10 Business Lessons I Learned This Year

success failure business lessons learned

Despite the fact that the year isn’t over yet, I have learned some valuable lessons that have helped me grow my businesses. I would like to share them with you. Some of these may seem like common sense, and others may be new to you…

Either way, here is what I have learned so far:

Shoot for the stars, and you’ll land on the moon

As Donald Trump once said:

I like thinking big. If you are going to be thinking about anything, you might as well think big.

If you want to build a medium-size company, you need to plan on creating a large company. Problems always pop up, and they can push your company off its current trajectory. As long as you strive to reach a star, you have a good chance at least to land on the moon.

When you shoot for the stars, you have to be realistic. You can’t just say you are going to create the next Facebook or that your company is going to grow into a billion-dollar business. Shooting for unrealistic goals won’t help you land on the moon — it will just cause you to keep on spinning your wheels, and you’ll get nowhere.

If your goal is to generate $100,000 in revenue over the next 12 months, aim for $250,000. By creating a plan that will allow you to generate $250,000 in revenue, maybe you at least hit $100,000. Just don’t plan on spending money as if you were making $250,000 until you actually hit that number. 😉

Think for yourself

You can’t base your business decisions on what others are telling you. No matter how smart they may be, you have to think for yourself.

Even the smartest people out there make mistakes… a lot of mistakes. If you just listen to them and follow everything they are telling you, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Be creative, and start thinking for yourself. You don’t have to ignore smart people altogether, but don’t rely solely on the advice they are giving you. Do your own research, draw your own conclusions, and, most importantly, stick to your guns.

Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself

I (or anyone else for that matter) can only do so much for you. Others can give you advice and tell you what to do if you want to be successful, but you have to be willing to put in the time and effort.

If you don’t have the drive to be successful, you aren’t going to succeed. So, here are some things that may help light a fire under your ass:

  1. Hang around successful people – being around successful people will make you want to be successful as well.
  1. Get back to reality – TV, movies, and video games are great ways to escape reality. Although it’s fun to watch shows, these activities will pull you away from your goals. Concentrate on your long-term goals, and don’t get caught up in things that take you away from reality.
  2. Stop thinking and start acting – to some extent, thinking too much isn’t good for you. Thinking will only get you so far; you have to start acting on things.
  3. Read success stories – there are a lot of rags-to-riches case studies of successful entrepreneurs on the web. Learning about these entrepreneurs should help you motivate yourself.

You never achieve real success unless you like what you are doing

If you don’t like what you are doing, you will get burned out. I know this sounds obvious, but it needs to be said nonetheless: even if you are making tons of money, you won’t be happy if you don’t like what you are doing.

Just for a moment, think about what you really want to do. Is that what you are doing right now?

If it isn’t, stop doing it! You are more likely to succeed in life if you actually enjoy what you are doing every day because then it won’t seem like “work.”

And if you happen to be one of those lucky individuals who are making a ton of money from something you don’t have a passion for… just wait, because it won’t last forever.

Customers don’t know what they want

As Steve Jobs once said:

You can’t just ask a customer what they want and try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.

Your customers don’t always know what they want. Yes, they may say they want this or that, but once you give it to them, they may never use it. So instead of just taking your customers’ word for what they want, you have to get into their minds and understand why they want something.

This will help you understand what problems your customers are facing and how you can solve them. If you can solve your customers’ problem, you’ll have something that they will use for a very long time — as long it doesn’t require them to change their behavior.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Eric Ries has this philosophy called the minimum viable product, or MVP. The MVP process is all about creating something that is bare bones, getting user feedback, and then modifying it from there.

The concept sounds obvious and you already know about it, but do you run your business that way? For example, I just pushed out a new design for Quick Sprout, and my designer was able to create something within 7 days. By no means is it done yet, and there are bugs, but if I wanted everything to be perfect, I would have had to wait 30 days for my new design.

Plus, by putting something up within 7 days, I can get feedback from you and modify/finish the design with your vision in mind. And at the end of the day, isn’t that all that matters?

By running your business with Eric’s philosophy, not only will you make it more agile, but you will also waste a lot less time and money. Instead of wasting 6 months creating something that your customers don’t want, you’ll only end up wasting a week or two before you realize how you need to adjust your product or service to satisfy them.

You learn more from success than failure

You learn from your mistakes, right? Well, that is true, but you actually learn more from success than failure.

Just think about it for a moment: this is the main reason why you make the same mistakes multiple times before learning from them.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should stop learning from your or other people’s mistakes, but you need to start reading up on how others became successful.

And don’t just read up on people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, but read up on people who are successful in your industry. For example, my businesses are in the software as a service category, so I may read up on companies like Salesforce and 37signals.

Run your business like NASCAR

In NASCAR, the team that wins is the one that does every little thing right.

Admire what each team member and vendor has to offer. Your business wins when the team does every job right. The engine, transmission, electrical system, chassis and aerodynamics all figure into a great race car. Dozens of people build several cars for every driver. At the race, the pit crew is there to keep the car running. The shop focuses on excellence, while the pit crew focuses on speed.

You need employees who specialize in specific areas. You don’t want employees who are considered to be a jack-of-all-trades because they won’t do any one thing really well.

If your employees specialize, they will do a better job, and your overall company performance will increase.

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing

Remember when you were a little kid and your mom told you not to eat too much candy or else you’d get a tummy ache? Well, after you didn’t listen to her and got a tummy ache, you learned that something this good can indeed make you feel bad.

The same goes for business: having too much of something good can be bad for you.

Just take a look at money. You love it and want a ton more of it. With things like money, you can grow your business and create a big empire, right? Well, if you have too much of it, e.g., if you raised too much venture capital, you’ll end up wasting a lot of it. Instead, if you had a limited amount of capital, you would be much scrappier and make smarter decisions.

So, next time you have something good, use it in moderation, and don’t abuse it.

Business opportunities are like buses: there’s always another one coming

You already know that there are so many opportunities that you shouldn’t jump on the first one you see. But did you know that you should be looking for opportunities with a limited downside instead of an unlimited upside?

Especially as a new entrepreneur, why would you want to take the risk of losing everything? By only taking opportunities with a limited downside, you’ll always know what your worst-case scenario will be.

Over time, what you’ll realize is that whether you have a million bucks or a few hundred, going with opportunities with a limited downside is always a safer bet.

Yes, you’ll miss the boat on opportunities like Facebook, but that’s all right. At least you won’t lose all your money because for every Facebook, there are millions more failures.


Although many of the business lessons I learned this year are basic, you should really take a close look at them. Even if you already know them, are you really using these principles within your business? Chances are, you aren’t.

Nonetheless, these 10 business lessons just skim the surface of your entrepreneurial education.

If there are any business lessons of your own that you would like to share, feel free to leave a comment.

P.S. If you want help growing your business click here.


  1. Andrew "Dman" Townsend :

    Another awesome post.. always combine so much good advice in 1 article =)

    I clicked through from google reader to check out the design.. undecided at this point! Though it seems more efficient than the previous one..

  2. Jarie Bolander :

    The one I learned this year was tenacity. This year was all about the tenacity to uncover every rock, go down every rat hole, kiss every pig and bark up every wrong tree until we finally got the deal we needed to move the company forward. Without tenacity, you just can’t survive the inevitable setbacks.

    • Tenacity is great! When you think about tenacity, you think about being a shark. Sharks go after whatever they want. With a shark-like attitude, you can accomplish so much.

  3. Jonathan Drain :

    “If your goal is to generate $100,000 in revenue over the next 12 months, aim for $250,000.”

    I aimed for $20,000 and only made $1,000. Isn’t there something more to it than aiming too high?

    • There is. When you aim for $20,000 you have to create a plan that can actually get you there.

      I wish I could tell you what the plan would be for getting to $20,000, but it is different for every business.

    • Mark "Johnny Optimist" :

      What did you do to generate the $1000? Is it something you can replicate 20 times?

      Just a place to start.

  4. The lesson I learned this year is to watch my costs during research and development. Excitedly starting a new venture, I spent freely and burnt such a hole in my pocket trying to improve on this and experiment on that, that I’ve just recently gone into the black- when I should have profited months ago!

    When I look back I spent twice as much as I should have tinkering away instead of just getting my stuff out there. Kind of goes along with your simplicity lesson. Next time I won’t be such a spendthrift.

    Thanks for such an informative post, Neil, I love your business philosophies.

    • That kind of stuff does happen way to often, I don’t disagree. Just learn from your listens and you’ll be just fine.

      • I think a lot of bad spending can be avoided by doing basic research as well. The is nothing I do not like more than when I purchase something new and days later find it somewhere else for cheaper. Also before you buy see if they have a price matching option if you find the same thing for less with in 30 days they will refund you the difference. That has helped me out a lot in the past at Walmart, Target, and Best Buy!

  5. Its true, you do not need a whole lot of money to get started with your idea.. I remember a time when I wanted to raise a lot of money to get my business going. It turns out that I am comfortably managing the business with only 20% of the money (and none of it borrowed from anyone).

    If I were to have an additional 20k as startup capital, let`s just say that a lot would go down the drain 😀

    Great post!

    • lol, make sense to me. Great job on being efficient!

    • Mark "Johnny Optimist" :

      I listened to a couple of guys who started a coffee shop years ago. They said if they would have raised some $, they would have hired someone to sit and count cars, they would have gotten the gold plated coffee machine, etc. Basically if they had been given more $ they would have just blown through it so it was good that they were limited to begin with. They ended up doing a lot of the leg work instead of just hiring it out.

  6. Superb! a great post as usual 😀 I really like your style of expressing ideas. Neat, but deep. Anyway, would you mind to share to us your business lesson for young startup entrepreneur? Young entrepeur had their own ‘challange’, you know. Since you yourself are still young and already achieve what young entrepreneur achieve, it would be a really great post for us.

  7. Anthony Bucci :

    Great post. The one piece I think you may have missed as a BIG bullet is “Don’t be a hermit”. If you can’t stop yourself from being a hermit, than hire someone on your team to be the outward facing adventurer.

    So many great people and big doors have been opened along my entrpreneurial journey simply because I was not afraid to initiate a conversation, approach someone or ask tough questions.

    While “does not play well with others” makes a funny T-shirt – in most cases that philosophy only makes things harder in the short and long term.

    I think relationship building and being a bit fearless are just as essential as any of the other potentially more tangible factors above.

    Most entrepreneurs are interesting people, and many times they are as happy to talk about their story as they are to hear about yours… And at that point you have one more person that could develop into a friend, colleague or door opener.

    • Right, there needs to be someone willing to be the face of everything you do. Communication skills is a must.

    • Mark "Johnny Optimist" :

      Couldn’t agree more. You would be surprised to find out the information and help that people are willing to provide just by striking up conversations / giving people calls and building relationships.

  8. Great Post as always.

    Specially: ‘Stop thinking and start acting’.

    Sometimes I think Business Planning is overrated. If I don’t need venture capital, do I really need to create 20-25 page business plan document?

    I am still in favor of creating a basic 4-5 page plan to get my thoughts and plans in order but doing a elaborate plan sometimes gets in way of implementing your idea.

    What are your thoughts?

    • Most of the people I know who have raised venture capital didn’t do it through a business plan. You need to create a power point, but I don’t think you need to create a plan.

      If you did create a plan, most VCs won’t read it.

      • Mark "Johnny Optimist" :

        I agree. Most every VC site where I have read their submission guidelines are looking for the power point. They don’t have time to read to through a entire plan.

        Depending on your organizational ability though, it might be good to create a plan then pull out the best parts and condense them. It might help you hash through some of the inevitable questions the VC’s are going to ask – “How are you going to sell 1,000,000 widgets a month exactly?”

  9. Stocks on Wall Street :

    Even after you try, try, try again until you succeed.

    • “NEVER GIVE UP” is something you should take to the grave!

      • Prostate Problems :

        Who can forget the poignant story written by Robert Bruce and the famous quote, “Try, try and try again, until you succeed.” Learned men have always said that success is something that cannot be measured and differs from person to person. All of us want to succeed in our own unique way and we strive for it. But what is success is unknown to many of us. Are fame, name and money success? Can you term material gains as success in an individual’s life? The answer is a big NO. Motivational and Personal Development experts feel that happiness is the answer to success. In this material driven world if a person can stay happy through his highs and lows then it can be called success. The renowned poet David Frost said that ‘don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally’. How true. If you are passionate about what you do, you are sure to excel in that field, leading to success in your career.

  10. Thanks for the article. I’ve been working on a tough business decision and one of your points gave me some inspiration.

    I also clicked through to see the new site design. I prefer logos on the left instead of right but I do love the simplicity. Your neutral colors are pleasant and the green is nice. The blue is strong and I’m not sure it matches the green pallet. I would also work on the header. It seems a little underdeveloped. The body of the posts are good… the sidebar is ok. Simple and easily organized. You should do more to make certain sections stand out. Contingent of course on if that is what you want… it all comes down to what you want.

    Thanks again for the post. I’ve been following for a couple months. Mostly a silent observer. This post got me to comment.

    • Thanks for the insight. There are still several changes that will be implimented. I’m glad I got you to express yourself 😉

  11. Paul Stamatiou :

    Good post as usual Neil – I especially hold true the part about loving what you do. Confucious or someone once said “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”.. that dude was right on! I don’t mind making 3x less than my friends because at the end of the day when we all go out for dinner and they get hammered and complain about how much their job sucks, I just sit there and smirk. 😉

    • lol, that’s definitely a good way to look at! Do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life…I love it!

  12. Brandon Watson :

    Neil, I love the post, though I think you are mis-classifying mistakes. If you are repeatedly committing them, then yes, they are mistakes. But failure, to me, is a fantastic learning opportunity. It’s when things go terribly, terribly wrong that you can learn a ton, if you are willing to learn and are introspective. Even Warren Buffett, since you make the reference, said that you can tell who’s naked when the tide goes out. The point being that you can be very successful and learn nothing because of the rising tide. In my humble opinion, in my career thus far, I have learned way more from my failures, and it’s one of the reasons why I’ve been writing my book. I hope to get you an advanced copy.

    • Well it will obviously depend…sometimes it’s the failure that helps, but usually the success is able to make a BIG IMPACT. People thave have learned to make millions can continuously make millions even if it was taken away.

  13. This is one of the awesome article I’ve ever read. Great 10 things to keep in mind for someone starting up a internet success. Also It is very important to offer something people want. Too many company’s offer something they think is cool or they think people want.

    • Well, its like the quote I left from Steve Jobs… Learn to anticpate the market and you can see huge levels of success.

  14. Hameedullah Khan :

    Very useful post for someone who is just trying to start, will keep your advices in mind. Hope to read many more of them in future.

    • Thanks Hameedullah! Make sure you actually take action with what I said, don’t just read what I write and not do anything with it 😉

  15. Danail Donchev :

    Kickstart just great!I am looking for my next bus with some new pointers.I regret to find your blog so late.

  16. My favorite here is ‘Think For Yourself’. In this environment, opportunity is unlimited if you are willing to blaze your own little trail. However, in my experience, very few people are willing to do that. I see opportunity everywhere I look and, I will admit, I fall flat on my face more than anyone I know. I think what stops people is the fear of failure. That, in my opinion is just plain silly. You only live once unless, like me, you are a Buddhist, in which case you can keep failing and failing and failing . . .

    • Fear of failure and fear of success is what stops people in their tracks. You gotta dig through the dirt to find the gold

  17. I love the posts from both you and the comments from every one else. Its a fun way to learn. Thanks to all from a new guy

    • All the comments contribue to a community of answer. Glad you learned something. Just remember to contribue as often as you can with whatever questions you have.

  18. Brian Armstrong :

    Like the new design too.

    I definitely put into practice the “minimum viable product” this year with FeedmailPro.com. From idea to launch in about 3 weeks. But as you told me…I should really focus on UniversityTutor.com and not spread myself too thin. Luckily FMP can run on it’s own in the background without too much attention from me so it’s been ok for now as I’ve turned my attention back to UniversityTutor.com.

    I’d like to redo my blog design for next year as well…something simpler that will built credibility. It has too much going on for right now I think. Thanks Neil!

    • Being simple can make a huge a difference. When you have too much noise, your audience can get so annoyed that they leave. So good choice on remodeling 😉

  19. Great piece, Neil. I’m printing it off to read through more slowly over a couple of cups of coffee with a notepad. A lot of food for thought.

    Re: shooting for the stars – this is such a powerful point. Most people OVERestimate what they can achieve in a month or two, but they way UNDERestimate what they can achieve in a year.

    So, aim realistically – but optomistically – high, allowing enough time for the power of perseverance to get you there.

    Thanks Neil, love it!


  20. Great, positive stuff – and even the comments have something to offer! I especially like “learn from your successes”. Funny how often we overlook that point – although most entrepreneurs have more failures than successes to learn from; everyone has some “wins” that provide valuable lessons – thanks for the reminder.

  21. Great post, as always.

    P.S. Your posts very popular in Russia -)

  22. I really love the way you have gone in detail to explain everything. Cant agree more with you specially about creating income with a target which is higher than you would want.

  23. Hey Neil,

    This is the first time I visited this blog and I got to say that you really know your stuff. These are some great lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs. You are one of those successful entrepreneurs who I look up to. Looking forward to your next great post.


    • I’m glad you can join the discussion Vincent! They are only great lessons if you actually apply them in your business, then share with a community (like this one) about your results.

  24. Hello, Neil.
    That’s what seperates diffrent kind of people when it comes to success. Most loose their focus on getting better etc., but it’s so important to do what you are doing with this article: Keeping your brain sharp!
    It’s probably the most important thing that made you successful anyway 😉

    Good luck on your future life and keep yourself humble!

  25. What great information! Thank you! We are always tested in life and work…sometimes we fail, but in order to succeed we must never give up.

  26. My belief is that you can always out hustle and achieve the same results if not better than your competitors. If you are not willing to do that, then you should not be in the game.

  27. “A new design in 7 days..” That is what the startups should aim for.
    Be agile , start with something lean and then improve upon customer feedback. There are so many things you realize once you launch your product to people. For eg I realized that my site http://www.skill-guru.com was not very search friendly because of the way it was programmed.
    Since we were in early stages, we changed the design within 1 week and got a very good result.

  28. Neil Rocks ! as always a great post. Looks like we would need to modify the 80-20 principle to 99-1 or 90-10 as the metrics give by Neil.
    Though its good to aim at stars, what abut thinking about galaxies ? LOL

  29. itsoke @ chicken recipes :

    read success story ? right i alway read success story my favorite is tim ferris and mark of facebook 🙂 they always be my self motivator 🙂

    • It’s always exciting to learn about other people who become successful. Find out how they did it it and steal the idea 🙂

    • David Turnbull :

      Richard Branson’s “Losing My Virginity” is also a great read. When you read about everything he’s been through to get to where he is now, you just know he deserves every cent of it. The book reads more like an action novel than an autobiography.

  30. I see that you changed the header and added a search bar in there, but I am not seeing anything else different about the design. It is simple and efficient and is not distracting like so many blogs seem to be. I love that you don’t have advertisements crowded all over it. You don’t have them anywhere actually, you focus on the content and after all, isn’t that what your readers are coming for 🙂 Great post Neil.

  31. I figured it was, based on your post about throwing out something simple and getting feedback. Any hints about the planned changes that you have coming soon?

    • The sidebar is going to be spruced up. Nothing too complicated, but it is going to be designed up so that different areas can stand out more.

      I am also going to be adding widgets in the sidebar, such as “top posts” and “my faves”, so that new readers can easily find the good stuff.

      Lastly, I am going to release a paid content program. You will still get the same great content on Quick Sprout, but for a monthly fee you can get marketing related content that will help grow your business.

      Those are the major changes for now.

      • That is a good idea on the top posts. I am going to add that to my blog. I noticed a few weeks ago that when I added a related posts pluggin to my blog, my page views went up. I noticed that people were reading more posts. I attribute this to the fact that once they were done reading one, there would be a list of 3 or 4 related posts right underneath.

        I think that a Top Posts widget could have the same affect and put it on the front page of the blog so it gives a new visitor a place to start.

        • It helps because obviously those top posts become the top for a reason. If more people just “see” it, more people will click it. A no brainer 😉

      • That paid content program sounds interesting as well. When will you be releasing details about it?

  32. Nice blog post with useful information 🙂 BUT I am not agree with you that we learn more from success than from failure. Maybe I think so because I don’t have some “big successes”, only big failures, but the most important things which I must know, I have learned from them, so I think that you’re not right here 🙂 /just my opinion, no bad feelings/
    Greetings from Bulgaria!

    • Hameedullah Khan :

      Tommy, I think Neil meant that offcourse you learn from mistakes/failures of your own and also of other people, but at the same time you can also learn from other people success. Learning from other people success not only give you inspirations but a lot of ideas that you can use to succeed in your life.

      • Let’s face it, success is motivating. Talking to people about success, reading about it, or even watching it happen can help light the spark to get you to take action.

    • When you can create something successful that’s predictable and duplicatable, you can create something from scratch over and over again.

    • itsoke @ chicken recipes :

      I personally learn so many things from my failure , learnning from success of others would be better, not all of them willing to share all their tips of success for free …

  33. Great very few entrepreneurs are around the world they use to share experience knowledge and education. indeed i enjoyed your post.
    i am looking forward to exploring more your experience.

  34. Yeah, I know that I can learn from success, but I just said that you can learn more from failures and mistakes, “People learn from their mistakes!” 🙂

    • Change your perception on things Tommy, Success will teach you how to move forward, failure will keep you from falling back…again.

  35. Debashish Brahma :

    @Tommy: Try and fail, but never fail to try. This should be the mantra. It’s not failure it’s better learning, rather a leaning process.

  36. bad credit mortgage :

    I love the quote from Trump about shooting for the stars. I believe that if you’re going to swing then swing for the fences.

    Frequently there is less competition because there are so few people that believe they can that far. Most people are paralyzed by their fear of failure that they never try.

  37. marcus@how to make money online :

    Excellent lessons learned. I think the most important 1 is “Stop thinking and start acting “. There are many great ideas thought up every day but most are not put into action. You can not succeed if you never start.

    • Too many people waste time becoming information junkies…yes take action and stop thinking about it.

      • Prostate Problems :

        Action is the key. There’s a popular book out called BLINK and it teaches that the first thought we have is usually the right one, the first inclination we have usually is the right one- imagine if the first thing you set out to do each day you actually accomplished, would that fuel or frustrate the rest of your day? Imagine if just 10% of all college graduates actually took action to get in front of one prospective place to work each day – what kind of career could they land in their first year?

  38. David Turnbull :

    Great post Neil. I’ve played around with plenty of businesses over the past few years but I’ve finally found something that’ll be fulfilling in the long term, and that feels great. 🙂

  39. Nicholas Z. Cardot :

    Good article. I’ve heard it said that who you hang out with is a direct reflection of either who you are or who you soon will be. With that in mind, I agree that hanging out and spending time with successful people is vital. I want to be successful so I need to spend time with people who are successful.

    Your other points were good too, but that is the one that really stuck out to me.

    I just remember that when I was in college and I had financial troubles I would call my dad who was highly successful financially. He never gave me money. Instead, he would always talk me through potential solutions and strategies to my problems. The advice and wisdom was worth far more than his money might have been worth.

    • Just make a conscious effort to get rid of the people who are TOXIC in your life. That change alone will impact your life forever.

  40. Mark "Johnny Optimist" :

    In terms of your layout:

    I noticed a day or two ago that in the bottom right corner there was a popup that said “someone is reading XYZ post” or something to that nature. Today I don’t see it. The popup was fine and not annoying, but one thing it did was slow down my reading, commenting etc. due to the constant traffic it was displaying. Similar to the “pauses” in gmail when you are typing a message and it trys to autosave or reconnect to its servers. I actually like that it isn’t there today. I also noticed I didn’t get the “we detected your post is duplicate” error that I got those other days as well. Not sure if they are related.

    I like the clean layout – especially that you stayed with light background colors. The sites with really dark or black backgrounds are really hard on the eyes in my opinion.

  41. Great Article! My brother sent this to me via email and I’m glad i took the time to read. After getting laid off from Merrill Lynch because of the BOA acquisition i deiced to branch out on my own. I think I am trying to do too much too quick. I am also a 24 year old web designer with 10+ years experience like yourself. Its hard to get a lot of money for websites because people are cheap and companies like godaddy and yahoo offer these site builders for $9.99… they kinda ruined our market. But, being the salesman I am its an easy sale to convert someone from those cheap sites to a professional personal one..

    So I have a partner and we both work hard, we are trying to focus on computer repair because it is quick cash. Web site design is going well and we do have a lot of projects but the websites sometimes take up to 30 days to complete. So the money is not instant.

    I’m just trying to figure out what works.. Its hard working from home, its hard working for yourself, and its hard when everyone around you is giving you advise, just like your article said.

    Anyway, great article great job and good luck with everything, thanks for the motivation and inspiration..

    • Great! Finding out what works is just a matter of testing the material. Use your desire and passion to push forward.

  42. Neil Patel, Debashish Brahma nice thoughts, I really should start learning from my success, not from my fails :). Recently I started something new, so I hope that I won’t fail again 🙂 Until now I have learned a lot of things so I think I can say that people can learn from experience too!
    Best regards,

    • Experience is great! If you fail, learn from it and use to move forward. If you succeed, learn from it and use it to grow bigger.

  43. Prostate Problems :

    “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming ”
    i have learned this by Richard Branson.it was very appealing words for me.
    If you want to start a business, just keep your eyes open. Don’t get discouraged if the first concept flops, because there will always be another thing to come along.

    • It’s all about being at the right place at the right time. You never know when you’ll be given the gold opportunity, so yes, keep your eyes open.

    • CanadaImmigration :

      How many buses one can afford to miss? What if you miss the last bus? I think there come a lot of opportunities in your life but each flop business eats up a lot of capital as well. What if you are left with a business idea with no capital to invest in it?

      • There aren’t any last buses. It’s never too late to become successful. That’s why so many people aren’t rich until their late 50’s or 60’s etc.

  44. Neil
    I have also learned that the first idea or even ideas that you have, may not be the one that makes you a success. I think you have to continually test and learn to see what works for you and whether there is a market for it and that could be that you have tried 3 or 4 other ideas that didn’t work for you before you hit that golden nugget.

    • I can’t stress enough about testing…sometimes your first idea may work, other times it’ll be your 9,999th idea that takes it. Testing, practice, trial and error with the ability to move forward.

    • CanadaImmigration :

      Each idea opens doors of opportunities (new ideas) for you. Be careful, or this can be very tempting. Testing an idea does not necessarily means investing in it. Sometime a little research can reveal if the idea is good enough or not.

      • Testing an idea can mean that you research it, look into it, ask others or just get a feel in the market. Don’t put all you eggs in that one basket… yet.

  45. CanadaImmigration :

    Well, I must admit it is great post, but one thing could not make sense to me. Setting up a goal of $250,000 for getting $100,00? How the budgeting play a role in it. Don’t you think it is still a failure because we gonna put more resources for higher figure and end up getting less. OR a goal of these two figures will take same resources?

  46. I love the pictures you used to illustrate failure and success. Niel I couldn’t agree more that “You got to digg through the dirt before you reach the gold” Unfortunately there’s a lot of digging to be done. 🙂

  47. Its really an amazing post!! Contain Great Ideas in one post… Impressive 🙂

  48. How to make quick money :

    Great post Neil. My goals are small for short term but still I get your point. I need to make a 1 year plan for myself and then break it into short term goals to execute that overall plan.

    I will do that for my business. Thanks for laying it out in simple terms.


  49. Internet marketing takes commitment as do any other job. You go to school and major for the job you want to be, but for some reason, people have a tendency that if they are not earning within a few weeks of launching their site, something has gone horribly wrong. It isn’t, it just takes hard dedication and work to pull a living off the web.

    • Yes, most people just don’t have the patience for one, and the ability to be persistent. You’ll go through many successes and failures, but regardless, you got to keep on plugging in.

    • CanadaImmigration :

      Patience, I think is most important trait that successful people have. Be patient and hang in there, correct your mistakes and learn from them.

  50. Ever since I turned 18, and I chose a career, instead of school, it was important to me to hang around only successful people.

    • CanadaImmigration :

      It is very important to hang around successful people. It really gives you inspirations, and motivates you to be like one of them. Even one has to be very mindful when making friends. It has a great impact if you spend your time among successful people.

    • Good for you AJ, it probably made a hell of a difference for you.

  51. Hi Neil,

    New to the blog and your other sites. Love the minimal design of both. I found the blog designers that you’ve used in one of the other posts here. Can you share the name of the design team(s) that helped with the various Kissmetrics sites/products? Thanks –

    • It’s is all about keeping it as simple as possible Etof. Send me an email neil@ neilpatel.com. But the truth is, find any design team and they can help you with whatever vision you have.

  52. I will also add.. “Try out everything you think can help. Use analytics the best possible way to decide what works best for you.”

    • Exactly, and don’t forget about doing surveys. That will help you understand what your audience really wants.

  53. Ishan@ILoveFreeSoftware :

    Completely agree with this statement: “You never achieve real success unless you like what you are doing”. Everyone should read “Fish” 🙂

  54. Its really important to be just totally into your job. You just don’t have to like it.. I think you have to be more like be madly passionate about it.. think of ways of improving it.. test out different things etc. It takes great effort to be successful unless you are awesomely lucky.

    • Be passionate about what you want and what you do… the more you are, the easier and less resistance you’ll have.

  55. These are some valuable lessons. I’ve learned a lot myself over the years and I always seem to gain something whenever I make a mistake or hit a road bump. If only we could learn the lessons right away 🙂

  56. Ibrahim | ZenCollegeLife.com :

    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

    That sentence just blew my mind! As a writer for a college life blog, this really hits close to home. Wonderful inspiration! Thanks!

  57. Cool observations there. Particularly that the customers do not know what they want. Most business ideas I hear always try to focus a little too much on knowing demands etc. If we change our perspectives slightly, lots of avenues of businesses may open for us.

    • If we just shift our perspectives slightly, we’ll be able to encounter a whole other degree of results. Too many variable can change with even the slightest shift. You just never know if that shift will be for the better or worse… until you try it for yourself.

  58. lung cancer survival rate :

    Yeah, some of the successful people in this world also don’t have a degree, part of their successes are all about risk taking and mindset shift.

    • Right, but it has nothing to do with getting a degree or not, it has everything to do with you working your butt of to make something happen.

  59. Very useful post for someone who is just trying to start, will keep your advices in mind. Hope to read many more of them in future…

  60. To work very hard to believe the key to achieving

  61. k12 education :

    Great article with a lot of information. Somebody said in their comment that you have to love what you do. I agree, if you want to start a business it has to be something you are passionate about, otherwise you are gonna waste your money and effort.

    • Yes because being excited about something isn’t enough. You’ll need to be passionate in order to push yourself through the hard times.

  62. Ask everyone (not just the so-called experts), and try to answer your own questions as well. When you get an answer, try to think of exceptions, and then ask yourself why those exceptions exist. Never be satisfied until you arrive at an answer that has very few exceptions.

    • Exactly, that’s a great way to look at the situation. You should always change the questions you ask yourself…. the more empowering, the easier it will be to push yourself forward.

  63. guitar online lessons :

    The most important thing for a successful business is to be passionate on the matter You decide to do and to provide quality product so that customers are satisfied with what they get.

    • Neil Patel :

      Ultimately… it’s what they want and what they get from you which will determine the longevity of your company

  64. Shoot for the stars and you’ll land on the moon

    love that phrase, its a fact that your goals, or “dreams” will never come true(not exactly the way you imagined) , but if you try hard you may get somewhere close, as the stones said so wisely , “you cant always get what you want, but sometimes, just sometimes, you get what you need”

    • Hmm.. that’s very powerful, I like that. It’s also so true… you need focus on your win’s not losses.

  65. Wakeboard Towers :

    The most important thing about being successful is being self motivated, and you have to be passionate about what you do to keep the self motivation up for any length of time. If you have launched a successful business already then you are a huge leap ahead of everybody else because less than 1 percent can actually launch a successful business strategy: everybody else will fail.

    • Most people who launch a business fail because they can’t take the inevitable rejection. You need persistence to keep pushing forward even when times are tough.

  66. I think a good thing to do which you cover is write down what successes you have done.

    Write down exactly how you have achieved this.

    Once you write it down you see how you can replicate this in the cheapest and most effective way.

  67. Scott Casey :

    Great post Neil. You really have the ability to make things clear to young people that are on a career path. Very helpful.

    • It’s better that you learn from people that have already done what you’re trying to do… it’ll save you a lot of money.

  68. Watch Season :

    Is it better to set your targets high and underachieve or set them low and achieve what you wanted even though it might not be enough? I don’t know…

  69. çizgi film İzle :

    Nice tips. Though applying all of them on a single website is very tough but can be applied to different set of website.
    Content/blog website can go for Infographics, Quizzes, How to guide
    E-commerce – reviews, Lists

  70. sell textbooks :

    You make great points here. Its good you can reflect back and see where you went wrong.

  71. Vivek Krishnan :

    It is very true that if we have to aim very high then we will achieve mediocre success. It is like my dad says before my exam, “you have to aim at scoring 90 son, only then will you pass!” 😛

  72. I would like to add another point: Put 80% of your time working, 20% time reading.

  73. customer’s will not know everything as they need what they required as we have to satisfied them

  74. Bryan McKenzie :

    I don’t think there’s really any recipe for outrageous success. Maybe there’s a recipe for how to make a big salary (go to law school, learn a trade and learn it well, whatever) but as far as the big bucks go a lot of factors that are out of your control will come into play, timing being one of them.

  75. The body of the posts are good the sidebar is ok. Simple and easily organized.

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