18 lessons I learned as an entrepreneur (Part 1)

A few weeks ago I wrote about plans to tackle problems and opportunities after my latest $100,000 capital raise.

At the end of the article, I included a list of eighteen things I learned on my entrepreneurial journey and people really seemed to dig it.

I’d like to chop the list in half and add a little commentary to each point in two separate articles.

Here are the first nine lessons:

1. Most people who purport to be influential, aren’t – And people with tons of social media followers probably can’t help your sales

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Photo by Mike Licht, Virginia Love Potion, NotionsCapital.com

Sorry for the cynical snake oil graphic, but I thought it was kinda funny.

My experience raising cash for WeMontage is how I mostly learned this lesson. Many people purport to be connected in circles with people who invest in startups. Try to raise money for your startup and reach out to people like that and you’ll see what I’m getting at here.

Also, I used to think if I got someone with 100,000 twitter followers to share my content, somehow something great would happen for awareness of my biz, or there’d be a spike in traffic. It just doesn’t work that way.

Here’s a GREAT article in The Atlantic about how even tweets with tons of engagement barely drive traffic back to the site from which the content originated.

2. Anxiety and worry are rooted in fear and are wasted energy; they never contribute to any positive outcomes

I spent so much of 2013 and 2014 anxious and afraid WeMontage would run out of cash before I could get to product/market fit. There was even one point I remember going to bed really frustrated and woke up the next morning with back spasms that had me on bed rest for a few days.

It was so bad, I was in the parking lot at the doctor trying to get in my car, and I was on the ground crying from the pain. The chiropractor said you’re not supposed to see muscle on an x-ray, but my back spasms were so bad, mine showed up!

And in the end, despite all the worry and anxiety I entertained, the business still ran out of money.

Don’t waste your energy with anxiety and worry. It’s not worth it. If you do feel it creeping up, try something like seven star shatter which can help to calm those anxious thoughts straight away until you identify the cause of them and deal with it directly.

3. Meditation does wonders for eliminating, preventing, and managing stress and anxiety

This right here is the ONLY thing that helps me manage stress and anxiety, and keep me centered. If I go a few days without meditating, I can feel the anxiety churning in my belly. It goes without saying that I am one of those who is also making the most of the new cbd products that have entered the market, as they’re a herbal anxiety remedy that feels safe to use. Products like naturesaidcbd are easy to integrate into your daily routine, just like meditation.

I meditate for fifteen minutes per day, after I put the twins down for a nap.

Here’s a good book I read years ago about meditation by Wayne Dyer. I also came across this app purported to help really busy people get their meditation on.

If anxiety is holding you back from achieving your goals, it might be reassuring to remind yourself that there are a wide variety of treatments out there to make looking after your mental health more manageable.

Ultimately, whether meditation works for you, or you would rather try cbd drops for anxiety, it is important to find a way of coping and healing that works for you.

4. The more I hustle, the luckier I get

I wrote about this earlier this week. As Oprah says, this is the one thing I know for sure.

5. Social media does not drive sales. Well, maybe for some businesses, but not for mine

This is suuuuuuper frustrating. I know my primary customer is a middle-aged white female, most likely with kids. But for the life of me, I haven’t figured out how to advertise to them on Facebook and get them to buy something.

I’m probably not doing it right as it must be easier to reach out to your client base on social media, as the platforms are now as popular as ever. Surely everyone has come across it through one time or another? I think I might need to think about looking for a marketing company like What’s up SWFL who will be able to help me attract customers as I really want this to work. Social media is the present and future and I need to know how to use it for marketing purposes otherwise I will not be successful.

I’m still experimenting with Facebook ads and expect to figure it out soon. Because…this:

Persistence

6. Great customer service overcomes a lot of product short-comings

Thank God for this truth. Most people think they need to wait until their product or service is perfect before they can launch it.

Don’t wait.

Launch it as quickly as you can and get user feedback. You don’t want to launch with a janky a$$ product, but it doesn’t need to be perfect.

Give your users access to you via a phone number and a personal email address. And give them GREAT service by responding QUICKLY to their inquiries/problems via email and social media and you WILL convert them to paid customers.

7. Sometimes when you think you lose, you win

I gave an example from a successful entrepreneur in an article on this topic. I recently experienced this again with my current round of funding. My investor that wrote the check for $100,000 told me about a year ago he didn’t want to, “throw good money after bad.”

Never. Stop. Hustling.

Because you just don’t know the role “crappy” situations play in the larger picture.

8. You’ve got to be wiling to get beaten to within an inch of your life to get what you really want

This for sure has been my truth. And I realized it when I read The Alchemist and then offered my take on the book.

9. Real friends are amazing

I wrote an article that is my most popular one yet, in which I asked the question, “Are strangers more likely to help than friends when starting a business?” My conclusion was friends and strangers are equally likely to help.

But I’ve had friends step up in INCREDIBLE ways to lend a hand when things were at their worst with the business last summer.

You know who you are.

I love and appreciate my friends sooooo much.

Tell me about the lessons you’ve learned on your entrepreneurial journey.

That’s it for now. I’ll break down the other 9 lessons I learned in part 2. Be well.

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Feature image credit: Aaron Osborne Great quotes about Learning and Change

6 thoughts on “18 lessons I learned as an entrepreneur (Part 1)

  1. This is so true! “7. Sometimes when you think you lose, you win.”
    A year ago we were launching our Kick Ash Basket for the Big Green Egg and we got our first order of 100. Wow was I excited and nervous! When they arrived I discovered that we modeled the basket after a late model grill and the first batch didn’t fit in the newer ones.
    Holy crap……now what? Re-tool and toss away a bunch of product? Nope…..figure out if they’ll fit in other model grills. WIN! And yes we discovered that they fit in other competitive model grills. So we accidentally had a line extension right out of the gates.
    Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good!

  2. Great post!

    I’m co-founder and Chief Product Officer of an educational games studio, Pora Ora, and many of these points ring true.

    It took me a long time to realise point 1 – that the place is full of snake oil salespeople.

    For me, though, the real truth is that you have to be prepared to be beaten to within an inch of your life. I have always said this (or words to that effect!). As you approach critical moments, you don’t know if you will succeed or fail – but you have to go to the edge to find out.

    Gonna read Part 2 now…!

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