If you could hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self? What are the biggest lessons learnt since you started entrepreneurship? This is one of our favorite questions here at CBNation.
Here’s what CEOs would tell their younger business selves.
#1-Lead from within
My advice to my younger business self would be ‘Lead from within, not from out front.' I have always liked this piece of advice on how to control a business without being controlling. If you try to run everything yourself, you'll eventually crash and burn. It's a much better approach to empower and trust your team to keep the business humming without you micromanaging each step of the way.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!
#2- Two things
The biggest thing I would tell my younger self is to really be careful how you spend money and really analyze cash flow and ROI. In the beginning, I was essentially throwing money at everything seeing what would stick for my business. This created a lot of unnecessary debt. I should have known my demographic through and through and only be where my client is vs trying to figure it out as I go.
Thanks to Patti Stewart, Defense in Heels!
#3-Pay attention to what you pay attention to
The best advice I could give my younger self is this: pay attention to what you pay attention to. In the modern economy, attention is a scarce commodity. Treat yours as such, and notice where you invest it. The best businesses start by solving a real need. Set the intention of actively noticing when you’ve run into creative challenges. Chances are you’re not the only one feeling the friction of the problem you’ve found. Plus, there’s no better way to get into your consumer’s head than to first feel what they feel. On a personal note, paying attention to the topics and issues that get you excited will only guide you to work on challenges you truly care about.
Thanks to Kaitlyn Barclay, Scout Lab!
#4-You’re smarter than you think
One thing I wish my 25-year old self knew? You’re smarter than you think. Self-doubt and lack of confidence aren’t going to go away just because someone tells you you’re capable, or you get years of experience under your belt. That might all help, but even when you get really comfortable with something, there will be something else around the corner that you have to take on next – that you’ve never done and don’t know how to do. But if you want to grow in life, you’ve gotta keep taking those steps and taking those chances. You’ve gotta go for it. You need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. And sometimes, you’ve gotta fake it a little. And that’s ok. Everyone feels like a fraud when they start. But if you don’t believe you can do it, no one else is going to.
Thanks to Tessa May Marr, Marr Media Group!
#5- Remind yourself no one really cares
If I could jump into a time machine back to the younger version of my business self, I would tell her to lose her sense of self-consciousness. I spent years wondering what people would think of my transition from working in the music business as an artist, to working behind the scenes for other artists. In the music business world, and in any business world that you find yourself in as an adult, your sense of self can be tested daily. With others chiming in constantly on social media, the constant thought of what will they think of this, can creep its way into your mind without warning. The biggest secret to success that I have found is that when that shaking of your confidence sneaks its way in, you have to remind yourself that at the end of the day, no one really cares. It's your business, your decision, and your life to flourish any way that you want it to, and if you go into each day with that attitude, you will be confident and unstoppable.
Thanks to Jacy Dawn Valeras, Platinum Circle Media!
#6- The juice is worth the squeeze
I would tell him t*he juice is worth the squeeze*. Right now, you're alone. Locked up in a dingy room in a dirt cheap Dallas apartment trying to figure out this thing called the internet. You fall asleep every night wondering if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Watching all your friends take normal jobs and live normal lives all while you eat eggs and rice every day to save money to buy ads for your websites. Nobody understands you and the truth is right now is going to suck for a while, longer than you think because, surprise surprise, it takes time and hard work to get good at something… so right now is going to suck but trust me – that work all pays off 10x in the end. All the parties you're missing. The stress you're taking on. The family barbs you have to roll your eyes too at every Christmas and Thanksgiving. It all ends up working out in the end. You're able to work whenever you want now. You've lived in Bali, Portugal, and Nicaragua. You make more money than some Doctors and you do it from your living room. The pain you feel now ends up being so minuscule to how good things are for you in the future. So keep going bro because the juice is worth the squeeze.
Thanks to Alex Nerney, createandgo.com!
#7-It’s going to be harder than you think
Having the tenacity to keep going in the face of what may seem like constant failures or roadblocks takes more effort and dedication than you’re ever going to expect. Take time to recognize the successes – even if they are small – to continue to fuel the passion that started it all. It’s important to remember that like a car, a business needs energy (fuel) to keep running, and if you get distracted or discouraged too often by setbacks, you’ll never reach your destination. Keep going if you know in your heart you are on the right path, ignore the naysayers, and keep celebrating little victories.
Thanks to Amanda Wilson, Ahtel Wines!
#8-Stop striving for perfection!
If you want to make any kind of progress with your business you have to be decisive and get it done. Before I started my blog I spent at least six months learning, practising and perfecting. I was inefficient, fine-tuning things that really didn’t matter and certainly wouldn’t make me any money. I wish I had just launched and learnt on the go. Don’t try to learn everything there is to know about starting an online business, you will become overwhelmed and unfocused. Learn the skill you need at that point in time, implement it and move on to the next area. That’s how you will grow your business.
Thanks to Gemma Roberts, The Work-Life Blend!
#9-Start right where you are – it is always the right time
Simply put, there is never a wrong time to start. There has never been one. The fact itself that there is no designated season to start a successful business; proves that there is never a wrong time to start. If you are truly convinced and passionate about your idea and its objectives, you must get started then and there with whatever you have got. And you must trust in the power of this universe to help you figure things out along the way. Nobody is ever born with all the knowledge and wherewithal that he needs for his entire life. Everybody has got to figure things out along the way. The same holds true in case of business or any career. And if you feel like procrastinating on your dreams for any reason or due to any real or perceived challenges, then my advice would be to procrastinate on only one thing that is ‘procrastination' itself. Just make a small shift to your perspective, always try to see what you can do instead of thinking what you cannot, and just get started. No one has ever got going until he gets started. Remember what author Karen Lamb said – A year from now you may wish you had started today. Probably, the value of getting started could not have been emphasized more beautifully.
Thanks to Arvind Achal, LiveLifeXXXL!
#10- Three steps
Step 1) Focus – Multitasking is a recipe for disaster. It's a great way to start many tasks and finish nothing. Where your focus goes your energy flows. – Tony Robbins. Learn to harness your focus and target it on the most important tasks you need to accomplish. Step 2) Innovate – Business takes place on a changing battlefield. Your strategic planning and innovation needs to happen every day. Businesses that innovate every day thrive. Step 3) Mindset Matters – Fire your limiting beliefs and excuses. They aren't doing anything to help you build your business, and they are certainly weighing you down Get rid of them and see how fast you are able to grow.
Thanks to Samuel Stokes, Master Your Business!
#11- Entrepreneurship is like being a bamboo farmer
If I could hop into a time machine, I would tell my younger business self that entrepreneurship is like being a bamboo farmer. After planting bamboo, the farmer has to water the seed every day for years before the plant breaks through the ground. But bamboo is the fastest-growing plant; some species can grow 3 feet per day. So it is with a business: you can be on the brink of success for a long time, but when harvest time comes, your business can experience exponential growth. You have to take wise, consistent action every single day.
Thanks to Nikki Bruno, Catalyst Coaching LLC!
#12- Instant pudding is terrible – nothing replaces the real deal
Nothing beats diligent work and time when it comes to creating something you're proud of. This is true whether you're talking about food or your professional life. I would tell my younger self that there's plenty of time to get things done RIGHT. It's easy to push yourself toward unrealistic goals – but you need a solid foundation for long term success. Breslow Home Design Center is still thriving after 95 years and 3 generations because we KNOW that instant pudding doesn't work. Take time and do it right and your business will succeed.
Thanks to Dana Shaw, Breslow Home Design Center!
#13- Four things
Patience- It really is a marathon not a sprint so do not set arbitrary goals like being named 30 under 30 or 40 under 40 because it may take you longer than Mark Zuckerberg to hit your stride and that's ok. Most people take many detours on their career path before finding their true calling. Don't be disappointed if you get to 40 and are still exploring because the journey really is a great adventure so enjoy it! Fail fast – Don¹t be scared to fail, just learn from every bump in the road so you make better mistakes next time, that is where you learn the most! You learn to do by doing. Course correct and pivot along the way, it makes for a fun career path. Keep learning – Finishing school is not the end of your education, you will be a student for the rest of your life so never stop learning new things. Your education is just starting to get really interesting and the grades don't matter anymore. Be a sponge for knowledge & enjoy the learning process. Success is personal and your definition will change over time. That is normal and shows maturity, find what matters to you and don't worry about anyone else.
Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!
#14-Seek leadership opportunities
When I was in college and trying to figure out my life, I didn’t take full advantage of all the opportunities around me. The career guidance tells students they should find things they are passionate about and take the lead, but I struggled with that. I didn’t want to spend my time being the head of a group instead of living up my college years. I was able to take on some projects towards the end, but I wish I had some more years of experience under my belt. It would have helped me get better jobs after I graduated. You can have fun, but also try to take the initiative in different organizations – It will really help in the future.
Thanks to Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics!
What would you tell your younger business self? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community