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GOLD! What was your biggest business and life lesson in 2014?

GlobalWealth

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From a business perspective, the last year has been incredible. Our domestic corporate services biz is bringing in new clients every month and the process is fairly smooth. The offshore corporate services biz is even better. The trust company is booming. The publishing/event biz is going well, but we are changing the format for '15. Very excited.

Lessons learned:

Hiring a PA was critical to the success. Without her freeing up time I was spending on menial tasks, I would not have been able to pursue bigger picture stuff.

Outsourcing some other critical tasks was also critical for the same reasons. Things like editing and publishing, website management, etc. I am not an expert here and have no business trying to do so.

Trust but verify (this seems to be a common them, right @MJ DeMarco?). Last year was an interesting year. I found out some people I had trusted were not very ethical business people. I also learned that some of the people I had done business with at a small scale, can be much, much better partners and highly ethical business people. Going forward I will do background checks on anyone I do business with. It may be a bit slow and more costly, but much more efficient in the long run.

You cannot make meaningful relationships and business deals sitting at your desk day after day. You need to get out and network. Go to local meetup events. Go to seminars and conferences.

Success will never chase you. You must chase success. And it rarely is found at your desk.


From a personal perspective, the last year has been one of the hardest in my life (maybe THE hardest). I was separated from my wife of 18 years in the fall of '13 and initially it was pretty amicable (there were bumps but overall ok). We were living a 5 minute walk away from each other so I could easily see the kids every day.

A few months later she kidnapped our children and moved to the US (yes, kidnapped because when both parents don't agree it is called kidnapping). We bought round trip tickets for her and the kids to visit family in the US and she never got on the return flight. As of this writing, I cannot even get her to sign a reasonable custody agreement and my kids are having to endure her daily barrage of hate talk about their father. It has been an emotional roller coaster.

Just before Thanksgiving my father passed away. He was suffering from cancer for many years and finally cancer won. He was a good man and mentor.

Lessons learned:

No matter how good a long term relationship is, the potential for it to blow up exists. If you would have asked me even 9 months ago 'would she vanish with kids' I would have thought you were crazy for even suggesting it.

Protect yourself - whatever that means in your personal situation.

If you have kids, make sure your relationship with them is a personal one and not dependent on your spouse. Even if your marriage never blows up, it is good for that relationship to be strong with them personally and not reliant on the other person. This is difficult to explain, but it is the difference between "we (your mother and I) love you" and "I love you".

Surround yourself with people you love and those that love you. This past year has shown me who are my real friends and who are the superficial ones. This includes family relationships. Originating from the bible belt south, you quickly learn which family members are not supportive in hard times like divorce.

Not only surround yourself with those closest to you, but focus your time and energy on those relationships. The important relationships rise to the top in times of need. Those are the good ones. Those are the relationships that need cultivating and maintaining.

The superficial ones become clear and should remain that - superficial or even non-existent.
 

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benhebert

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Biggest lesson:

If you're not continuously setting bigger and bigger goals, you will get stagnate.

Ultimately what drives me as an entrepreneur is accomplishing things others said were impossible.

My approach is no different than a pro athlete's except the sweat is usually in front of my retina iMac instead of in the gym ;)
 

ddall

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Lessons learned...well, this could be pages, given the tremendous amount of books, blogs and podcasts consumed, as well as first had experience gleamed in my business in 2014. If I had to distill a favourite concept, one that I continually remind myself of...It would have to be "the compound effect". Time is is your most valuable asset in the quest to realize any potential or live out dreamed experiences. How we utilize our time, and when we sow our seeds determines what we reap in the future. It's been said a million times here, but, consistent, daily action towards a given desirable outcome will compound over time. The image below is great to review and internalize. This relates to all facets of life:



It's like a swinging a club at a golf ball. Slight variations of the angle at which the club hits the ball will be visibly amplified the further the ball travels over time. A slight angle to the left, or right, will result in exponential difference as the ball launches further and further away. Smart choices, daily, including taking action, learning, staying healthy, will take you you further than you can imagine, when applied consistently over time.
 

Jake Knight

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After reading MJ Demarco book twice,It changed my perspective on life.I was conformed to working a 9-5 Job,and thought the more education the better the pay.I was totally wrong.His book literally opened my eyes to the real world.Everyday I wake up, the first thought that comes to mind,is how to get out this career of earned income to passive income.
2014 I leanred
1.Be open to conversing with strangers,because you don't know their walk of life.
2.Stay confident,no matter the difficulty.
3.Do your research on the market you wish to pursue.
4.Stray away from the crowd.
5.Keep a positive attitude no matter the circumstances.
6.Success or die trying.
 

Hong King Kong

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Last year was a huge year of personal growth.

Still have tons to learn, but the big take-away was....

Just go out there and DO IT!! Nobody in the universe really truly knows what will happen until it is done.

You can only succeed or learn, there is no failure.
 

Michał Kóska

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Business: learning, learning, learning and writing down ideas.

Life: Spending as much time as possible with my family, exercising a lot, challenging myself everyday with something new.
 

EE7

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Sep 3, 2013
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Business: Have a contract in place before you start working on software for a company. The "customer" I was working for decided to go for an inferior product for a lot less money. I wasted 3 months time but learned an extremely valuable lesson in doing so.

Life:
Open your eyes and view not just the road in front of you, but what is happening all around you. There are endless opportunities around us. It took me 26 years to realize that the world is absolutely gorgeous when one takes the time to view it.
 

pds

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I've learned a lot over the past year from reading a ton of books, this forum and pursuing my own project. Here is a quick brain dump of the lessons that come to mind:
  • Take action and figure it out as you go. There is only so much preparation you can do before you have to grab fear by the balls and dive right in (no balls, no babies)
  • Outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens. Most of the times that you feel fear, it’s a sign that great things are on the other side.
  • Find your WHY. Make the WHY your mantra and purpose for what you’re doing. This is important for when the going gets tough.
  • Understand yourself in order to understand others. Marketing is all about understanding others and selflessly going above and beyond to solve their problems and fulfill their needs (learn copywriting)
  • Wake up early and use the time to do your body good: mind (read), body (workout and nourish), and soul (meditate). Health is the foundation for everything, without it nothing else matters.
  • Dream BIG and never stop. Ignore the naysayers. Most people out there want to watch you fail because they are too lazy to improve themselves.
  • Don’t listen to someone unless they’ve been there before you. (read biographies to learn from the greats)
  • Always look to give value without asking for anything in return.
  • Time is our greatest asset. Cherish it like your life depends on it.
 

Jamesdoesmith

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that life insurance or any insurances job that promises you the moon will do a really really good job as dressing itself as a fastlane you control but it's really just a shiny, depressing job.
 

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smartman

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Apr 7, 2013
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earlier in the year, I tried to establish some contacts to sell used iphones internationally. the arbitrage was pretty appealing considering the market in europe/belgium, the demand, and the strength of the euro vs usd. A friend set me up with a coworker of his who is Nigerian and was very interested in establishing himself as an importer to the nigerian community in belgium and in the country of Nigeria. The friend vouched for him, I spoke with the Nigerian every day, seemed like a solid dude trying to make things better for his family. I floated him 5 phones as a test with only a 400 dollar deposit so he could get things rolling. Sure as shit, he made up some story about having the police seize the phones from a store he was having consign them for him. I was so pissed at myself for being so trusting, but the lesson has been invaluable. Money up front always, unless you are close enough that can drive to your house and punch you in the face.
 

contract

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VC/Funding is the most powerful asset for any business starting out.

(Aside from actually taking action in the first place*)
 

MJ DeMarco

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VC/Funding is the most powerful asset for any business starting out.

(Aside from actually taking action in the first place*)
Cmon man! That's like shoving a bottle of Jack in front of an recovering alcoholic. Deets!
 

contract

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Did you get funded?! If so, congrats!
Not personally, just an "aha" for the moment..

I joined the team at a new, heavily funded start up. ($MM)

Starting to understand how it all works and learning the process.

Gaining a lot of insight I would have otherwise totally missed out on.

It was something I had to do in order to grow and move forward.

Cmon man! That's like shoving a bottle of Jack in front of an recovering alcoholic. Deets!
Haha MJ.

Still working on Next Luxury daily, though no outsider funding for my own business presently.

Gearing up for it in the future; still learning how VC/funding works before jumping all in.
 

mayana

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My biggest lesson from 2014 was about control. Not just in business, but in life. Last year, something very major was resolved for me that had been up in the air for a few years. While it worked out favorably for me, the thing that hit home the most was that even though we can't have 100% control over everything in our lives, it is IMPORTANT to have enough control at least to have good options.

And so, for 2015, this is the focus for me. 2014 was my most productive year as an entrepreneur (built several long-term intellectual property assets), and 2015 is off to a great start already.
 

Karen

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Feb 28, 2015
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Business: Focusing on one entrepreneurial path and grind it out to make it work.

I used to dip my wantrepreneurial toes into all kinds of waters - Business ADHD! Less really felt like less. During the past year it dawned on me how scarce time actually is. If you don't want your fastlane journey to take a decade you need to focus your energy on one hill and be determined to climb to the top.


Life: Energy is best invested in Daily Habits. The biggest determinant in behavior are your neuronal pathways and changing them requires intentional daily repetition.

I used to believe that if you are determined and really set your mind to a new behavior then that would certainly work. I regularly got the "I will change everything overnight" fever. 2014 I got serious about making change brain-proof, spacing out behavioral changes and integrating them into daily habits.
 

falcon87pl

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Apr 6, 2014
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Business: "All you can do is all you can do but all you can do is enough." 9-5 job and 1 hour on commuting? No problem. I learn fast typing between the calls and listen to personal development audiobooks in the car. Not enough power after the work? No problem. Let's do some jogging in the morning. Living in the country with one of the most red-tape-soaked and unwelcoming laws for running the company in Europe? No problem. Let's focus on the job and move to UK in September. No idea how to run the company in the UK? No problem. Google it, join the forum, talk with friends who has already emigrated. "Everything is witihin reach." :)

Life: I became a father 2 months ago and I did realise very fast the importance of TIME. In the past I was able to go to the gym, have a nap, play on console for 30-40 minutes, read personal devlpoment book for 30-60 minutes and do something else during one day (apart from my 9-5 job). Now I feel like "It's 10 PM, now you can do whatever you want. MAKE YOUR CHOICE WISELY."

PS: A good friend of mine is pissed off becuase the MLM owner changed the rules and leaders started earning 30% less overnight. He used to smile when I told him that he did not own the business and did not have enough control...
 
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zerobrainwash

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Life: Energy is best invested in Daily Habits. The biggest determinant in behavior are your neuronal pathways and changing them requires intentional daily repetition.

I used to believe that if you are determined and really set your mind to a new behavior then that would certainly work. I regularly got the "I will change everything overnight" fever. 2014 I got serious about making change brain-proof, spacing out behavioral changes and integrating them into daily habits.
The neural pathways thing sounds a lot like what Tony Robbins talks about in his books and it's really backed up by solid science. But what do you mean by brain-proof behavioral changes, could you elaborate on that?
 

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Karen

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Yes, sure! If you have read up these concepts you are probably familiar with a lot of it, but I'll give you my take on it!

The essence boils down to using your evolutionary-built brain and the huge impact it has on every aspect of your behavior. Making behavioral change "brain-proof" is all about laying out a plan that you will follow being your highest and lowest self. The latter obviously being the hard one to bring along... the lazy, fridge opening, series watching, snoozing, dopamine addicted self ;)

Brain-proof Changes
- Willpower is a limited resource that is depleted, battery-style.
- You will need willpower to redirect your autopilot
- The most economic use of willpower is to establish behavior that pays dividends over and over: Habits!
- Even if your "highest self" is motivated to change several behaviors at once, space them out!
- Willpower curve for habits increases initially and decreases later
- Take your personal brain into the equation: the more prone it is to being a dopamine junkie, the more time you
need to plan between new habits, as you will require more willpower.

If you'd want to go further, I'd look into nutrition and glucose management (affects willpower). Two people doing great work on habits and willpower: Eben Pagan and Charles Duhigg.
 

zerobrainwash

Contributor
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Interesting theories. Talking about food, it indeed has amazing power to empower or destroy us. My crazy diet almost destroyed me prior to 2014. Gladfully, I was able to come back and eating clean is playing miracles so far, that was my biggest lesson in 2014 and perhaps the whole life. I haven't looked into the glucose management and haven't heard of these people, will check it out, thanks!
 
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mowealth

Bronze Contributor
Feb 18, 2014
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Business:
1. Don't make your employees work FOR you, make them work WITH you.
2. You become rich when you enrich others.
3. Your customers are actually at the top level of the business hierarchy.
4. If there's no trust and/or integrity, fire them.
5. Earn in dollars, spend in yuan. (Earn more, spend less)
6. Branding & delivering your USP are extremely important.

Life:
1. It goes on.
2. Your life is & will be the way it is, because of the choices you make. "If you want to change your life, change your choices" - MJ.
3. Stop whining and complaining. Take action RIGHT NOW, things always get in the way later.
4. A few things lost can be found, except time wasted.
5. Don't think you know it all. Try to learn something new everyday.
6. You are capable of doing anything, the only thing that's holding you back is that fear.
 

Veloce Grey

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Take Action

Back on September 10th I went to the (general) doctor about a mole that was concerning me. She examined it, considered it normal under the scope and said we'd keep an eye on it. I considered consulting a specialist but the clinic was a couple of hours drive away so I put it off.

It continued annoying me enough that eventually by February I had booked an appointment with a specialist dermatologist in the nearest city. He took about 1 minute to suggest it was melanoma, took it out the next day, and got back to me a week later with the confirmed results from the lab.

I have no way of knowing whether the wait from September to February will be the difference between life or death, but what is fairly certain is the mole got across the threshold to where they feel it is helpful to do a biopsy under general at the hospital to check for spread. I don't like hospitals but while I'm in there I can at least consider the cost of not taking action.

I hate to think of all how bad an investment the things I did in those 5 months were compared to what could have been couple of hours set aside to look after the issue back then.
 

Andy Black

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Thanks for sharing your story. It really does put things in perspective. Powerful message.

Hope you get good news.

Take Action

Back on September 10th I went to the (general) doctor about a mole that was concerning me. She examined it, considered it normal under the scope and said we'd keep an eye on it. I considered consulting a specialist but the clinic was a couple of hours drive away so I put it off.

It continued annoying me enough that eventually by February I had booked an appointment with a specialist dermatologist in the nearest city. He took about 1 minute to suggest it was melanoma, took it out the next day, and got back to me a week later with the confirmed results from the lab.

I have no way of knowing whether the wait from September to February will be the difference between life or death, but what is fairly certain is the mole got across the threshold to where they feel it is helpful to do a biopsy under general at the hospital to check for spread. I don't like hospitals but while I'm in there I can at least consider the cost of not taking action.

I hate to think of all how bad an investment the things I did in those 5 months were compared to what could have been couple of hours set aside to look after the issue back then.
 

EarnStackEnjoy

New Contributor
Mar 10, 2015
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Life: The action you are most resistant against, is often the action you need to take.
Don't prepare. Begin.
Knowledge is useless - Unless you use it. (EarnStackEnjoy, 2015)
 

EarnStackEnjoy

New Contributor
Mar 10, 2015
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Life: Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy.

Business: Do the work others aren’t willing to do, and you’ll get the things others will never have.
Two greate ones! Awesome.

I would also like to add a game changing lesson I learned this past year.

Life: Don't blame other peoples lack of social skills. Everyone got their passions and interests and if you can't bring it out in a discussion - You're the one to blame. (The importance of deep listening)
 
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