24 Things I’ve Learned before 24 being an Entrepreneur

Being that June 16th is my B-Day, this weekend, I wrote down everything that I’ve learned in the last 24 years that would be useful for those that are pursuing their dreams and living an high performance, entrepreneurial life.

Here are the top 24 things that I’ve learned from having over 500 clients, making millions, losing millions, going into debt, meeting thousands of people and generally living what I would consider a massive rollercoaster life and business.

  1. You probably don’t know anything and if you think you know a lot, you should start meeting new super intelligent people… or read, or do whatever allows you to expand your knowledge. Remember, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
  2. There is no such thing as luck. We create it by working hard, meeting lots of new people and helping those around us. That’s when we find ourselves at the right place at the right moment with the right knowledge to capitalize on an opportunity.
  3. The idea of balance is broken — simply put, find where your strengths are. If you can balance 10 things at once, then do it. For me, it means focusing on two things at a time, crushing them and then moving to the next thing.
  4. Most advice is highly unusable, so stop reading all the articles in popular magazines. Understand theory, understand the underlying reasons why things work and don’t work. Because someone was successful with something they did, it was likely because of their understanding behind the scenes, not a single piece of advice. Further to this, don’t listen to the advice of your parents (sorry Mom). The only caveat here is that if you want to end up where they are, do what they did.
  5. Surround yourself with friends, mentors, coaches and people that tell you how it is. Have friends that tell you the way it is, and your mentors and coach or coaches should be the same way. If 10/10 things you do get a positive response, you have the wrong people around you. Be open to criticism — it’s the only way you can develop as a person. As an extra to this one, find a mastermind group and dedicate yourself to it, the biggest changes in my life happened when this occurred.
  6. Many of the things that society cares about don’t matter that much; if you want to be successful, make few choices that don’t matter. For me, I wear the same clothes every day, I eat the same food, my water is delivered and so is my food. Optimize things that you really don’t need to decide, so that when it comes to everything else you can focus.
  7. Optimize, Automate, Outsource. If I had to make all my appointments, schedule my calendar and do all the things I hate to do, I would never be able to do as much as I do. First optimize those tasks, automate what you can, and if a human needs to accomplish it, outsource. By definition, focus on the 10% of what you do that no one else can ever replace you on. It’ll allow you to charge 5x what you do right now. Ari Meisel is the Master of this and has an entire podcast, book and website dedicated on how to make your life easier: http://lessdoing.com/
  8. Get used to high high’s and low low’s. My friend Cameron Herold’s book talks about this extensively. In life it’s important that you build your emotional immune system — your ability to not freak out when there is a low low moment and not to overcompensate (ie. party like it’s friday) when you have a high high. I would always go and buy something nice once I closed a big deal, I would utilize my high high to emotionally reward myself… not only is it a bad idea, but it’s not sustainable. Reward yourself on specific goals, not moments.
  9. Own less things — how much “stuff” do you have? Back in March I sold everything I owned and at the moment everything I own fits into 2 suitcases. Here’s a fact: We are “owned” by the things that we “own”… or most of the time “owe.” When you own fewer things you have an amazing amount of freedom, seizing opportunities and knocking the door down when it’s in front of you. I was inspired by James Altucher to do this just a few weeks before I moved and it also allowed me to make $18,000 when I sold everything… not a bad payday to pay off those pesky credit cards.
  10. Hack your routines and habits — this one is huge. While I don’t believe that every part of our lives should be ritualized, there are specific parts in which you can develop amazing habits that build up day after day to help you become successful. This is in the food you eat, the way you treat your body, your relationships, everything. Perhaps you could start something like Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning or watch this replay from my good friend and Habit Hacker, Elan Marko.
  11. Invest in your relationships like you would invest in your business. These are the people that are close to you — certainly your significant other. When I started investing in my relationship with my fiancee the way I invested in my business, with the same focus, understanding and heart, it turned our relationship upside down.
  12. Understand your MUST, NEEDS and WANTS… my MUST is to accomplish my dreams, my needs and wants come after that. If you live your life with your MUSTS instead of your NEED and WANTS, I can almost guarantee that you’ll achieve your destiny. You focus on the opportunity not the obligation. I ripped this from a speech from Arnold Schwarzenegger and expanded on it based on what’s occurred in my life, and what could happen if we MUST do something instead of just simply wanted or needed to do it.
  13. Be fit — no this doesn’t mean that you have to work out every single day, but when you are fit you can work better, you can do more and you can perform the high performance lifestyle that is required to hit your dreams. There’s no one I trust more in this area than Ben Greenfield, who talks about how this is so important in your life.
  14. Cameron Herold talks about having a vivid vision. Regardless if it’s for your company or yourself, you need to know exactly what life should be like 3 years from now so that you can say HELL YES or HELL NO to the opportunities and relationships that become available as you go through your daily life.
  15. Be a freak (yourself)… as my friend Chris Brogan’s book explains. Do business with other like minded people, be yourself and embrace the fact that not everyone will like you. Let’s be honest, if everyone likes you, it means that you have no standpoint on life and you’re likely drifting through it.
  16. Be Brave, Be Courageous, and confidence will come. Being an entrepreneur and being in business is scary. Confidence typically doesn’t come naturally, so my friend John Michael Morgan tells us to be Brave, Be Courageous and once you do that, the confidence that you need to accomplish your MUSTs will come along with it.
  17. Do what you have to do to survive — the business I had to get me out of the hole I was in, isn’t the one I have right now. Why? Because it wasn’t scalable. Remember that you typically have to live a life that no one else will so you can live a life no one else can. Embrace the struggle.
  18. Visualize your life and your day, every single day. Every night, I visualize my life — my MUST — and every morning in the shower for 5 minutes I visualize my entire day, what I will say, how I will react, it’s been super powerful.
  19. Be a content creator and distributor. In our world, when you distribute and create content it not only raises your value, but the opportunities that come are endless. This means sending a weekly email, starting a podcast, holding webinars or having your own blog… people want to digest your knowledge, so let them. When you have a distribution network, it equals influence and influence allows you to spread your ideas and your thoughts much faster in our content obsessed world.
  20. Understand that it’s okay to fail. I wish more people understood that failure is the secret ingredient in order to find what works. I fail every single day, some days in small ways and others in very big ways. Don’t emotionally attach yourself to the outcome, only the process.
  21. Don’t feel guilty for taking time to invest in yourself, your happiness, your relationships, your body or anything else. Understand that if you don’t have time to learn new things or refuel your body and creativity, you become useless in your business. Besides, you only get to live once.
  22. Cut the energy vampires. There are certain people that will never ever be able to serve you, regardless how much you serve them — these are energy vampires, they suck out your ideas, your strength, your enthusiasm and your opportunities in life. While by default humans want to keep everyone around them in life, you have to stop these relationships in their tracks, even if it means having them blocked on social media.
  23. Give things away — so many people want to hoard things. While I believe that you need money and influence before you can start giving and contributing to the level of entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, something that Brett Wilson taught me is that giving is one of the best parts of your life plan, marketing plan and value strategy… you don’t have to be excessively wealthy in order to be able to give back.
  24. Be ready for everything. What do I mean? Well, buy life insurance right now if you don’t have it. The younger you are, the cheaper it is. The same goes for critical health insurance. Health insurance prepares you (as much as possible) for the unexpected. Also, make friends with a realtor, lawyer, pretty much anyone that has a substantial amount of knowledge, it will be worthwhile and save you tens of thousands of dollars in your lifetime. On the topic of being ready, have a small bag packed with all essentials… you never know when you need to run from some zombies ;)

and because I couldn’t leave these out…

Opportunities come from meeting new people, so do your best to meet lots of new people. This could be both online, through Linkedin, or at networking events, or perhaps hosting lunches and dinners like I spoke about in my book, Connections that Count. Simply put — the more people you know, the more you can do, the more you can see and when you find people with the same vision, you become limitless. Dorie Clark, a great friend of mine talks about this a lot, but in articles and behind some of the premises in her new book, Stand Out.

Location independence rules all — if you can, position your business so you can do it from anywhere. If you can’t run it from anywhere at least create it so you can take adventures anywhere, multiple times a year. The more you are away, the more easily ideas will flow and your ability to solve problems increase.

I would love to know, as you’re likely much older and wiser than I.

What are the biggest things you’ve learned in your life?

Learn more at http://www.scottoldford.com or tweet me with the biggest lessons you’ve learnt in your life @scottoldford.