Google “What I learned in 2013” and you’ll find a slew of articles and blog entries: some personal, some professional.
This is my own list for the creative entrepreneurs who choose to work for themselves – whether you’ve done it for two months, two years or two decades. I jotted down a few of the things I learned in 2013 – and maybe one will stick with you:
1. Always do new business. Especially when business keeps rolling in without any effort.
2. Cutting rates or fees just to get in the door never does you any favors. NEVER.
3. The value of a single lunch or networking connection might be two or three years down the road (or further). Don’t underestimate the value of getting your ass out of the chair and meeting someone new – now.
4. People love making lists that feature other people. It’s just one of those things.
5. There are plenty of accomplished people who don’t appear on any lists at all – but their names get passed around between executives, and their reputation doesn’t need to be advertised. Those people are really good to know, but it takes work to find them.
6. Some agency folks get really comfortable with their clients, maybe too comfortable. They show up for meetings looking like a hot mess, breeze into lobbies wearing blue jeans and cocky attitudes. Take advantage of that and never stop treating your client like gold.
7. It’s really not that bad paying estimated taxes on a quarterly basis.
8. Spend enough time as a consultant at a client site, and you become a confidant: of employees, of management. That’s an honor and requires the utmost care.
9. CEOs, Presidents, and other people with intimidating titles at big, gigantic companies? They’re just people. With some manners, good timing and professional courtesy, it’s easy to say hello and initiate a new acquaintance.
10. Rock stars show their colors in their 20s. By their 30s, they’ve got a reputation. By their 40s, they’re running (multiple?) companies. If you’re lucky, you work with them somewhere along the way. And if you’re smart, you stay on their radar the whole time.
That’s it, that’s all you get for free. It’s 2014, so get out there and get after it.
Keep living the dream.