FREE QUIZ!What's your Calm Business Bottleneck?
What’s keeping your business from steady, sustainable growth? Take the quiz to find out—and get tips on how to grow a thriving digital products business without burning out.
Don’t show this again, thanks!
The Only Person Who Can Give You Permission Is You

Wandering Aimfully Through Confidence

The Only Person Who Can Give You Permission Is You

If you're thinking about starting a new business, project, writing a book, etc, you don't need to ask anyone for permission to do it.
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

Written by

Jason Zook

It’s time for you to give yourself permission to do the thing you’ve been dreaming of doing.

When I released my first book, Creativity For Sale, I was met with a barrage of messages from people all over the world. They were all inspired to start their own business or pursue an idea they’ve been sitting on for years, which was awesome. Yet most of them felt stuck and weren’t sure what to do next. The question I got most often was (and still is), “What’s your advice on getting started?”

What I’ve come to realize from my discussions with hundreds (maybe thousands) of readers and subscribers asking that question is that they don’t actually need any advice or knowledge. They’re looking for someone to give them permission to start.

We live in a time when anyone can create anything. It’s those of us who don’t need permission who make progress the quickest.


It’s Time To Un-Learn Asking For Permission

We’ve been taught our entire lives that we need to ask permission to do things. Whether that’s permission to go outside and play with our friends (when we’re kids, or big kids posing as adults). Permission from a guidance counselor to take a certain class outside our major. Permission from a boss to veer from the normal corporate strategies or tactics. Permission from a significant other to pursue a side project that has nothing to do with our current work. There are a million things in our life we ask for permission for, it’s no wonder so many people are afraid to take a leap and start a business or chase a dream. No one told us that we don’t have to ask for permission anymore.

When I reply to people asking my advice, I often hear some version of this reply: “This was the exact permission I needed to get started!”

It’s not that I wrote anything amazing. I don’t have a nugget of wisdom perfect for every situation. I don’t even actually grant anyone permission for anything. I just reply, and that’s often the catalyst people need to go ahead and grant themselves the permission they’d been waiting for.

So let’s pretend you sent me an email today asking for advice, and that this article is my reply to you.

We are our own gatekeepers, so let’s stop limiting ourselves

If you want to start a freelance design business right now, you don’t need anyone’s permission to do it. Whip together a website on Squarespace that promotes your awesomeness, your skills, and your work (if you don’t have work, make some!). Email a handful of friends and ask if they need design work. You could do this in the next few hours and make thousands of dollars immediately.

If you want to write a book, but don’t think landing a big publisher is realistic, publish your book your damn self! That’s what I did with Creativity For Sale, and it’s gone on to sell 15,000+ copies. Sure, it hasn’t been a best-seller or on any fancy lists that books get put on, but who cares? If you’re writing a book and your only measure of success is a best-seller list, you shouldn’t be writing a book.

Maybe you want to open a super hipster coffee shop where all the drinks have Saturday Morning Cartoon themed names (like Scrooge McLatte, or Captain Americano, or The Flintspressos). Sure, my examples are awful, and maybe the world doesn’t need another hipster coffee shop, but why not? You could hone in on a super-defined niche of people who absolutely love your crazy idea and want to pay you money for it. Stranger things have happened.

In all of these examples, one of them not-so-great, you’ll never know unless you give yourself the permission to try. No one else needs to approve. Stop locking the gate on your own progress.

Three mini permission slips you can give yourself

#1 Write a message of permission to your future self: Use a service like, Boomeranggmail, or RightInbox to send yourself an email that arrives in one week. In that email, write “I give you permission to start or launch .” You’d be shocked at how powerful receiving a message from yourself can be.

#2 Get permission for an accomplished person: Watch Casey Neistat’s Do What You Can’t video. Then watch it again.

#3 Ask someone you know to give you permission: Send an email to a person you admire and ask them to give you permission for your idea. Sound weird? Well, I think it’s weird that you haven’t given yourself permission yet, so this seems less weird to me!

There will never be a better time than right now

Do you have a crazy idea for a business? Something as crazy as getting paid to wear t-shirts for a living? I launched IWearYourShirt during the recession of 2008. All signs should have pointed to that being a terrible time to launch a weird/unique business idea. But to the contrary, there probably wasn’t a better time I could have picked. People were ready for something weird. People were looking for ways to get attention and get noticed on social media.

Are there almost 50,000,000 books already on Amazon? Yep. But does that mean there isn’t room for your book? Not at all. If anything, it just shows how much people are willing to continue to purchase and read books. Get your book out there, because if whatever you’re creating never exists, you have a 0% chance of succeeding.

Right now is the time to start that crazy business idea. Right now is the time to start your freelance business. Right now is the time to give yourself permission to do whatever thing you’ve been dreaming of doing.

You already have enough skills and resources at your disposal, all you need to do now is give yourself permission and get started.

The Only Person Who Can Give You Permission Is You

(Big Fat Takeaway)

Instead of waiting for the permission of someone else, give yourself the permission to get started. There's no better time than right now.


This article written by

Jason Zook

I'm all about that Cinnamon Roll life (that just seemed like a "cool" way to say I love baking and eating cinnamon rolls). Also, I co-run this WAIM thing as well as Teachery. Currently, 75ish% completion of Tears of the Kingdom 🧝‍♀️⚔️.

Continue the conversation:

Now What?

Join "Growing Steady," a Monday newsletter designed to help you grow a calm business—one that is predictable, profitable, and peaceful.

Each Monday we'll visit your inbox with our 3 P’s format: Get 1 actionable tip for improving your systems or strategic planning [🔄 Predictable]; 1 actionable tip for boosting your audience or sales [🤑 Profitable]; 1 actionable tip for bringing more ease, contentment and fun to your journey. [🧘 Peaceful].

Wandering Aimfully Through Confidence

12 Toxic Mindsets To Avoid as a Business Owner & How To Fix Them

No one is immune to negative thoughts, and that’s why taking a hard look at your mindset is such an important task for any business owner (heck, any human!) We (hello, we’re Jason and Caroline Zook 👩🏻‍🦰👨🏻‍🦲 by the way) know how tough it is to start a business, run a business, or simply create […]

Wandering Aimfully Through Confidence

How Redefining Something In Your Life Can Help You Move Forward

Have you ever felt stuck in a situation and the only solution to move forward seemed out of alignment with your values? Recently I’ve run into a mental roadblock and discovered a way through it. My hope is in sharing how I’ve figured out how to redefine my problem, you can do the same in […]