Weekend Update, “Got a Few Contest Entries” Edition

Greetings, friends and readers. Welcome to the Sunday Store Update, where I share some brief news about the business side of AONC.

If you’re new here, we’re in the middle of an important “Empire Building Kit” launch. The launch is Wednesday, April 7th, live from the 46-hour Empire Builder train going from Chicago to Portland. Good times. (I hope.)

Today’s news is that the recent EBK contest is over—we’ve chosen two winners! But first, a short reminder about my life.

Short Reminder About My Life

From time to time I like to remind everyone that I do in fact visit 25 countries a year, and not all of them are on the same time zone as wherever everyone else happens to live. I also do a few other things with my life besides reading email, at least once in a while.

Therefore, if I don’t post your comment within the first 20 minutes of you writing it, there’s no need to write a blog post telling everyone I have “lost touch” and “don’t care about readers.” This is unnecessary.

I’ve tried prodding my assistant into working faster, but since she sleeps about 18 hours a day and sits in the kitchen window for another two hours, I can’t promise much improvement. I’m still looking for the 25-hour day to come along—we could call it “Leap Day”—when I get caught up on a few remaining comments and trackbacks from recent posts.

Anyway, my small team and I do what we can, and more than 400 entries were posted in a few hours as I frantically worked from the Budapest airport lounge in transit from the Ukraine to Cyprus. The team of biased judges wanted to join British Airways on strike when they saw all the entries—apparently they thought they would be looking at a couple dozen of them. Suckers! That’s what they get for volunteering; they’ll never make that mistake again.

The Winners Are In!

First of all, many of the entries are fun and meaningful. If you haven’t seen the list, go here and read a few of them for yourself. I’m continually amazed at all of the diverse people that pop up in my email and one the site from time to time.

Probably at least 40% of the entrants were worthy of winning. But of course, we must choose someone, so my biased judges and I agreed on the following….

Best Entry from a Current Business Owner

This category had four finalists, but we ended up choosing Khristian, who wrote this:

I am a surface pattern designer + photographer. I’ve been on my own since August 2008. I feel that I am at a tipping point, and I don’t know how to push it over the edge.

Honestly, there are a ton of ideas swirling in my head about adding limbs to my design tree. I want to run in all directions at once. I have the passion and vision. I need a plan, a guide, and a system of attack.

I’m sold! And so were the judges.

Best Entry from an Aspiring Business Owner

This category had twelve finalists (yikes!), but something that Julie had to say in her entry resonated:

I don’t have a business yet, have decided yesterday that I should start blogging, and in fact I’m a PhD student and I’m really tired of people telling me how lucky I am and how I mustn’t squander the opportunity to become a bitter, overworked university professor.

So I have embarked on an inner “quest” to find out what it is I really want to do in life, as opposed to what other people would like to see me do. But here’s the catch: I’m French. You just don’t make a living from an Internet business or, God forbid, a blog in France. It’s just plain wrong, right? So I have decided that I will succeed on both counts and bring what people like you are doing to a French-speaking audience.

So true. Bonne chance à Julie, and also to everyone else from countries like France and Germany where entrepreneurship is seen as a suspicious profession. Go prove them wrong.

Attention Everyone! It’s OK to Make Money with Your Business

Julie’s note brings me to an important point: it’s OK to make money. Probably 10% of the entrants said they didn’t actually want to build an empire for themselves, but wanted to donate their talents to charity, someone else, or whatever. Therefore, the logic goes, they should win the prize.

Here’s the thing about that. Working for charity is great (I did it full-time for four years, and still help out wherever I can), but it’s also perfectly OK to build a business that creates freedom and independence for the owner. Perhaps one day I’ll have a “Build an Empire for Charity Kit,” but until then, this project is for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.

It’s OK to make money, really. (Tune in on Thursday for more about this point.)


Both Julie and Khristian will receive a full copy of the EBK on the launch day next week. (Value estimated at $1 billion dollars, retail price slightly less.)

Congratulations to both of them, and thanks so much to everyone else who entered. I admire your enthusiasm and I’m thrilled to have you around. Well, everyone except the guy who said I had lost touch by not posting his comment at 1:30 in the morning.

OK—I’m off on the final leg of my trip soon, where I’ll be wrapping up the Empire Building Kit and getting ready to return to America for Easter Sunday next weekend in Pittsburgh.

Have a great week, wherever you are.



Image: Tarrytown

Subscribe now and you’ll get the best posts of all time.