I’ll be honest. I didn’t realize it been 20 years since I started working for myself until I saw it on LinkedIn. In that time I’ve worked with a wide variety of brands, projects I never would’ve anticipated, with different types of companies, a myriad of personalities and work styles, and ever-changing technologies.
Here’s a list of 20 life lessons I have gained from my years of owning a business that can be applied to so many part of life.
- Partner with smart, reputable, trustworthy colleagues, vendors, and clients.
- Targeting customers remains the same, even if the technology has changed. The hype may get an initial response, but it’s the quality that keeps people coming back.
- Be honest.
- When you end a project, always try to do it with a handshake. You just might meet that client again working for another company.
- Keep learning.
- Be curious. I ask a lot of questions, and it often inspires further conversation.
- Actively listen. Take a breath. Then respond.
- Read a few days worth of your emails before you send them out. Are you sending them out with a positive tone or starting off all your emails with the negative? (I literally changed my email tone after monitoring them about 10 years ago).
- You will make mistakes. Admit it when you do.
- If you are stuck, walk away. I resolve a lot of issues when I shut my computer and go for a walk.
- It’s okay to say no to a project, especially when your gut tells you to.
- Check your emails at specific times each day. Otherwise, shut it off. It’s amazing how much more productive you can be without the distractions.
- It’s easy to get comfortable working alone. Face-to-face meetings can inspire change and a new direction.
- Have a schedule. I find that time blocking my day (Using the Best Self journal) has improved my focus and productivity immensely.
- Try something new.
- Keep reaching. What’s your goal?
- Most people really don’t like networking events. Do it anyways; set a goal beforehand. Someone may become a future colleague or customer.
- Be flexible.
- Don’t be afraid to ask someone to clarify, if you don’t understand.
- If you are bored on a regular basis, it might be time to change what you do. Or how you do it.
And remember that if you have a stressful phase, sleep on it, as a fresh day and mood awaits you.
The journey continues.