I have doubled down on any knowledge I could find online around “what I wish I knew when I was 20 (or 21 or younger).”
Why am I such a fanatic about “advice to my younger self” content?
- Most people (99%) don’t care to take the time to learn from others’ mistakes. If you don’t listen to history, you waste time (and money) repeating it. That gives you an advantage on getting ahead in life.
- They are literally telling you what to do to not waste your life or experience heartache and pain. You could (sometimes literally) dodge a bullet.
Make sure you don’t take advice from anyone. It’s useful to take advice only from people who are skilled or credible in the areas you want to be in. There are too many people who have released content on this topic, so I’ve filtered them out by credibility and accomplishment.
Success Magazine’s Round-Up
Success.com asked some of the top fitness trainers, CEO’s, and actors if they could give a short piece of advice to their younger self. They collected their answers in a round-up article here. The main theme I picked up from the advice is to stay humble, don’t worry too much, avoid ego, and be careful of false gurus.
Fitness trainer – Mike Vacanti
This man was the fitness fitness coach for Gary Vaynerchuk, an accomplished entrepreneur for a few years. He for a few years at an accounting firm which he didn’t enjoy and chose to follow his passion instead. This advice is better suited for those in the fitness industry, and take it with a grain of salt since he’s still young.
- Have huge negative consequences to motivate you to do something
- Act on your intuition immediately and if you make mistakes or fail, it’s okay. You’ll still get there faster.
- Practice mindfulness meditation
- Read the War of Art. The author talks about how everyone feels resistance in life.
- Have a side hustle. It’s a safe way of starting a business so that if you ever quit your main job, you aren’t under pressure.
Ryan is an millionaire entrepreneur. He built a nutrition company to 100 million dollars in revenue. He’s very successful at online marketing. He wrote an article titled “42 Years. 42 Mistakes.”
It looks like he may have redesigned his site and taken down the blog, so I pasted the article below.
Today I turn 42. And while so many posts and Facebook updates are about “hey, look how awesome my life is”, I just wanted to get real for a few minutes.
The average lifespan for a white male living in Connecticut is 78. And while I hope to live many years beyond that, no one can predict the future. One thing is for certain, with each passing year – it becomes more and more apparent the “back nine” of my life is slowly approaching.
So today, on my 42nd birthday, I’d like to look back and focus not on my “successes”, but on the mistakes I’ve made over the years. And, oh boy, have I made my share.
The key to life is not making mistakes, but by LEARNING from your mistakes and constantly striving to be a better person. For me, it’s becoming a better father, husband, son, brother, and finally, a better businessman. The day we all stop trying to better ourselves.. well, you may as well just throw in the towel.
So looking back at my first 42 years of life, and in keeping with the theme of learning from mistakes, here are 42 mistakes I’ve made over the years (believe me, I’ve made thousands more – these were just the first 42 that came to my mind – I don’t know if you want to read “Ryan’s 193,241 mistakes”).
This list includes both personal and business screw-ups. My hope is by publishing this list – you can avoid some of the mistakes (and pain) I’ve done through.
You’ll see the mistake fist followed by what I learned in [brackets].
Here they are in all their glory and no particular order:
1. Not appreciating my wife enough for how much she supports me and our kids
[Biggest mistake of my life. No question – it’s not even close]
2. Promoting a product I didn’t fully review myself first
[Now I only promote products I personally review]
3. Not appreciating my mom enough and telling her that when she was alive
[It’s a big regret, but she did know how much I loved her. Appreciate your family while they are here]
4. Launching a product without enough customer support ready to handle the influx of new customers
[Now I always have extra staff ready]
5. Taking on too many new clients at one time
[I never have more than a couple of active clients at a time]
6. Not having people apply to make sure they are qualified to join a high-level mastermind group
[All of my bigger ticket events and masterminds are now application-only]
7. Traveling too much during four year stretch to speak at events and missing many weekends with my kids
[I haven’t traveled to speak at an event in over 2.5 years]
8. Not testing offers enough before doing a large-scale release
[Now, I put offers through the ringer before I launch]
9. Not learning (and focusing) on paid traffic from day 1
[Most of my learning time is now on mastering paid traffic and generating my own customers]
10. Taking advice from people whose life I should not have modeled
[I can learn some marketing tactics, but if I see a guy who is 50, divorced three times and lonely… I can’t take every word he says as the gospel because I could end up just like him]
11. Staying out way too late at one too many marketing events
[Those days are long gone and far in my rear view mirror]
12. Investing $5K in a coaching program that provided ZERO value
[I’m very picky when I purchase big-ticket programs]
13. Believing my own hype
[Staying humble is still a constant work-in-progress]
14. Not focusing on more front-end offers
[Working on three new powerful front-end offers to generate new customers]
15. Not offering enough premium products when I first started (my customers wanted to spend – so they spent it elsewhere)
[I now offer a wide range of products and experiences at higher prices]
16. Cursing too much in my blog posts
[I was in a dark place and realize, while I was fired up, it was just wrong for me to use that type of language. F that!]
17. Spending too many nights on the computer when I should have been playing with my kids more
[I shut my computer down when I get home now. If I want to go back on, it’s only after my kids are sleeping]
18. Not doing a good enough job keeping in touch with childhood friends
[I try to reconnect each week with a different friend from the past]
19. Taking too long to discover how much more creative and productive I am when working outside of a traditional office
[Every morning I now spend at a coffee shop – usually Starbucks]
20. Speaking negatively about someone behind their back
[I’m still working on this.. but if I have a problem with someone, I usually just confront them to their face to work out our differences]
21. Focusing too much on just a few negative customers when I should have been putting all my energy into my customers who “get it”
[This is a toughie and while my skin has thickened over the years, I’m still pretty sensitive and a people pleaser]
22. Not firing some clients sooner
[This was liberating and I have no problem letting go of negative people. And if they are mean to my customer support team, they are gone. No questions asked. Demetria and my team know I ALWAYS have their back]
23. Getting frustrated with a client who doesn’t listen to my advice
[You can only guide your clients – you can’t do it for them. Just focus on doing the best you can for the – the rest is up to them]
24. Partnering with people whose skills were too similar to mine
[I realize I’m a “starter” and now only partner with people who are “finishers”]
25. Creating a product I wasn’t passionate about or proud of
[If I wouldn’t be product to wear name of my product/company on my t-shirt, I don’t create it]
26. Speaking at an event I should have said no to
[Be careful of the company you keep. Before I say yes even to an online event, I first ask who else is speaking. And if there are people on the schedule I don’t want to be associated with, no matter how good the opportunity, I say no with zero regrets. Think LONG TERM with your reputation!]
27. Saying “yes” too many times
[When you learn to say “no”, it transforms your business]
28. Not paying close enough attention to the finances and tax implications of a growing business
[This cost me well over $4 million dollars in IRS penalties and fines. And I now have a great accountant who has experience in high-profit businesses like mine]
29. Rushing my sales copy
[I always let my copy sit for 24 hours before I come back to it]
30. Not emailing my list enough
[If you put out good stuff – they WANT to hear from you more. Don’t be shy]
31. Not creating premium continuity programs sooner
[I don’t create programs now without some type of recurring revenue opportunity]
32. Putting money in a risky investment (I trusted my neighbor and lost over $60K in 7 days)
[My investments are much safer and I put most of my money back into my business – where I know my returns and can control my future]
33. Not re-investing more money back into traffic generation
[My new company will get 100% of our new customers with paid traffic]
34. Refusing to take equity in some of my client’s businesses (this cost me, conservatively, $30 million over the years)
[If it’s a serious client who has the potential to grow the businesses to 7 and 8 figures – I now ask for equity in exchange for my coaching and guidance]
35. Taking too long to realize how much better a Mac is than a PC (sorry PC fans)
[No more computer crashes… and I now run my ENTIRE business on my MacBook Air]
36. Not hiring Demetria earlier in my businesses (she’s now been with me over 11 years!)
[When you start, you’ll have to do it all yourself. But as you grow, build a strong team]
37. Not taking enough long walks alone… just thinking
[I now take a 40 minute walk EVERY day. It’s changed my business, reduced my stress, helped me lose a few pounds and gave me more creative marketing ideas]
38. Getting “caught up” in the hypey, paper-thin life of “Internet Marketing”
[It’s amazing the crap people peddle.. I try to distance myself as far from that world as possible]
39. Telling myself “I’m just bending the truth”, when in reality, I was lying
[100% transparency is the key]
40. Not following-through
[I make sure to hire someone who can run and manage new products and businesses]
41. Forgetting to fuel my body with healthy food
[Today, I’m 95% gluten and dairy-free… and my auto-immune disorder symptoms are almost completely gone – without the use of prescription drugs]
42. Not unplugging enough and simply enjoying the journey
[Our time here is limited – and we all have an expiration date. Are you really, truly enjoying the journey?]
BONUS MISTAKE #43. Not saying “THANK YOU” enough. My subscribers, customers and clients are the lifeblood of my business. Without you, my articles would go unread. My products would go unsold. And my mission to change the lives of millions of people would go unfinished.
So thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read this. I truly appreciate you and all the greatness you have inside you just ready to be unleashed to the world.
Fitness YouTuber and Instagrammer. Same deal here. He’s still young so take his advice with a grain of salt. That said, everyone learns a lot from mistakes.
Paul Brunson’s 20 Lessons from Shadowing Two Billionaires
His advice is valuable because it’s hard to get direct mentorship for an extended period of time with someone so high up on the chain, especially Oprah who has succeeded in her life and relationships, not only financially.
I picked up some new but oh-so-true points from here, like the fact that billionaires are often average at everything else but what makes them money.
Richard Branson’s Letters to Younger Self
Richard has achieved great financial and lifestyle success. He is a high school drop out who became a billionaire. He’s always laughing and having fun, even when he’s working. Richard’s tips are helpful to anyone who wants to strive to achieve business success or happiness.
I would’ve loved for him to give more details in his articles, but I’m still happy with them.
Noah Kagan – Multi-Millionaire, Founder of AppSumo, One of First Employees at Facebook & Mint
He is a Navy SEAL, podcaster, and author. He received the Silver Star and Bronze Star for as commander of SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser.
Top YouTubers and Celebrities
You don’t have to consume all the content on this topic to get some value. But learning from a few mistakes that people who have gone down your path have made can make a huge difference in your life. You can skip months or years of heartache and wasted resources by just hearing their stories. Is there content I have missed including? Let me know.
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