If you're not willing to learn and adapt, you'll always be playing catchup as an entrepreneur.
This is a lesson I've had to learn countless times over the course of the past 5 years, but 2017, in particular, showed me a lot about myself and this way of life I've chosen.
I've taken what started as a way to make side income and turned it into a full-time business, which spawned a couple of other businesses that my wife and I work on. This has taken a lot of diligence and a lot of willingness to check my ego.
If you're thinking about going the freelance route or starting your own enterprise, you're definitely in good company. For instance, e-commerce accounts for more than $1 trillion each year, so there's no reason you can't find your niche and build your own customer base.
Below I'll dive into some things that 2017 taught me, which revolutionized my life as an entrepreneur.
1. Things Don't Always Happen On Your Own Time -- Keep Working
I started 2017 in a serious hole, with some of the goals that weren't quite panning out. As the year went on, I'd scratch one goal off, only to find that an even tougher challenge awaited me on the other side of it.
What I realized is that there's no magical period of everything settling down and opening the way to the glory days. Rather than getting discouraged about it, I found freedom in this for one reason.
The glory days are now.
Rather than hunkering down and waiting for storms to pass, it became clear to me that this is what I signed up when I decided to take the entrepreneur path. What this made me do is turn to inspiration from others, past and present who have skin in this game.
I turned to some YouTube sensations, but more than ever, I went back to basics with books like Think and Grow Rich and The Richest Man in Babylon.
This reframed my thinking and reminded me that I'm playing the long game, so a down year isn't much in the grand scheme of things. Getting too high and too low has no place in any facet of business, so it pays to see the opportunities, rather than just the setbacks.
The way to do this is by working while righting the ship. Allowing yourself to freeze while things aren't going well is a sure fire way to stay there.
2. Get Used To Dealing With The Worst First
Science backs that decision fatigue is a serious problem for many people. As your day goes on, the fatigue of having to make decision after decision leads to the likelihood that those decisions will become worse.
The way to avoid this is to simplify as many things in your life as you can. Having to hire an assistant to handle smaller tasks, or organizing your day better, can help you to keep your willpower throughout the day.
Another way to beat decision fatigue is by handling the hardest part of your day earlier in the day. This is when your willpower is as high as it'll be throughout the day, so you'd be better served tackling the most burdensome task.
When you organize your days like this, it makes it much easier to stay focused and hit your targets.
3. You Can Never Invest Too Much Into Learning
Getting the right information allows you to be the best entrepreneur and leader possible.
The most successful people become sponges for information and make the best use of the information they take in. For instance, Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year. These books shape the way you think and solve problems. Since you have access to Kindle, Audible and other resources, you need to be taking in as much information as humanly possible.
Outside of taking in great books, make sure that you're constantly thinking and learning relevant to your field. For instance, real estate experts in Silicon Valley should not just read industry favorites like Building Wealth One House At A Time, but should also be aware the market for all San Jose homes for sale, and should keep an ear to the tech industry in order to be able to make small talk and facilitate networking opportunities.
By becoming a sponge for information, you'll stay relevant and ahead of the curve.
4. Stay Fluid In Your Decision Making
This one was huge and a big reason that my 2017 ended on a positive note. I did away with setting and following through with goals that aren't working.
Don't get me wrong -- I know that any goal takes some perseverance. But the biggest game changer was recognizing when my thinking is flawed so that I can adjust course and right my own ship.
This means having no ego about it and doing what's necessary for the well-being of my business.
If you apply these tips, I'm sure they'll help you like they've helped me.