5 Things I’ve Learned From Starting My Own Businesses

JeffBlog, Business, Entrepreneurship, LeadershipLeave a Comment


Over the past 10 or so years I’ve started quite a few businesses. To be completely honest, I’m not sure what the total number is, but it’s probably more than I should have.

I’ve had some success, and I’ve had some failures, but I’ve learned so much that I wouldn’t take a single crazy idea back.

Here are just 5 of the things I’ve learned from starting my own businesses.

1. It’s Better to be A Business Owner Than to be Self Employed
Do you know the difference?

An electrician who works for himself and is required to be at every job in order for that job to be completed is Self-Employed. An electrician who has a team of electricians who are competent enough to complete jobs correctly and efficiently on their own is a Business Owner.

When I first founded FTF Records, our main source of revenue were the local events we promoted. The issue was, I didn’t have anyone to run those events for me so I needed to be at each one. Self-Employed. As these events got bigger and ran smoother, I brought on a partner who worked with me for a bit and learned how to run them himself. I’ll never forget being in San Diego for a business conference and receiving a call letting me know that the event went well and we made a profit. Business Owner. I had built that business to a point where it could make money without me being there.

2. It Takes Time, Hard Work, and Very Little Sleep
I’m a dad. I’m a husband. I’m a son and a pretty damn good friend. I co-own a concert promotions company and a multimedia marketing firm. I blog, I interview people for my online videos, and I also create courses and tutorial videos to help small businesses. I also go to college. I’m also an avid gamer.

I don’t sleep. At least not much. I spend most of the day working or at school and my evenings soaking up every second I can with my amazing family. Once my wife and son head to bed, I go back to work. Because that’s what it takes. I sleep as needed, but I push myself to the limit because I am not okay with a normal life for my family. I want an extraordinary life, so I sacrifice sleep and many other things, as I continue to build this crazy dream of mine.

Now I’m not telling you not to sleep. Sleep is very important. You need to be able to function properly. What I’m trying to say is this takes sacrifice. Your sacrifice may not be sleep. Maybe its time away from family, not being able to do some things you enjoy (I don’t game nearly as much as I’d like), or the consistent headache that comes with the never-resting entrepreneurial mind. Regardless, sacrifice comes as part of the package. The goal is to make sure the end result is worth the sacrifice.

3. Most People Won’t Help
Even though everyone you know will offer to help, remember that it is your dream. You’re the one who has the drive and you’re the one who will ultimately decide your company’s fate. Most people claim to want to be business owners, but very few have the drive and willingness to sacrifice what is necessary.

I’m not telling you to turn down help. When a friend offers to help, schedule a professional sit down with them and discuss what they can help with, why they want to help, and what they are willing to do. Take your time in making a decision and be sure not to put too much on them at first. Test their abilities and dedication with a few small tasks. Most importantly, don’t be disappointed or take it personally when they don’t pan out. Most people don’t know what it takes to work in a small business.

4. Everyone Wants to be the Boss. Nobody Wants to be the Owner.
When I was younger and first began venturing into entrepreneurship everyone I knew would say they wanted to do the same thing; be their own boss.

Who wouldn’t want to be?

The problem is; most people don’t know what that means. Most people think of all the positives: making your own schedule, not being told what to do, etc. Unfortunately, most people don’t step back and realize the difficulties of keeping your own schedule and staying on task without being told what to do.

“It would be so cool to work from home. Just sit around in my boxers and watch TV while I work.”

Yea, I heard that a lot. Here’s the problem:
1. When you’re in your boxers, you work like you’re in your boxers. I’ve found time and time again that when I dress as if I am in an office, I work like I’m in an office. Yes, I am saying that when I work from home, I dress professionally.
2. TV is entertaining. Things that are entertaining are distracting. When you’re distracted you don’t work. Therefore, TV=No Work.

5. Vision Is Everything
Anyone who knows me knows I’m about 80% blind in one of my eyes. I’ve had glasses my whole life. I had to wear sports goggles in sports and I’ve never been able to wear contacts due to my glasses working as protection for my good eye. This is something that secretly destroyed my self-worth for many years.

Then I learned something; You don’t need two good eyes to have perfect vision.

The key word here is VISION. I’m talking about the vision of what your life can be. I’ve had a clear vision of where I want my life to be. Its taken me down many roads, into many different things, and over so many speed bumps its hard to count. But with everything I have done and continue to do, my vision remains the same. That extraordinary life I need to create for my family.

How’s your vision?

Share your clear vision with me. Comment below or pop me an email. I’d love to hear from you.

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