Stop listening to me!

I'm not listening

Have you ever told anyone a business idea that you had and they responded back to you in a discouraging fashion by telling you that your idea sucks? Well this happens to all of us, and if you always listen to these type of people, you will never get anywhere in your life.

A few months ago I met up with Ben Huh. You probably don’t know him, but you probably have heard of his blog, I Can Has Cheezburger. Now if he asked his friends about his LOL Cat blog idea or even if he asked me, I probably would have told him it was a dumb idea and that no one would care to read a blog with pictures of cats.

Now instead of asking people what they thought about the idea, he decided to take a gamble and follow his gut. Within 1 year, the blog became so popular that it made enough money to allow him to quit his job so he could become a full time blogger. Plus, Technorati marked his site as the 10th most popular blog on the web, which isn’t too bad considering all the naysayers that didn’t like the idea at first.

I know many of you are afraid to take the plunge by entering into a new venture, but if you never take that plunge, you won’t ever succeed. As a wise man once said, “don’t ask your family or friends for advice because they see you as they’ve always known you, and not as who you want to be.” So instead of asking others what they think of your idea, go out there and just do it.

PS: If you have any business ideas that you are not sure on, feel free to leave a comment and I will give you feedback on your venture.

P.S. If you want help brainstorming ideas for your business click here.


  1. Good Post Neil! I totally agree with you on it… I can safely say that where I am today is b’cos I didn’t listen to anyone around me.

    All I felt they did was cloud my mind with their ideas rather than listen to what I have to say. Today, I have my own web development company which the new version will be launching very soon, I am almost done with my own tourism portal for Sri Lanka and working on some other interesting things that will make headlines very soon. Thanks again for being my inspiration πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for the kind words. Just as I am your inspiration, you and all the other Quick Sprout readers are my inspiration.

  2. Its funny that you post about this. My friend is good friends with the guy that started I Can Has Cheezburger. I’m one of your subscribers and it was cool to read this post after talking about the cheezburger blog. I know cheezburger success encouraged him in starting his blog which I believe will be a big hit.

  3. Great Stuff.. agree with you 100%

  4. Agree. Sometimes it’s good to ignore people who are against your idea when you have the passion to turn it into a success.

  5. It never ceases to amaze me. I get a chuckle every time I go to that website.

    • I usually don’t see what is funny about most of the pictures on that website… I probably just don’t understand the humor.

      Anyone mind explaining?

      • You have to really love pets, I guess. Just looking at the cats makes you smile if you are a pet lover. The captions just give you more of an excuse to laugh!

      • P.S. Kind of like parents thinking anything their kids do is cute πŸ™‚

        • I like pets, but never really had one. But the cute factor tied in with the captions makes sense on why people like the blog.

          Thanks for the explanation.

      • Think Like An SOB :

        Neil, I am with you on that one. I thought I was the only one that felt that. I just don’t get that site.

      • Net Age | Web Design :

        You have to be a cat person, Neil. They are so geared towards entertaining us that once you’ve been exposed to them as pets you just can not help but adore them. Get yourself a kitten and then have another look at fathoming the humor πŸ˜‰

        • Cats… hmm, that’ll be hard for me to get use to lol

          • Net Age | Web Design :

            LOL, especially living in a hotel. I am sure there is a strict no-pet policy in place. the nice thing about cats are that they are quite easy to accommodate in apartments and the like. All they need is their tray of cat litter, and they do their business in there. No mess on the floors πŸ™‚

  6. Neil,

    Would love to hear your feedback on my project:

    The official website is in the middle of a face lift but you can see it at

    • I think your concept is great, but you have to push it harder out there. Hit up dating sites and get them to push your site. You also need more content and need to make updates to your site more frequently. Lastly, although this may sound superficial, I would consider putting really hot chicks in the episodes because it will drive more traffic.

      Overall I think you are in a good space because dating related sites can make a lot of money.

  7. Gene Carbonell :

    Hi Neil and thanks for this blog in particular. When I decided to go into the very competitive diet products business on the net I raised a lot of eyebrows. People asked me how I would be different since there are so many sites that are hawking similar products. My response was that I had a brick and mortar place that was doing very well when I sold it to the Doctor who operated the weight loss clinic where I was located and planned to give my net clients the same spectacular service I gave my brick and mortar clients. They didn’t believe me since I could not speak to or have the opportunity for the personal touch a face to face business provides. I was very stubborn and refused to believe all the negative crap they were heaping on me and went ahead and did it anyway. On February 14th we will have been in business 12 months and for calendar year 2007 (only 46 weeks in business) we actually turned a profit. This year started out really great and we continue to grow, have a little money in the bank and have also, with the help of our internet marketing guru, have launched a second (shadow) site on December 14th, 2007 and have so far received two orders. Me listen? No goddam way will I listen to these well meaning people who have no clue who we are and what we are capable of. What they don’t know is that we are on our way to having a total of 7 sites plus our blog that is also becoming pretty popular already. Keep writing your blog, I love it.

    Gene C.

    • Congrats on your success. As a quick tip, I would buy the SEO book if you haven’t because there is still room to make your website more search engine friendly.

      • Gene Carbonell :

        Thanks Neil, I have Karl Ribas from Allweb Promotion doing monthly SEO maintenance on the site and yes I have bought to bought just to get familiar with the technology.

        Gene Carbonell

        • Karl is a good guy… he’ll take care of you. πŸ™‚

          • Net Age | Web Design :

            Now that is what I call a great reference! If you cab]n’t afford an expert like Karl though, the SEO Book is pretty much the most comprehensive Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing manual out there. It taught me the basics and more, and did so very well.

            • Its a great manual to go by when starting off… it’s a small investment to pay for the type of information you’ll get.

  8. Shanker Bakshi :

    Nice post neil, i always look up to you for making my blog big, wish me good luck

  9. Lol, lol, lol! I hadn’t seen that blog before. Just added it to my reader. πŸ™‚ Thank you for the great laugh and advice. My 2 year old will also love the animal pictures.

    For a business idea, I’m working on a news website for parents, . I’d love any feedback you would want to give. Right now it’s branded for moms but I’m going to do a little redesign and rebrand it for parents in general. I’m aiming at something like slashdot except for parenting news. Where it’s open for parents to submit any news stories they think other parents would find interesting. It just recently ground to a halt because of a family emergency so I’m in the process of getting it back up and running.

    • It is a good concept overall, but you need to start creating buzz. One of the main reasons great blogs fail is because they are unable to create buzz which results in high traffic.

      I would hit up bloggers like eMoms at Home and try to get them to blog about you. If you can do this a few times and build relationships with other related bloggers, I think you will succeed.

      • Thank you for taking the time to give your feedback! I love the eMoms site and will take you up on your advice as I get stuff jump started next week.

  10. Hello Neil.

    Inspiring post. I would like to ask you for advice. My passion are chinese martial arts. For about 3 months I have in my head an idea to create some kind of site/blog dedicated to it. But I’m still not sure is it good idea, how should I start with it and how to connect this passion with making money. Any opinions, advices are welcome.

    • The first step would be creating the blog and to just start writing. Don’t worry about monetization at first, but worry about making your blog popular.

      Once you have a lot of traffic, there are tons of monetization options. You can try different ad types such as Google AdSense and see how that works for you. If that doesn’t work well I would consider selling martial arts equipment on your blog or signup for an affiliate program and promote another company’s martial arts products.

  11. Hi Neil – unfortunately some people won’t like a single idea you come up with and you’ve just got to ignore them.

    I always laugh when people say you should ask an accountant before embarking on any venture, because they’re usually the least creative people on the planet.

    • LOL, I have never heard the accounting thing before. I think accounts would be bad people to ask unless you have an idea related to accounting.

  12. Hey Neil, I would like to know your comments on my latest startup . I have already launched it in LeWeb3 last December. Its a community based on Rivalries. I am pretty sure of the idea in any case πŸ˜‰

    • At a first glance, I did not truly understand your website. After spending a decent amount of time on your site, I figured it out. If people can know what site they are on and what to expect from it within seconds, you will be more likely to succeed. The other thing you need to do, is make clear on the benefit of using your website.

      Hope that helps!

      • OK thanks Neil for that but if you dont mind can you spend some more time on the site and let me know how did you like the concept of community based on Rivalries ??

        • Rivalries are always good because it keeps people coming back for while. Just like any good competition, you will have people motivated from both sides and they will keep on fighting till their side wins. But the main question is, is it enough to keep them coming back everyday.

          The main problem I see with rivalries is there is no main benefit to keep on coming back to your site. After you pick a side… what next? Maybe there is something I am missing, but you need more of a hook to keep people coming back everyday.

        • Yes we will constantly keep people updating about the status of the Rivalries and activities going on. New features like Passion Room are coming in where people will be able to chat instantly with each other using meebo room. So we can have a heated discussion amongst the fans.

          We are going to give more rights to creators of the rivalry where he will be able to moderate contents on both the side and can see how his rivalry can gain popularity. So it will give ownership feeling to the Rivalry Creator.

          In a long run we want to establish it as effective medium for communication between the corporates, individuals to their fans and anti-fans.

          What do you say ?

        • I have no idea if it will work or not, but it sounds like your thinking is in the right direction. I know this is probably not the answer you are looking for, but the only way you will know is if you keep at it (which you are).

          As for your goal of establishing your site as an effective means for communication for corporations, that is going to be tough. I think for fans and anti-fans it could work well, but I don’t see too many big corporations using it.

  13. Ok Neil, Thanks for all your time. I will get back to you if I have some query. I hope you wont mind. Thanks.

  14. shanker Bakshi :

    Neil, It would be great if you could please visit my site and tell me what can i do about it to make it big in blogsphere. I want to be in top 100k list by the end of this year current am at 500K.

    • The easiest way is for you to write more baity content. Your post on 5 ways to rejuvenate your blog was not too bad, but it needs to be more indepth. If you already don’t, I would start reading Copyblogger because it should help you write better blog posts as well as give you tips on constructing baity headlines.

      And if you don’t want to wait to get into the Technorati 100k, an easy way to accomplish your goal is to buy blog reviews from ReviewMe. (although this is kind of cheating)

  15. Thanks for letting me use your quote. πŸ˜‰

  16. What a great quote. Sometimes they will always know and see you as how they’ve known you over the years, and box you into these limitations instead of letting you grow and be who you can be without judgment. And I think that’s why when kids move away for college, that’s when they get the freedom to be who they want to be.

    Speaking of, my boyfriend and I just started a website which came about because we got complaints from family and friends about our “obsession” with food and food pictures. We love food, taking pictures, and talking about good eats, and instead of being discouraged by various remarks of “you’ve got a food porn problem”, we just put up our own web site where we can freely talk about our passion and find like-minded people. We’ve only been at it for a little over two months and we’ve a long way to go. I’d appreciate your feedback on our site Thanks, Neil!

    • Nice domain name! Here are the two things I would do:

      1. Optimize your blog for search engines.
      2. Create some buzz by trying to get others to blog about your website. If you can create buzz within the food space, your growth will be much faster.

      If you do those two things, you will probably succeed.

      Best of luck!

  17. Wow..honestly, I am very happy to be reading this blog and I can completely relate. I know how it feels to be told that a business idea may not work, or has this flaw or that, but I am one of those individuals who fight fire with fire. I do not just sit there and bad mouth an idea I have. If someone is daring enough to challenge my business ideas ( something that I have thought long and hard to come up with and finally got the guts to go through with) they better be ready to hear every argument to why they are WRONG and how my business idea will do GREAT – the reason I say this is because if you cannot protect the integrity of your idea or business plan while in conversation then how can it ever be successful? During the time you spend developing your business you will encounter many people who decide they feel its necessary to tell you that this is wrong and that is wrong, etc, but if you know from the bottom to the top that you are on the right path – there is nothing ANYONE can say that you cannot defend with a answer that is positive to the success of your business.

    • Your approach is interesting. I am one who does not like to fight fire with fire and rather just prove people wrong by my actions or success.

      Either way I like how you are not willing to give up. πŸ™‚

      • I wouldn’t say proving people wrong – more like proving to yourself you were always right. Giving up is never an option for those who desire absoulte success in all aspects regarding business and life in general.

  18. Chris A Leone :

    I found this post at the perfect time. I am in the early stages of beginning an online venture. I’m a little hesitant to post on it for the world to see, but maybe I’ll PM you in the near future to get your thoughts.

    Thanks for the post, Neil.

    Chris Leone

  19. Chris A Leone :

    In my post above, I mentioned I was a little too protective to share my idea for a new business on a page for the world to see. Instead, I set up a blog to chronicle the events that transpire as I take my idea and attempt to turn it into something great and successful. This blog is only a few hours old, but it begins with where I am right now: sitting in a house in Japan with an idea. Here’s the blog: Chris’ Idea. I hope to attract readers with the same desire to begin a business as well as those who have succeeded and failed with their own start-ups.
    I would like this blog to serve as an on-going story as well as a learning tool for everyone interested in a start-up business. There are plenty of mistakes I have ahead of me, but there are also plenty of thing I’ll get right.
    I’m excited to make this blog into something people can learn from while also sharing their personal experiences.

    • I think it is a great idea. I would consider moving the blog to its’ own domain name. I would also try to spur conversation by getting others to post comments.

      Lastly consider posting comments on other related blogs so that your blog will gain new readers.

  20. Love your post.

    The mistake I see made by far too many young(er) people is that they don’t take enough risks while they are young.

    They think, “I’ll wait until I learn a little more about business to start a business”. By the time you acquire this knowledge, you’ll probably find yourself at a mid-level job on the wheel of life – mortgage, kids to feed, bitchy wife, etc. At this point it can be VERY painful to take a risk…

    SO — take lots of risks early in life. I’ll bet money that you’ll soon realize that you probably don’t need all of the skills that you thought you needed to be successful and you’ll learn the really important skills along the way!!

    • Neil Patel :

      Thanks Ben!

      I have heard the ΓƒΒ’Γ’β€šΒ¬Γ…β€œI’ll wait until I learn a little more about business to start a businessΓƒΒ’Γ’β€šΒ¬Γ‚Β so many times. Sometimes you just have to get out there and learn from your own experiences.

  21. It’s true you don’t have to listen to what people say if you really believe in your idea, but you also need to be realistica about it and see it’s potential otherwise you may be wasting your time.

    • Valid point. If you are known to be non-realistic, you should probably listen to others. Not always, but keep their considerations in the back of your head.

  22. I find that it’s always good to listen to other people, wether is to follow their advice or to go totally aginst it, the important thing is to have a critical mind and if we think the other people are wrong have a solid case to refute their reasoning, then you can follow your hunch.

    • Yes, you should always listen while other people give you advice, but you shouldn’t always take it. Some people are constantly negative and those are the ones you have to watch out for.

  23. I agree on that, I actually seldom follow advices unless I really think they are on the right track. Often things that work for a person would not work for someone else, Internet is full of one time ideas that when imitated they don’t work and I guess those who got rich by being the “first ones” didn’t really ask others what they though of their idea.

  24. I think the hard part of starting a business is knowing who you should listen to and who you shouldn’t – there are people out there who can actually give you constructive feedback but they are few and far between.

    Also, when you launch a product or service and you have actual paying customers you either need to start listening to their feedback or hire somebody who can.

    • A good way to figure out who you should listen to is by analyzing their past successes/failures. If you feel the person has a lot of experience, take their advice. If not, don’t take it.

  25. Neil,

    I completely agree with you. This has happened to me several times. I has even gotten this type of negative reaction from people in the industry.

    The bottom line is, there are leaders and there are followers. If you really want to make it big, you have to be a leader (an innovator). The followers have a hard time thinking outside the box, and so they simply follow or copy others. I’m not saying followers can’t be successful, but the reality is, they mostlikely won’t end up a multi-million.

    • You are right, it is always the ones that think outside the box or the ones that are a bit weird that are usually the multi-millionaires.

      You can still be rich by listening or following the coat tails of others, but you won’t be more successful than them.

  26. Motorcycles for sale :

    Agree,and I know how it feels to be told that a business idea may not work, or has this flaw or that…
    So Sometimes it’s good to ignore people who are against your idea when you have the passion to turn it into a success…or u should gve him the answer in a proper way..
    Bcz if you cannot protect the integrity of your idea or business plan while in conversation then how can it ever be successful?

    • Sometimes you need to do what you want and ignore other people. Even if you failed, sometimes you just need to do what you want.

  27. If my friends tell me not to do somthing i usualy do it

    -Dont invest money
    Do it
    -Dont build blogs online
    Do it
    -Dont go after your dreams play it safe
    Do it

  28. Comment Relish is an excellent plugin that is certainly part of my Ò€œmust useÒ€ folder when setting up new blogs.

  29. you know the man that made lol cats?!!! that man is a genius!!

    that page has been even mentioned in the big bang theory

  30. sell textbooks :

    Great story. Your right I would have told him the idea sucks too. But I can’t tell you how many times I have been hung up on that site and the others affiliated with it. It is a great break in the day for a few minutes to get a chuckle. Either way it was a great idea that worked that sounds really stupid when you think about it. I always feel lame when I point out funny ones to people.

  31. Premium Links Directory :

    Hey – great blog, just looking around some websites, seems a pretty nice platform you are using. I’m currently using WordPress for a few of my websites but looking to change one of them over to a platform similar to yours as a trial run. Anything in particular you would recommend about it?

  32. Wow..honestly, I am very happy to be reading this blog and I can completely relate. I know how it feels to be told that a business idea may not work, or has this flaw or that, but I am one of those individuals who fight fire with fire. Thanks,,,,,

  33. Neil, sometimes i do to my other colleagues but never realized that you’ve described it in such a big manner, you showed me big picture of it.
    thanks bunch πŸ™‚

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