Its difficult enough trying to make something happen in your spare time, but real business success comes from shipping again and again. Sending out that next order, writing your next blog post, collecting that invoice...
The really successful companies make headway by shipping regularly. That doesn’t necessarily mean shipping often. You’re still shipping regularly if you launch a new product daily or every year.
Make yourself a realistic schedule, and stick to it. Don’t plan out more than a couple of weeks in advance - plans change, and you’re guessing anyway. You’ve got to be prepared to ship regularly.
The Difference Between Important and Urgent Work
That homework due in tomorrow morning is urgent work. You need to do it by the deadline or you face punishment. Important work may not have pressing deadlines, but its the reason why you get up in the morning. Be sure to distinguish between the urgent work and the important work. Important work still needs to be done, yet urgent work may not be significant at at all.
Don't make bad decisions.
Balancing Business with Schoolwork
This is one of the toughest things to organize as a teen entrepreneur, but let me say this straight off the bat...
Your education, is the primary mission. All other things come secondary. Period.
Its really difficult to say that, but I have two reasons:
Your education, however exciting or mundane, is merely a benchmark. There are some skills there which you’ll need throughout life.
The school always wins. If you don’t play the game, learn your facts and recall them all in tests, you get punished until you do. And the punishments you get in school are just depressing - bad news for your school, business and social life. Don’t fall behind.
The Real Secret of Success in School
I don’t think that grades are a reflection of intelligence. Teachers can teach anything to a class of students. The difference between the kids that get A’s and the kids that get D’s is one set works, the others don’t. I think everybody could get straight A’s - teachers, textbooks, outside help, YouTube videos... its not a question of “is there the material there”, but rather can you be arsed to do it?
So here’s the real secret... School isn’t about learning so much as learning how to learn, and its these skills which are great for teenage entrepreneurs. That’s why I really think that trying your hardest studying is so beneficial.
It sends of alarm bells also if you’re really quite successful at running your own business, but you’re screwing up your studies. You’ve chosen to lose.
But I’m not advocating you commit your life to studying textbooks and spending all your remaining time on your business. That’s not sustainable or fun at all... find something else to chillax with!
Workoholism is for losers.
I think the guys at 37signals are right when they say
fire the workoholics.
You don’t want to be in a position where you work all-day, all-night until you burnout. That’s just dumb. Instead, you should treat your time just as it is - scarce. Scarcity forces you to act, and get things done faster, better and more happily. Its why deadlines work.
Work smarter, not harder - watch Jason Fried sum it up...
The Two-Week Rule
If you can’t get something done over two weeks, the projects either too big (therefore impossible), or it needs to be broken down into something more manageable. Keep things in bitesize chunks. Its satisfying to be able to go through a to-do list of little things and keep ticking things off. The two-week rule encourages smaller tasks; learn
how to set smart daily goals.
Defeat the Lizard Brain
Seth Godin talks about the lizard brain. That’s the primal part of our brain where your hungry, horny, scared and frightened thoughts all come from. Learn to control the lizard brain, and you’ll make ‘becoming successful’ and realizing your vision far easier. Watch the introduction to this video.
Determination is that magical personal attribute that means the difference between ultimately succeeding and ultimately failing. Sure, it's alright to have failed projects along the way, but determination - sticking with it is the defining characteristic of successful people,
so says Paul Graham of Y Combinator.
"We learned quickly that the most important predictor of success is determination." - Paul Graham, Y Combinator
But Know When To Quit
"Winners never quit, and quitters never win." Bullshit. The person who's obsessed and focused on one thing will always beat the 'all-rounder'. Always.
To be truly successful, you need to know how and when to quit. Whether you should quit other stuff to focus on your business, or quit your business or bits of your business in order to truly succeed.
Your Vision Why dreaming big can have such a huge impact on your business, but how "getting real" is what will make your dream a reality.
Personal Strengths How and why to build a business based on your personal strengths, why you should embrace your limitations and how to maximize your talents.
Passion Passion is that unusual force that means you wake up in the morning; here, you'll learn why money doesn't equal passion, how to find your passion and what to do with it.
Resources How to get all the people, the money, the kit and the training you need to make your business actually happen. Without this, you'll be forever frustrated.
Business Mentors Having experienced experts guiding you through this whole "business" landscape is the single fastest-accelerator for your teen business. Discover the secrets to successful networking here.
Masters of Marketing Marketing is the single most misunderstood part of everyday business. Here, get introduced to the Masters of Marketing who will really teach you how to win customers.