Startup Stories

Start With “How,” Not “Why”

by The AstroTwins, Ophira & Tali Edut

For mission-driven and soul-centered entrepreneurs, the “why” is what drives you. But “how” do you translate your vision into a sustainable venture?

We live in a time where inspiration is a currency. A premium fuel of sorts. The match that ignites empires and industries. Revolutions and movements.

Inspire comes from the Latin word to inflame or blow into.

Picture it: a divine download fans into a wildfire of connection and impact. We like!

Inspiration is 20-year-old Steve Jobs selling his VW microbus to fund the first Apple prototype from his adoptive parents’ garage (total profit: $1350).

It’s 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai surviving a gunshot wound to the head for demanding that the Taliban educate Pakistani girls—then winning a Nobel Peace Prize.

If they can do that…why can’t the rest of us manifest our dreams?

We can…maybe.

Simon Sinek’s buzzworthy book, Start with Why, suggests that inspiration is the key ingredient for any entrepreneur. Without it, you’re just a cog in the machine, going through the motions.

No juice. No jazz. No raison d’etre.

But if we look through our own history, there’s another piece of the puzzle that took us from idea to action.

It’s not just the WHY. It’s also…the HOW.

AstroTwins - the early years

Most of us hear, “Don’t worry about how you’ll do it—just start!”

That’s a myth.

Once you have a why burning inside of you, figuring out the how can determine whether you’ve got the makings of the Next Big Thing…or just a cool idea that dies on the vine.

If we look back on every success we’ve had, it actually started with how.

In fact, we bet you can identify 2 or 3 major “how’s” in your life that shaped your path.

Lots of us know WHAT we want to do. We even know why. 

But most people don’t pursue their dreams because they don’t know how to start. 

The how determines whether we manifest a dream or stop dead in our tracks.

And adopting a “how” mindset starts young…


Our first “how”: the calligraphy set that spawned a kiddie side hustle (read on…)

Our first “how” began with a set of calligraphy pens.

At age 8, we wanted to learn calligraphy. 

Why? Not sure. Our aunt and uncle were animators and we admired them. It seemed like a cool idea and we were artsy kids. 

Our mom bought us a starter set of felt-tipped pens with a small booklet showing the 3 basic lettering styles: Italic, Uncial and Old English. 

There were instructions on how to hold the pens and the proper height to make each letter. We fancy-wrote our names on our homework, school report covers, any blank surface we could find.

Soon, our abilities got a rep and the elementary school asked us to calligraph all the sixth-grade graduation certificates. 

Word spread further. We started pocketing a small profit addressing stacks of Bar Mitzvah invitations and awards. 

At age 10, we had the hours to spare—and our services came cheap. A cottage industry was born.

Our How #2: The 1980s typing game that birthed a 20-year writing career…

apple IIe

In 1983, garage-tinkerer Steve Jobs released a boxy machine called the Apple IIe—one of the earliest home computers. 

Our forward-thinking mom bought one. It let us do two things:

1. Play a competitive typing game called Typemaster 

2. Program scripts in BASIC (an early computer language) with short lines of code like “10 PRINT HELLO”

We were smitten

Why? Again, not sure. At any rate, there were only 3 channels on the TV and this other box seemed really cool

So, we raced to learn how to get our WPM (words per minute) typing score higher and higher. And we learned how to write at warp speed, a skill that serves our busy schedule as content creators.

Now, when we want to change a feature on our website or put up a landing page (like this one) we know how. If not, we comfortably figure it out.

Learning how to use that beige box is why we have a thriving business 30 years later.


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Here are 11 ways to get comfortable with “how”—right now:

Are you stopped or stuck  because you don’t know “how” to do something? We get it.

Below are a few of the hacks we use when we find ourselves spinning our wheels—in other words, when resistance comes up and we don’t know how to do something. 

1. Stop “thinking about it” and start “tinkering.” Nothing has ever been (fully) figured out between your ears.

2. Get your hands dirty. Really dirty. Action is the cure for inertia…and sometimes, it gets a little messy.

3. Watch a how-to video. (YouTube’s filled with ’em.)

4. Ask someone to show you how, step by step. Buy them dinner in exchange.

5. Follow an “expert” and learn how they did it. Listen to their podcasts, read their blogs, track their evolution. Watch their mistakes and applaud instead of judging. They have the guts to fail publicly as they learn how to succeed.

6. Invest in training. You don’t need a degree or MBA to start a business. But you do need some hard skills that are specific to what you do.

7. Banish phrases like, “I’m too old” or “I’m bad at it.” from your lexicon. You’re not. The only thing that’s old and bad are these stereotypes!

8. Teach or coach! There’s no better way to master the mechanics of “how” than to train someone else. It forces you to understand the steps. Learning how to do something is awesome. Showing others how is even better.

9. Instead of saying, “I can’t do that” rephrase it as How can I do that?” That’s a tip we got from our friend and mentor Marie Forleo, whose favorite phrase, “Everything is figure-outable” is the title of her very first book.

10. Adopt beginner’s mind. People don’t even START because they think they’re already supposed to know how to do something. They feel foolish and embarrassed to admit they don’t. The only thing foolish is confusing ignorance for incompetence. You don’t know what you don’t know!

11. Flow as you go. Sometimes you don’t know the next step until you take the first one.

Copyright ©2021 Mediarology, Inc. and The AstroTwins. All rights reserved. 

The AstroTwins, Ophira and Tali Edut, are the founders of Astrostyle — an astrology lifestyle brand reaching millions of readers every month. Through their columns in ELLE magazine, a suite of books and online programs, they “bring the stars down to earth” by presenting astrology as a tool for productivity and conscious living. They’ve been widely featured by such media as Good Morning America and the New York Times, and have read charts for celebrities including Beyonce, Stevie Wonder and Karlie Kloss.

New York Times
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