Richie Norton quit his job as president of a financial services company to go on a three-month road trip.

“I started really looking at my life and saying, ‘What am I doing and what do I really want to be doing?’” says Richie, author of The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen, and Live without Regret.

During the roadtrip, Richie and his wife took on several paid projects, which led to the work he does today as an author, international speaker, and strategic advisor.

“I started living the life I wanted to live instead of waiting to live that life I wanted in the future, which I knew was an elusive future,” he says. “We think that all these things are going to happen when I finally do this, when I finally finish that. Because of the deaths of my brother-in-law and my son, I realized no, I need to act on it now, and I moved forward and then created a business around that lifestyle.”

In his Mixergy course, Richie shows you how to start a business by starting with something stupid. Here are three highlights from the course.

1. Don’t Look Any Further than Your Own Backyard

Most new entrepreneurs struggle with how to get started.

There’s so much you need to learn, and so much that you want to do. “You might go out and spend a lot of money on things you don’t even need,” says Richie. If it becomes too overwhelming, “you might not even start at all,” he says.

So how do you get started despite it all?

Use what you got

Start with what’s in front of you.

Richie says Mixergy is a good example of this. When Andrew started Mixergy, he thought he needed a studio and expensive software to record a video. But then he decided to just start with what he had: a webcam and some free software.

“Look at what’s right in front of you and start with that,” says Richie. “Don’t try and reach for all these things you don’t have. There’s a lot of stuff that’s right there, that you can do right now.”

2. Be a Mad Scientist

When an idea doesn’t work, it can feel like a crippling defeat.

“People will wait to do something they really want to do for so long and build it up to be so big [that if it fails], they feel they’ve wasted their whole life on a dream that will never pan out,” says Richie. And that’s when they throw in the towel.

So how do you avoid a crippling defeat?

Run lots of experiments

Think of your ideas as small experiments.

“Experiment so that if it works you can move forward, and if it doesn’t you can move on,” says Richie.

That’s how Darren Rouse started ProBlogger, says Richie. “Darren started with a little website that was making maybe $5, $10 a day,” he says, and Darren was running other little “experiments” at the same time. When ProBlogger started to get some traction, he dropped the other projects and focused on ProBlogger. “[He] turned it into a multi-million dollar company, and it all started by experimenting,” says Richie.

3. Go Back to the Future

Sometimes you have a good idea, but the timing is all wrong.

Richie points to the example of Jeff Bezos, who was working on Wall Street when he had the idea to sell books online. After doing some research, Jeff knew it’d be a successful business. But since Jeff already had a great job, “he thought it was a stupid time to do it,” says Richie.

So how do you decide whether or not to pursue an idea?

Consider future regret

Ask yourself, “Will I regret it when I’m 80?”

That’s what Jeff did, says Richie. “[Jeff] realized, ‘I would regret not trying to start this Internet business of selling books out of my garage.’ So Jeff quit his job in the middle of the year, which is a crazy time to quit because on Wall Street that means you don’t get your annual bonus…and started Amazon.com,” says Richie.
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Written by April Dykman.