I have 20 minutes to write this post. Here's what I would do differently if I re-started my entrepreneurial journey today.
My first piece of advice to my younger self: Embrace the suck. Fall in love with the work
Dreams of building a startup are much different than the day-to-day grind of doing it. I struggled with this fact for a long time. The hard work of showing up daily, delivering for Customers, doing the dirty work was NOT fun. I wanted to FEELING of being successful, but I wasn't ready to put in the work.
All work is work. How you perform in one capacity is how you perform in another.
I was inconsistent with my workouts for years. It’s no surprise that I was inconsistent in other parts of life.
Ask for help. I never wanted to ask for help. I remember one rough day in 2018 when my girlfriend (now fiance) found me crumpled up on the floor of our apartment. I was depressed and overwhelmed and terrified of losing my company. I was so scared I couldn't move. Yet I didn't ask for help until I was at my wits end.
Today, I tell my fiance anytime I'm upset, overwhelmed, or even just tired. I've also embraced coaching as a tool to grow. It's been a life-changer.
Don't take debt unless you have a plan. Debt is a valuable tool. Think of it like an advance on future income. The key is to *have future income in the plans.*
I took out a business loan in 2017. My “plan" was to start a content marketing agency. I had no customers and no real idea how to build an agency. I'm still paying off that loan.
By comparison, I just took out a second loan. Except this time I have 4 books scheduled to be published in the next 9 months. Additionally, I have an actual plan to aggressively pay back the loan. I even wrote up a contract for myself.
Be kind to yourself. No matter how hard you try, you'll never be 100% productive or consistent or perfect. No one is. I spent years beating myself up every time I slipped. I thought being hard on myself would help me, but it only set me back. Today I'm kind to myself when I make a mistake. I say to myself, “It's ok, just try again tomorrow.”
I’m not yet the entrepreneur I want to be. But I'm more of the person I want to be. There is so much to learn, but sometimes it's nice to look back to see how far you've come.