“To hell with this.” – me every week as a business owner.
Six years ago, I decided to be 100% self-employed. I felt like I jumped out of an airplane naked, free falling through life with cold wind blowing against my skin and spiraling into an abyss with no distinct direction.
Where the fuck was I going with this?
Was I going to land gracefully?
Or was I going to crash and die?
I had no fucking clue.
Alas, here I am. Still standing. Totally self-employed. Still alive.
But not naked, sorry.
Funny enough, I approached this whole entrepreneurship thing-a-ma-jig with tenacity in spite of having no clue what I was doing. I had no choice but to just go with it, I guess.
Even in my beginning years, sure, I was unsure if I’d stay afloat, but I just kept the momentum going, and even in my most difficult times, I powered through with resilience.
What’s ridiculous is, the more I added years to my entrepreneurial life, the more I found it actually doesn’t get easier.
As a more “veteran” entrepreneur now, there’s a list of gems I want to share with those of you who want to bring your business idea into fruition.
Obviously, this life takes someone who is 1) tenacious 2) resilient and 3) sexy. <— it’s science.
Without further ado, here are my 20 tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
1. Own your niche.
First and foremost, if you have a business idea, it has to be unique. With the increasing amount of fluff on the internet, consumers want something more mind blowing than a filtered water jug.
Or a cookie cutter strength training program for women.
Or a life coaching program that reiterates advice from The Power of Now.
Or a spiritual consultation that repeats mundane shit like “connect to the source” or “live in the moment” or “create space for authenticity” for $500 a month.
What the fuck do these phrases even mean anyway?
Or a diet plan that has chicken and broccoli on its menu. Can’t people just google what food is healthy?
To that end, people want novelty. They want a niche program that helps them solve a problem. With actionable steps.
2. Save. Your. Money.
Back in school, I wish I learned how to start a retirement fund. Business owners don’t have the luxury of a 401K from an employer, leaving them with contributing to their own retirement, namely, in the form of an IRA.
With that said, I started my IRA at age 27.
Admittedly, I feel this was late to the game. But better now than never.
Save your money, folks. And start ASAP.
3. Multiple streams of income.
Speaking of money, solo entrepreneurs, yes, should have one, unique business idea, but with multiple streams of income.
As an example, if you’re in the fitness business, perhaps you make money from in-person training, but how about expanding that to online training? To content creating? To affiliate marketing? To freelance fitness writing?
Always, always have multiple income streams. This way, you’re not relying on one source and stressing about it.
4. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs.
Loneliness kicks in when you’re an entrepreneur doing your own thing. Friends and family may not understand what you’re going through, so it’s best you connect with others who are in your shoes.
Having an entrepreneur support system is not only good for sharing business strategies, but also for building meaningful friendships that will help you rise up in the midst of the emotional rollercoaster.
5. Less consumption, more action.
Look. I get you enjoy reading Tim Ferris and Gary V, but none of their business wisdom will work unless you take action.
Read the books, yes. But put them down. And apply them.
6. Know your “why.”
Understanding why you started your business in the first place helps you to stay aligned with your vision.
Especially when the shit storm hits, you’re able to reconnect with your values and plow through the madness.
7. There’s no such thing as a 4-hour work week.
Fuck you, Tim Ferris. If you’re an entrepreneur and working 4 hours a week, you’re not a true entrepreneur.
You’re working a boat load of hours while your friends are partying like rockstars.
Also: if you’re only working 4 hours, then you’re either losing creativity with your business, failing to evolve, or both. Failure, to that end, is on the horizon.
Put in your hours. Don’t get complacent.
8. Make sure you social media.
If you’re an entrepreneur starting out and not on social media, you won’t last.
In order to reach thousands, if not, millions of people, you need to be in the online space.
I don’t care if you’re old-fashioned and grew up in a time with flip phones and dial-up internet.
Start tweeting your ass off. Start doing Facebook lives. Blast pictures to Instagram.
If you don’t, your message will be limited to your little bubble in the middle of nowhere in Kansas.
9. Money isn’t everything.
Yes, money. Yes, revenue. Yes, profit.
But what about your message?
What one message do you want to share with the world, let alone, how will that help uplift humanity?
At the end of the day, that’s what this is all about. Entrepreneurs are just helping people solve a problem, really.
So go help others, spread a positive message, and be of service to the world.
And if you’re really good, you’ll make money as a nice byproduct.
10. You don’t make millions from blogging.
As Mark Manson says, “a blog is not a business plan.”
Rather, it is there to be an outlet for you to share your business ideas. Maybe people will pay for your services, maybe they won’t.
You get into blogging not for the money, but because you genuinely enjoy sharing content.
11. Lean into endless panic attacks.
At the beginning of this article when I said “to hell with this” every week, I wasn’t kidding.
I’m either having a panic attack, venting to a friend, or punching a bag to relieve stress.
If you aspire to have a relaxing, margarita-on-the-beach filled life, then don’t be an entrepreneur.
All of this, yes, takes work, but it also takes being able to handle the stress and anxiety while still holding your head high.
12. Ask veteran entrepreneurs for help.
Just because you have a sweet business idea, doesn’t mean you know all the facets of accounting, marketing, advertising, and customer service.
Ask other entrepreneurs for advice, especially when it comes to the mistakes they made when starting out.
13. MBA programs are useless as fuck.
Years ago, my dad suggested I go to business school.
I said FUCK. THAT.
No MBA program could’ve prepared me for the “oh shit” moments I’ve faced in my career – from unhappy clients, to customer service shenanigans, to pricing strategy, to content creation, to social life management, to six-pack-ab maintenance during all this.
The greatest MBA I received?
Taking action. And messing up. A lot.
14. Be authentic.
The face of your business is essentially you. Always, always speak your truth.
Now this doesn’t mean tell the world you had a cocaine binge last weekend, but stay true to who you are.
As an example, I speak in profanity. And I know I’m being authentic here because I feel immersed in the moment when I write and talk in it.
Authenticity is about not feeling resistance. Feel in your flow.
15. Call people when shit hits the fan.
If a customer is unhappy, don’t text them back.
16. Master the mundane.
There will be pieces of your job that you hate doing.
Personally, I hate drafting invoices. I hate accounting. I hate paying taxes.
But these are all a part of the entrepreneurial life that keep you operating. Don’t ignore them.
17. There’s no “easy” money.
When most fierce entrepreneurs start out, they’re ready to make “easy money.”
Get back to me after over five years, and let me know if it was a cakewalk.
18. Entrepreneurship doesn’t mean immediate happiness.
“I’ll just quit my 9-to-5 and then I’ll be happy!”
Sadly, this is what most aspiring entrepreneurs say.
But doing your own thing doesn’t always me endless happiness.
Like any job, there will be times when you have to swallow tough pills and deal with shitty fucking people.
For me, dealing with the things I hate in my world are totally worth it because I love 90% of what I do. Yes, 10% sucks, but I’ve accepted no job is perfect.
19. Fall in love with the rollercoaster ride.
Expounding on the point above, this life ain’t perfect. Never will it be smooth sailing.
More often than not, a new problem comes to the surface every week, if not daily.
But the rollercoaster ride of being a business owner provides an insane adrenaline rush that propels you to level up and grab life by the balls.
Fall in love with the ride.
After all, this is the most exciting ride you’ll embark on. Might as well embrace it.