This episode is taken from a video I put out last year with my 10 Lessons Learned in 10 Years of Self Employment. As I revisited the video, I wanted to put this into the podcast because all of these tips are 100% still relevant and timeless lessons that I still stand by today. Since this month actually marks my 11th year of being self-employed, I also dish out and additional 11th tip as well 🙂

In This Episode

00:00 – Introduction
05:40 – 1) Embrace the 3 P’s
08:28 – 2) Delayed Gratification
11:38 – 3) Don’t be Afraid of Cooperation
13:26 – 4) Prioritize systems
15:56 – 5) Keep calm & sustainable
19:52 – 6) Invest in you
24:12 – 7) Don’t burn bridges
27:08 – 8) Limit distractions
29:28 – 9) Don’t be afraid to fail
34:59 – 10) Be nice
37:13 – Recap

Bonus tip as I’m now in year 11…Consistency Beats Intensity

Links mentioned in the episode:

Books mentioned in the episode:

Episode #029 Full Transcription

Josh 0:16
Hey, everybody, welcome to episode 29. This episode is actually taken from a talk that I put out exactly a year ago, on the 10 lessons that I’ve learned in that time, the 10 years of being self employed. So actually, at the time of releasing this podcast episode, it’s been 11 years, since I’ve been self employed. But as I was going through some of my previous content, I looked at this video, and all of these lessons are still very timeless, and they still very much apply right now. Which is why I wanted to kind of republish this content as a podcast episode.

Josh 0:52
So these are the 10 lessons that I learned in my 10 years of self employment. But again, as I just mentioned, right now, it’s actually my 11th year. So what I’m going to do before I play this one for you, is I’m going to give you an 11th lesson learned. And this is something that I’ve thought a lot about this year. And it’s an idea that stemmed off of Episode Two in my podcast with Tim Strifler and he said a quote that has just resonated with me ever since. And the quote is something like this consistency beats intensity, I have found that to be completely 100% accurate and true. In every aspect of business, a lot of people tend to get really pumped up, particularly those who are in startups, or maybe they’re just starting their business, people get all fired up, and they just work 90 hours a week, and they hustle, hustle, hustle. And then what happens after three months to a few months after that, inevitably, they fizzle out. And one of my points in this upcoming talk is about how to keep a common sustainable pace. And that’s huge. And that really lends itself to being consistent.

Josh 1:57
Honestly, guys, consistency is perhaps definitely one of the most important things you need to focus on. Just be consistent in what you’re doing. I see this a lot of times with blog posts to a lot of my clients will say, I really want to start a blog, I’m like, well, great, let’s set it up, and you can start a blog. And then generally what they do is again, going back to the whole three to six month thing, they’ll do it for a few months, and then they fizzle out. Even if you don’t see the results during something right away. If you stay consistent, you will start seeing results. It’s just like working out or eating healthy. If you go to the gym and go for like three hours a day for five days in a row. Are you going to see many results after the first week, probably not, you’re just going to be super short sore and burnout.

Josh 2:41
But if you do something sustainable and doing consistently over weeks, and over months, you will see results and it will be life changing. Same thing in business. So anything you’re doing, guys, whether it’s blog posting, whether it’s marketing, whether it’s producing content, whether it’s your process for your website, designs, whatever you’re doing in business, do it consistently, consistency over intensity, I promise it’ll go a long way for you.

Josh 3:05
So that is my my 11th lesson learned in right now my 11 years of self employment. But here is my talk on the top 10 lessons learned, which again, are completely relevant. Hope you guys enjoy this. Hey, if you like this, be sure to leave a review on the podcast. And let me know if you have any of your own. You can go to the show notes for this page. If you have any lessons that you’ve learned. If you’ve been self employed for a while, I’d love to hear them. So drop me a comment and leave a review on this podcast if you would it really make a big difference. And I love reading the reviews it just makes makes it all worth it for me. So leave a review. And let me know what you think about this one. Here are my top 10s Excuse me top 10 lessons learned and 10 years of self employment Enjoy.

Josh 3:47
Hey, everybody, its Josh here. 10 years ago, this month, I got laid off from my job as a cabinet maker here at a local tour bus customizing shop in Columbus, Ohio. And right when that happened, I began working some odd jobs and side jobs to be able to cover bills and expenses. And then soon after, I started to get involved in the wild world of graphic design and website design. And that began my journey into self employment. And a decade later, I have not looked back from that. And I have never regretted it at any point right now I’m fortunate to be able to be running a six figure web design business and I have a whole personal endeavor. I’m growing at my personal site at Josh Hall co where I’m helping other web designers achieve the same. And what I decided to do in this video in this post, as I reflected back recently, and I put together my top 10 lessons learned in the 10 years that I’ve been self employed.

Josh 4:40
Now over the past decade, of course I’ve learned 1000s of things and we could go into so much detail but these 10 things have really made a massive impact on me and not only my business but my personal growth. And these are things I wanted to share with you. Whether you are maybe thinking about starting your own business. Maybe you have a side hustle that you want to take to the next level. Maybe you’ve already started a business, and you want to just be able to apply things that are going to help you help you succeed in the long run, these things that I share with you that I’ve made a massive impact for me are going to be able to be applied immediately. So no matter where you’re at, I hope you get some value from this.

Josh 5:18
There is a full post below that has all the details I’m going to link to a lot of things I mentioned below, I also have my story, if you’re curious about how I went from cabinetmaker to drummer to being in a band traveling to starting my business and where I am now, I do have that and kind of a summarized version, I’ll link to that below as well. But without further ado, let’s get into my top 10 lessons learned of 10 years of self employment.

1) Embrace the 3 P’s – Persistence, Patience and Perseveranc

Josh 5:40
Number one is to embrace the three P’s. And I’m sure I heard this somewhere recently, but we’re gonna pretend right now that I created these. And those are patience, perseverance, and persistence. So let’s cover these briefly here, patience, because as we’re going to talk about next, and point number two, good things, particularly in business do not happen overnight, they take time, you see, of course, all these ads for like, you know, get this get get rich quick, and all these things that will promise overnight success. And the reality is, that just doesn’t happen in real life. Maybe it happens in point oh one of situations. But the problem with even quick success is that generally, it’s not sustainable.

Josh 6:22
So I’ve learned that you have to be patient, in every area of life, particularly in business. So practically, that means you need to be patient with different people with different personality types with your colleagues, with customers and clients, you need to be very patient also, with technology, technology is changing so fast. And as a web designer, I can really attest to this because I’ve had to be very patient with how things change. And you even have to be patient just in success in general, because again, as I just mentioned, sometimes overnight success doesn’t leave you with something that’s sustainable for the long term. So patience is huge

Josh 6:56
Perseverance, because when you run a business, I truly believe that it will be either one or perhaps the hardest thing that you’re ever going to do, you’re gonna have to persevere in areas that you’ve never thought of. And I’ve seen that play out in every aspect of life. There are so many highs and lows that come with business. And sometimes that’s every day, sometimes you’ll have a really high and a really low right at the same time. And you’re just gonna have to persevere through that, particularly if you’re in a low season when maybe clients are down or business is slow, you’re going to have to persevere through a lot of tough times, you’re going to have to also persevere through unknowns like questions like, am I going to have enough clients this month or next will I be able to pay my mortgage?

Josh 7:37
Will I have enough for my team to be able to carry on, and you’re going to have to have perseverance in the small things as well. Even through some of the mundane day to day emails and business life and stuff, you just have to get done. I think that’s almost one of the hardest parts, is just being able to do some of the tasks that I just really don’t feel like doing, you’re gonna have to persevere through that and get a lot of stuff done in order to have success in the long term.

Josh 8:00
And then persistence, because when you are a business owner, you are the one driving that business every day, you’re going to have to be the one steering the ship, you’re going to have to be Kassie casting the vision for the people around you. And you’re gonna have to do that continuously. And you’re gonna have to lead the way through every challenge and every every failure that you’re going to endure along the way as a business owner. So I could probably talk about those all day. But the three P’s, we’ll call them Josh’s three P’s right now patience, perseverance, and persistence.

2) Prepare for Delayed Gratification

Josh 8:28
Number two, like I just mentioned, we were gonna get into, is to prepare for delayed gratification. So we live in a world where we’re just used to getting things done instantly, or we get instant gratification, whether it’s getting a meal, or whether it’s signing up for some sort of service or ordering something from Amazon and getting it the next day. And the problem with a lot of this is that it doesn’t prepare us for being a business owner, or having any sort of business or financial access, because things in business most often do not come easy and do they do not come quick. I have just found that success does not happen instantly.

Josh 9:05
Now, sometimes it doesn’t take as long as others sometimes it’s hours, sometimes it’s days, sometimes it’s week, but it can be months or years, I found that practically with this endeavor that I have a Josh, where it’s just now starting to pay off nearly two years later from starting it. But man, it is awesome. I still am so glad that I took the leap to do this. And even though it’s been very costly, in a lot of ways, now it’s paying off. And I know that I’ve set myself to have sustainable success for years to come with this. So again, a lot of things that are the best things in life take time.

Josh 9:38
And I just going back to what I said previously, a lot of things that happen overnight, even if you do have a quick success, success is not going to be sustainable for the long run because you learn so much more and you just build that muscle that business muscle we’ll call it when you go through things and when you have to persevere through stuff that’s going to be delayed. So when I work with web designers, and I hear I work with a lot of new clients and stuff that say, I need to grow this thing fast, or I need to get this thing big quick or I need to, I need to get some money in the door fast. I’m very leery about working with those clients. Number one, I’m very leery about the the web designers and other people, my colleagues who say that because most of those people just don’t make it, you have to be in the mindset that things are going to be more long term, that gratification is going to be delayed. And again, it’s just it, you grow so much more. And you’ll build sustainability and the systems be able to handle success for when it happens, because a lot of people might have a quick success, but then they don’t have the team in place to handle or the systems of the processes.

Josh 10:41
And you really I think I’ve learned that you really have to enjoy the process. You got to enjoy the the progress of the daily mundane details of the small wins. And remember what you’re building towards. And one thing I’ll just say, to wrap up this size, that the the word success may be different to a lot of different people. You think about success, you think financial growth and success. And that’s surely part of it. Because if you’re going to start a business, you want to be able to provide your family, you want it to be not losing money. But there’s a lot of other things that go with that if you’re very financially successful, but you’re miserable, and you’re working 80 hours a week, and you’re going to die when you’re 45 Because you work yourself to death, I would not call that a success. So having that in mind just leads to delayed gratification. And while it’s tough. While sometimes it’s tricky, and a lot of times you’re gonna have highs and lows with it, it is a very, very important thing to remember because most of the good things in life, particularly in business are not going to happen overnight.

3) Don’t be Afraid of Coopetition

Josh 11:38
Number three, don’t be afraid of coopetition. This is a term, that basically means you are cooperating with your competition. So in web design, at least, I know that a lot of freelancers and agencies who feel like they need to be sworn in enemies of each other. And I’m sure that’s true for you know, several other industries as well. But what I found that is if you embrace coopetition, or even, dare I say do some partnerships and referrals with your competition, it can lead to very fruitful relationships all around for each other, and then for your clientele as well. So I have a lot of colleagues and competing web design agencies that I refer clients to and potential leads to all the time. And they’re doing that in return. And it’s been amazing.

Josh 12:23
What I’ve learned is like previously, I would try to take on every job that came my way. And if somebody was looking at multiple agencies, I would try to not talk bad about them, but just make sure they knew that I was the best or talk about what they might not do that I would do well now, if a lead comes my way. And I feel like it’s something that I could take on but I think one of my colleagues would just be better suited for, I’m very quick to offer an introduction and do a referral. And that has paid dividends for me tenfold.

Josh 12:53
I’ve also learned that when you do that, when you partner with your competition, it’s amazing what you learn and you build each other up, it’s really, really cool. Because particularly like web design, there’s just so many different aspects to it. Seo, for example, is not something that I’m an expert on. So I partner with some people, and I’ve learned so much from them. And it’s been a win win for clients for them all around. So don’t be afraid of coopetition. No matter what industry in some industries, I’m sure you need to be a little harder or meaner than others. But coopetition will go a long way. And a lot of areas you probably didn’t think so you didn’t think of

4) Prioritize Your Systems, Process and Automation

Josh 13:26
Number four is to prioritize your systems, processes, and automation. So to be honest, if there’s anything that I’ve regretted, in the daycare in the decade of my self employment, it’s the amount of wasted time that I’ve spent in repeating the same things over and over and over and over again, making my life more difficult wasting time being very costly in the long run. And then it’s things like not keeping files and basic things organized, or making some sort of system and process to make my future self happier. So I always say, whatever I’m going to do today, I want to make future Josh, but you know, I want to put things at ease for him because there’s nothing worse than be like Why the heck did I do this two months ago, this is gonna take me forever to sort out. And this is really important when you have a team to learn that daily now.

Josh 14:13
So practically one way I employ this is with email. So in my line of work, I generally talk about a lot of the same tools and practices things over and over and over again. And I found myself repeating emails and typing the same thing out over and over and over and over again. What I started doing was creating an email template. And so my rule of thumb now is anytime I have an email that I’m going to be repeating, I will make an email template that way I can just open it up, paste it, I can make any tweaks or changes if need be, but the bulk of the emails already written and it saves me so much time in the long run.

Josh 14:49
And then I do the same thing with tutorials and walkthrough videos as well. So practically, we use a platform called Basecamp to manage all of our products or projects and When I would onboard a client, there was always this back and forth. And there was a lot of questions. And I found myself repeating how we use it, what they should do, how we should upload content and all that stuff. What I did was I spent about 20, or 30 minutes to create a little walkthrough video, that now I just send to the client every time we onboard a project, and it has already saved me so much time, it did take a little time to record the video, but it’s gonna save me hours, potentially days in the long run.

Josh 15:27
And so those are just two, you know, practical examples of how I am investing a little bit of time initially into making a system or a process to automate it to save time in the long run. So there’s a lot of different areas you can utilize this in, particularly when it comes to something you’re repeating internal systems, processes, anything you can do that is worthwhile spending a little bit of time initially, I promise, it’s going to pay off in the long run. So we’ll leave that one at that. But really, really good practice to think about.

5) Keep Your Pace Calm and Sustainable

Josh 15:56
Number five is to keep your pace calm and sustainable. This is probably an area that I’m most passionate about right now. And what I found, at least in my experience is that with a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of new business owners and a lot of startups, the president or the person leading the way is like super gung ho, they’re energized or pumped up, they watched a bunch of motivational videos, and they’re just ready to get going, and they’re crazy. And they just work tirelessly, tirelessly. And then inevitably, they fizzle out. Usually, it’s about three months to six months. And they fizzle out, everyone around them is stressed out, and it just ends up being a terrible experience all around. Now, some people are wired to be able to handle a lot more, and can sustain that type of pace. But I firmly believe that eventually everyone’s gonna wear down. And this is really, really important if you are working with a team.

Josh 16:49
So I have a couple clients right now who they’re at such a like a fast and stressed out pace that, quite honestly, I don’t like working with them or getting an email from them, because it stresses me out just thinking about what they’re going to ask me. And then I see their team. More importantly, I see the team, like they have such a high turnover rate, because the person leading the way is stressed out and has just taken too much on. And it’s just not a sustainable pace.

Josh 17:11
So the idea here is to keep your daily pace, calm and sustainable. Because if it’s not sustainable, it’s going to affect you very negatively, mentally, physically and emotionally, you’re just not going to be healthy all around. And again, you can only stay, you know, crazy busy for so long. So sometimes when I hear either potential clients or colleagues or somebody else, say like, I want to be the biggest in my area really quick, I just want to do this in like six months or just something crazy. If it’s an audacious goal, I just kind of roll my eyes because I know it’s not going to last long. And again, going back to the instant success, you’re not going to be wired to be able to have something that’s sustainable for the long time.

Josh 17:53
Now, I will say there are seasons where this is going to be harder than others. There are seasons where you you know have to work extra than others. But the problem with that, and what I’m kind of challenging myself with is, especially in web design, like right now springtime is a really busy season, a lot of people want to get their websites done, before they head further into the spring and into the summer. What I found is that I used to always go through a busy season and say, you know, the next after we get these projects done, then we’re going to settle down, I’m going to stop work until seven or eight are I’m going to make sure I prioritize you know working out or staying healthy. But then what happens, all those projects get done, and then another flood of projects come on. And it just ends up being the cycle of overworking and overworking and overworking.

Josh 18:36
So what I’ve really been intentional about recently is saying, like setting guidelines to where let’s say, you know, like today, I’m going to take a run today. And in a couple hours, no matter what happens, unless you know, it’s a life or death situation, which is very rare. I’m going to take some time and take a run today because I need to make that a priority, I need to stay healthy. And what I found is that if you neglect those things that keep you calm and keep you on a sustainable pace, it’s going to spin bother to control and you’re going to be in a constant state of stressed out busyness, and it’s just not going to go over well.

Josh 19:11
There are a couple of books that I’m going to recommend that I read recently, in this in this vein when it talks, you know when we’re talking about keeping a sustainable pace and kind of a calm company. One is that It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work book. And then there’s another book called Work Less, Make More, I’ll link to those below really, really good reads. Particularly if you find yourself stressed out or have your company stressed out and you just it’s a pace that you know is not going to be able to be sustainable.

Josh 19:36
So I just want to encourage you to you know, to set normal hours particularly if you’re working from home, it can be really easy to work non stop. It’s a daily challenge for myself, but I’m really trying to make sure I leave more time for my family and and doing the things that are going to keep me healthy for the long run.

6) Invest in You

Josh 19:52
Number six is to invest in you. This may be it well no doubt is the most important investment you’ll ever make when you’re self employed, because it’s more important than anything, it’s more important than the equipment you buy, it’s more important than the space, you rent the business expenses that you have. And a lot of people spend so much money in so many areas, but they neglect the most important thing, which is right here your mind, in your health, you as the person, you know leading the way in your business. So I know that self improvement in the motivational space is often I rolled and scoffed at. But the fact is that if you don’t invest in yourself more than other areas, more than likely your business is going to fail. I’ve just found that particularly in the world of web design, a lot of really talented designers, I just am not going to work with or send clients to because either they can’t communicate, or they’ve just not invested in themselves to be able to, you know, run their business, even if they’re very talented.

Josh 20:53
So, practically, for me, after a decade of investing in myself, there’s a few things that I’ve done that I would encourage you to do as well that hopefully you can implement. And that is to buy and read personal and personal growth and Business Growth books. Now. A lot of people buy books, but they don’t read them. And audio books are fine, too. I still love an actual book, I will link to my my posts with some of my favorite reads recently to below. But buying and actually setting time to read those books has been massive. I mean, it’s it’s brain food. Basically, it’s I go through seasons, where I tend to read more than others, depending if I’m creating more content. But I’m really trying to make this a daily habit again to where I’m making sure I’m investing in myself at least 1520 minutes a day, because it’s massively important. The buying and reading personal and business books are going to be huge.

Josh 21:45
Going to a seminar or Workshop No matter what industry you’re in, there’s ample opportunities to go to some sort of seminar and workshop. And it costs money. And it can be time consuming. But it’s like every time you go to one of those you feel inspired, you feel pumped up. And it’s amazing how much you’ll learn if you go to like a live event, or even a webinar or something like that. So you got to take the time to invest in yourself there as well. And then something I’m really big on is to join a networking group or a group like Toastmasters or something that’s going to force you to work on your communication and your leadership skills. Those same thing, it takes time, it takes some money. But generally the the ROI the return on investment is tenfold with that. But I have become so much more I feel like leveled up because of my networking group because I’ve learned to communicate better and leading it now and my Toastmasters group where I learned to speak better and communicate better those things are invaluable and well worth the time and money it takes to do it.

Josh 22:40
Another one is to invest in coaching services, I was always very leery about doing any sort of business coaching, because number one, it is an investment. It can be pricey. But I just didn’t feel like anyone understood my business like I did. And that’s true. However, I learned that coaching services, you you kind of change your frame of mind. And it’s amazing to get another set of eyes on your business that will point things out that are glaring things that you would think you would catch, but when you’re in the business are easy to get by you. So I’ve invested in coaching services, the past two and a half years of my business. And you guessed it, the numbers just keep on going up because I’ve learned so much and had so much help through these coaching services. So definitely recommend some sort of coaching service to have other people involved with your business and invested in your growth and just you and then finally on this is to ask to be mentored and learn from people who are where you want to be are who more successful.

Josh 23:35
So when I first started in website design, I asked a couple mentors who had businesses or people who are more established to give me some guidance. And still to this day, some of those lessons have been have made the biggest impact on me. And it doesn’t take anything but shooting somebody an email or giving somebody a call. And most people will be willing to do some sort of mentorship where you just offer some guidance. I mean, it can be huge. I’m amazed at the the amount of people who just don’t ask for any help when you can either learn the hard way, or you can learn from others who have been there so as to be mentored and to learn from others who are successful will go a long way. So there we go. That’s enough for that one.

7) Don’t Burn Your Bridges

Josh 24:12
Number seven, don’t burn your bridges. Per usual in any aspect of life, it’s very easy to burn relationships and to burn bridges. Figuratively, of course. And what I found is whether it’s a potential lead, or whether it’s a colleague or a client, or maybe it’s a negative online comment, you’re going to have daily opportunities to go a negative route and burn bridges. But what I’ve found is if you are very intentional about making sure you don’t in that relationship unless it needs to be ended. Some people you don’t want to work with or some comments you just don’t want to respond to. But you I found that making sure those don’t end and they can lead to a positive impact have been huge and have led to some really cool things.

Josh 24:55
Two examples I want to point out number one, one of my best clients Today, she came to me like a few years ago. And I spent a lot of time with her talking about her project. And we did a really big proposal. And I spent a lot of time learning about her business and really coming up with this good plan to help her launch. And then she said the quote was too expensive. And she said she was going to go elsewhere and go a cheaper route. Now, my first reaction was a little angry, because I went the extra mile and talking, preparing with her, and I thought for sure she was gonna go for it. And then she decided to go a cheaper route. But instead of ending that in a bad way, and being angry about it, I said, you know, I understand. And I said, more importantly, this is always open, if you want to come back, and it doesn’t work out, well, I’ll keep this open. And we can always, you know, reopen this conversation.

Josh 25:43
A month later, I got a voicemail. And sure enough, she had been burned terribly. She had a terrible experience going the cheaper route. And she apologized and asked if we’d still be able to work together. And I said, Yep, absolutely, she signed the contract on day one made the payment immediately. And to this day, she is one of my best clients. And we’ve had a great working relationship. And now anytime I quote her for an amount of work, she’s very quick to say, yep, sounds good. She understands the value. And it’s been a great relationship that could have been ended had I just said, you know, how I responded badly or been upset, that’s moved elsewhere after going above and beyond for.

Josh 26:20
And the number two is a more a smaller approach. And that is I had a comment on one of my YouTube videos a while back that came across very wrong. And it really rubbed me the wrong way. And I’m not always a saint when responding to comments, but on this one, I just kind of slept on it. And come to find out this person did not speak English as a primary language. So they just didn’t quite know how to word it, I came across really what wrong. But after talking with them a little back and forth, they kind of like change their tone, and then ended up being a really good conversation. And now they’re one of their student in one of my online courses. So you know, I could have ended that with a terrible comment that reflected bad on me and just made them want to go away. But now they’re a student in a course. And it’s been awesome. So long story short, don’t burn your bridges, you never know where something may lead if you take the high road and be the bigger person.

8) Limit Your Distractions

Josh 27:08
Number eight, I love is limit your distractions. So of course, we live in a very distracted time and world. There’s email, social media texting you to podcasts, there’s just an endless stream of distraction for us. And what I’ve had to learn is that I need to be very intentional about focusing on the deep work and meaningful work that I need to get done. Now I do a lot of email. And I do a lot of commenting. And I do a lot of things that are kind of like lower level tasks, but I don’t do them all the time. And more importantly, now I don’t let them interrupt me from my deep work and that really meaningful work that I’m trying to accomplish.

Josh 27:47
Like right now I’m recording this video, I know I’m getting emailed. I’m probably getting pinged on Facebook, I’m getting messages, but I wanted to focus on this right now. So my phone’s off. Everything is is basically quieted so I can limit my distractions while I do this. One thing I’ve learned with this too, practically, is I just talked about turning my phone off a lot of times all closed by email, I’ll try to resist the urge to get on Facebook when I’m working on something. But the big thing is, is I get to those lower level tasks when I want to that way I’m not being pulled off in every direction, because I could very easily spend all day answering comments and being pulled to emails and stuff like that.

Josh 28:25
Now one thing that has really helped me that I think you can employ no matter what industry you’re in, is that I have a section of my day blocked out for what I call reactionary work time. And basically what that means is like as a web designer widgets break, things happen, people have issues. And generally I every time I would get an email in the past, I would jump on that immediately. And then I would find out that I was basically a support person. And I was doing support work all day. And then I didn’t even get any work done like real, real good design work.

Josh 28:55
So what I do now is I schedule a few projects during the day and segments that I have time in between for emails and calls, then I have a little chunk of my day at the end of the day for reactionary work. So I know if a client emails me at 9am says a widgets down unless it’s a life or death situation, I’ll get to it here, you know in about six hours or so and it’ll be fine. So do what you can to limit your distractions. Focus on the real deep work and meaningful work that you need to get done a really good book I recently read that I recommend is called Deep Work I’ll link that below to

9) Don’t be Afraid to Fail

Josh 29:28
Number nine is don’t be afraid to fail and this is self explanatory and it’s probably expected and any sort of lessons learned with business but I wanted to bring this up again because it is very, very important. And I think more importantly is that it is good for you seriously, it is good to fail. You’ve probably heard this in every self help book and business book available to you and you’re gonna see it across inspirational quotes and memes all across social media but I just would not be so quick to overlook that and sweep it under the rug because it is very, very important, and it’s going to be hard wired to every successful business owner. It’s like in your DNA when you become a business owner, because you will learn that you will fail and you will fail often. And we’re not even just talking about failing, like, as the business as a whole worst case scenario, yeah, that might happen. That’s a risk you take when you start a business. But I’m talking about little failures that can happen daily along the way.

Josh 30:22
Practically, this might look like maybe you offer a new service that fails, maybe a product that fails doesn’t go over, well, maybe you’re going for a big client that you don’t land, I just had that happen to me, I was really pumped up about landing this really big job, a client, I was stoked about that, for sure, I was gonna get it. And I failed, another web design agency did a better job than I did. And I failed, compared to them with landing that job. So I had to learn from that. Maybe you step outside of your comfort zone likes a speaking engagement or something and you just fail at that. Maybe you’re adding a new team member, it didn’t work out, you open yourself up to maybe public criticism and comments online, I’m learning that you can fail in a variety of ways daily with business. But no matter what happens, it’s all about how you respond to it. And it’s all about how you get up from those failures. And what I found that’s been really interesting is a lot of time I’ll have successes and failures simultaneously.

Josh 31:18
So I failed on getting that big project that I was really pumped up about. But I just launched a website that the client loved. So it was like I was feeling down from this. And a minute later, I’m feeling pumped up about this. And you really have to balance failing, because it’s going to happen, and you’re going to have to deal with it. And more importantly, you’re going to have to stay level headed. I just found that most people don’t take that leap to start their business or don’t take that leap to take the next level because they are afraid to fail. And maybe that’s because traditional academia, I’ve been very vocal about me not being an A student, I was never afraid to fail. I’m A, B and C student, which is probably why I’m more prone to taking risk. And I’m cool with failing now, because I don’t really care if I got that perfect A on a test or whatever. And quite frankly, traditional education just doesn’t translate to the business world.

Josh 32:06
Because failing is okay. Failing is not wrong in the business world, you’re going to fail all the time. And a lot of people don’t even get started because it’s like what happened, you know, what might happen? If I, if I don’t have enough to pay my mortgage? What happens if work dries up? What if what if, what if what might happen, what might happen all these questions that just, you know, paralyze somebody from starting, it’s it’s massive to think about how failing is going to be a part of your life, and you got to get used to it.

Josh 32:33
One thing I do want to say real quick on this, too, is that failing is not quitting, I definitely want to recommend not comparing the two or getting those confused, because they are vastly different if you go for a new product launch, and ultimately, it doesn’t go over well, and you fail, you still learned a lot of lessons, and you gained a lot of personal and business growth. Whereas if you quit halfway, because you were too worried about what people were gonna say, or you just didn’t feel like you could take the workload, there’s no growth, you’re gonna feel bad about yourself, and there’s just gonna be a bunch of what ifs, and you probably going to be disappointed in yourself.

Josh 33:04
So failure is a part of success. And if you talk with anyone who has successful business, I guarantee, they’re gonna say that they failed a lot more than they succeeded. And the last thing I’ll say about failure real quick. I’m writing a little more about this below. But my biggest thing with failure was like what would be the worst that can happen? For me the worst, what would happen is that I wouldn’t be able to pay my mortgage without pay bills, have to swallow some pride and have to move in with a parent. But that’s about as worse as it would get.

Josh 33:33
I’m never going to be living on the street. doubtful that whatever happened, and my by question is to you, too, like, what is the absolute worst that can happen? If you balance that and you weigh that and say, Listen, if I go for this, what is the worst thing that can happen and if it’s worth it, if you could handle the worst thing ever, that could happen in your situation, then by golly, go for it. And you can fail with confidence. Because you know, that worst case scenario, I’m going to be alright, I’m still going to be living and breathing, still going to be able to eat. And again, it’s just, it’s just a better way to live life if you’re feeling fulfilled.

Josh 34:05
A quick story on this before I move to the last point is that I remember when I first started my business, I went to a networking event, and there is this account there. And he was just kind of like I could tell he was sent there by his employer. He was kind of bored and just kind of mopey and kind of somber, and he was like, So what do you do? And I was like, Oh, I just started my own website design business. And he was like, wow, that’s risky. Like, what if it doesn’t work out? And it kind of took me off guard at that time. I don’t even remember what I said. But now I would say, Well, what if it does work out and it has worked out? It’s been super fulfilling, whereas he probably went to the typical path and didn’t really branch out. He is an accountant. So he’s probably cautious by nature. But the idea is you don’t want to be that guy. You don’t want to be living your life just thinking like what if are afraid to step out? If you do that the reward is going to be amazing. The opposite side of that is you’re probably going to fail along the way. So don’t be afraid to fail.

10) Be Nice

Josh 34:59
Okay. Finally, number 10 super passionate about this is to be nice. After all, nice guys and gals don’t finish last. You hear that quote all the time were nice guys are gonna finish last. And that may have been true decades ago in certain industries where you need to be harder and meaner than others to be able to succeed. But at least in my industry and website design, being a nice guy has paid off tenfold for me, practically, you know, we talked about not burning bridges, this can really come into play in that. But there’s a lot of other areas where if you come across nice likable and like a trustworthy person, it’s going to do so much for you in your business even as far as how you come across in your website, how you are, you know, personally and networking meetings and other meetings, maybe how you respond and emails and messages.

Josh 35:48
This is a big one, particularly how you handle yourself and conflict and tough situations with clients and team members. And then how you deal with people who are not so nice when it comes like online clock comments and things like that. So being nice will go such a long way that the bottom line is that nobody wants to work with a douche. I have a lot of people who are in my network who are great talented web designers who a lot better than me in a lot of areas. But I’m not going to send any clients their way because they’re just not a very nice person. And a lot of people who have chosen to work with me over people who are more talented, more established, because they liked me because they trusted me and they felt like it was going to be a good working experience of being nice will outweigh being talented. Over the long run. I promise you that.

Josh 36:36
So again, it’s just amazing how being a nice guy or gal, or just being somebody that’s likable and approachable will get you particularly in a digital age where you can very quickly with Anonymous, anonymous commenting be be very negative, and have things go awry ourselves really quickly. So being nice, will take you a very long way. It’ll lead to a lot of referrals to the matter what industry you’re in. So there you go, guys, there’s just an overview of my top 10 lessons learned. Again, I could probably talk about 1000 things, but these top 10 things in no order have been really, really beneficial for me and again, I hope you can use immediately.

Josh 37:13
Just really quickly to recap, embrace the three P’s. Patience, perseverance, persistence, prepare for delayed gratification. Don’t be afraid of coopetition. Make sure you prioritize your systems, processes and automations. Keep your pace calm and sustainable. It’ll help your sanity in the long run. Invest in yourself over anything. Don’t burn your bridges, limit your distractions. Don’t be afraid to fail, and then be nice. Those are my top 10 lessons learned in my decade of self employment.

Josh 37:46
So I hope this has helped. If you guys have any comments or anything you want to add to this, be sure to let me know in the comments below. Whether you have more than you would like to add or maybe you have some thoughts and insight on what has worked for me. I’d love to hear from you. So leave those in the comments below. I hope this has helped and I’ll see you guys in the next video.


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