…and here’s what I’ve learned.
- Someone will always know more than you. Sometimes, they actually do. Often, they don’t. Listen to the ones who have actually been there and done that, and then put it into action. The ones who haven’t? Listen to them too. You’ll still probably learn something, but it’s probably not what they’re trying to teach you.
- Help people. No matter what your skill set is, someone could use your help. If they can’t afford you, help them anyhow. It doesn’t always mean working for free. Maybe it’s a introduction to someone who is in their price range. Perhaps it’s just a “try this instead of that” tip. Don’t expect payment, but expect for it to pay off.
- Go big(ger). Sure, you can get work by being the cheapest, but unless you’re just stepping foot into the industry, you don’t always want whatever you can get. Be choosey about who you work with. Turn down jobs that aren’t quite a good fit. Bid for jobs that are bigger than you’ve ever done. Charge more than the other guy, but deliver an excellent product that’s worth paying more for. Someone will take a chance on you, and then you’ve successfully bumped yourself up the food chain of perceived value.
- Don’t spend money on “stuff”. Spend it on growth. You don’t need the newest MacBook Air. You do, however, have to keep up with your competition. Whether it’s a conference, workshop, online training, or whatever; if it’ll help you directly bring more revenue and retain better clients, spend the cash on it.
- Don’t be everything to everybody. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to be oblivious. Don’t try to do it all. Partner with other people who do the things you need well, and stick with what you know. It works out better for everyone that way.
- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep. Don’t eat crappy food. Take a walk. It helps you stay productive, focused, and healthy. If you ignore this, your work will be affected.
I learned most of these the hard way. You’ve just learned them the easy way.