Key Takeaways from Miki Agrawal’s “Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After”

⭐ My Highlights

1️⃣ Is “Success” Really What You Think It Is?

“Now my definition of success is living to my full potential. I want it all. I know now from experience that it’s possible to have a growing, successful business and a passionate relationship, to be in the best shape of your life, to give back to your community, and to push your boundaries when it comes to new adventures. It took years of searching, but I think I might have figured it out. I know how to be happy.”

As yourself:

  • What is your definition of success?
  • Why do you want to be successful?

“It’s cool to care and be excited about ideas, it’s cool to be proactive, it’s cool to mess up, it’s cool to work your ass off on something that is meaningful to you, and it’s cool to keep trying when the odds are stacked against you.”

2️⃣ Stray From The Group

If you really want to do something and need the support of your parents, friends, teachers, bosses, etc. treat it like it’s a business idea and but together a personalised pitch presentation, covering the following:

  • What you want to do
  • Three to five reasons why you want to do it
  • Three to five ways it benefits you and them academically/professionally/personally
  • Include pictures to present your idea better

Everything in life and business needs to be mutually beneficial. As yourself these questions:

  • Is your current work/friend/romantic situation an MD (mutually beneficial) experience?
  • If it’s not, don’t assume that your friend/romantic partner/teacher/boss is reading your mind. Have you asked for things that would make it feel more MB?
  • If you have done everything you can yet but there is no change, maybe it’s time for you to start creating a better situation for yourself

Trusting your gut, eliminating toxic situations, and surrounding yourself with positive, hardworking, inspiring people will inevitably make you want to elevate yourself, too.

Use a system BET (bullet, eliminate, take on) to help you stray from the group and get the results you want.

Step 1: Create a list of commitments, affiliations, relationships, and individuals who inspire you on one side and who deplete you (make you feel bad about yourself, guilty, insecure, unsuccessful, deflated, or who have a negative attitude) on the other.

The people who bring positivity into your life are the ones you should choose to invest your energy in.

Step 2: Eliminate the bad relationships and nurture the good ones.

If you feel bad every time you spend your time with certain people, make a decision to no longer engage with them if you can avoid it.

Once you eliminate negative people from your life, it will leave you with more time and energy to cultivate the great friendship and relationships you have.

Step 3: Take on new activities and relationships that are in line with what you want to be doing and that energise you. Go to places where people are doing the things you love and excel at or want to excel at. Another good way to meet new people is through offering your services for free as an intern. If you’re a small business owner or are launching your own business, you can find allies through various entrepreneurship groups, too.


3️⃣ How 9/11 Changed My World

I realised that so many people that day lost their lives and we unable to fulfil their dreams or find their true passions. I knew I didn’t want to squander this chance by continuing to work at a job I didn’t love. A new chapter in my life was about to begin.

Ask yourself:

  1. What thing are you suppressing and/or looking for?
  2. What type of excuses/fears/the unknown are holding you back?

STEP 1: Share your goal/dream/passion with your closest friends/family. By sharing this, you are making an announcement to the people you care about the most who will support you through it and hold you accountable.

STEP 2: Create a 3-W Plan (What? Who? When?)

  • What are you trying to really accomplish?
  • Who are you approaching to help you accomplish your thing?
  • When is the deadline to finally make this happen?

Giving yourself short deadlines will make it more likely you will complete them. Create a basic schedule, set monthly and weekly goals and mark them on your calendar or planner to make yourself believe that if you don’t meet your deadlines, you’re fired from life. Be disciplined.

4️⃣ Finding Your Calling

Answer yourself these questions:

What am I really good at? – you should be able to articulate in words why you are great and show external proof that others have said the same thing about you.

  • What are the biggest problems you have solved?
  • Did you change an angry customer’s mind about your product?
  • Did you solve a defect in your offering?
  • Did you streamline a process to make things more efficient?
  • How did you show resourcefulness to solve a problem?

What do I have to contribute to a team/workplace?

  • Are you good at leading small groups?
  • Are you generally a happy person, thus improving the work environment?
  • Have you done anything to improve company culture?
  • Did you organise a memorable team outing?
  • Did you get the people in your office together for something fun?
  • Are you a self-starter?
  • Can you get people to follow what you started?
  • What’s a time you managed exceptionally?

What are the tangible skills I have that others don’t?

  • Do you excel at special computer programs, computer languages, or other creative skills?
  • Do you speak any languages fluently?
  • Are you a great photographer?
  • Are you exceptionally creative?
  • What do you do best in the opinion of your peers?

When you are in the interview, always give the interviewer a vision of tomorrow, the notion that with your help, you can take the company to the next level.

What am I passionate about? What am I really good at?

  • Do you like to build things for fun?
  • Do you like to cook?
  • Do you like to volunteer and work with kids?

By now you know that you can pick your passion project only within the realm of the things you are actually good at. You must pick a passion project utilising your talents, the things that your most trusted people around you say you’re exceptional at.

What’s the last thing I’ve done that I’m proud of?

  • Have you helped someone else achieve something?
  • Have you built something that is important for the community?
  • Have you supported a group or community through a rough period?

Are there any communities, people, places, or issues that I care about supporting?

  • Are you passionate about storytelling?
  • Are you passionate about human rights?
  • Are you passionate about women’s issues?

Once you know what you are good at and what you are passionate about – now you can apply it.

5️⃣ What Sucks In Your World

There are three ways to help you find an opportunity to engage your skills and passion: philanthropic, entrepreneurial, and entrepreneurial.

Philanthropic approach: think about non-profits/organisations that don’t have access to the skills and knowledge that you have to offer.

Intrapreneurial approach: you could be an entrepreneur within an existing company. You could come up with ideas and help the company put your ideas in motion. Start offering your services to people who could help. Unleash your creativity by coming up with innovative ideas that help the organisation without the risk of jumping into a new business on your own.

Entrepreneurial approach: this is the riskier route to take. Think about what sucks in your life that you want to change – or what doesn’t exist but should? What products or services can you improve or change?

6️⃣ I Got This

How to go from idea to business concept?

Step 1: Research everything you can about the type of business and sector you want to create.

Step 2: Talk to all the smartest people you know in different industries about your business idea and ask for input

Step 3: Shadow someone who is successfully doing what you want to be doing.

Step 4: Conduct an unbiased survey to see if there is truly a demand for the service/product you plan to provide.

7️⃣ Business Plans Don’t Raise Dollars, People Do

An exciting new alternative to recruiting angel investors is crowdfunding – the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organisations (,, and you do not need to give any equity away. You will simply receive pre-orders or donations.

You can also apply for seed funding at places like and

8️⃣ How To Get Press Without Knowing Anyone

Step 1: Print out a map and pinpoint every media outlet in your city and neighbourhood that you are targeting (if your business or local).

Collect as much information as you can on each place – company, address, phone, email, names of editors and writers, social media handles, etc.

Step 2: Reach out to as many media outlets as you can. If you can, always call instead of email. Have a pitch ready but ask what stories they are currently looking for and adapt your pitch accordingly (a personal piece, goodwill, entrepreneurship, political, etc.). If they are not interested, ask for advice – this is always useful.

Step 3: Create something original and/or weird and/or funny for writers to want to write about, using the knowledge you gained via the call/email.

Stay away from long pre-releases as no one really read them fully. However, know your audience, and make sure your piece is appropriate for the audience you are writing for.

Bonus points if you create something unique and original that you can physically deliver and showcase.

Step 4: Personally hand deliver your press-release packages (if they are physical) and be as personable and friendly as you can.

Step 5: Get an email address/phone number to follow up – unless they tell you otherwise, continue to follow up until they get back to you. You can use a Gmail’s plug-in called Boomerang that will remind you to follow up after some time.

Another good plug-in Gmail offers is Canned Responses – which will save you time copying and pasting your pitch if you are sending it to many publications, it will automatically put in the text you want in the body of the email once you click it.

If you don’t have money to hire a PR agency, you can do it yourself. Just wake up every morning with a plan to get people to know about what you’re doing.

9️⃣ Disaster Launch

Try not to make your consumers be a part of your learning curve. They won’t be willing to let you catch up and fix mistakes – have a soft opening first and work out the kinks with friends and family over a couple of weeks. When you are ready to go live with customers, do it slowly, and once you feel like it’s flowing well, then you can have your grand opening.

Honesty is the best policy – admitting to your mistakes and offering honest and concrete ways in which you are fixing them will make your customers much more forgiving.

🔟 Partners in Crime

Hire slowly, fire fast. Always check references and ask them these 4 questions:

  • Did the candidate ever do something extraordinary without being asked?
  • How would you describe the way people react/interact with the candidate?
  • Why aren’t you working together now?
  • Would you hire him or her again?

If you feel that your partner does not share your values or vision, don’t be afraid to cut them loose. They will drag down your business, energy, and excitement.

1️⃣1️⃣ Community Is Everything

Express happiness when you see your people:

You will never regret showing too much love towards your friends and family and they will love receiving it.

Let everyone share stories and participate:

Allow everyone to feel heard.

No Small Talk:

Dig in instead – find out what your family and friends are excited about. Ask more interesting questions that are much more fun to answer.

Give credit as often as you can:

People want to be recognised, so recognise your peers when they do cool shit. They will want to keep doing it.

Give confidence-it’s free:

It’s free and it makes people feel good, more comfortable and safe. As soon as people feel confident, their authentic selves shine through and that’s when real, genuine bonding happens.

Challenge your people to push themselves:

Make sure that your people are doing the best they can to be their best selves.

Be as honest as you can:

People will respect you for it, and only with honesty can you really break through to people’s hearts and minds.

Take three long, deep breaths when faced with challenging circumstances:

When faced with a tough situation with a friend or a family member, do your best to take three long, deep breaths and do everything in your power not to lose your cool.

Be as creative as you can with your friends:

Be the initiator. Come up with fun things for people to do.

Adopt a “help first” mentality:

You will get more from your community if you seek to help others before trying to get others to help you.

Connect people:

Always be thinking about who you know who could help your community.

Build the right community that will give you the strength to act on your ideas and inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

📌 Other Interesting Quotes & Ideas

“The world can be molded to anything you want it to be. Start creating the best version of your own story and life by taking the steps now and not later.”

“Doing cool shit means you have to stop doing the same shit every week. It means committing yourself to doing new things and putting intent into your plans. That’s all adventure is. New experiences. Different settings. Random encounters. “

“Create a double-bottom-line business around solving a societal and/or community problem in conjunction with being a financially profitable company. This will reap the most rewards overall.”

“Doing cool shit means thinking big. In fact, thinking bigger than you ever thought possible” – Elliott Bisnow

“It isn’t about making money or becoming successful, it is about challenging the status quo and striking out on your own in order to create something, do something that’s never been done before, make meaningful change, and leave your mark.” – Capt. Zachary Iscol