The secret ingredient is…

One of my favourite scenes in Kung Fu Panda is the one where Shifu is training Po by withholding dumplings from him. It makes me laugh. 

There’s no secret ingredient that will make your business successful and profitable. It’s just you, hard work and the desire to succeed.

Another favourite scene is Po’s version of “there is no spoon”.

In the world of Kung Fu Panda, the folk are searching for the Dragon Warrior, the kung fu master who’ll save them all from the evil and tyranny of the bad guys. And when that kung fu master is named Dragon Warrior, they get presented with the Dragon Scroll, written by Master Oogway and which contains the secret to “limitless power”.

So, when Po becomes Dragon Warrior (against all the odds, naturally), Shifu presents him with the mystical scroll.

Po has a big task ahead of him: he has to save the world. So this promised unlimited power will come in very useful.

He unrolls the scroll carefully and…

It’s a shiny blank scroll.

Po is confused. And afraid. And angry, because he thinks the whole thing has just been a big joke. And so he goes home to see his father, who chooses that moment to tell him a long-kept family secret.

“Po, I think it’s time I told you something I should have told you a long time ago… the secret ingredient of my secret ingredient soup.

“The secret ingredient is…


Po: “Huh?”

Dad” “You heard me. Nothing! There is no secret ingredient.”

Po: “Wait, wait, it’s just plain old Noodle Soup? You don’t add some kind of special sauce or something?”

Dad: “Don’t have to. To make something special, you just have to believe it’s special.”

And the penny dropped for Po. Unrolling the scroll again, he looked at the reflection of his own face and realised: the secret to limitless power is simple belief in yourself.

I’m telling you this little fable because it’s completely applicable to you and your business. If you’re waiting around for someone to give you permission to do something, you’re in for a long wait. Just do it. Or if you feel you need permission: I bestow it upon you. Go forth and be awesome and people will believe you’re awesome and you’ll be awesome.

Thinking of launching a premium product or service but not sure it’s “special” enough? Just say it’s special. Saying it will make it so. Deliver lots of value, for sure… but just make it so, Number One.

But perhaps most important of all: if you’re looking for some sort of magic scroll or secret ingredient that’s going to magically make your business successful and profitable, you’re in for a disappointment.

There is no secret ingredient. There’s just you, hard work, and the will and courage to get shit done.



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS Having said all that, inspiration and motivation are sometimes hard to come by, especially when winter is coming. So if you’re struggling to solve a problem or come up with an idea or need a way to bring in some profits fast – book yourself a session with me. Borrow My Brain for 30 minutes via Skype, and I will solve that problem for you. Or come up with a brilliant idea for your business.


Here’s what Julia said about our session:

“I’m currently making changes to the direction of my business, focussing more on the illustration side of my work. I’ve got loads of ideas about how I want to develop this (some more sketchy than others), so when Vicky started offering her Borrow My Brain service, I thought it would be really useful to see what we could come up with between the two of us.

“I must admit, I was a bit sceptical of how much value I’d get out of a 30 minute conversation, but I prepared questions and areas for Vicky to think about and booked it. I needn’t have worried. Having someone else think about your challenges and ideas is a great way of getting fresh perspective on things, and Vicky made some excellent suggestions (genuinely stuff that I wouldn’t have thought of) that will work alongside my own ideas.

“Sometimes you ‘can’t see the woods for the trees’ when coming up with new ways of doing things, but having an infectiously enthusiastic and innovative person to sound off (i.e. Vicky) is brilliant, and the session really added to my own excitement about what I’ll be doing. She thought of some new and interesting avenues to try out, and I’m already researching some of the ideas she came up with so I can put them into practice as part of my Plan – some imminently, and some in the longer term.

“If you’ve got a new venture, want one, or are stuck with a certain problem: totally book Vicky for Borrow My Brain. For a start, if she carries on having so many ideas all the time her head will explode, so you might as well get the immense benefit of someone who is genuinely good at this, while saving her life at the same time. It’s a win-win.

“You will get out of this what you put in in preparation – it’s worth thinking carefully about what you want to discuss beforehand, and send lots of relevant notes or info for her to prepare with, so you can really get the best out of Vicky and her brain for the half hour that you have with her.”

Borrow My Brain here.

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