If you want to feel both humbled and inspired, then remind yourself that every single thriving business in your life began as a simple idea. You have the same goods as the successful geniuses behind those ideas. It's just a matter of giving yourself space to pay attention and then focusing on the strongest thoughts. As I discovered on my own entrepreneurial journey, it is a process that can be done one side hustle at a time.

Sir Richard Branson has an even more specific take on the origin of the very best businesses. He shared it on NPR's How I Built This, a podcast you should absolutely be hearing to take on the new year:

I think the best businesses come out of frustration. If you have a bad experience with another business somewhere in your life, you think 'Screw it! We can do it better than this.'

Oh boy, is he right. Uber began when the co-founders were unsuccessfully trying to hail a cab on a cold, snowy Parisian night. Slack came about when the creators needed a smarter, simpler way to share files in their office. The list goes on.

It doesn't necessarily need to be your own frustration, either. My most recent company, Cuddlr, actually fulfilled other people's frustration with wanting to connect with others for a hug without the pretense of dating or sex. I spent years researching technology and intimacy, so I recognized the gap.

Branson says most of the companies he launched, from Virgin Records (sold for a billion) to Virgin Airlines, began with a personal disappointment within another company. He has hundreds of companies under the Virgin brand... to the point where he actually lost count. He must be a very frustrated man.

Published on: Jan 31, 2017
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