“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” — Bill Gates
I’m always amazed by how much can change in just a few years. You don’t realize it day by day, but if you look back, you see it clearly.
What I would tell my 20-year old self:
- Work at least 1 year at a company you love and respect, for a boss that is a role-model for you. Even Warren Buffett did that, when we worked with Benjamin Graham. For me, it would have been some successful internet company.
- Be a 50% Entrepreneur: Don’t jump in full-time, if your business is not validated yet. This unlocks the power of constraints: If you have very limited time, you need to make each hour count. Remember: The original version of Basecamp was built by a 10-hour per week contractor. Having a 50% job will also reduce a ton of pressure, because your livelihood is taken care of, and your weeks are clearly structured.
- Take care of your body and mind: Exercise and sleep 8 hours.
- Books will change your life. Become a learning machine and read as much as possible. Use audio books to increase your reading speed. Read these books.
- Learn to make money. While saving and being frugal is helpful, it can never cause success. Learn to become a businessman. Don’t be afraid to ask for money. Ask market rates. Learn how to negotiate. Remember: A project can only sustain itself and grow if you know how to make money. It’s not about becoming rich, it’s about survival and growth.
- Use the phone as your primary business tool. Don’t hide behind your computer. Call people. Use the “Power of Asking” principle. Remember: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
- Meet people one-on-one. Meet 1-2 people per week. This is how you prefer to build relationship with others.
- Trust your instincts.
- Always strive to do the right, ethical thing. Good karma will pay off.
- Choose email marketing as your #1 online marketing channel. For each project, create an email list. Instead of a blog, start a personal mailing list. Use all other channels to grow the email list.