In January 2012, I started a marketing and design agency with two friends from college. The client work wasn’t enough to support us all full time yet, so I found a full-time job in marketing to pay the bills while I tried to grow my business on the side. The problem was, I was completely burned out all the time, and I couldn’t keep up with both jobs.
Lesson #1 about how to be an entrepreneur:
“Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” (Thank you Ron Swanson).
In 2013, I quit my job and started working full time for my agency. It was glorious…for about 3 months until I ran out of money. It turns out that starting a client-based B2B business depends a lot on who you know and who they know.
Lesson #2 about how to be an entrepreneur:
Business is as much about who you know as it is what you know.
Since then I have found that the sweet spot for me while growing my business to a sustainable level has been working part time for companies that allow me to vastly grow my network or teach me relevant skills that will make me successful in the long run.
To find success and happiness in life, focus on what will make your long-term goals reachable.
I recently started working with a company doing search engine optimization (SEO) and social media management. I have some SEO experience, but the people I’m working with know their stuff. I’m getting the opportunity to learn from people who know more than I do about a subject that will help me be more successful in the future.
Lesson #4 for entrepreneurs:
Surround yourself with people you can learn from.
So why did I decline a job opportunity for twice my income?
Day number 1 of starting my new gig, I was offered an opportunity to work as a graphic designer for a magazine company offering really good pay. Here’s why I said thanks, but no thanks:
1. I already have experience doing graphic design with a magazine company, so the opportunity to learn was slim to none.
2. I had just started with a new company offering to teach me to perfect skills that will get me closer to my long-term goals.
3. My gut said don’t do it.
Long-term success is more important than short-term perks.