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12 Business Lessons From 5 Years of Entrepreneurship
This is a reflection on what I’ve learned from running a business for 5 years 😅.
On the 3rd of December 2017, I started The Humble Penny as a blog together with my wife, Mary.
It was a 99p domain name.
I had a full-time job as a CFO but felt I needed a creative outlet.
Something fun but with the goal of helping others improve their finances.
What started as a passion project has since become a business that employs me, my wife, and a small team of freelancers.
In 5 years, the platform has helped over 5 million people to improve their relationship with money.
But it hasn’t all been rosy. I’ve doubted myself so many times but carried on.
Even with all the challenges, doing this journey with my wife has made it a lot of fun.
Table of Contents
12 Business Lessons From 5 Years of Entrepreneurship
Here is what I’ve learned. Hope it inspires you to start a purpose-led side hustle or business:
1: HELP OTHERS 😍
The more people you genuinely solve their problems, the more you can create a business out of something that you love if you want to.
This has been and will always be our primary goal.
The prospect of going from 5 million people to 10 or 20 million people one day is very exciting.
Value is created when you help others achieve a transformation in their lives.
The reward for creating that transformation could be monetary or non-monetary.
2: GET HELP 😅
With limited resources, I’ve learned to make what we have stretch.
We have the help of a small team from the UK, Ukraine, and Ghana.
Getting help has helped us achieve so much more.
Other ways I've gotten help is by learning from other people.
The more I put myself in environments where I'm learning from others, the more I expand my imagination.
Examples include being coached by others, being part of masterminds, learning from our audience, etc.
3: TELL STORIES 🎙
Storytelling has helped us to connect with each other for millennia.
It is also a way of building know, like, and trust with people especially when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Sharing stories about your failures, struggles, and successes will inspire people and build trust.
4: SUBSCRIBERS vs CUSTOMERS 🔥
I learned from John Warrillow that Subscribers are better than Customers.
Paying subscribers create recurring income.
Not only does this provide stability for a business, but it also increases its value.
It is from this knowledge that we created our sister platform, Financial Joy Academy with a core mission of helping 10,000 people become Financially Free by 2030.
5: MEDIA IS LEVERAGE⚡️
I learned from Naval Ravikant that media is “permissionless leverage” that can work for you while you sleep.
The “leverage” point means that one piece of content gets amplified by the power of the internet, therefore, delivering a bigger return.
Content that I created 3 to 5 years ago continues to help people today and project our ideas and values.
In addition, content opens new doors and helps to build trust before you meet people.
On occasion, my wife and I get recognised in public, and the people we meet feel like they've known us for years even though we've just met them 😆.
6: SEEK LIMITLESS POTENTIAL 🚀
Starting a tutoring and nursery business years ago taught me that certain businesses have a cap on their potential.
However, operating a business online has limitless potential.
Every day I wake up, everything expands.
This is one of the most encouraging aspects of starting an online business.
Although, note that this momentum takes time to build. Sometimes, a year or two.
7: ROI MINDSET ✨
It’s important not to accept every opportunity that comes your way.
You need to work out the ROI of that opportunity to decide if it’s worth your while.
This speaks to the 80/20 Pareto Principle, which states from a business perspective that:
80 percent of a given business's returns typically come from around 20 percent of its opportunities or customers.
This means that it's important to choose that 20 percent wisely by assessing for Return On Investment.
That return could be monetary or non-monetary e.g. new relationships, speaking events, corporate opportunities, etc.
8: PRODUCTISE YOUR KNOWLEDGE 📝
Some people learn from reading books, some from watching videos, some from listening to audio, etc.
I’ve learned it’s important to give people what they want and in the format that they want it.
Productising your knowledge into different formats creates scale.
9: WORK ON THE BUSINESS 💎
I learned the difference between ‘working on the business' vs ‘working in the business'.
Working on the business means that I've been learning to eject myself and look at our business from the outside.
This way, we've been able to gradually work smarter rather than harder.
Without working on the business, it won't have moved forward.
10: HEALTH AND WELL-BEING 🥰
You only have one body.
I struggled with stress over the years but over time, I’ve realised that if I don’t prioritise my well-being, it limits the potential that I have.
So I've been doing things like working a 4-day week (taking Fridays off) and also limiting my active work hours to around 6 hours a day.
11: HAVE FUN 🤸🏾♂️
I would have given up if this was not fun.
Working with my wife as a business partner has been the icing on the cake.
It was never our plan that this would end up this way but it has been phenomenal for our marriage.
We're soon to be 12 years married and I can tell you that working together for 5 of those years has helped us grow so much as a couple.
It also means that we both know when to work and when to take time out for fun.
This remains a work-in-progress though because there are times when we get carried away with work 😅.
12: TRUST GOD 🙏🏾
This one is personal.
I don't always know what I'm doing with running this platform.
Most things are experiments just to see what will happen.
No two days are ever the same and we never know what's around the corner.
Trusting God over the last 5 years has given us peace and expectation of good things to come.
Although I started this platform as a passion project, my journey of entrepreneurship has been fulfilling and fun.
I've learned a lot and I continue to as The Humble Penny grows.
On behalf of Mary and me, a huge thanks to you for supporting our work over the last 5 years 😀.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Which of the 12 business lessons that I shared spoke to you the most?
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