A couple of days ago I realised it’s been exactly 5 years since I quit my corporate job to embark on my entrepreneurial journey. 5 years!
Of course, it hasn’t always been easy and a lot of mistakes have been made and lessons learned in the process. However, along the way, I also received some pieces of advice that I’m glad I didn’t listen to and followed my own path instead.
You see, I’m all about learning from other experts and entrepreneurs and investing in your education, but this doesn’t mean that you should apply every piece of unsolicited advice to your life and business.
So in this episode, to commemorate 5 years of my entrepreneurial journey, I’m sharing with you 8 different pieces of advice I’m glad I decided to ignore as I was building my business and why.
Here’s a little preview of 3 of the 8 pieces of advice I’m glad I decided to ignore along the way. Tune it to the episode to hear them all!
01 / YOU MUST GAIN TRADITIONAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE BEFORE YOU START YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Don’t get me wrong, I think those who went to design school and have practical experience working in a professional creative environment or an agency had the chance to develop some very useful and unique skills that I’ll probably never have.
However, I don’t think this is the only way to go.
We’re so incredibly lucky today to have access to any type of education online and learn from people we look up to. I also believe that although I have a great academic and professional background, it’s the live experiences throughout my entrepreneurial journey that really shaped my business and communication skills.
02 / DON’T QUIT YOUR JOB UNTIL YOU HAVE AT LEAST 6 MONTHS WORTH OF SAVINGS
Now the only thing that this advice really got me is that it got me stuck for longer than I wish I did at a job that was clearly making me unhappy.
Of course, I know that many people are in a full-time job and they’re running their business as a side hustle for now, waiting to be able to match at least the same salary or put a certain amount aside before quitting their job.
In my case however, this just didn’t work out. You see, I’m someone who works really well under pressure and tight deadlines. So when my ass is on fire – I’m gonna find an ice bucket if I need to! Of course, this approach won’t work for everyone but it did work for me and I’m glad, because if I didn’t take that leap of faith, I would’ve been stuck in a job that was making me miserable for way longer.
03 / NICHE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE
This is a bit controversial because you’ll hear me talk about the importance of niching and specialising a lot as you scale your business. However, I don’t entirely believe that you need to niche down as quickly as possible in the early stages of your journey.
When I started learning more about design, branding, strategy, etc. I watched this video where it said “you should choose what path you wanna follow and learn as much as possible about it, really specialise in it and focus on that and that only.”
Now the problem with that approach is that when you’re starting out – especially if you’re self taught like I was – you don’t know what you want to specialise in. You don’t know what you like and prefer. What your design style is. What type of clients do you want to serve and work with, etc.
I experimented a lot in the beginning and really dipped my toes in a lot of different things to understand what, first and foremost, makes me happy and then how can I scale that and build a sustainable business from it.