10 Things I Learned the Hard Way + One More

After 12+ years in business, I have made my share of mistakes. Most of them common and textbook and avoidable. But I still made them. Theory is easier to learn and spout, but a thousand times tougher to put into practice. Though difficult and even painful, experience has proven to be a better teacher.

  1. You and I must know what we want. Until then, don’t quit your day job (like I did). 
  2. Do what you love. It really does make the hard times (slightly) easier to handle.
  3. Be friendly. Belong. Join a professional association or networking group. Some of the best connections are made when you just reach out.
  4. Don’t wear too many hats. Instead, focus on strengths. Who says you have to do everything?
  5.  Network with really smart people. Collaborate.
  6. Large accounts are appealing. But never have an account that’s more than 30 percent of your annual work. If you do, understand this: the storm clouds are gathering. Be ready.
  7. Stand up for what’s right. Don’t be afraid to say no.
  8. Keep the sales funnel full. Top it up constantly.
  9. Remember you and I hate rejection. Cold calling still works. Do it any way.
  10. Take action. Even a little step toward your goal is better than none. Momentum builds.
  11. Become an expert. Learner. You and I have not arrived. As soon as I think that way, I become a pylon.

What would you add to this list?