Rewriting the Rebel's Manifesto: 13 New Rules for Business
Ellen Barth
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Rewriting the Rebel’s Manifesto: 13 New Rules for Business

This week on The Black Sheep Agency blog, our fearless Leader of the Flock, Aimee Woodall, reflects on five years of business ownership and completely rewrites The Rebel's Manifesto. Her "13 Rules for Business" can also be found in her recent Creative Mornings Houston presentation, which can be found online here.

As my agency turns five this year (I know, you guys, where did the time go?), I’ve been consciously reflecting on the people, places and experiences that have helped shape me along the way. From happy hours to networking to hours spent trolling the World Wide Web, I’ve taken bits and pieces away from everything I’ve encountered while on this wild ride.

In fact, I remember reading a popular Internet image that made its rounds several years ago — the Rebel’s Manifesto. Its thirteen rules resonated in a deep, personal way at the time, and I passionately clung to its decrees for several years after it made its initial appearance. After all, my agency was brash and rebellious, and this image’s stick-to-your-bones kind of logic was refreshing; it was tough, meaty and reverberating in all the right places.

Image via Keri Smith.

But, like several things you learn along the way, what resonated five years ago simply doesn’t have the same “oomph” today. After five years of owning a business — five years of trials, tribulations, tiny victories and time for reflection — what was once “rebellious” seems pretty matter-of-fact and commonplace. After re-reading the Rebel’s Manifesto, I found it no longer spoke to me in an evocative manner — through no fault of its own, of course. I had grown; I had learned; I had experienced. Five years was enough time for me to realize that someone else’s words weren’t what I needed to make an impact.

So what I needed to do, of course, was write my own Rebel’s Manifesto.

And, with no further ado, here’s MY version of the Rebel’s Manifesto, with five years’ worth of ups, downs, highs, lows, experience and tenacious grit thrown in for good measure.

1. Be creative and use what you were taught in school. A creative type using algebra? That will surprise people! (And surprising people is always good fun.)
2. Stop not caring. Turn opinions around. Show people what they should care about. Shift thinking. Change minds. Teach them what you’ve learned. Not caring isn’t good enough.
3. Commit to whatever it is you want to do. Learn from those who came before you in other spaces. JUMP and FIGURE IT OUT on the way down.
4. Watch the competition. Don’t do what they do, but learn from their mistakes. Watch their work and make better work.
5. If it scares you, do it. These are the BEST things. There is no other option.
6. Cleaning up messes is often more memorable than making them. Do more of this. Solve problems. Address issues. Help create change.
7. If someone asks to pick your brain, SAY NO. Stop letting people ask you to do free work.
8. Exercise your BODY. Move away from the desk. It’s possible to take care of yourself and achieve your dreams. And you’ll probably do better work if your brain is getting oxygen.
9. Stop being so darn busy — being busy isn’t cool.
10.  Jump on a lot of trampolines. Draw. Stand on your head. Learn how to do new things. Talk to strangers. Get out of your comfort zone on a regular basis.
11.  Get the answers you’re looking for. Argue your point. Stand up for the things you believe in. And, if you don’t know what you believe in, sit down and decide (and then stand up again). And then find a way to make your work intersect those things.
12. SAY NO. Saying no to the things you don’t want to do opens up space for the things you do.
13. Have a heart. Do more. Give back. Leave a legacy. Right now, you’re doing something amazing. It’s not good enough. You can, and SHOULD, do more.

Rewriting the Rebel's Manifesto: 13 New Rules for Business

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