Three quick thoughts on the most important lessons I’ve learned in my career:
1. I was incredibly naive, confident, and arrogant at the beginning of my career
This is a double-edged sword and can drive failure just as easily as it drives success. Sometimes the way I presented myself wasn’t ideal, but without that blind ego and energy, I wouldn’t have become an entrepreneur. The ego of the young entrepreneur is the envy of the old entrepreneur, the world looks wide open and ripe with low barrier opportunities.
If you’re going to take a different path than most, if you’re going to start your own company, there has to be some level of blind confidence. I made a lot of mistakes ten years ago when I started my first small business, but I really thought every decision was the best available.
2. Running a business is not all fun and games
There’s one main reason for this: every time the phone rings, people are sharing bad news. Nobody calls the head guy unless there’s a problem that needs solving. People think entrepreneurship is fun, but they don’t realize entrepreneurs don’t get good news.
You can have a lot of success and make a lot of sales, but you’re also called upon to solve problems. In the early days of my storage business, I was running on minimal sleep on a blow-up mattress, driving a truck all day to help operations, and not showering. It culminated in me having a breakdown on the side of the road when we had two employees quit and leave a truck in the middle of the road when we were already short-staffed. I called my partner Dan, who helped me pull it together, and we eventually got all the work done that we needed, but it was the hardest time of my entrepreneurial career and I learned what real stress is.
3. It’s easy to avoid hiring an employee when you can do the job yourself
Especially early on, you may find yourself questioning if you want to invest in a full-time employee. It takes a lot of trust and money and can put your operations at risk. But once you hire and things click, you’ll look back and wonder how you ran the business without that person. When you understand the power of delegation and get A players in the business, your world opens up tremendously.
This stuff is hard, it’s not for everybody, and every successful entrepreneur has war stories. If you’re not willing to suffer, you’re not going to build wealth. Business is hard, managing people is hard, managing customers is hard, but it’s vital that you get out and try, embrace the journey, and embrace the suffering, it will make the success more rewarding.
Watch the whole video to learn the most important lessons that I’ve learned!
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