This article was last updated on December 4, 2015
I’m an accidental entrepreneur. Our website started as a means to get ride of extra materials from construction projects. It ended up becoming a revenue-generating machine with 6 full time employees. Looking back on my journey, I’ve learned a lot.
Kind of like that Rod Stewart song: I wish I knew then what I knew now. It would’ve saved me a ton of time and headaches along the way. I put together 12 lessons I’ve learned to help you avoid the same mistakes I did.
12 Entrepreneurial Lessons I Wish I Knew When I Started
Do what you enjoy
It’s hard to work every day. The reason you become an entrepreneur is to do more of what you love. If you don’t, your days will drag on – it’ll be difficult to consistently have the motivation to do your best and put in the required effort every single day.
Take your business decisions seriously
Your business is your backbone. It’s up to you to make a difference in everything that you do. Research the best options, stay on top of recent trends, and network with professionals in your industry.
Plan everything you do
Anything your business does, it’s up to you to do it well. Making a plan and sticking to it is the only way to truly accomplish all of the things that you’ll need to do. The most integral aspects to any start-up is having a business plan, execution plan, marketing plan and an agenda to keep everything running smoothly.
Manage your money as well as you can
Money is important, especially when you’re starting your own business. If you spend your money on things that you can’t profit from, or miss important expenditures because you’ve outsourced all of your finances, you could miss out on a huge opportunity, so make sure that you’re not being haphazard with your resources.
Focus on customer-centric services
The most important aspect of any business is putting your customer first. Putting your customer’s needs first ensures recurring business or referrals. Times are tough right now – focus on providing a return for your customer’s money.
Be the expert
It’s about more than selling things. You’re the voice of reason for individuals who are buying your product to fill their needs. If you don’t know everything about what you do, how it integrates with the customer’s needs and how to answer questions, you’re missing the whole point of operating by yourself.
Invest in what you do
Being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart. Instead, it’s a long, laborious process that can pan out in huge profits and life changing opportunities. Instead of taking on investment, pour everything you have into your business. It will hurt your pockets at first, but pay off massively in the long run.
Be completely accessible and open
The only way to catch important opportunities, customers, and business is to be open to all opportunities. Developing your business with limited items in your inventory, or not providing adequate hours to catch customers can seriously cripple your business in the future.
Build your reputation and stand by it
Bad online reviews can kill your business. Take pride in your business and go out of your way to make sure customers are satisfied with your offerings. If they aren’t take the necessary measures to ensure they are.
Get involved and do your part
It’s your business, play your part! You have to be interactive with your business if you want it to succeed. That means doing whatever it takes – door-to-door promoting, late nights and ensuring customer satisfaction. Show your employees that even though you’re the boss, you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty.
Streamline your workload
Make sure that you’re not only working effectively, but efficiently. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is learn how to delegate. Hire employees that take direction well and don’t need oversight. You can’t do everything yourself – learn to trust those around you.
Take time off
Being an entrepreneur is beyond stressful. It’s important to take time to spend with your family and friends to get away from it. Keep in mind there are people that love you for you, not your business. Make sure to include them in your life.
I got into this lifestyle by accident. Even though I wouldn’t trade it for the world, there are a number of things I wish I’d known before I got started.
What business advice would you have for your younger self?