63 lessons from 2 years as an entrepreneur

Being Smarter is 2 years old this week. After the success of last year’s summary – this year I’ve decided to mark our birthday with my very first ebook which I hope will save you hours, days or weeks of effort if you’re running your own business or looking to become more intrapreneurial if you’re in a large corporate.

There have been many influences on my business and personal life over the last 24 months – I will be writing to you separately to thank you and to let you know you’re included in this book.

One of those influences is David Meerman Scott and David, in line with your thinking – there’s no email capture on this page!

[box type=”info”]If you’d like to download the 71 page ebook – click the button below – it’s got a ton of links and thoughts in to save you time, energy and mistakes.[/box]

If you’d rather just grab the headlines – they’re below.

With that – it’s onwards and upwards – into year 3. *blows out candles.

The lessons – in no particular order.

  1. Get things right on paper before you go anywhere near a keyboard.
  2. Don’t work when your son’s making a giant snowball outside with another dad. Even if you have a deadline. You’ll regret it.
  3. Data isn’t data unless it’s in two places. Back up. Regularly. Don’t put it off until tomorrow.
  4. The Challenge is an inspiration.
  5. Visions and missions can only be developed when in transit – evolve yours over time by mainly doing as opposed to mainly thinking.
  6. Twitter is a serious business tool.
  7. Seth Godin is a genius. His writing is short and to the point and that suits me (and 000?s of others) down to the ground.
  8. Once you’ve cracked a process or system, record it and don’t fiddle with it.”
  9. Networking is still one of the most important skills ever and should be taught at school. Without it, I wouldn’t have met the wonderful Lesley Everett.
  10. Choose who you work with (if you can). And yes, you really do have a choice.
  11. Learn when to switch the PC off – it will still be there in the morning.
  12. I’ve been inspired working in subject areas I knew nothing about. You could be too. Thanks Graeme.
  13. WordPress is so often the answer, what’s the question.
  14. A green screen studio inc lights, cameras and mics can be bought for £1,500. And carried around the world.
  15. Have a VERY understanding and supportive wife or partner. (Thanks Suz)
  16. I appear to have created 170,659 files in the last 24 months. Develop an electronic filing system that works and use it.
  17. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” (c) My Dad 1945 – current day.
  18. When was the last time you put a real newspaper clipping into a real envelope and sent it to a real person? They’ll remember you.
  19. Google Reader is an essential business tool. Learn how to use it.
  20. Never start a business without an online component. You’d be missing a trick.
  21. As the E-Myth states, focus on making your business scalable from day 1.
  22. Learn how to find out what people are searching for in Google – it’s the single best market research tool on the planet.
  23. You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.
  24. Don’t say “I can’t believe I can’t work today because it’s a Bank Holiday” out loud. Keep it to yourself – people will think you are nuts and won’t get it.
  25. Only work with exceptional people.
  26. Figure out what buyer personas are.
  27. Go out of your way to THANK people. It seems to be unusual these days.
  28. Seek advice actively from people you trust. Create an advisory board of people around you. You DON’T have all the answers.
  29. Write your eulogy in bulletpoints. Then live your business and personal life like you want to be remembered. This isn’t as weird as it sounds.
  30. Don’t get so caught up in your endeavours you forget birthdays. Use Moonpig.com.
  31. The software you want is already built. You may have to tweak it but for goodness sake don’t reinvent the wheel.
  32. Learn new stuff. All the time. Or what’s the point?
  33. ‘Tell stories and solve people’s problems’ is good advice.
  34. Become a connector – find ways to introduce people.
  35. Personalised web pages (which can be produced in 15 seconds) with a prospect’s name in the URL get 100% clickthrough
  36. Only have 5 email folders. Inbox, Sent mail, Hold, Follow up and Archive. Gina Trapani is a legend.
  37. Tim Ferris has done it and got the t-shirt. I’m a living breathing case study who’s aiming to get there.
  38. It will always take longer than you think.
  39. Today, projects should take weeks and cost 00?s. If yours is going to take months and cost 000?s you may want to think again.
  40. Firefox every time. Bye bye Internet explorer.
  41. 10 minutes a day. After 8 months of testing – it resonates. Find something that resonates.
  42. Drink beer from time to time with people who inspire. Andy Palmer – Thank you.
  43. You’ll never get every ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ crossed. Sometimes, you’ll just need to make a decision without all the facts.
  44. SEO is bloody hard unless you follow a process. Position #10 will give you 1/14th of the traffic of position #1. Only the top 4 positions really count.
  45. It is possible to have a $10,000 day on the Internet.
  46. Working in partnership with people you trust and respect is much easier than working on your own.
  47. Some books need to be read twice – they are more relevant second time round.
  48. I may have been the last person to read Purple Cow, but I’m still glad I read it.
  49. Don’t think you know better than people who’ve already done it in a big way. Learn from them, emulate them but be original.
  50. Follow your heart, not your to do list when turning things down.
  51. Know when to turn off Twitter…
  52. You always have a choice.
  53. When middle managers say ‘yes’ in large corporations, they probably don’t mean yes.
  54. Personalised videos get results.
  55. A laser beam focus on a niche is so much more effective than floodlights on a marketplace.
  56. Meetings are toxic and other such phrases. This book is my bible.
  57. Never, ever, EVER ignore a gut feeling.
  58. Either do ‘it’ for free of for full price and accept the consequences either way.
  59. Nobody cares about your products or services, except you.
  60. Channels to market are vital to success.
  61. Learn to recognise time wasters.
  62. Be patient.
  63. Embrace your constraints.
8 replies
  1. Dan (Danièle) K Scialom
    Dan (Danièle) K Scialom says:

    Grrreat, Mark! Well done! You’ve got ‘it’ – you practice what you preach – and it works for you!
    Dan

  2. Joan Stewart
    Joan Stewart says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the reminders and the log, yes I fully agree with you – almost reaching my two years.

    Times flies and reinventing the wheel is not constructive.

    So for anyone who is new online take some notes from these points, and you will get there much quicker than a lot of us.

    Thanks again Mark and keep up the good work…

  3. Catherine
    Catherine says:

    I really like your straight-forward approach.

    So refreshing and so informative. Well done.

    Hope your ceiling is going to get sorted easily – perhaps you should have a number 64: if the sky (ceiling) is falling down, take time (roll over and go back to sleep) to consider your options. All will be well!

    • markcopeman
      markcopeman says:

      Catherine – you must be following me closely!! The ceiling is much better now thank you – it’s just the others in the house we’re starting look at nervously – going to be a few sheets of plasterboard around over the next few weeks.

      Thanks for the kind words – glad you enjoyed.

      Mark

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