’ll see you on Tuesday.