For the record, I am currently in Japan and will fly back the next day but to keep up my streak I have to squeeze in a blog post. So this might be a bit rushed.
Anyways, I wanted to highlight and send a reminder to anyone out there that starting and maintaining a business is usually a bit more than driving Lambos. (I don’t even have a car, because I don’t see myself driving here anywhere)
For some I look like I am working like a superhuman (no pun intended to my favorite email application) every day.
Usually followed by a question in the ‘how do you this’ or ‘how is that possible‘.
The real answer, but rarely spoken about is: ‘Because I took the pain for years and made too many mistakes in the past.’
Outside of the usual burnouts, sacrifices and headaches, I was not that bulletproof for years when we talk about rectifying mistakes without collateral damage.
I looked back and made a list of some of my biggest mistakes in my earlier days:
- Too fast, too soon
- Distraction was a common theme
- Quantity of network, not quality
- Seeing myself as myself, not as a startup
- No time management whatsoever
Too Fast, Too Soon
I wanted too much. Too fast. Thinking I could accomplish climbing every day a Mount Everest, whilst it was barely a hill. I was dead set on wanting too much in a very short period of time, with not enough experience either as an entrepreneur or lack of knowledge in a particular field.
I didn’t really understood concepts like future proofing skills, or deconstructing main brackets into smaller elements or underlying subjects. It led to counter-productivity rather than acceleration. There was truly a time (around age 24) I thought I could handle the world. Until I got humbled over and over again.
My intentions were good, but I wanted it all too fast. Ignoring a trajectory that others have taken before me. My goal was to be the first as fast as possible. And that was a big mistake. The faster I went, the faster I crashed and burned.
Reality did slap me more than once in the face but that took me years to understand that turtles often win against hares. Young, dumb and acting like you’re driving a Ferrari whilst you can barely handle a Fiat Punto has cost me time, liquidity and probably set me back for a couple years.
In the past, I never understood the concept of framework or carving out a path for yourself without too much noise. One of my mistakes was that I kept comparing myself with others with actually no good reason at all. And that led to: having no personal framework at all.
I kept leaking on elements like time management, resources or commitments that require focus.
As a result, I went too much down a rabbit hole of figuring out what others were doing, using or trying to achieve. Before I knew it, I was distracted all day long and I probably lost a good chunk of my day for a couple years.
Looking back, if I wasn’t nudged by one of my mentors that provided me an ass-kicking, I might have never made it this far.
Quantity Of Network
Ok, social media and actual online networking was VERY fresh compared to 2024. Given that LinkedIn started in 2002, Facebook in 2004 and X in 2006 there was a lot to process to even manage your existing network and/or connect with others that are ‘relevant’.
Sadly enough, I wasn’t very focused on the quality. But I wanted to reach as many people as possible without even understanding what the fuck they are really doing.
The saddest part in all this was that the other side was just like me. Eager to ‘hop on a quick call’ (fuck sake I do fucking hate this sentence so fucking much nowadays btw)
One phone call later, they just added you to their network. Total value post-call? Zero.
Total value in life? Zero.
Back then, I wasn’t very aware nor able to grasp the concept between audience and followers either.
I spent too much time on useless calls without really knowing in advance what kind of value they would bring for ME. Yes, ME.
I spent too much time building a big network without really knowing how much value they add to my trajectory back then.
Seeing Myself As Me. Big Mistake
Being a first-time entrepreneur sounds exciting. And it really is. But I can classify this one as one my biggest leaks and fuckups in my early journey. I was seeing myself too much as… me.
I am not talking about character or authenticity. I am talking about seeing myself more as a startup.
If you know me long enough, then I repeat the phrase: Never build a startup on top of a startup.
It took me ages to realizes that the biggest liability and startup was myself. Not the business, but myself. Until I read more into exposure and risk I came to the conclusion that I should treat myself more as a startup first. Deconstructing the elements needed to function properly.
Once I started seeing myself as a business and how heavily I need to invest in myself I found clarity on de-risking myself. If you would compare an actual business vs yourself and you’re not quite there yet to achieve that golden ratio, then it’s pretty fucking similar.
Pick any business, topics like marketing, sales, management or growth planning are core pillars for growing a business. If you were to compare that with yourself, how many of those pillars can you really cover?
This is where I realize that I am the extension of my business, and if I am as much as a startup as the business, I can’t possibly become bulletproof to take the variance.
The earlier you treat YOURSELF as a business, the lesser mistakes you will make and the faster you will progress years from now.
I have seen the signs in close range. Signs I needed to slow down or at least take a step back.
For too long, I went with the phrase: I don’t have time for that. Instead I should have used: It’s currently not a priority.
If I were to use that phrase in my younger days, this would have saved days, if not months of bad time management.
Read that out loud: I don’t have time – It’s not a priority. And realize how different they sound and how it can change your perspective AND approach in setting the proper milestones or sprints for yourself in a day or week.
This is one of the reasons why I keep drilling on the concept to treat time as a commodity. And it is the largest commodity you will have. Once I truly understood how to re-organize my thoughts or setting achievable goals paired with an optimal productivity stack that works for me, I was saving thousands of hours up to minutes in a day.
Losing 18 minutes per day would result in 100 hours per year. 100 hours is about 4 days.
Audit yourself once in a while and figure out how well you truly are in time management.
There are dozens of other mistakes I made, and I want to clarify that this happened primarily during my age 22-26. In those 4 years I fucked up more than I wanted to. I probably risked way too much without seeing clarity and I was focused on so many wrong things that I drove me almost off a cliff.
Today ofcourse my decision making process, framework and MO is very different than 15 years ago. And it took me a long time to figure out what truly works for me on a pace where I can be as superhuman as possible.
The best part of it all is that I can move mountains on a daily basis and probably 100Xed my pace overtime with a more process driven approach.
With the recent shuffle, I am even completely duty-free sort of speak in the weekends (no calls) where I can time box or allocate time for writing, growth experiments or items that have lesser priority.
Never sacrifice the important for the urgent. Really that line keeps sticking with me today and I wished I realized this much much sooner.
- For more focused advice or actual coaching, I would suggest to take a look at LaunchPad.
- If you are looking for a more private circle of entrepreneurs, then you can join me on Discord with FocusX.
- Looking to start out? NanoBets might be a great place to start with.
- Unfiltered, raw and an occasional F-bomb. A podcast filled with monologues, interviews & my personal journey. Check PodBlaze
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