To succeed at anything, but especially large things, you’re gonna need drive, determination, excitement, enthusiasm, and a stubborn refusal to quit.
You’re going to need help, guidance, advice, opinions, and direction from others who’ve gone where you wish to be next.
Trust will play a huge part in these events as you step out into new territory.
And here’s where you must be careful
Earlier in my entrepreneurial upbringing, I inadvertently found a mentor; someone whose excitement and drive piqued my own sense of adventure. This person sensed where I was headed and he wanted in. He wanted to help. And he needed help with his projects as well.
It seemed to be a natural fit, us working together. And to be honest, much of it was. And I learned a lot. I mean tons of information came my way in the form of varied, multiple, and ever morphing experiences. We were in the flow.
But I began to notice a change
We had a team. We worked hard. We slept little. We were partners in other people’s projects. We said “no” to nothing.
And it was all falling apart.
I felt forced to separate myself from this situation and it was hard. It was like a mini-divorce but I could not take what my life had become inside this partnership. I had to put my foot down but there had been such a loyalty built up that it was hard to take.
But part I did, and as soon as I did, and the initial adrenaline wore off, I felt FREE!
It felt just like every other job I ever quit before it. I have always told people that the only relief I felt that was stronger than finally getting a job and paying my bills, was the relief from quitting that same job a short time later and being free once again!
But this experience, of which I could never do justice to its scope and intensity, was rewarding in a direct manner and an indirect one.
I learned skills that were meant to be taught the way they were and I learned skills from surviving what the teacher put me through that was contradictory to our supposed reality.
I learned a lot of hard lessons but I am grateful
This one partnership probably brought me ten years of valuable lessons condensed down to two. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you – fail fast. The quicker you get through your mistakes, the quicker you reach your victories.
But as I said, I learned a lot of good too, and it came from a good place. And I learned to keep my eyes open and to be careful. This is what I learned:
- Explain yourself to no one
- Figure out if you’re selling a product or selling a brand
- Dig deep within yourself to discover what the world needs you to achieve
- Rein in your enthusiasm. Avoid “shiny object” syndrome
- Don’t build the other guy’s dream for him
- Conversely: don’t expect him to build your dream for you
- Don’t let others take advantage of you
- Never build a company without a written plan
- Don’t overextend yourself
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep
- Don’t lie in order to get what you need
- Be in a business for the right reason
- Pick your partners very carefully
- Don’t let someone else decide your fate
- Don’t depend on someone else to tell you your vision
- Don’t go into an arrangement with desperation as your main driver
- Don’t be conned
- FOCUS! Keep your projects down to a minimum, preferably one
- Fight hard for your dream
- Don’t be an opportunity seeker
- Family is more important than business
- Help the helpless but don’t become one while doing so. Avoid martyrdom
- Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight
- Be of service to your community
- Develop your own vocabulary for your business. This brands you
- Posture matters – how are you perceived by the other side?
- Don’t come to the table with nothing to offer the other guy
- Be specific
- There is no altruistic act
- Bartering can cover a lot of ground as you grow
- Don’t become the very thing you’re trying to beat, in order to best it at its own game
- Use the system to its maximum extent wherever and whenever possible
I know that was long and I thank you for reading this far but that one man really did teach me worlds of info.
The photographer of this post’s featured photo: Johann Walter Bantz