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Bradley is a laid-back geek that likes to build cool stuff for the web. These are his writings.


5 Things I’ve Learned As An Entrepreneur This Year

This past year has been crazy for me, both personally and professionally. I’ve been doing a bit of reflecting about lessons I’ve learned.

Here is a quick list:

1. Building a product is the easy part

Creating something from scratch on the web is an accomplishment in and of itself. Many people in the world don’t have the drive or willingness to learn to be able to do it. However, the reality is that this is the easiest part of doing an internet startup. It’s much harder to raise money, acquire customers and even just survive long enough to reach any level of success.

2. No one will help you as much as you can help yourself

The world is a pretty selfish place. Most people will only help you to the extent that it benefits them in some way. If you want/expect/need help from other people outside your company, the best possible thing you can do it make it extremely easy for them to help you. Outside help cannot and will not replace all out hustle on your part.

3. Focus on traction

Going through an incubator program skewed my worldview of what was important early on in my company. We wasted a lot of time with things related to fundraising while going through Tech Wildcatters. It was all useful stuff but at the end of the day it didn’t move the needle in terms of product & customers. In my experience, traction can overcome a bad deck/presentation but a great deck/presentation has a hard time overcoming no traction.

4. Personal support is so important

This year has been filled with massive amounts of stress for me. There have been moments where I’ve been extremely depressed and close to throwing in the towel. The only reason I’ve survived is because I have amazing people in my life that let me vent and complain but still know I love what I do and encourage me to persevere. If you can’t name who that person is for you in a split second, you need to start searching.. fast. I’ll be making changes in my own life so I can be closer to these people.

5. Optimize for happiness

We all know that as entrepreneurs we’ll have to make sacrifices, and we’re willing to do it. However, it’s also really easy to get carried away and believe you must do something no matter what the costs. I’ve come to realize this is can be a very dangerous thing and has the potential to negatively affect you and those around you. Upon considering my goals both for myself and my company, I believe it is possible (and necessary) to optimize for happiness. At the end of the day, I think it will make me more productive and useful/effective for my company.

These are just a few things that have been on my mind lately. What have you learned this year?

Photo courtesy of Johannes Sommer