Life Lessons From the Business World That College Won’t Teach You : Under30CEO Life Lessons From the Business World That College Won’t Teach You : Under30CEO
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Life Lessons From the Business World That College Won’t Teach You

| April 1, 2011 | 10 Comments

My time in the business world started quite awkwardly.  Apparently learning does not come with a manual. Although it wasn’t always easy, the lessons I brought from the business world and my fledgling entrepreneurship were invaluable. College is a great networking tool and it has opened opportunities for me, but nothing can replace real world experience. Business is like poker; it’s not the hand you are dealt, but the way you play it, that really matters. In poker, life and business, a cast iron stomach and the ability to pick yourself up and keep going everytime you fail are priceless.  Among the things that I learned that college won’t teach you are:

Mistakes are expensive but necessary

Although they can be costly, mistakes are nothing more than a learning experience. They can provide valuable knowledge if you use them as a reason to learn and keep going. We have all made plenty, but they have helped us to be a stronger more knowledgeable business people because of them.

Get everything in writing

Contracts or written agreements might seem like a hassle but they are totally necessary to avoid future headaches. You never know when you might end up thanking yourself for having something in writing. The legal protection and the clarity it provides to the operation you are running are priceless.

Networking is vital never stop building connections

When you stop trying to build a footprint and gain ground in the industry you are attacking, you are setting yourself for failure, as the only two ways you can fail are giving up or failing to plan. My connections have been a huge help.

It’s okay to find a mentor

You don’t know everything and the odds are you could use the help early on. My first was the CEO of the Legacy Company I marketed for as well several members of the music industry I have turned to for advice. It’s also okay to share your ideas as an idea isn’t worth much unless it is built into a concept and taken forward from there.

Never stop learning

The day you think you know enough, you are making a big mistake.  Someone much hungrier than you is waiting for you to stop pushing. You can never know too much and you can never want what you feel you deserve too much either.

Don’t be afraid to take on the big boys

Just because you don’t have a niche isn’t a death sentence for your business. The real difference between success and failure is how bad you want it. A niche could even be worse depending on the industry you are going into you could even be handicapping yourself.

Never Give Up

It’s like the Thomas Edison quote, “failure is only realized when you accept it.”  I also love the similar quote, “many who have given up and failed never realized how close to success they really were.”  Its true 99% of us will fail not because we aren’t smart enough but because only a small fraction will have the courage to fail again and again, until success is truly theirs.

I am a US Navy Veteran who runs his own indie label. Among my other projects were a web business and helping market a legacy startup. My Label Bored Student Records has worked with artists including Electric Valentine, Don’t Wake Aislin, The Dollyrots and Oh Hush (Atlantic Records)
http://www.myspace.com/boredstudentrocks

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Category: Startup Advice

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    I really like… “Don’t be afraid to take on the big boys”. This was something that took me a year or two to figure out. Just because you are relatively new in a business or your business isn’t “Big” doesn’t mean that you can’t provide a superior service or product versus a more established competitor… I like to think of this as the “F U, I Kill It!” mentality!

    Thanks for the great article!

    Ryan H., http://www.RyanHanley.com

  • Shoemaker

    Another important business lesson: Learn to use commas

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Agreed–thanks for pointing this out and sorry we let this one slip past. Hopefully you found the lessons truly helpful even though the lack of commas detracted from the content. It should be much better now. Thanks for keeping us honest!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Agreed–thanks for pointing this out and sorry we let this one slip past. Hopefully you found the lessons truly helpful even though the lack of commas detracted from the content. It should be much better now. Thanks for keeping us honest!

  • http://profiles.google.com/jeeshenlee Lee JeeShen

    I always strive on these two items in particular “Mistakes are expensive but necessary” and “Networking is vital never stop building connections”.

  • http://twitter.com/PeopleSideOfBiz Carol Albert

    So simple; so profound. Great easy-read with a meaty message.

  • http://www.twitter.com/thomasfrank09 Thomas Frank

    I’d agree that mistakes are an important learning tool, but I don’t think they’re as necessary. I’ve been reading “Rework”, which was written by the founders of 37Signals. They argue that you can sidestep a lot of mistakes, and I agree. Why make a mistake if you can learn about it from others’ experiences?

  • Anonymous

    Nice article. I love how easy it is to read and how knowledgeable the whole article is. Thanks for sharing great tips. :)

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual office assistant

    Thanks for the great post. Loved it

    I liked the points #2 and #3. If we write down everything then mistakes will not happen and if we build connections it will surely help to grow our business. .

  • Jason Baudendistel

    Here is my new website for those visiting this article later on best. Jason
    http://www.jasonbaudendistel.com/blog.html