Founding and running your own business is a privilege, it’s a time you never forget and it brings with it a depth and breadth of experience that is unique, challenging and special. The freedom to deliver exceptional work is all yours for the taking or, indeed, failing.

When you’ve done it more times than you care to count, both with success and modest failure, you gain some pretty candid insight.

Here’s my ten:

  1. Learn the 3x3x3 principle – it will take you three times more money than you thought, three times as long and it is three times harder than having a ‘normal’ job.

    2. Learn how to hold your nerve.

    3. You will spend 60% of your time selling and 40% doing or making.

    4. Don’t work for crap clients, crap leaders and crap products. 

    5. You will learn how to deliver nothing short of exceptional products, solutions and experiences. If you don’t, you won’t eat.

    6. Take the time to build intimate relationships with customers. It’s then easier to deliver the above. 

    7. Don’t waste your time on people who don’t add value. 

    8. You will be immensely brave and incredibly stupid but out of that comes great wisdom. This is why you will always be different. 

    9. Work on your business as well as in it or you will just become a busy fool.

    10. Motivation is a joint responsibility. You only have so much of it yourself. Learn to spot drains and radiators of it.  

And, the final one is, you will never be the same again. Remember that if you ever rejoin the employee career route.