10 BRUTAL TAKEAWAYS FROM MY FIRST YEAR AS AN ENTREPRENEUR. 💥🤕

Steve Ferris
Dec 11, 2017 · 4 min read

Working for myself has forced me to come to terms with myself and wrestle with old mindsets.

Of course, I learned a lot, but also I began to understand my motives. I had space to listen to my own logic and find the flaws that had been hidden. The year has been, in a word, educational. 😓


Here are the brutal takeways that left me bruised, bleeding and better.

1. Sort through your bullshit.💩

We all have some, but it can go unnoticed with busy schedules, people’s demands and the general noise of life.

The bullshit I’m referring to is character flaws that hold us back.

  • Take time to look for negative patterns in your life.
  • Read your old writings.
  • Spend time with people who know and love you.
  • Honestly evaluate yourself.
  • Cry about what a terrible person you are.
  • Make a plan to change and move on.

2. Commit to something bigger than you. 🙏

Do this or you’ll lose motivation and end up watching "Under Siege" at 11:00 am with a jar of pickles while your to-do list goes to hell. That never happened to me 😫, totally hypothetical. “Gulp”

Be accountable to a cause or people you respect. We need this when our internal motivations are weak.

3. Play to your strengths.💪

Work on developing your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Most of us will be lucky to get ok at something we’re not naturally wired to do. Use your energy to be awesome at what you love.

Try to turn your weaknesses into your strengths. With some thought, you can turn your weakness against itself.

I don’t manage details well, so instead, I work very simply. This is a feature of my work. My clients like simple.

If your weakness is that not a good public speaker, then you can state that you are a great personal communicator. See? Magic 🔮

4. Hard work is good, but passionate work is better. 🔧

Working to keep face or to feel worthy is an industrial era value that needs to be phased out. Do honest work that aligns with your values. It will be more effective, and it won’t eat your soul while you do it. When you’re done, rest.

5. Read more. 📖 📖 📖

"Wisdom is understanding how little we actually know", said the fortune cookie.

I swear by my Scribd account. It gives me a steady flow of ebooks, audiobooks, and book summaries from Blinklist as well. It has kept me in a constant state of discovery.

6. Pay others to do the stuff you suck at because you will suck at it.

I was a creative, abstract thinker who was going to learn to manage my business finances.

  1. First I had to choose a bank based on their logo.
  2. Choose a finance app and software based on how pretty it was.
  3. Then read some money books with clever titles.

End result? I’m smarter than before, but I would never trust me to keep things legal. I’ve got a guy for that. He uses ugly software and does a great job. 🤓

7. Follow "the" flow, not "your" flow.

New ideas must be connected to where money already is flowing.

Digging away from that flow of resources= a hole. I dug a few of these.

Learning this made it easier for me to understand why my Trello boards are full of embarrassing remnants of BIG IDEAS that never hatched.

8. Enhance rather than expand.

Make something better before making something new.

For people who are constantly getting ideas, like myself, I suggest filing those new ideas away in Trello so you can rest easy that it's not going to be forgotten. This way the new idea won't interrupt what you're doing, and you can add to it later.

🤘 I’ve been working on a fantasy metal musical like this for 5 years.

9. Be a "giver".

If you don’t show up ready to give, it’s better to leave

When you begin to think more about what people can do for you rather than you for them, you’re not being valuable to anyone else.

The chances are good that the people you respect most can spot a "taker" very quickly, and that’s a reputation that’s hard to shake.

If you're in this spot, take a time out until your clear about the value you can give others.

10. Your problem is another person’s opportunity.

This last one is massive. Figure this out and you’ll never have problems again.

Successful people speak in terms of opportunity, not needs. Since I’ve learned to connect my problems to someone’s payday, I’ve experienced a huge positive shift in my mindset and strategy.


My first year self-employed wasn’t very profitable, but it was eye-opening and transformative. I’m not the same person I was last year.

It has been a grind. It took me in, shredded me up and spit me out as the person I need to be to move forward. Personal growth is messy, but those who can grow upon their failures and shortcomings will always rise to the next level. I’m still climbing.

Originally Posted at www.thesteveferris.com

Steve Ferris

Written by

"Break rules. Win hearts." I'm a Stockholm digital marketer/copywriter/content producer. 🌐thesteveferris.com

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