Listener Criticism: What Really Happens in the First Year of Business (FS033)

Fizzle Show listener Bob Harper sent in a video calling us out. He’s a fan of the show but feels we haven’t been honest.

Bob’s putting his ass on the line for his business and his family and he wants some answers.

In this episode we hear his criticism and get into a mess of good stuff like:

  • Should I just start my business cold turkey, pull the rip chord and hope for the best?
  • Or should I do some financial planning and give myself a bit of padding?
  • What should I expect about the process of starting a business? How long should it take to start making money?
  • What role should my family play in how I pursue my business?

It’s a great episode. You’re gonna dig it. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Bob called the @fizzle guys out. Here’s how they responded.
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Thanks Bob

Our thanks to Bob Harper for sending in his “rant.” You’re a good man and we’re glad you felt comfortable sending this in to us. Check out Bob’s site Get Kinetic to learn more about what he’s up to.

Show Notes

The Focus Factor™ — Ice to the Brim — Here’s the video where I discuss the digging, the desert and discovering your vocation.

Stephen Pressfield You, as the Muse Sees You“What follows is my own personal metaphysical model for how writing (and all art) works. You may think I’m crazy. I may indeed be crazy.”

Dan Harmon, Community – XOXO Festival (2012) – YouTube“Dan Harmon is an Emmy-winning writer, the former executive producer of NBC’s Community…”

Closing Quote:

“It was not till I was in college that the idea of work finally broke free from the idea of making a living. Then the important question became not how to make money, but what to work on. Ideally these coincided, but some spectacular boundary cases (like Einstein in the patent office) proved they weren’t identical.”

Paul Graham

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  • Vanita Cyril

    “How do you get from nothing to something?” my two cents: Hustle.
    I’m 3+ years into my own web based business with tons of competition across the web. Have 4 kids and work from home. Starting a web based business is as hard as starting a business offline. Having read almost all of Sparkline’s posts when it was Think Traffic and having listened to all the podcasts (gawd i sound like such a groupie), I don’t feel like you guys have glazed over anything. Not to bounce on Bob, but doing anything and getting to the core of it and being successful from it or at it, requires commitment.

    • Chase Reeves

      “Groupie” doesn’t have any negative connotations if you’re the only one, Vanita. So you’re more like a “sister” or “team mom.” (speaking of which, can we have orange slices and capri sun at the next podcast recording!? Sunny D???)

      • Vanita Cyril

        I notice you only asked for beverages (oh and orange slices). Have you been talking to my kids? Have they mentioned my cooking? Whatever they said, believe them.

  • Roger Williams

    I feel for Bob- I do. But I’ll bet if we talked to Bob, we’d find out that he doesn’t always feel that way. I’ll bet he created that video when he felt very vulnerable, and fed up. Like EVERYONE feels like all the time.

    But, remarkably -he DID something that VERY FEW PEOPLE would do – he sent that video out. How many times has anyone rewritten a blog post, or deleted an email.

    Bob, If you’re reading this: KEEP DOING IT! Make more vulnerable videos, and post them on YouTube! I will (almost) guarantee that you will get viewers and subscribers! Put itup there. Ask Fizzle to provide a link. This could be the audience you’re looking for.

    I still feel like Bob. It has been inspiring to find other Dads out there who hustle while raising kids. That’s why I created the podcast I’ve learned SO much from those guys.

    • Chase Reeves

      Well said, Roger.

  • Adam at The Green Microgym

    Bob is really Luke or Owen Wilson.
    He should just do loving rants responding to all of his favorite business success podcasts. He’d get to 100.

  • Tom Ross

    Great episode. I’m with you guys on time and hustle being the key. If I traveled back in time and told my younger self a bunch of mindset stuff from today, it probably wouldn’t help that much, because I wouldn’t be going through the journey. It’s like if a player tells a spotty, insecure 14 year old how to pick up women. He’s not gonna start getting laid overnight.

    Assuming NZT doesn’t exist, this video says it all:

  • ThatGuyKC

    Great job getting down in the trenches with a frustrated fan. I’ve been a listener since day one and I get where Bob is coming from. I’ve got 2 jobs, 3 kids and a mortgage. Hustling is all well and good, but without street smarts and the cajones to be in it for the long haul you’re likely doomed.

    It was good to hear more background on Corbett’s (?) Mexico “pilgrimage”. Busting your ass for 10 years to afford the experience is different than sucking on a silver spoon.

    However, will say that I get a little twinge of jealousy sometimes because I can’t afford the luxury of risk. It’s my own fault and I wouldn’t trade being a husband and dad for the world, but I don’t have the option of dropping everything. Which, isn’t necessarily a smart move anyway.

    Keep up the good work. You guys are awesome. Chase, stop picking your nose.

  • Omar Zenhom

    The three of you did a excellent job answering Bob’s question/ concerns. I think Bob is the man because he sounds hungry and that is always good.

    Bob’s ‘how did you make it’ question reminds me of a conversation I had with close friends that don’t get what I do or what it took to make it sustainable. And they only finally did when I told them what I EXACTLY mean when I say “it was/ is hard work.” I had to literally sit there and talk for an hour straight explaining all the…

    Pain and hours doing things, investing. The disappointments and the pushing. The crazy amount of stress and sacrifice. The reaching out. The writing. The speaking at local places for free. Giving just so you can get in the habit of being a giver. Over 13 years of working on this harder than anything else while only have 2 or 3 people in your life believing in you. The rest think you’re a dreamer.

    After, my friends just said something so profound. After hearing what I meant by hard work, they simply said “Bro, I would go for it. I just don’t want it THAT bad.” And for me that is the secret sauce. You got to want it more than anything else in this world. If you don’t, it’s cool and awesome you recognize that. Cut your losses and get back to what you want.

    I think you guys explained exactly that- explained exactly what hard work means in today’s episode. They are all great but in my opinion, this one was one of the best.

    Bob, if you happen to read this and you want a bit of dialog or someone to bounce ideas off, reach out to me. I’d love be a part of your journey.

  • Stephanie Arsoska

    Such a good episode. I am sending it to someone I know who is feeling disheartened about their online start up, I hope it will encourage them to give it more time.

    • Chase Reeves

      Thanks, Stephanie!

  • kimanzi constable

    Thanks for this show guys, it’s absolutely incredible. The content is great but the laughs are even better, I enjoy hearing Corbett and Caleb trying to keep Chase on track :)

  • Gemma W.

    I’m calling you out for not making your podcasts accessible by providing transcripts. ;)

  • Jeff Jones

    Hi Guys,

    I too applaud Bob. He sounds just like I do several times a week! He did have the courage to stand up and ask for clarification which is a great first step. I don’t have children but I’m sure I’d be that much more anxious and impatient when things don’t seem to be clicking or moving forward fast enough.

    I love the way you guys draw out the tough questions behind the questions and then answer them. I also agree that keeping Chase on point has got to be a challenge. The brilliant ones are always hard to contain to a straight line-HA!

    Keeping pushing forward, Bob. You’re in the right place right now. We’ll support you any way we can!


  • Jason Love

    First, thanks for addressing a listener on the podcast. I can relate to Bob and by you responding to him, you are also answering my questions.

    Second, it is interesting how there are multiple interpretations of the questions. The way I read his Bob’s message is he wants specifics. He doesn’t want to hear just “go make the thing” but he is like me and isn’t sure exactly how to. Maybe this is me reflecting, but it is what I want to know.

    I think Caleb comes the closest when he talks about blogging daily for 90 days and connecting with those in his Niche. My biggest questions following that is: how did he reach out to them, what worked best, did he do backlinking, did he promote on Forums, what did that growth look like….

    I realize all of our journeys are different, but hearing the specifics makes ideas like “work your ass off” have real meaning instead of just general advice. I want to know what working my ass off looks like. Is it 3 hours a day blogging away, is it 1 hour a day looking for other blogs, etc, etc.

    I hope this makes sense. Point being, specifics for me are always good. I want action steps even if I adjust them to my situation, but at least I feel like I am on the right track.

    Thanks guys. Great Show as always!

    • Caleb Wojcik

      Hey Jason, Those first 50 days I really just focused on writing my content, featuring other personal finance bloggers in those posts, and commenting on their blogs/social media. Focus 80% of your effort on making your own stuff great.

      • Jason Love

        Thanks for the advice.
        Sometimes I get stuck in numbers, so having 80% of time planned for creating content and 20% for connecting with others helps me a lot. Even if the numbers are arbitrary, it makes me feel like I have a plan.

  • Jason Owens

    I can’t wait to dive into this podcast. I’m studying the emotional roller coaster of entrepreneurs during start-up. I’ve ridden my own roller coaster several times and have worked with dozens who have done the same. We are all on our own respective journeys, yet these stories all have a common theme. At many points in the trip, we all face the decision to press on or take the loss.

  • Bob Harper

    Guys I am blown away! The Fizzle community is truly inspiring.

    When I listened to my voice on this podcast I thought that I sounded like a whiney baby. I thought that the fizzle community would slam me for my entitlement issues. Because I totally sounded like I had entitlement issues. I felt like I deserved to be slammed.

    I wanted to write a long comment explaining my thoughts and emotions behind the video. I wanted you guys to understand that I am not always like that. Amazingly, you already get it. You were able to relate to me and support me.

    Thank you!

    And a special thanks to Corbett, Chase and Caleb. You took me seriously. Thanks!
    You have attracted a killer community here because you guys care… for real. With all the crap and negativity in the world this community is a breath of fresh air.

  • Sofia Garcês

    Hey guys great show! Just wanted to let Bob Harper know I get where he’s coming from. My current salary is barely paying the bills and it can really rattle you.

    It really helps to just believe that it will work out. Lately I have come to peace that no matter what It will work out and it has helped me really focus and find my way!

  • Krista Summitt

    I can SO relate to Bob’s struggle. I think a lot of other online marketing gurus give the impression you can make $30,000 in 2 weeks, and if you don’t you feel like a failure. I appreciate Fizzle’s honesty so much because they tell you it is going to take time, and it is not easy. There are no shortcut quick fixes.

  • Josh Robbs

    I know I’m late to the conversation, but this is a great episode. I just listened to it 3 times. It’s amazing that “the problem” was interpreted so many different ways. And each of those ways is shaped by our own struggles.

    I interpreted it as my biggest obstacle and I’m bummed that it wasn’t really addressed. I don’t think the issue is hustle or talent or art or care. You can do/have all of those and still fail miserably.

    The issue is finding those first 100 readers. Where the hell are they?

    It doesn’t matter how much you hustle or care if no one is there. And if you have an audience, you don’t even have to be epic. You just have to scratch their itch. No one cares how hard a song is to play. They just care that they like it.

    How long do you shout into the darkness before you take your ball and go home? What do you do when you see people selling to “your audience” but you can’t find them? How do you tell the difference between hustling and bashing your head into the wall?

    Talent is required. It isn’t technical. It isn’t literary. It’s social. And that’s killing many of us.

    Thanks for letting us vent and rant. Great show. Great episode.


    I’m in the same boat, I’ve started my business buts its ecommerce but yeah I’m struggling to get sales and build up the business. There are times when I feel as though I’m in over my head with marketing and trying to build something.

  • Dubem Menakaya

    This episode was hilarious. Corbett seemed really offended by the Mexico diss lol. Nonetheless he and the rest of the guys dropped some great dimes. It’s about the craft. It’s about finding your why. And it takes years. As a young and often impatient person, it ws good reassurance. And also heped me focus on whats important – getting better at my main craft (writing). Entertaining, engaging and educational as always!

Up Next:

Is It Too Late? (FS025)

Last week Corbett had a conversation with a friend who proclaimed: “it's too late to build a popular blog or podcast. The day has passed when you could grow an audience and earn a living from it. Maybe you could do it in 2007, or 2009, but not now.”

The Sparkline — a blog for independent creatives and entrepreneurs building matterful things.

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