20 things I would tell 20 year old me about starting your own business

20 things that I wish I had known when I was 20

I will be 60 any day now.  Yes, I can’t believe it either.

Thankfully for the blues musician in me I still have another 10 years before I hit my prime.

Some of you that might think ‘god he’s old’ and some of you might even think ‘I remember when I was that young”.

Personally, it is simply the beginning of another new adventure.

In anticipation of the event I have given myself a 20-year plan and to me it’s way more exciting than retiring to regular rounds of golf and river cruises.

Unlike turning 20, or 30, or 40, or even 50 this personal landmark feels a little more momentous, so I’ve taken the time to look back and contemplate the mistakes made and the lessons learned.

Here are 20 things I would tell 20 year old me.

In no particular order.

  1. You are never too young, too old or too late to be follow your dream
  2. Never be afraid to start, but you must start today, now!
  3. Do something you love and are passionate about. Most (but not all of us) don’t, which is why we hate Mondays, long for Fridays and, as the years go by, slowly commute our way to retirement or death whichever comes first
  4. Always jump in at the deep end. “First you jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury
  5. Don’t make someone a priority, when you are just an option to them
  6. Read. Then read more and more and more…
  7. Stop watching the TV. Apparently the average person watches 9.1 years of TV and you can bet most of it will be repeats!
  8. Don’t take that 9 to 5 job unless it is a stepping stone to starting your own business. After all who wants to have to ask their boss if they can go to the toilet!  “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
  9. Trust people until they give you a reason not to
  10. Entrepreneurs are no different to anyone else. You don’t set out to be an entrepreneur, it happens along the way. There is no special genetic ingredient and they don’t have magic powers – they are just like you. The only difference is they don’t just dream it, they do it
  11. Fail often. If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail but what sort of life is that?  “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho
  12. Most things in life are a matter of perspective. The moment you change your perspective, you become a different person”
  13. Say no. “Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough”
  14. Clients are not your friends. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that great client is your friend, when push comes to shove it is just business
  15. Friends make bad business partners (most of the time)
  16. Ask more questions
  17. Don’t chase the carrots.
  18. Visit your Mum and Dad more often
  19. Be patient. There’s no advantage to rushing through life  “All great achievements require time” – Maya Angelou
  20. People will try to discourage you. Don’t let them. Believe in yourself and don’t worry about what other people think

I know I said 20 things but I have just thought of a couple more:

  1. Be more disciplined. Discipline is doing something you might not like to achieve something you love.
  2. Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on your own game.
  3. Everything is figureoutable (if that’s even a word)
  4. Write everything down

Finally if your reading this and your 40’s are a distant memory remember this wonderful quote:

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  George Eliot

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