Lessons I Have Learned From Being an Entrepreneur in 2009

I am totally ripping off Joanna Lord’s post. Oh well, she will get over it!

Be Transparent

We talk about transparency a lot in social media. But for me it seems to be one of those buzz words that really doesn’t sink in til you, um, actually start doing it! This year I took a leap of faith in many ways and started being more transparent in social media. For starters I quit trying to hide my disability (future post coming soon). I also started to tell real stories and not pander to the BS dialog that many trying to gain attention do. Now, if you interact with me on Twitter you are likely to get a genuine Joe Hall response, full of snark!

Show Up

A big part of doing anything amazing is just showing up. I attended two conferences this year and they both transformed my business. Meeting people in person is so so important. There is no substitute for the type of trust that is built when you shake hands with someone. And after attending a few conferences you are on your way to building the types of relationships that can foster huge business and personal gains. Showing up means that you are taking transparency to the max because you no longer have a keyboard and monitor to hide behind.

Trust Your Gut

What is a gut anyways? I have no idea, but I know when it is trying to tell me something. Good intuition is extremely valuable, but trusting it is incredibly scary! Intuition is never based on anything concrete. Because of this many of us try ignore it and base our decisions on “evidence” in front of us. Over the last year I have learned the hard way that you should never ignore your gut. I put faith in two separate people even though my gut was telling me not to trust them, in the end I lost a good amount of money on one and a bunch of time on the other.

Invoice Often

I love writing code. I love designing database structures. I love creating chat bots and silly applications. But at the end of the day I really love making money. Now, don’t get me wrong, my love for money making doesn’t devalue my principles or make me evil. Its just that, if I am going to spend sometimes up to 17 or 18 hours a day writing code, I want an effin pay check! Invoicing often guarantees that. It also guarantees that my client’s projects are finished sooner than later because I can’t invoice if I haven’t shipped!

Do Business Like a Pro

When you act professional with your clients, they act professional with you. Sometimes it takes an extra effort to write a good proposal or to setup an invoicing system. But all of that pays off when you send them the invoice and they pay it with no questions asked. Some clients won’t care if you aren’t professional with them, but in my experience it is more beneficial in the long run if you let them know what to expect from you, so they will know what you expect of them.

Drivers Get Paid More Than Mechanics

Forget programing learn marketing, Drivers get paid more than mechanics.” – lordofseo About a year ago I was at a friend’s wedding and during the reception someone asked me, what I did for a living. Instead of giving the typical “I build web sites” BS, I decided to go a bit more in depth, and so I said something along the lines of, “I write the software that makes interactive web sites work” She looked confused, but then her son perked up and said, “basically, he does all the hard important work but doesn’t get any credit for it.” BINGO! Now don’t get me wrong, I have some of the best clients that a web programmer could have, but the truth is coders are like tools you can have a really awesome one that does all the work for you, but you don’t want to tell anyone about your secret code monkey.

Because of this, I am shaking things up in 2010! I have 3 major products on the table that I will be releasing under my companies’ names. By doing this I hope to focus more of my revenue stream from services to products. This way I will have the freedom to truly leverage my time for things that I really care about.

Comments

  1. Joe Hall, after reading this post, I realized the reason I dig you so much is because you keep it real. Loved this post and dig your style – it feels like you’re right in front of me, sharing your experience over a cup of coffee. And it’s refreshing to read pieces that aren’t cushioned by fluff, BS, or padded with paragraphs of justifications. I admire your quiet confidence and thank you so much for opening up and teaching us what you have learned.

    You are awesome – so glad we connected. Rock on and keep movin’ n shakin’ things in 2010!

  2. Waiting for the book to be published! Love your insights!

    High five to “Trust your Gut!”

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more about the drivers vs mechanics point and recently posted about that importance of earning from your own sites rather than depending on client work on my blog (not that I am great at practicing what I preach- it is easier said than done when you have bills to pay).

    Hope to see you at another conference soon :)

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