31 Jul Priceless Education: 11 Painful Business Lessons I Wish I Didn’t Learn the Hard Way (the $96,382.48 difference)
“Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade.”
– Tony Robbins
What Can Happen in a Year?
Last Thursday marked a year since I made the decision to switch my old blog Reading For Your Success over to a new brand – Live Your Legend.
It took months to finally decide to make the switch (thanks to the friendly arm twisting of my buddies Corbett and Leo).
I think about that decision a lot.
I can think of no more profound change related to my online business career. Nothing even comes close.
Reading For Your Success experienced just about 0% growth for the first four years I ran it.
Once I made the switch, our community doubled almost overnight (from 4k to nearly 8k in under two weeks). Since then it’s more than doubled yet again.
It’s been an unreal ride and I’m grateful to have experienced it. With it came some hard-learned lessons I want to share, but first here are some of the specifics of what’s gone on since our launch…
Here’s the first year of Live Your Legend by the numbers:
- Monthly visitors: from 10,254 to 56,804
- Community members (subscribers): from 4,350 to 15,739
- Articles Written (excluding guest posts): 58
- Total visits in 12 months: 573,348
- Countries reached: 158
- Total site revenue: +1,089%
But more importantly, by the milestones:
- Live Your Legend was launched
- We created the Live Off Your Passion career course
- Live Off Your Passion won the #1 personal development product of 2011
- We launched the Should I Quit Test
- We created a 14-part mini career course email series for all new community members
- And just last week we launched our Living Legends Reader Spotlights (more on that at the bottom)
And most importantly, by our biggest measures of success, Impact & Engagement:
On top of everything above, we’ve been able to help a lot more people do work they love.
But this metric is a bit more difficult to measure. We could go with number of comments, which was 2,023 (including mine), but that really doesn’t indicate much.
I prefer to measure by the number of people making progress towards living their legends. I still don’t have the best metric for this (although with all of last week’s Reader Spotlight submissions I hope to change that!), but I did recently receive two comments that I want to share with you that check the box pretty well against our mission.
Someone who’s made the transition…
Thanks to LYL my life has changed completely (I am a fan since the very beginning). I quit my job, got my license as a running coach and can now do work I really love (even though I´m still in the beginning). I would love to give back something to LYL and to support other people in doing the same. – Pia
And someone who now believes it’s possible…
Thank you for being brave enough to choose to live life as it is intended. I found “Live Your Legend” earlier this year and I can’t adequately express how much the site has helped me. I truly believe you have some of the best free content around. While I am still stuck in a conventional life path, I feel there is a way out now and a whole community of people prepared to help. – Erica
This is the kind of change Live Your Legend sets out to make, and I’m sitting here shaking as I see it actually happening. Wow.
I am extremely proud of the community we all have built here and the impact it’s had in such a short period of time.
But that of course wasn’t without some brutal education.
For starters it took me nearly four years to start figuring things out.
And in reflecting on LYL’s first full year, the successes and the failures – a few major lessons stand out. Lessons that I so wish I would have been taught many years prior. But I guess that’s how it always goes…
So grab a tea and get cozy. It’s time to go deep.
The 11 Painful Business Lessons I Wish I Didn’t Learn the Hard Way:
1. Branding and design matter. Content is always king. We know that. But without a design that calls to your message, no one’s ever going to read your rockstar work- no matter how much blood you pour into it. Yeah it can get a little expensive, but a few thousand dollars (or sometimes plenty less), is money incredibly well spent, especially if you plan to make your site into a business, or get anyone to take you seriously. Don’t skimp on this. I did this for years. People took my site about as seriously as I appeared to be taking it.
2. There’s power in a name. This is your brand’s first impression. It can be your achilles heel or your rocket fuel. The best part is you get to choose. Why so many people take the “hurry up and name it so we can get started” approach, blows my mind. Give this step the attention it deserves. When Corbett Barr and I were brainstorming name ideas, he said a name should contain something aspirational and something beneficial.
I wanted an active phrase that encouraged visitors to hold themselves to a higher standard. Little did I know that it’d do the same to me. I spent three months figuring that phrase out, and it didn’t come to me until I was deep in Patagonia on a fly-fishing trip reading The Alchemist along the Palena River. You don’t have to spend three months, but most should spend longer than they do. You have control over this one. Get it right. Choose a name that embodies your message and makes people want to tell their friends. It should go hand in hand with your story and your site’s reason for being. Inspire yourself while you’re at it!
3. Build what you believe in. You cannot build a following, message or company without starting with a foundation that resonates with your core. This is why just making something to fill a market doesn’t usually work. It needs to fit a market, but that market must squarely intersect with a deep belief you have about the world. You must Start with Why, as my friend Simon Sinek has put so brilliantly: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. People don’t want to visit a website or buy a product. They want to join a movement and support a cause. They want to belong. Give them a place to gather.
4. Your community is everything. Nothing exists without you guys. Treat your tribe like gold. Ask what they need. Listen. Pay attention. Then do your best to create and deliver it for them. You don’t build what you want to build. You build what they want and need. Interact in every way possible. The more live and in person the better – something I’m excited to do a lot more this year (btw, our first live event will be in S.F. on August 28th I believe – so keep an eye out!). Chris Guillebeau and Steve Kamb are my ultimate models for this.
Get your community involved and weave them into the story of your brand and movement- that’s a huge part of our Living Legends Reader Spotlights we launched last week. When in doubt, side with the decision that provides more value for those who support your movement. The rest will work itself out.
5. Your community is the teacher. You are here to solve their problems. Step inside their world. Walk in their shoes. Experience life as they do. Then create whatever you can to solve their problems. You don’t have to “figure out” what products to create anymore. Just ask the people who trust you. Build accordingly.
6. Don’t promote crap. Don’t get caught up in trying to promote whatever affiliate product or deal comes your way. Cherry pick only the very best for your community – no exceptions. I have an 8-point checklist that must be met before I’ll promote something. Hence I think I’ve backed about 4 things this year – all products that have personally worked for me, are made by people I trust and fit with the pains you all tell me you genuinely need help with. As a result I ended up being the top affiliate for a couple of them. If you really listen to your community, this shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t get seduced. No one will buy if you do. And you’ll look like an asshole.
7. A product changes everything. I had been told for nearly a year, by respected mentors, to create a paid product for my audience. The day Live Off Your Passion launched, was the day the game totally changed and the day Live Your Legend turned into a real business. I launched it last November and in the last two months it made up about 69% of the site’s 2011 income. More importantly it proves to the world, and yourself, that you are deadly serious about making the impact that your brand and site claim to make. Your credibility goes through the roof. So does your perceived (and actual) expertise.
I had dozens of partnership offers within two weeks of launching the course. It also makes you start thinking about things as a business. Before that all I thought about was producing top notch content for my site and others. There’s still nothing more important, but after the launch I suddenly had to think about delivery methods, partnerships, pricing, copywriting – all the things a real business owner has to think about. That’s when a blog becomes a business.
8. Get the launch right. You can create a product and then write a blog post about it or you can spend a few months preparing your audience, getting their help in building it and creating what they actually need. The strategy and energy you put into a launch can literally make a 1,000% difference (or much more). That’s why I created the seven-page $31,000 Product Launch Checklist. This is probably the most extreme 80/20 relationship I’ve seen online. Take the launch seriously.
9. Be personal. People want to be a part of your story, not your business’s story. They want to buy from you, not some company name. Be who you are. Tell vulnerable stories & call yourself out. Don’t just try to mimic what everyone else does (as tempting as that is in the beginning). I was recently on a run with Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness as he told a story of how for the first nine months blogging he published “proper” blog posts five days a week, every week. His site stayed at 97 subscribers for all nine months.
Then someone told him to stop following a template and be his crazy self. So he started writing about wild fitness and travel adventures and how it all related to video games and being a geek. He blew up and had well over a six-figure business within the next year. Being you is one of the biggest differentiators there is.
10. Tell people what you’re going to do. Then do it. This goes for your community, mentors, everyone. I am constantly dropping hints to all of you about whats coming next, like the Connect with Anyone course I’m working on. Keep people engaged and a part of the story as it evolves. Same goes for mentors. Last year I met Jonathan Fields for the first time at World Domination Summit over tea with our mutual friend Leo Babauta. I told him my plans for Live Your Legend. He graciously said he’d be happy to help how he could. I can only imagine how many times he’d heard that story: “hey I’m about to launch this really cool job-quitting personal development blog” type of line.
Then I spent the next year pouring my soul into Live Your Legend and creating something meaningful. Not long ago Jonathan had me on a call with his Good Life Project team as a guest contributor. It was an absolute blast and a huge honor. He continues to send people my way as an example of someone who took his brand, business and launch seriously. After that call I told him how thankful I was to have his support. He simply responded with, “dude you actually did what you said you were going to, and you did it in a really big way. That was awesome to see.” All I did was stick to what I told him over tea. It’s not that hard. Make big claims, then live up to them.
11. Massively over-deliver. I talk about this a lot. And without knowing it, it turned into one of my best differentiators. I do crazy research for each of my posts. They sometimes take a full day or more to write. I create free five or ten page workbooks to ensure what I write can be implemented- then I give them away for free in our Passionate Work Toolkit.
I’ve talked to a lot of internet marketers who say I give way too much away. They tell me the key is to give just enough to get your readers excited – so they want and need to pay you for the rest, to get the full benefit. I call bullshit on that – Perhaps even a bit disgusting. I may be giving up sales, but the “give as little as possible” strategy is not congruent with me providing as much value for you all as humanly possible. So far our approach has worked just fine. It’s taken a bit more work, but I don’t really see another option. Be in the business of blowing peoples’ minds (or at least attempting to). There isn’t much competition up there.
Not everything will work out. Do it any way.
This is the most important of all.
By default, all projects are not a success. Others might take years to figure out. I might look like everyone around you is always getting it right, but it’s just because no one likes to talk about the things that didn’t work so well. If you believe you need to build something for your community then build it. No matter how it works out, it’s learning. And the more you know about your audience, the less risk there is in falling flat.
Earlier this year I created the free Should I Quit Test. I poured an insane amount of energy into it and I’m super proud of what we created. I had huge plans for it (I still do), but to be totally honest with you all, so far it has been a pretty big disappointment. People take it and it’s been helping, but not nearly on the level I had thought. This happens. And it’s ok – although it took a little while for me to agree.
When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.
Try. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
The Difference a Year Can Make
Tony Robbins has this quote about people overestimating what they can do in a year, but underestimating what they can do in a lifetime.
As true as this is, it’s even more powerful as you scale it down.
You can get more done in a week, a month or a year if you give pure focus to the small steps – that on their own appear so insignificant.
Those are the ones that add up.
The words written, the miles logged, the books read, the pitches given, the conversations had.
It’s easiest to focus on the gap between where you are and where you want to be. It’s also this same obsessive focus that keeps most from ever getting there.
What we forget is how quickly small minute by minute, day by day acts can pile up.
A bridge never looks like much on day one, when the first bag of cement is poured. Even after a month or two, it’s unrecognizable.
But keep pouring and magic starts to happen.
I’m grateful for what I’ve been able to experience with you all in the past year.
I can only imagine what’s to come.
For the comments: What’s one business lesson you wish you learned before it hit you in the face? Share it so perhaps the rest of us won’t have to learn the hard way!
Reader Spotlight contest update: I’m super excited to say that we got way more submissions than expected for the Reader Spotlight contest we ran last week. So much so that I am going to need more time to process all your stories. I’m sorry for the delay but I hope to have the results in the next week. Thanks for your patience, and your stories!
StevePosted at 22:20h, 31 July
Epic article dude.
Can’t believe it’s been a year already. Really impressed with how much you’ve dominated with this sucker in just that short amount of time.
Looking forward to our next run…okay not really, but maybe our next 4AM handstand contest. Leo can be the judge.
See you at the top, brother!
ScottPosted at 22:42h, 31 July
Thanks man. You make it pretty hard to catch your heels on the way up though! You know that point on a graph when you start to hit the bend in the hockey stick? It looks like you’re hitting that in full stride right now. Wow man.
Keep the inspiration coming!
See you at the next handstand contest.
ToddPosted at 12:42h, 01 August
Um… excuse me but where are these handstand contests occurring? Definitely want in on the action! 😉
Congrats to both of you guys. You are both my unofficial mentors.
ScottPosted at 11:25h, 05 August
I LOVE doing handstands! Actually one of my favorite things. No joke.
Kurt SwannPosted at 22:40h, 31 July
Congratulations on all your success in the past year!
And your “Comment” question . . . the one lesson I’ve learned that can be applied to business (life) is to “Start.” If a person never starts then they’ll never have the chance to make mistakes, learn from them and improve.
Best wishes for the next year and many more to come!
ScottPosted at 22:43h, 31 July
Love it. Nothing happens without starting!
So simple yet so fundamental.
KolaPosted at 14:54h, 03 August
or as my brother would say, “just do something” cracks me up every time he says it. simple truths are the best
Ryan FerrierPosted at 23:22h, 31 July
Awesome, Scott. Cool to see you have success AND class. Great example to follow.
Biggest business lesson for me: Do one SMALL and meaningful thing at a time as opposed to trying to do everything all at once.
ScottPosted at 08:10h, 04 August
Seriously nothings more powerful than those small steps. Thanks Ryan!
Daily Linkage – August 1, 2012 | The Second EstatePosted at 02:40h, 01 August
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BrendanBakerPosted at 02:40h, 01 August
Love it! Such a motivational post 🙂
Completely agree that in a year you can do so much and change your life!
Lesson from me, planning is essential but it needs to be balanced with taking action. I.E. Don’t overthink things too much and get into it!
ScottPosted at 08:11h, 04 August
I am definitely guilty of overplanning now and again… But as long as it comes with massive action, I’m happy.
Chad GrillsPosted at 04:17h, 01 August
Great article. Design and branding are important, couldn’t agree with you more. My most important business lesson… Don’t avoid learning more about tech. I started small, and am glad I did. There are always opportunities for those that can harness technology.
ScottPosted at 08:12h, 04 August
That is probably the one thing I wish I knew more about every day. Have thought about doing Code Academy or something like that but it just seems like a tough use of time. If you have a good resource, let me know!
JoPosted at 05:24h, 01 August
Thanks so much for sharing all of that, Scott. Hearing the details from someone who has done what you want to do makes it seem so much more possible.
I can’t say that I have a business yet but, in taking steps towards starting one, I’ve learnt one really important thing:
If fear is stopping you from giving something a go because you’re worried that you might fail, or because you’re worried that the more times you fail, the less belief you will have that you can succeed, realise that the one thing that will ensure that you don’t succeed is not daring to try. Failure is a sign that you’re making progress.
ScottPosted at 08:13h, 04 August
Love that last line! I think I’m starting to notice a trend in these comments – when it doubt, START.
BenjaminPosted at 05:40h, 01 August
I really FELT this post.
Especially the end… “Keep pouring and magic starts to happen.”
After 11 months of blogging, I’m deep in the process of creating my first product AND I can feel my brain completely changing how I view my work.
It feels awesome and it feels like this is really happening for the first time.
Rock it, Scott!
ScottPosted at 08:14h, 04 August
So excited for you. The product changes everything – most importantly how you look at things from the inside out. Congrats! btw, I am in awe every time I drive across a bridge…
CherylPosted at 05:53h, 01 August
Really honest post Scott – thanks!
For me the biggest lesson I wish I’d learned earlier is: give yourself to figure out what you really want. It’s ok to figure out what that is before you go down the wrong path.
When I left my job as a city solicitor because I wanted to find my calling, I thought I’d find it in a couple of weeks. Turns out that passion is a slippery little fella and it’s taken me 3 years to tap into what I knew somewhere but the years of being on the established path had hidden.
In that time I rushed into my ‘dream business’ of wedding planning only to find out that 5 months, a half finished (very expensive) website and a pyramid of bridal magazines later I couldn’t bare to do it anymore. Although that in itself taught me a lot, if I had given myself time to decompress and find balance first then I would have avoided the whole pickle. Ah well.
The line between giving yourself time and not avoiding action is fine, but it’s definitely something to consider.
ScottPosted at 08:16h, 04 August
Agreed. You gotta give your mind space to just be, and process all that could be. But then again, you learned a very important thing in the 5 months – that you didn’t want to spend another day doing weddings. That’s a very important stop along the journey!
Ken McClintonPosted at 06:38h, 01 August
What an awesome article Scott! Although starting your own business can bring stress with it, this article reminded me of all the reasons I got started in the first place, great job!
As far as a lesson I wish I didn’t learn the hard way, make sure you decide if someone is a good fit before you become business partners. Just because you are friends with someone, and may even respect their work, it doesn’t mean that you will have the same philosophies, beliefs or ethics as them.
Like Scott said, some people aren’t interested in providing amazing value and massively over-delivering like all of us in the LYL community are. The best partnerships will be when you team up with someone who is just as passionate as you are, for the same reasons that you are, and you share the same vision of success.
ScottPosted at 08:18h, 04 August
You nailed it Ken. Picking the right partner can be a make or break thing. You have to start with an aligned set of values, reason Why and view of the world. Also be very careful about good friends as partners. Can be great but also can really mess with the dynamic of things. Thanks for this!
BenPosted at 06:46h, 01 August
For me the biggest fear was being vulnerable with my own personal stories and life lessons. Once I did that things really started to happen.
ScottPosted at 11:25h, 05 August
It’s a tough step. But pretty liberating (and very rewarding) at the same time.
Justin HarmonPosted at 06:49h, 01 August
Great post man. Sums up what it took me the last 2 years learning before I finally started to implement. Thanks for calling bullshit on the lameO’s who only give a nibble and delivering great value like that in this post. I must say that the launch checklist is going to come in very useful. Much appreciated.
ScottPosted at 11:26h, 05 August
Absolutely my pleasure Justin! Come back and tell us about the launch and have fun with it 🙂
IrisPosted at 07:45h, 01 August
Great post as always. You are my role model when it comes to overdelivering on value and great content. I don’t know how you keep your quality of posts so high. Do you have any tips on that? I’m starting my blog this September and I really want to focus on epic shit content, just not sure how to produce it yet.
About the “Should I Quit”-Test: I have taken the test immediately after it came out. I study media and communication sciences and we learn quite a bit about designing surveys. A problem I had with the test was that I could easily understand the logic behind it -when you click on ‘yes’ you’ll get a low rating, when you click on ‘no’ you’ll get a high one (or vice versa). That makes it really easy to manipulate the test and I personally found it hard to stay honest, because I had an idea of what I wanted the test result to look like. This happens with most people. If the test result is not a suprise and can be easily manipulated, the participants won’t take it serious enough. This lowers the impact a lot.
I hope this will help you 🙂
Keep the great work up, you’ve inspired me to believe in the concept of passionate work and I am forever grateful for that.
ScottPosted at 11:36h, 05 August
Great point Iris. I would have liked to make it more complex but I wanted to keep it simple enough to get it live for everyone to use. I think your suggestion just made it on the list for V2.0. Much appreciated.
Thanks for the kind words on content. To be honest, I did not intentionally do it. I used to write shorter stuff a couple years ago- and it’s not to say that short can’t be great (take Seth Godin and Leo Babauta). It absolutely can be and something I work towards. But I tend to like doing the in depth stuff, if for no other reason than I just have a lot I want to share with you all and I only usually write once a week :).
But it’s not about length. It’s about providing massive value.
I remember the first really long post I wrote (1800 words at that point) was How Business School Killed the Entrepreneur. It was like 1k words longer than usually and I almost didn’t publish it because I thought it was embarrassingly long. I even gave a disclaimer about length at the top.
Then I hit publish and it turned into my most popular post up to that time. Like Tim Ferriss says, if you’re hesitant to hit publish, you’ve created something worthwhile.
here’s the post: https://liveyourlegend.net/how-business-school-killed-the-entrepreneur-and-some-worthy-alternatives/
If you are writing about a topic that have a deep deep passion for helping people, you will create epic content without even really trying. That’s where you have to start.
Hope that helps!
IrisPosted at 06:09h, 09 August
I’m glad I could help! If you need any help with future surveys, let me know. We have special seminars on doing interviews and surveys so that we’re able to get information from the participants that they aren’t even consciously aware of. I’d love to help you if you ever feel like doing a more in depth version of the test.
Thank you so much for your advice on writing epic content. I think you’re right, if you deeply care about helping people the content will be helpful for your audience.
I’ve read your post on How Business School Killed the Entrepreneur before and I really enjoyed it. I actually like it that your posts are so long, because I know they are going to be stuffed with great value and actionable advice.
Richard Hanley Jr.Posted at 09:25h, 01 August
It’s great and inspiring to see how far along you’ve come in 1 year. This blog is a world-class example of making an change in both your life and the life of others.
For one business lesson, I would add: Look at your product through your customers eyes. What’s their first impression? And make it great every time.
ScottPosted at 11:39h, 05 August
So true Richard. And thanks to the guidance and support of all you, I’ve been able to have a pretty awesome window on what all you really need help with.
Just recently I’ve been reading through 700 survey responses for the How to Connect with Anyone course- that is what I use as my outline to be sure I focus on where everyone has the most pain/needs the most help.
That would be impossible without the community you all are a part of.
Joseph HughesPosted at 09:38h, 01 August
Scott, congrats on one year of LYL. Easily one of my favorite resources on the web and the value you provide is overwhelming. Thank you.
One business lesson I’ve learned? Start as early as possible and talk to people about what you’re doing – doors will open, connections will happen, opportunities will pop up all over the place. For several months, I worked on my business purely on my own. It wasn’t until I started to talk to people about what I was doing that business exploded.
ScottPosted at 11:45h, 05 August
That means a lot Joseph. Thank you!
When I was in Omaha at Warren Buffett’s annual meeting in May someone asked what he’d do different if he had his career to do over again.
He said, “I’d start earlier.”
It’s never too early.
LenPosted at 09:45h, 01 August
You definitely are an inspiration to me. Your success in blogging is great, and I would love to follow in your footsteps,….
…But what inspires me the most is the quality of your articles. I hope I can get to write the way you do.
In a strange way you remind me of what I feel every time I watch one of Tony Robbins video… I’m always amazed at the amount of care and down-to-earth-effective strategies he uses to help people.
What I wish I had learned earlier in business? Create what people want 🙂
ScottPosted at 11:53h, 05 August
Very cool of you to say Len- Tony Robbins was definitely one of my earliest inspirations for helping people and creating change. I actually went to his live 4 day UPW event a few months before leaving my last job a number of years ago and I’ve worked with a coach of his for years.
Despite some of the salesy bad press he gets at times, you cannot deny the impact he’s had. What a way to live.
I think his style is pretty cool myself 😉
KevinPosted at 10:07h, 01 August
I love the simplicity in “Tell people what you’re going to do. Then do it.” A lot of times massively following through is all it takes.
I think an important part of truly connecting is being vulnerable to your audience and truly speaking from your heart and soul instead of your head. You do an amazing job at this, probably why so many posts resonate so deeply.
Some of my deepest connections in life have come from getting past all the bullshit and letting my soul truly connect with another person. Yes, it’s horribly terrifying being that open, but your life thanks you for it in return.
Keep the inspiration coming!
ScottPosted at 11:54h, 05 August
That’s a huge focus of How to Connect with Anyone Kevin. Thanks for reinforcing!
Paige | simple mindfulnessPosted at 10:29h, 01 August
You continue to rock, Scott!
I’ve been using your launch checklist as I work toward my first launch (very soon!). It was EXACTLY what I was looking for.
I completely agree with Ben and your advice to Be Personal. Once I stopped trying to be what I thought I was supposed to be and started being transparent and myself, things totally turned around.
My other advice would be to forget about perfection and launch with what’s great enough for you. There’s no such thing as perfection and constantly fiddling with something usually messes it up. The world will never be able to take advantage of the gems you have unless you release them for all to see. After launching, learn what needs to be fixed from your audience and fix it.
As far as those who want to give away the minimum, I’ll always stick with those who over-deliver. Brendan Burchard is another great example of that.
ScottPosted at 11:56h, 05 August
Someone introduced me to Brendan a while back. Will have to look him back up.
You nailed it with your quote too: ” The world will never be able to take advantage of the gems you have unless you release them for all to see.”
It’s something I still have to remind myself of plenty.
Barrie/Live Bold and BloomPosted at 10:35h, 01 August
Wow Scott! I can’t believe it’s been a year, but in a way, it feels like LYL has been around forever! Congratulations on your stellar success. Keep it up. 😉
ScottPosted at 11:58h, 05 August
You were a bigger inspiration/guide/mentor for things than you realize Barrie. Thank you!
AngelaPosted at 13:09h, 01 August
Congratulations Scott! This is a great post. You are spot on! I took the leap a few years ago and I’ve never looked back. I now have two organizations that are making a difference and I’m making a living doing it. You are spot on with everything and given that we are doing a complete redesign right now with my non-profit, I cannot tell you how right you are about design.
BTW, I am part of the Good Life Project and you were great on that call. Thank you for sharing your experience.
ScottPosted at 11:58h, 05 August
Thank you Angela- very cool you were on that call. It was a blast.
Congrats on your projects. I’d love to hear more!
Erick WidmanPosted at 14:44h, 01 August
Scott – I always look forward to reading your posts because they’re full of energy, optimism, and excellence every time. You are practicing what you preach here. Thanks for sharing these key lessons and congrats on the past year!
ScottPosted at 12:05h, 05 August
Thanks for being a part of it!
Robert ChenPosted at 17:11h, 01 August
Some great insights Scott. One business lesson I wish I learned earlier was to start right away. Things rarely work out as planned so spending too much time planning was not a good way to spend my time.
Best of luck to you for year 2 of LYL.
ScottPosted at 12:05h, 05 August
“Starting” seems to be the trend!
IzzyPosted at 23:53h, 01 August
Hi Scott and Everyone :),
I am very appreciative that you took the time to put this together. As a new blogger of a few months it is incredibly inspiring and encouraging to hear your story.
I also appreciate your honesty. I do not believe there is a magical trick to fast forwarding my progress as a writer/blogger but I do believe that there are things I can do that will make it quicker. I know it takes hard work, commitment, and so many things I have yet to understand.
That being said, I think the most important thing I have learned thus far is to accept that making mistakes is simply part of the process. The key isn’t avoiding mistakes, it is learning from my mistakes. It is also important that I am aware enough to make sure I learn from my mistakes.
In some ways mistakes are a diamond in the rough. When I screw up I have an incredible opportunity to learn something incredibly valuable right then.
Such an awesome article Scott. Thanks for taking the time to make it awesome 🙂
ScottPosted at 12:13h, 05 August
Like Steve Jobs says- you can’t connect the dots going forward, you can only connect them going backwards… 🙂
Clinton WuPosted at 09:18h, 02 August
Awesome post, Scott. One biz lesson I wish I learned was that you can’t please everyone. In fact, you actually want to piss some people off. This is a pretty nuanced realization when building a community of customers or users from scratch. You start niche, you don’t start appealing to the masses. I used to want to make everyone happy.
ScottPosted at 12:14h, 05 August
It’s scary to not be everything to everyone, until you realize it’s impossible :). Right on!
CoraliePosted at 01:17h, 03 August
Great article as always 🙂
I haven’t yet my own business but have been thinking a lot about it for the last few months and one advise who stuck with me is to install a no B.S. clause (which I hope is self-explanatory 😉 ).
So as much as making mistakes is certainly part of the process, it doesn’t mean you should have people around you who are taking advantage of you (or your inexperience) or people who just pull you down and/or criticize you in a non-constructive way.
I guess this is in line with your motto of surrounding yourself with passionate people!
ScottPosted at 12:15h, 05 August
Environment is everything. Literally everything!
michael plataniaPosted at 05:43h, 03 August
Congrats on all your success. But isn’t part of the reason this is successful is because of all the lessons learned on your previous blog? I agree that branding and design matter, yet some people spend all their time on a logo or the look and feel of a website, and that’s not why people stick around. It helps, it matters, but it is not the product. I’ve learned things always change over time, so spend time on this things, but at a certain point you need to move on and focus on what your clients/readers/tribe are really looking for – content with value.
ScottPosted at 12:17h, 05 August
True. I did learn a lot of it with the past blog but it was reinforced this past year. And if you saw, I said that nothing is more important than content, but be sure you have a design that makes them actually start reading or consuming what you have! They go hand in hand.
YenivaPosted at 06:45h, 03 August
Keep them coming Scott I look forward to your posts because they are food for the soul. I recently gave my students ( in Sierra Leone) the 27 Questions to find your passion test and it was AMAZING! They were open honest and REAL.
The one thing I would have learned it to take my time and stay in it. I have started two blogs with no success but I have so much to share!!!!!!!!!!!! I once felt like I had to write everyday or atleast once a week to say relevant. I now know there are NO RULES!! You have given me the inspiration and tools to make this happen.
Watch this space!
ScottPosted at 12:18h, 05 August
I will indeed! Congrats and thanks so much for spreading and sharing the good word- so cool to hear about your students. That is the only way this movement can become what it’s capable of becoming. You all help that in a huge way. Thank you.
KolaPosted at 14:55h, 03 August
#3 really resonates with me. this year, i made a difficult decision to leave a lucrative market need unmet. the response when i launched was very impressive but my heart wasn’t in it so i’m leaving the idea for another brave soul to uncover.
thanks for reminding me that i’m not crazy (well, technically)
ScottPosted at 12:19h, 05 August
Kind of liberating isn’t it?
Hilary Martin, MBA, CFP®Posted at 16:40h, 03 August
Thanks so much for this, Scott! I’m really moved. First, thanks for being someone who is in the business of (at least attempting to) blow people’s minds. I’m inspired by you: the possibility of ongoing excellence! Also, many congratulations on all of your well-deserved success. I hope it’s brought you the life of your dreams. Thanks for always being more generous than you have to.
ScottPosted at 12:20h, 05 August
You deserve just as much thanks as I do Hilary. All of you do. I do have to pinch myself from time to time. It’s been an awesome ride. And we are just getting started. That’s the best part!
Hilary Martin, MBA, CFP®Posted at 16:43h, 03 August
Oh gosh, sorry, I clicked Submit too soon. The business lesson I wish I had learned earlier is that everybody’s actions are ALWAYS exactly correlated to the way the world occurs for them. Meaning this: customers who leave you or get angry at you probably aren’t stupid, cheap, or headed for misery — their actions are 100% justified by the way the world occurs for them. Apply this logic to any action any person takes. I wish I had learned that lesson a bit earlier. 🙂
DithPosted at 23:06h, 03 August
Very inspiration, thanks!
ScottPosted at 12:22h, 05 August
David HassellPosted at 20:01h, 04 August
Way to go Scott!!!!!
ScottPosted at 12:21h, 05 August
Means a lot David. Thanks! Very fun to hear you cracking into the Alchemist too. Let’s chat about it over a Sambazon smoothie sometime soon 🙂
José PabloPosted at 13:33h, 05 August
I’m learning that I started reading your blog just after you changed the brand! I feel special now that I’ve been with you through this whole first year. It’s been great indeed! It seemed as if you had been doing Live Your Legend for a lot longer…
Congrats, and keep moving on! Your work is valuable!
AdhiePosted at 21:04h, 05 August
Excellent post Scott.Its a street smart knowledge and expensive lessons. I;ve been a huge fans of you and your article with Chris Guillebau and Leo Babauta.Your post save my time in learning..
Waiting for another inspiring post 🙂
Turndog MillionairePosted at 22:57h, 05 August
So amazing to see. Stories like this really act as inspiration 🙂
It shows how hard work can create good things, but also, we never get it right. Not fully. We all have things to learn
Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)
Wendy MerronPosted at 19:05h, 06 August
Great article Scott!
I used to worry that I didn’t sound “professional enough”.
I was concerned that others would judge me. “She doesn’t have an advanced degree – who the heck does she think she is?”
Fears and worries held me back from being true to myself.
The one business lesson I wish I had learned before it hit me in the face is this:
Don’t be afraid to be myself.
MelissaPosted at 05:38h, 07 August
Thank you for having the courage to persist with Live your Legend. You are my go-to place when I feel a bit flat and need a bit of actionable reinforcement!
Slowly, but surely, my own vision is being realised and I am barely able to express how fantastic it feels, so I humbly defer to Anais Nin….
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Very appropriate for me as a gardener, but best describes the moment I decided to act and cultivate that dormant seed that was my passion! It’s astonishing how much I have learned (and how much I had to un-learn) along the way.
I can barely wait to see what the next year holds.
EditaPosted at 15:56h, 07 August
Love the name Live your Legend. Thank you for the insight and inspiration!
StevenPosted at 16:24h, 10 August
thanks for the post Scott. It’s been inspiring to see the journey from the beginning. Glad to see you living your personal legend 😉
And thanks for paying it forward through your work. We need more of it in the world.
brandPosted at 12:44h, 22 December
I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here but it could do with more detail. – They stayed away in droves. – Samuel Goldwyn 1882 – 1974
brandPosted at 12:44h, 22 December
Full Disclosure: 10 Community-Building Lessons & Mistakes I Wish I Knew Before I Started | Live Your LegendPosted at 07:04h, 30 July
[…] For a list of my first year’s lessons, click here. […]
NazrinPosted at 19:32h, 30 July
Fabulous article Scott.
My favourite line.
Let the Wind Take You Places….
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