11 Rules to Work By


Rules are meant to be broken, right? Sure, you can break rules whenever you want, but just remember: there are consequences.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve broken a lot of rules. Each time I did, it resulted in a negative consequence. In most cases, the consequence didn’t occur immediately; however, it did occur eventually.

Download this cheat sheet of 11 rules to work by to create a thriving business.

If you want to be a daredevil, by all means, break rules. But if you want to create a thriving business, you should follow rules. And, more importantly, you should follow these rules:

Rule #1: Never fly solo

Google, Apple, Groupon, Zygna, and Microsoft are just a few examples of companies that are doing very well. Do you know what they all have in common? They were all founded by multiple co-founders.

If you want to get into the business world, do it with someone. Flying solo may sound great at first, but things can get tough if you don’t have a co-pilot. This way when you are unsure of what to do when things get tough, you have someone you can consult.

The most important time to have a co-founder is when you first start your company. This is typically the time when cash is tight and you can’t afford to hire people even though there is a ton of work to be done.

If you are one of those lucky few that already have a co-founder, good for you! If you don’t, you should read this article as it will help you find the perfect business partner.

Rule #2: Have a clear sense of ownership

When you work with business partners and team members, not only should you have a written contract outlining each person’s ownership, but, more importantly, you should clearly define what each person is responsible for.

See, the purpose of having business partners and employees is to have people who bring different skill sets to the table. With these unique skills, each person can do different tasks and start specializing so that your business can be more efficient.

Having clearly assigned responsibilities within your organization will ensure that everyone knows who is doing what, what they expect to accomplish, and when everything will be done. This helps everyone in your company to be on the same page and to share the same vision.

Rule #3: Never make promises you can’t keep

The most common mistake new entrepreneurs make, and I made this when I first started out, is that they over-promise and under-deliver. Luckily, I quickly learned that if I under-promised and over-delivered, I would have happy customers that would keep paying me for a long time.

To this day, I meet entrepreneurs who make promises they can’t keep. The funny part about it is that most of the promises they can’t keep are not important.

If you can learn to keep your promises, you’ll quickly shine in the world of entrepreneurs. Over the past 10 years, the majority of the people I ran into couldn’t keep their promises.

Rule #4: Go above and beyond to make customers happy

As I mentioned in rule number 3, under-promise and over-deliver. That’s the easiest way to keep your customers happy.

What you’ll find is that the best way to acquire new customers is to make your current ones happy. With social media, customers have much more power now than they ever used to. So, if you can go above and beyond what you have promised to your customers, they’ll gladly be willing to tweet about your business, brag to other companies about the service they received from you, and, most importantly, constantly refer you new business.

Plus, the biggest benefit of making your customers happy is that they’ll stick around a lot longer, which will increase their life-time-value. This is important as you will quickly learn that it is much harder to acquire new customers than it is to keep your current ones. So, make sure you go above and beyond for your customers.

Rule #5: There is no such thing as a 9 to 5 job

You could even say this rule applies even if you are working a 9 to 5 job, but if you are an entrepreneur, it applies even more. Over the past 10 years, I haven’t taken a vacation or a day off. Just because you’re tired of working or are sick doesn’t mean business is going to stop and wait for you to come back.

Be prepared to work 24/7 and don’t complain about the long hours. It’s life, and if you can’t do it, then you aren’t cut out to be an entrepreneur.

The best advice I can give you is make sure you are enjoying what you are doing. Because if you are, working 80-hour weeks won’t be that hard as it won’t feel like work.

Rules #6: Business and emotions don’t mix

Although I mentioned this in an earlier blog post this month, I can’t stress enough that business and emotions don’t mix. When you get emotional, you’ll start making decisions that will likely make you feel better in the short term, but it will cause your business to suffer.

Base all of your decisions on logic. Through these 4 simple tactics, you can cut emotions out of business decision-making:

  1. Stay grounded – when something good happens to you, don’t get too excited as someone out there is still better off than you are. And when something bad happens, don’t get down on yourself as people out there have it much worse than you do.
  2. Don’t hang out with emotional people exclusively – if you tend to hang out with emotional people too often, you’ll start embracing negative emotions.
  3. Stop bullshitting – by cutting out useless conversations in your life, you’ll also cut out unnecessary drama. The less drama you have, the easier it is to make logical decisions.
  4. Don’t count your chickens until the eggs hatch – just because a contract is signed or someone claims that he or she is going to pay you doesn’t mean they will. You have to wait until you have the money in your bank account, and it clears. If you start getting excited about “potential business”, you’ll often get disappointed.

Rule #7: Don’t spread yourself too thin

I’ve made this mistake one too many times over the years, and I still make it, although to a much lesser extent. By focusing my effort on one company instead of multiple businesses, I’ve been able to spend more time on my startup, which has lead to an increase in revenue.

A good example of an entrepreneur who doesn’t spread himself too thin is Mark Zuckerberg. He eats, drinks, and sleeps Facebook. He doesn’t invest in other companies nor has he tried to found other businesses. He knew that if he spent all of his time on Facebook, and nothing else, he would succeed.

Granted, if you spend all of your time on one company, it probably won’t be as big as Facebook, but you’ll have better odds of succeeding than if you divided your time in multiple ventures instead of one.

Rule #8: Never stop learning

Once I started making some money, I started to get comfortable, and naturally I lost a bit of my drive. When I made even more money, I got even more comfortable, and I started to get stuck in my ways.

At first, it doesn’t sound that bad because you think you know what’s best for your business, but sadly it isn’t always the case. You need to keep up with what’s happening in your industry, or else your competitors are going to start eating your lunch.

This happened to one of my older companies. We were able to recover and surpass our competitors again, but it quickly taught me that you always have to be learning so that you can keep innovating.

Don’t ever get stuck in your ways. And although it sounds easy not to, once you start making money, you’ll realize that you’ll change. Keep an eye out for things as you can always be learning.

Rule#9: Protect your butt

Over the past couple of years, I’ve felt I had bad luck. It seems like I have constantly been getting audited by the government, and people have been trying to sue me for random things. However, after talking with some seasoned entrepreneurs, I quickly learned that it’s a natural part of the entrepreneurial game.

See, the larger you get and the more money you make, the more people will want to come after you. The reason is simple: you’re just painting a big target on your back. And they see it as a way to make a quick buck.

Instead of stressing about these things, you need to be prepared. Make sure you are in contact with good lawyers and accountants, and you have insurance on your company in case someone sues you.

The best advice I can give you if someone tries to come after you is not to be cheap. Good lawyers and accountants cost money, and the money they cost you is a drop in the bucket compared to how much they can save you.

Rule #10: Be cheap, but not with employees

Those of you who know me on a personal level, you know that I am a frugal guy. Compared to what I earn, I don’t spend that much money. I don’t like wasting money on fancy offices, cars, material objects, or even food. But the one thing I spend a lot of money on is employees.

I’m a big believer that you have to spend money on good talent. Good employees are hard to come by. At the same time, you should also conserve money on everything else so when times get tough, you don’t have to resort to firing any of your employees.

The best part about taking care of your employees is that they’ll be loyal and stick with you for a very long time. If you are a serial entrepreneur, you always want to have the option of taking your employees to your next business, and this is only possible if you treat your employee right.

Rule #11: Perfection isn’t important, speed is

I used to be a perfectionist. I used to care what my peers thought about my company and the way I looked. But what I quickly realized was that none of them were spending money with my company, so it shouldn’t matter what they thought.

If I had focused on creating a minimal viable product and getting it out there as quickly as possible, I would have literally saved over a million dollars with my last business. And millions more with my previous ones.

Get things out as quickly as possible because if you don’t, someone else will beat you to the punch. Nothing will ever be perfect! Get your product or service out there, get feedback from your customers/potential customers, and iterate.


The rules I mentioned above are the ones I have found to work well for me over the last ten years. But instead of taking my word for it, try them out for yourself, and let me know what you think.

Rules evolve with time, and just because I have been an entrepreneur for a while doesn’t mean I know everything. Just like you, I am learning new things every day. So, if you have ideas on how to make these rules better or if you have any other rules that you would like to share, leave a comment.

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  1. Michael Cyger :

    Having spent 10 years in corporate America (better not to do something than take a risk) and then another 10 years as an entrepreneur (taking risks and being rewarded for them if successful), I now live by the following Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper quote: “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

  2. Jocelyn Y. Wilson :

    Great list! Having worked in a “real job” for years and now being on my own, I agree with all the rules. Another rule I like to live by is keep it simple. Its easy to over-complicate things sometimes!

  3. Nicholas Cardot :

    Good points here all around. I’ve made a few of those mistakes that you mentioned when I began doing freelance web work. The principle of promising less and delivering more is a powerful one. I’ve seen the results of going the extra mile and I can tell you that when you have a good client, they notice the effort.

  4. Love these rules! Thank you.

  5. I agree with most of your rules and disagree with some, but rule #11 is something I am really trying to work on. It’s so hard for me to release a product that I have yet to perfect, but I need to realize that what I think may be perfect is not going to be what every other user thinks is perfect. It would be best to release the product as soon as possible and learn what the users want! You said it best: “Get your product or service out there, get feedback from your customers/potential customers, and iterate.”

  6. Another Superb Article, was thinking about walking the entrepreneur path, this article has cleared most of my doubts. even i believe in Rule #8.

  7. Thank you for numbering the most basic rules for an entrepreneur… I thoroughly agree with the Rule #8 applies for not just a businessman in fact to every human being, because knowledge is like the ocean – it has no end!

  8. College textbooks :

    I think Rule 4 in particular is very important. I always like to underprice a bit and over deliver. That way your customers are sure to be happy and will be more likely to be a return customer. If you can get them the results they want and then some, why wouldn’t they come back.

  9. Hi Neil,
    I hope you can use Rule#1 to breake for a little the Rule#5 (” I haven’t taken a vacation or a day off”-It is time you do it, just for some days at least, for a first time)
    For:”don’t get too excited as someone out there still is better off than you.” use: the Rule #8: Never stop learning
    I don’t want to write more, I just have big smile reading this for a second time:)
    Ok, My favorite are: Rule# 3, 8, 10, but all other are great, or better to say all of them are just a true!
    I hope more people will use this and make own work better and by that make this world better:)
    Smile Neil and take some day off 😉

  10. Hey Neil,

    Very insightful post. In regards to “spreading yourself too thing”, do you think it’s important to spend some of your time doing other things other than your company that may still benefit your company in the long run?

    Example: Volunteer or help out with local meetups or non-profits? If so, how do you evaluate how much time is ok to spend doing those things?

  11. Hey Neil:

    #3 is a big one for me. As you know, simply being a man of your word can take you a long way in business. At least, this has always been the case in my experience.

    As always, I enjoyed the read my friend.

    – Thom

    • Thanks Thom, appreciate the kind words. I think your word is all you have in the end. Thanks for the input 🙂

  12. Whole Body Vibration :

    #7 hits home, sometimes it seems like I have to many websites, or too many join ventures going up at the same time.

  13. Rule 11 is awesome. I am always telling my developer which is now my business partner we do not need perfection to start it off. Lets get things up and running first… and then we will make the extra touches. Good list man!

  14. angelinvestor8 :

    I think that if ever someone performs a study of companies started by two co-founders or more, and compare them to lone ranger companies, they will definitely find a correlation between success and founder plurality.

  15. Rule number 8 is the one should guide everybody in life. We have to be able to realize that no matter how much we learn there is stil more to discover.

  16. Great rules! And thanks for the link of the presentation at startuplessonlearned was really valuable!

  17. Dr. Mark Smith :

    Excellent article and I can’t say I disagree with anything you’ve said. A few of these really hit home. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that your business is not built from 9-5. It’s built in what you do from 5 o’clock on when everyone else packs it up for the day. Approach your business like it’s a hobby and it will never get boring. You’ll actually enjoy it when it keeps you up all night.

  18. Great rules! Thanks for sharing them

  19. HI Neil,
    Thanks for this post, learnt lot from this one.

  20. I always give extra value to the rule#10 and 11. In the 11th rule I evolved in same way. Perfection has already been buried into the graveyard of last century.

  21. Shilpi Singha Roy :

    Its true that rules are meant to break but as you said we have to face the consequences. Thanks for this great post Neil. Loved reading it.
    Online Business Virtual Assistant

  22. Astrologer in Delhi :

    Neil, Everything is good, But I cant understand “Perfection isn’t important, speed is”. May be you can write a brief post about it.

  23. Hello Neil,

    I like your way which you mentioned for promise. I never make promise but always try to do my best.

  24. Great rules here, some I can relate to, I would also like to add,
    “to achieve something you have to spend a little” – you have mentioned it slightly in your point “Be cheap, but not with employees”. I totally agree, but along side your employees, you also need to invest in the overall business, such as marketing, business tools, and generally things that will make you more productive and improve your customer experience.
    Many assume setting up a business, and not spending a dime, things will start to roll in. Yes in some cases they would, but very very rare. You generally need to spend abit whether its on your products, brand, tools…etc

  25. Web Design Resource :

    Rule is just an experiment for me, when you break it you get a modified version of this. As like you i have also braked lots of rules and in result i got strong and useful rule as in business as well as in life 🙂

  26. Game or any business must have rules so that cleanness can be found

  27. I’m usually not one for ‘rules’, because honestly, some rules ARE meant to be broken. I see these more as guidelines and generally good practice than ‘rules’.

    These are definitely ‘rules’ to live by. 🙂 Kudos!

  28. Mary Lou Scott :

    Always great advice…and FREE! You are one of my best resources! Thanks…

  29. About rule #7. How do you motivate and focus only on one startup? I see everyday a lot of opportunities for new products and this make me distracting from my startup. Any advice, how to motivate yourself?

  30. David | Invest in Africa :

    Thanks Neil as always. Point 11 is where I am at so I will look into the minimum viable product and get on with it.

  31. Campus Attention :

    Great piece. Hope to get more of it. Thanks for sharing it with us. @Pinkhart

  32. If business and emotions don’t mix, where do I put my passion? And I want a happy environment in business, does that count too? I think there are positive sides in emotion, don’t generalize, you don’t want them turning their backs on you.. 🙂

    A great article nevertheless.

    • I didn’t suggest turning your back to anyone, it’s just a matter of investing less time in things that will make you more emotional. Thanks for reading 🙂

  33. I find all these rules just as great. Though not in entrepreneurship so far, i believe this advice can help anyone go a long path.

  34. So well said, speed matters alot more then anything else. Because stuff changes so quick, you have to keep up.

  35. love your second last point most, if you support good talent indirectly you support your business, and rest of points good for all investors and entrepreneurs BTW how could i join your company if i want?

  36. Neil-
    You sound like a genuinely nice guy. I like your writing style. No wonder you were voted in the top 100 bloggers. You come across as honest and sincere.
    I don’t necessary ascribe to 100% of your ideas. But so what.

    Focus on one’s livelihood is important. But–there is more to life than 80 hours weeks. Hope you find time for the really important things in life.

    Thanks for the thinking.

  37. Good job!


  38. Awesome tips, always keep reading your article and never missed it. Rule no. 4 and 5 is very important to grow the business. Initially i had tried to tied up with one of my college friend for partnership but it didnt work out and i personally feel there is more freedom and quick decision can be taken as a single decision taker.

  39. perth internet marketing :

    Wow. Tough rules to follow! I believe these are rules not only in business but in life as well and it may take a lifetime to follow. But these are timeless and well established principles that will bring success. Thanks for the article.

  40. melbourne internet marketing :

    I agree with the principle in rule no# 3. I know customers and client have their expectations but good entrepreneurs know how to make expectations for their clients.

  41. Hey Neil, thanks for the rules. We are in a process of establishing our own business and this will help in the business once established. All the rules are so important in ensuring that one has a successful business. Thanks a lot!!!

  42. “Perfection is not important speed is” I like it most. As i was the the victim of perfection. Initially, I developed some software but could not published/launch it as i want a perfect copy of that software, Thus lost my interest in this process. So as soon as you have in your mind roll out and then try to make it perfect later on.

    • I think that all folke that is in IT is perfectionist. We think, that for sell software, we must create a good software, buth the truth is, you must sell, sell, sell… 🙂

      Create a MVP and go out ASAP, acquiring clients is slow process, so you have time to optimize your software and see what clients want. It happens that client wants something different you didn’t think of.

    • Definitely, you are right on point.

  43. You are very Educative with your forums.I dont run my own business though i look forward to doing that so am a keen follower of your posts as am a business development manager and i know that the information you give can help me excell in my career.Big up!

  44. Ming Jong Tey :

    I love the last point! Do not wait until perfect, just do it and correct along the way 🙂

    This is one of the crucial point to kill procrastination and take massive action!


  45. John R. Sedivy :

    Great advice. Something else to consider in addition to creating specific employee roles is to factor in some overlap. This helps reduce the chance of something falling between the cracks between business functions as the business scales.

  46. Cooling Towers :

    Yes, your experience is wonderful and thanks for sharing with us.

  47. Being frugal definitely helps. I learned how to manage my finance effectively this way. I stopped buying smart phones every year and now only think of them to get my work done. Thanks for the rules, neil.

  48. Good list of pointers. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  49. A lot of time people do spend on stupid stuff like re buying the newest smart phone every year, these are some good tips 🙂 i know some people who should see this ….

  50. This is another great help Neil, I have been on your list for awhile and your tips have been a great help. Guess I need a Neil Patel folder. ;o)

  51. I liked most of the rules. no doubt if any one follow’s the above said 11 rules the chances of failing in the buisness is very minimal . and chances of sucess are most likely. i also feel that at times you may have to take calculative risks.

  52. ravi janardhan :

    Thanks Neil. As always, your post is a dynamite.
    All pointers are great, esp Rule#1, #10 and a part of #6 are new for me, and very much thought provoking.

  53. sell textbooks :

    Neil, would you ever have time to write a book? I know I’ve said it before, but your blog is extremely inspirational. And you are a good writer. I know it takes a lot of time and work to write one, but if you ever do, I know I’ll buy myself a copy!

  54. Neil,

    This list is right on. Just the other day my father was lecturing me about finding a number 2 guy and that every great leader of every great organization has a great number 2 guy they can lean on. In addition, I also spead myself too thin. I am trying to run three businesses and I feel they all suffer becaue I spead myself to thin.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • You should follow your father’s advice. Good luck Marvin 🙂

    • You should always have another person to rely on when you are running a business. That person can help you with ideas, money are any other advice that can help your business move on.

      • Definitely,
        A major factor in a successful business is having someone you can trust and depend on.
        If you have that, you will have a strong and solid foundation to build a business upon.

  55. great stuff……rules i will definitly follow…thanks neil.

  56. I don’t agree with 4 and partially disagree with five.

    You should only go above and beyond with reasonable customers, there are many that just want everything for free and they should be rejected as customers.

    There should be a limit to how hard you work. You cannot sacrifice your mind and body in the long term. I agree you shouldn’t tie your self down to the 9 to five mentality and be prepared to work off-hours but working too much is bad for your health.

    Fourty Hours a week is a nice healthy number along with 8 solid hours of sleep. As long as you fulfil these criteria on the average over regular periods of time, then hard work will really pay off.

    • sell textbooks :

      About your not agreeing with #4… I’m not saying I agree or disagree with you, I just want to add that I’ve almost *always* bent over backwards to provide a good service, and I almost *never* get a “thank you” or feedback or any kudos or even acknowledgement. But, to me, more important than compliments, thank-you letters, or “wow you are cool and I acknowledge your super excellent customer service” messages from customers is knowing that I have done my best.

      • Definitely, doing your best is all you can really do. Working hard and providing great service is something you have to really work for!

    • If you don’t agree with number four you are not able to make your customers happy. I know that some people can be annoying but you have to realize that an income is an income no matter how annoying that person is. What if you have the misfortune of having 80% of your customers like you described. You reject them all? In that case you can close your business and say goodbye.

  57. The Ocean Agency - An SEO Company :

    Neil Neil Neil….

    Great list. I wish 8 years ago I would have studied this list and maybe even stapled it to my forehead. I would like to add #12 – it was a lesson I wish I’d learned earlier and that is:

    #12 – Sales don’t always equal profits.
    Example: A few years back my company made about $500,000 in one year and then the very next year I worked my butt off and the company made over $1,000,000? Sound good? Well, it wasn’t. I made the exact same salary and the company profited the exact same amount of money. We sold too many deals where we broke even. So becareful, forecast your profit margins and work hard to keep them.

  58. Brilliant list! Have shared for all my network to read.

  59. #4 Time based work vs Work based time. i feel and experienced work based time always make make me success,where i can plan ,schedule and execute

  60. LearnedTheHardWay :

    Take. A. Vacation.

    Neil, you may be too young to understand this. But never stopping WILL catch up with you.

    Take a vacation. Disconnect. Lose the smartphone, tablet and laptop — if only for a few days. Go someplace remote without WiFi access.

    This will provide you with clarity and perspective. The world is a noisy place, and if you don’t take the time to step away from the speakers you will lose your hearing.

    • I do take breaks here and there. I will take a prolonged vacation when I have everything all settled away 🙂

  61. Hello, Neil I agree with most of the above post, however seriously take a vacation! 😛

    Also I was just wondering when you first started your business, how did you find a web designer that you could trust or a decent one at all?


    • I started about 10 years ago, I will take a vacation when I deserve one :). I just trusted someone, and it was honestly just trial and error.

    • The thing is that if you want to keep your business going you can’t really afford a vacation. I wanted to take a longer vacation this year but all I did was to take 3 days off because the customers were calling me all the time. Until you reach your goals you have to forget about long vacations.

  62. #1 is the deal breaker. Having been a solo entrepreneur at our company, I often time miss a partner. Having a partner would boost the business in many ways..

    – Ups and downs come in a business. A partner shares the responsibility and morale support from them would prove very crucial.
    – You never know when you have to travel urgently or go on a vacation or for any reason, you can’t be at business for over two weeks. In a start up, this could prove fatal. A partner in such case would be a god send help.
    – The biggest benefit is – you can avoid procrastination. There is a partner who is watching you, you can not avoid important work for too long.

    Thanks for the article neil. Consider writing an article on “How to find a perfect business partner” sometime.

  63. recording studios uk :

    One way, would be to open the IM window and look to the Toolbar above the top window, click View, scroll down to, My Display Image Options and click there and scroll to, Change My Display Image.

  64. rule 4 is one of the best. The idea is part of tqm (total quality management) and your business should be ok as long as you focus on customers needs. As long as you follow all the rules it should be perfect….but it’s hard to do it 😉

  65. Great number 1 rule. I did solo for a few years and totally got burnt out. I have 2 great partners now in my business and honestly don’t know what I would do without them.

  66. Would you consider a successful novelist a lone ranger type, or does a novelist with a great editor make for the aforementioned duo?

  67. Jatin Bharmani :

    I have recently started reading your articles and to be honest its amazing. I have worked with Corporates for 9 years and this January I started on my own. I can relate much of the facts practically, in my own business, as mentioned in your articles. :). Will continue reading your articles, it is going to be a good learning for me, just by going through your articles, rather than practically experimenting and getting caught in the wrong foot. Thanks a ton!

    • Jatin, glad I could be of some help. Good luck with your endeavors and feel free to reach out if you need any assistance. thanks!

  68. Best Tablet Comparison :

    Great tips

  69. Jen from MBAchic :

    Great list, Neil. These rules definitely ring true. If I had to pick a favorite, I would say #8. Gotta keep moving – can’t stop and get comfortable… anyway, I found your blog after you followed me on twitter (following you back!). Thanks a lot — I just subscribed, and I look forward to more posts!

    • Thanks Jen,

      #8 is definitely a big one, you can’t afford to stand still at any time in your work. The minute you freeze or take a break you will be passed up by someone with more ambition and passion driving them on. Looking forward to having you come back!

  70. Wine Glass Rack :

    Neil, you may be too young to understand this. But never stopping WILL catch up with you.

  71. Parenting: The First 12 Months :

    The “Never make promises you can´t keep” rule should be tattooed onto every businessman´s forehead. It is so infuriating when somebody doesn´t do what they promise. Far better to say it can´t be done or to give a realistic delivery date for something.

    • I agree, you have to be realistic about what you can and cannot provide. If not you will hurt business even more then saying you couldn’t help in the first place. It is always better to be upfront and honest.

  72. I like your way which you mentioned for promise. I never make promise but always try to do my best.

    • It is far worst to agree to do something you can’t deliver, then to admit it is beyond your abilities for the moment. Disappointing a customer by telling them you can’t do it is far better then disappointing them when you can’t deliver and they are expecting you to.

  73. really you are great neil you have written a very things in few words. Only Implementation need to be success with these business ideas and rules. I am become fan of you. Really this is Awesome. No words to explain.

  74. Third article I’m reading here and I can’t seem to leave. Good work, Neil. I got here through copyblogger and am surely not disappointed with the quality.

  75. Yasir Khan Quantum SEO :

    Yet another hit on the bullseye! However, I still believe having employees is a better option than a partner. Things get more complicated when you get someone on-board later as they keep drilling that they made the company what it is now and look at what Apple did to Steve Jobs … They threw him off the board!

    • You make a good point. Sometimes it is better to work solo. However for the most part, you will need to find someone you trust to help you run the company.

  76. These are great tips. I actually like the rule of not been cheap with employee. Thanks for sharing

  77. I think with rules 1 and 2, it’s important to stress that having a partner who doesn’t share the same mindset as you is just as detrimental to your success as not having a partner at all. If they aren’t on the same track as you, or share the same values, you’re both doomed from the getgo.

    And as for being ‘prepared to work 24/7’ (or should that be 25/8? haha), if you aren’t willing to go and above and beyond to make your own success, you should just quit. If you aren’t in it 110%, it’s equal to not caring in the slightest.

    • Definitely, you want to make sure you have common goals.

      Hahaha pretty much. It takes excessive persistence and hard work to make a successful business. Without full dedication you will not reach your full potential if you even make it at all.

  78. According to me, having a co founder is most important while starting up a new business. It will not only help you to lower down your workload but will also help your business in financial matters. Thanks for this great post Neil.

  79. 9-5… I wish! It’s 80 hours easy for me, and I love it. #6 is the hit home rule that everyone should pay attention too.

    Never take advice from people who are NOT doing better than you. For some reason, folks like to brag about how they can help you do better when they are broke. Just gotta laugh it off and make it look like you are listening to them… make em feel good. 😉

  80. I think rule number 3 and 11 are the most important one.
    You always need to give your customers an aha-moment. Then they’ll come back again and again.

    Perfectionism is in my opinion a form of procrastination. You spend too much time on something which often isn’t bringing you money…that’s my problem too!

  81. Hi Neil, you’re right the more people involve to the business, the more successful its will become. I love all of the rules above. You are just amazing. I’m also trying to be perfect but now, I have to thank you.

    Thank you – Ferb

  82. Pushkar Kohli :

    Nice post Neil!! Am looking for a co-founder in order to divide my work load!! Lets hope i find one!! and ya i agree perfection isn’t that important, but speed is really essential when the market around you is so competitive and only the fittest ones are going to survive !! Cheers!!

  83. hey neil,
    Great post.
    totally agree upon “: Business and emotions don’t mix” One must follow this specially.



  84. Great rules here, some I can relate to, I would also like to add,
    “to achieve something you have to spend a little” – you have mentioned it slightly in your point “Be cheap, but not with employees”.

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