10 years in the big bad business world.
Some might say I’ve matured like a fine whisky in those 10 years, others say I’ve aged more like milk. I’ll let you decide on that one.
Either way, what better time to sit back and reminisce on what I’ve learnt over those 10 years.
There have been ups, downs and everything in between but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Here are my 10 biggest takeaways from the 10 years.
We are surrounded by instant gratification, we can simply unlock our phones and be gratified with 50 new likes on Instagram, or order a product and have it delivered within 24 hours, whatever we want, we get.
That doesn’t work in business. You’ve got to be pretty damn patient. If you’re out to build a sustainable and successful business then you’ve got to be prepared to put in the leg work and see it out whilst it grows.
Sure, things can happen quickly, but you’ve got to be prepared to be bearing it out if it doesn’t.
From a marketing perspective, the amount of campaigns or sites I killed off in my earlier days because they weren’t acting how I wanted is nothing short of impressive. If I had just acted with more patience I could have (and realistically was based on the results of acquaintances) sitting on gold mines.
Fitting hand in hand with your patience, you’ve got to persevere.
There are shit days on this journey, just as with any other.
There will be days that will make you want to curl up in a ball.
There’ll be anxiety.
There’ll be criticism.
Stick to your guns and power through it all. Anything that is worth having doesn’t come easy and it’s the journey, no matter how rough it may seem that makes the end goal worth it.
3. Don’t be a perfectionist
The sooner you realise that (realistically) no one is even worried or going to notice the shit you’re stressing over, the better!
I prefer to produce and execute rather than perfect.
By doing this my audience can tell me what (and if) something is wrong, because I can guarantee you more often than not, no one will pick up on what you’re dwelling on.
In my early days I used to spend so much time building out landing pages that I thought my visitor wanted to see. Pages that I loved the look of.
These pages were the biggest FLOPS ever.
Just focus on getting yourself to market and you’ll be adding value instantaneously.
4. Embrace failure
You WILL fail at things.
It’s natural, we all do.
If you embrace the failure it becomes a lesson that you can learn and grow from, you can’t go wrong with that eh?
Detaching emotion from any mishaps and failures can help to provide clarity on how you can use it to your advantage to come back bigger and stronger.
So WHEN it happens, step back, analyse, regather, restructure and go again.
Your network is one of your strongest assets in your journey.
They’ll support you through the tough times.
They’ll celebrate through the good times.
They’ll bring opportunities to the table.
They’ll provide constructive criticism.
Build your network and keep them close.
Be active on social media, visit conferences, don’t be afraid to reach out to people to see where you can add some value. Don’t expect anything in return for this, pay it out now and it’ll come back around.
6. Don’t try to be the master of everything
I’m a massive believer in understanding what you’re dealing with, but at no point do I profess to being an expert in a given speciality.
I understand code, but I’m not a developer.
I understand finances, but I’m not an accountant.
I understand photoshop, but I’m not a designer.
When you’re able to relinquish control and hire someone who is better than you in a given role, you’re well on your way to winning.
Your time is freed up to focus on the higher level.
The value for money increases.
Your enjoyment of the work is so much better.
The biggest companies you see today are where they are because they either hire and/or outsource to people who are better than they are at what they do.
Understand what’s going on, but don’t try to be a master. Leverage others skills and minsets.
7. Don’t overthink
Paralysis by analysis is real.
I’ve been known as a serial overthinker in my time and it’s nothing short of damaging!
If I wanted to start a new project, I spent so much time looking at how others were doing it (and trying to perfect it) rather than getting to market and learning that I lost out BIG.
I missed trends, I missed opportunities, I missed profit.
If you need to launch a new landing page, just do it and test.
Need to film a video? Forget about waiting for your hair to grow that extra half an inch, no one cares.
Don’t overthink, just do. Worry about the consequences IF it ever comes to it.
8. Provide value
People like to buy things but they don’t like to be sold to. I know I’m the same.
The best way to progress in any walk of life? Provide value to your audience.
There’s no need to go in with a hard sell all the time, play the long game instead and provide your audience with what they want to see.
There are enough people in the world that will want what you have to offer but give them a reason to trust you and to see it for themselves.
Loop back to patience and perseverance and in no time you’ll have a long term, sustainable business to be proud of.
Let’s also not forget that the warm fuzzy feeling of helping others is freakin’ awesome.
Whether it’s a stranger in the street, or a loyal client of yours, it’s important that you just care.
Take the time to know them. Take the time to know their story, their background, their requirements and their perspective.
Your whole mindset will change once you show gratitude and empathy for those around you and you’ll realise just how much winning can be done just by caring.
You’ll be surprised at just how many people you can have on your side by doing this.
You’ll grow your business, you’ll grow your network, you’ll grow your opportunities and you’ll grow your satisfaction.
10. Have fun
The moment you stop enjoying what you’re doing is the moment that things can really start falling apart.
You start to care less.
You stop providing value.
Your patience starts wearing thin.
Failure starts to get to you.
See how all of the above points can start to crumble away if you just stop having fun?
Business is a rollercoaster so you’ve got to strap in for the ride.
and one bonus for this current year (don’t say I don’t spoil you):
11. Don’t be afraid of what others may think
This is a bonus for the list just because of it’s recent realisation for me.
I’m a pretty introverted guy in some senses and it’s probably stunted my growth over the last 10 years if I’m perfectly honest, however, it’s not until recently that I really started to realise how much it matters what others think.
Everyone has an opinion, and you don’t need to ask them twice to say it.
Some will love you.
Some will hate you.
Some will praise you.
Some will criticise you.
Just realise that you aren’t going to please everyone and go out and enjoy yourself.
Here’s to many, many more years!