Reflections Thoughts

21 Lessons I’ve Learned In Business

I’ve had my own business since 2006 and learned many lessons over the years. I thought I’d take a moment and make a list of advice for other creative professionals/entrepreneurs on their own journey. Here are the first 21 things that come to mind:

  1. Figure out who you are and always be yourself in work and life.
  2. Never abandon your values, avoid working for people whose values don’t align with yours, and beware people who either don’t have values or can’t articulate them.
  3. It’s all about serving your customers, clients, and audience.
  4. Learn to have difficult conversations.
  5. A lot of things don’t pay your bills: free work, saying yes when you should say no, being a jerk, and missing your deadlines.
  6. Volunteering is a great place to start, an opportunity for reinvention, and a place to connect with new ideas and people.
  7. Support the people and projects you care about.
  8. Save money.
  9. Avoid debt whenever possible.
  10. Pay your taxes.
  11. Build your network every day.
  12. Passion/side projects are effective ways to create the work you want to be known for.
  13. Working for friends is great until it’s not and you find yourself out of work and with less friends.
  14. Be a resource whether you get paid or not.
  15. Whether you are a generalist or a specialist, don’t waste time wishing you were what you aren’t.
  16. Reject the advice that doesn’t make sense to you, but give yourself the freedom to try it out when it comes back to teach you a lesson later on.
  17. Embrace the cycle of creation: pick an idea, bring it to life, share it, iterate and evolve.
  18. Feedback is neither good nor bad; how you respond to feedback is what matters.
  19. Focus on the people who are paying attention instead of worrying about the people who don’t know you exist.
  20. Spock’s Beard says it all inĀ Crack the Big Sky: “Let’s make stuff we can’t live without.”
  21. Never stop being curious, trying new things, learning and unlearning, and being in a perpetual state of wonder.

What would you add to the list?