What I Learned After Year 1 As An Entrepreneur


Making a living as an entrepreneur is not easy.

Despite working more than double the hours of a 9 to 5, I have no guaranteed income. I decide where I spend my limited time and face the consequences of what I neglect every day. And I’m always trying to balance my investment in the short-term and long-term.

Because too much energy into the short-term and I have no long-term online business. But too much attention on the long-term and I can’t provide for myself in the short-term. Tricky, right?

What I just listed describes the situations of entrepreneurs all across the country.

Though the last year on my own has been tough, and before you tell me to stop complaining, take this in: My first year as an entrepreneur has been the happiest time of my life!

It’s even better than I dreamed.

In business, you’re never “done” and it’s always been a do-or-die environment. These high-stakes are what I live for and bring out the best in me.

After year 1, I’m falling head over heels in love with the process. My business—giving value and motivating my community—has all of my attention. And I’m going to do whatever it takes to succeed in this entrepreneurial world.

There’s always something new to learn, limiting belief to overcome, and mountain to climb. So I’m forced to hustle and compete—aka my happy place.

With that said, I want to share some of the wealth I’ve learned in Year 1 with you.

For the entrepreneur reading this and the person who considers quitting their job (like this article suggests) and starting their own business, this is an open door into my past year and the top 5 most valuable lessons I’ve learned.

I hope you gain some insight from my thoughts.

5 Lessons After Year 1 Of Running My Business

1. Set the bar high.

There’s no point in setting an average or low bar. The world has enough average in it. And mediocre goals don’t inspire you or me to do our best effort.

So I had to set the bar high in every project I took on, because then it will have my full attention and I’ll give everything I got to reach it. That’s the magic in setting a big goal.

For my blog, I want to reach millions of people with the message that nothing is stopping you from being as successful as you want. Use smart strategy and work your butt off, and you’ll achieve.

For my books, I didn’t just want to become an author. I set the bar high to be an Amazon bestselling author so my message would reach more people.

For my course, I didn’t create a course to help 10 people get a great job. My desire is to help hundreds, and even thousands, find satisfaction in their career.

2. Break down your endgame into specific steps.

From the beginning, I wanted my voice and Take Your Success to serve millions of people on their individual journey to success. That’s my endgame—to make a difference.

But that’s impossibly vague to tackle head on because it’s the mission statement, not how to get there.

So I learned that every mission needs individual objectives. And the way I’m going to motivate and teach millions to take their success had to be broken down into specific steps.

By now, you’ve seen some of my objectives: create a successful blog, grow an email list, become a social media influencer, write quality books, start a YouTube channel, get promoted on other websites, and create an online course.

And I have other ideas and projects in the works to reach my ultimate goal of inspiring millions to do more, be more, and live better—including you.

3. Invest in your business.

While I still am smart with where I spend my money, I’m no longer scared to invest in my business.

For example, I just switched my email marketing company from a free one with limited capability to one with a monthly fee that gives me the upgraded features I need.  

About every month I’m paying freelancers to do design work because I see the value in hiring an expert who can do a better and quicker job than me fumbling around on Photoshop.

And I invested thousands of dollars into building my course Master The Resume. Which is nuts because I bet I would have been a nervous wreck throwing that much money into my course a year or two ago, or I wouldn’t have had the guts to invest at all.

4. Money follows attention.

Subconsciously I feel like I already knew this business truth. Though this year I truly understood the fundamentals of this concept and have organized my business to go after attention.

My main motivation to create my YouTube channel was to better connect with you (so you can see my face and hear my voice). But I also recognized that videos will bring more attention to my personal brand.

And going on live TV last month gave me some local Cincinnati attention, which proofed this money follows attention concept right. Because what do you know? The sales of How To College soared for a few days after that appearance.

It’s the same reason why Instagram and YouTube influencers can get $50,000 for a sponsored post or video. To drive the point home, this is exactly how the Kardashians built a billion dollar brand: They get more attention than just about everybody.

So this year I learned money follows attention, and I’ll never forget this concept.

5. Work harder than you think you can.

Back in college, I used to think I worked hard—which I did compared to the average student. But I work 100% harder now.

There are many nights where I’m exhausted at midnight, sometimes even at 10 PM, and I don’t think I have anything left in the tank. But I keep pushing two to three hours more because I know that’s what’s required to make significant progress. Most nights I get more done than I thought I could.

Going to be satisfied that I put in a solid day of work is such a great feeling. And my hard work the day before pays off the next morning when I’m just a little bit closer to my long-term goals.

Most recently, building my first online course is the hardest thing I’ve done. And I faced many setbacks along the way.

For example, I spent an entire day recording audio for the course and sent it to my audio guy. The next morning, I woke up to an email saying we can’t use anything I recorded yesterday because the audio is too loud. That pissed me off!

But I shook it off, and recorded again like nothing bad happened at all. That took hard mental work to let go of my mistake and focus on the task at hand. This is just one of the fires I put out during the course creation.

Overall, this past year has taught me that hard work is the bare minimum. I need to go above that if I want to reach my endgame.

Want To Start An Online Business?

It’s unbelievable to think that all of my past, present, and future entrepreneurial work—my blogs, three books, online course, social media advertising for clients, paid sponsorships, speaking, freelance work, and more—stemmed from starting this blog and getting my name out to the world.

That goes to show what a small seed can grow to when you plant it, give it sunlight, and water it.

It also highlights the power of the Internet and having your own website.

So are you interested in starting your own business?

I’d tell everyone who is that the first step is to get your own website. It’s a super low-risk move that can produce huge rewards.

Even if you don’t blog and just use your website as a landing page to pick up potential clients or customers information, you still need to have an online presence and central hub to direct traffic.

The website and hosting provider I recommend to get your website set up is Bluehost.

Click here to sign up for Bluehost for only $3.95 a month.

(Note: I am a Bluehost affiliate, meaning I receive commission when you sign up through my link. All hosting services have similar programs. I personally choose Bluehost because they offer a high-quality service and excellent customer support, which I believe in. If you use my link, thank you!)

Even though it’s not difficult, I created a video for you to ensure you get your website set up: How To Set Up A Blog.

And thanks for joining me this past year! I appreciate every ounce of support, whether you’re my best customer or never buy a single thing from me your entire life. I’m here to provide you value.

Brian Robben

Brian Robben is the founder of Take Your Success, a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs grow a profitable business and reach freedom. For in-depth training, visit: brianrobben.com

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences Brian. Currently, I’m looking to quit my job within the next year but want to stair step into it. I read “The End of Jobs” recently and want to pursue starting an online business.

    It’s been very impressive to see your development over the past 2 years. I’m glad it has paid off for you 🙂

    I definitely agree with your thoughts on throwing money towards your business. A few $100 can go a long way online!

    1. Brian Robben

      Looks like you’ve already set the bar high and broken down your endgame 😉

      I’m pumped to see how far you and I go from here!

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