10 Lessons Learned as a 30-Something Entrepreneur

I’ve been a full-time entrepreneur since 2006, but I’ve been doing it part-time for the past 15 years. I can even recall innovating a new tennis racquet design as a young child. I’m often asked to speak to groups of entrepreneurs and business students about the things I’ve learned. These are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the last 15 years as an entrepreneur and business owner.

  1. Love what you do and be good at it. You’re going to be spending a lot of time at it, so you’d better love it. Entrepreneurism isn’t a nine-to-five job. The end game will come to you. Just have patience.
  2. Always be learning. Learning is about the journey, not the destination.
  3. Sales cycles are always three times longer than you think they will be. Healthcare has a long sales cycle, but technology moves faster and is typically a quicker sales cycle.
  4. You’’re only as good as the people you hire and surround yourself with in life.
  5. Groom the people you hire to share your vision, and it will become their vision as well. Without a shared vision, your company will fail.
  6. Always celebrate the small victories, and don’t overlook them. Whether it’s a meeting a deadline, the end of a project or just having a good week. It’s important that you acknowledge the small victories and it is also great for your company’s morale.
  7. Be patient with your own expectations. Don’t be working towards a goal of selling your company. If you love what you do, why would you want to sell your company? What would you be doing without it?
  8. Make the best possible solutions for your customers, and they will sell themselves.
  9. Don’t forget why you’re an entrepreneur. There will be hard days, but even the worst days as an entrepreneur are better than the best days as a C-level executive at a medium-sized company.
  10. Empower your employees to be thinking of themselves as their own company, all part of a symbiotic relationship with your company. Encourage these employees to think for themselves, bring forth their good ideas and be part of the decision-making process. It makes a difference in your company’s performance and outcome.

 

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