It was June 2002.
The setting.. the roughest neighborhood in the South Bronx, NY called Hunts Point.
And it was my last day as a full-time employee.
That’s right. It’s been an amazing 10 years since I left the job as a Gym/Health teacher in search of a new path…
THE 3 YEAR OVERNIGHT SUCCESS STORY
It took me 3 years to be able to build my online business to the point where I had the balls to leave the comfortable world of a paycheck, sick time, vacation and benefits. But I reached the point where I needed to go.
While working full-time as a recreational therapist, personal trainer and then a gym teacher – I spent EVERY free minute learning my craft and taking chances in my business.
So I took a deep breath, walked out those doors of the school and have not looked back.
10 YEARS OF LESSONS
It’s been 10 years since I’ve set my alarm clock. Or had to ask for a day off. Or had to write a resume. Or had to answer to a “boss” (although my 200,000+ subscribers are essentially my bosses!).
And what a ride it’s been.
Lots of successes and lots of big mistakes too.
Here are some valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way – and I hope they inspire you.
LESSON #1: Follow your gut – it’s usually right
LESSON #2: Look at your competition and ask yourself how you can make your product/service/offer 10 times better. Then do it!
LESSON #3: Treat your customers and subscribers how you would treat your own family. Never, ever take them for granted.
LESSON #4: Marketing is an ongoing process, NOT just a one-time campaign.
LESSON #5: Focus on building a consistent brand throughout your business. Never deviate from your core message.
LESSON #6: Only partner with people who have skills that complement yours. If you are a big idea starter – you need a detail-oriented follow-through partner.
LESSON #7: Never, every get attached to your idea. If it’s not working, dump it and keep moving your feet.
LESSON #8: Read at least one new book a week. And take ACTION on the big message you took from it.
LESSON #9: Find a way to create continuity income. It’s everything.
LESSON #10: Treat your employees and vendors like gold.
LESSON #11: If you have an idea, take IMMEDIATE action on it. Put it into motion because someone else also has the idea too – and they will beat you to it if you sit on your ass.
LESSON #12: Think long-term wealth and never promote products you don’t 100% believe in.
LESSON #13: Guard your time. Never answer your phone or instant messages when you are working on profit-producing activities.
LESSON #14: Be different.
LESSON #15: If you have to “hide” your identity with a product/company or use a fake name because you are afraid people will attach you to it – then do NOT start that business.
LESSON #16: Your product will NEVER, ever be perfect. Accept it. Deal with it. Get over it.
LESSON #17: Whenever possible, fund your business yourself.
LESSON #18: Be prolific. Blog posts. Social media updates. Emails. Never stop.
LESSON #19: You have nothing without your health. Eat better. Exercise more.
LESSON #20: Create multiple streams of revenue.
LESSON #21: Find one market and dominate it. Do NOT even consider a different market until you are at the top of one first.
LESSON #22: Get lots of sleep. The all-nighters are a waste of time since you won’t be as effective anyway.
LESSON #23: Invest money in a good computer and don’t spend it on things like fancy office furniture or expensive rent.
LESSON #24: Almost everything is negotiable. You have nothing to lose by asking.
LESSON #25: Learn to say no. There are more opportunities than time.
LESSON #26: Get off lists that only try to sell you something – it’s far too distracting.
LESSON #27: Be careful who you model your life after. If your “guru” is a cranky or nasty guy with a trail of broken relationships… then you might end up following in their footsteps.
LESSON #28: Fire clients who treat you, your staff or fellow clients disrespectfully. It’s not worth it.
LESSON #29: Always ask people – how can I help you? (not, what can you do for me?)
LESSON #30: There’s no better skill on the planet than being a good communicator. Learn how to be comfortable speaking in public.
LESSON #31: People are NOT dumb. Treat them with respect.
LESSON #32: Be transparent. Tell them WHY you are doing what you do.
LESSON #33: Stop listening to talk radio and listen to positive, empowering audio programs in your car.
LESSON #34: Never check email first thing in the morning. Otherwise you are playing defense all day.
LESSON #35: You gotta always hustle.
LESSON #36: Do a trademark search at uspto.gov before you start a new business. It will save you lots of headaches.
LESSON #37: Come up with your own list of things you will NOT do for money.
LESSON #38: Call one person a day just to say hi and keep in touch. Relationships are everything.
LESSON #39: Start your own mastermind group.
LESSON #40: Do everything in moderation INCLUDING moderation.
LESSON #41: Always take time to reward yourself with small victories. Put up your first blog post – treat yourself to a small reward (could be a frozen yogurt, a movie or a dinner out with a loved one).
LESSON #42: Don’t get cheap with customer support – it’s the lifeblood of your business.
LESSON #43: Follow-up. Follow-up. Follow-up.
LESSON #44: Read every book by Seth Godin – I think he’s brilliant.
LESSON #45: Eliminate negative people from your life (if you can’t avoid them, then limit time with them)
LESSON #46: If a person tells you about an incredible “opportunity” to make money – then simply ask how much they are making. I’ve been approached by so many network marketers who are making $175 per month and they will show me how to become rich? No thanks.
LESSON #47: Always set money aside for taxes.
LESSON #48: Technology changes – but people don’t. It always has been and will always be about building trust and relationships.
LESSON #49: People will buy because of your content, marketing or sales copy. But they will stick around because they like you.
LESSON #50: Never let your lawyers and accountants run your business.
LESSON #51: Outsource before hiring full-time employees.
LESSON #52: Find more reasons to smile everyday.
LESSON #53: Work like a sprinter. Shorts bursts of effort followed by rest and recovery.
LESSON #54: Just tell the truth. People might not like to hear it – but they will respect you for telling it like it is. (I just said no to a vendor for DCX 2012 because he wasn’t the right fit – and he thanked me for my honesty)
LESSON #55: If you want to get creative, get away from your computer. Take a drive. Take a walk. Get a massage.
LESSON #56: Don’t be afraid to show your emotion. And yes guys – that means it’s ok to cry. There’s probably not a man who cries or tears up more than me, and I’m ok with it :)
LESSON #57:Get deep-tissue massages. Your shoulders and neck take a beating being on the computer so much. I get one a week. You’ll thank me for it. Trust me.
LESSON #58: Get a professional head shot taken… NOT a cut-out pic of you at a wedding.
LESSON #59: Always find a way to tie in “time saving” benefits for your products or services. People are BUSY. Very busy.
LESSON #60: If your mailman or waitress is telling you about an opportunity (buying Facebook stock, real estate, etc.) then you already missed the window. It’s too late. The big money was already made.
LESSON #61: Don’t think “what’s the most I can get for this product?”. Instead think, “what the most I can GIVE at the best price so I build lifelong fans?”
BONUS LIFE LESSON: Tell your loved ones how much you love and appreciate them EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not a day goes by that I don’t tell my dad, my wife and my children that I love them.
After losing my mom 2 years ago to cancer – it really knocked me on my ass for a while and hit home just how precious life is.
And that’s why I’m so fiercely protective of my time and building a business that will make my family proud.
Now get out there and create a business that truly impacts people and changes lives. Something that matters. Something that will leave a legacy.
Stop with crappy auto-blogs. Stop trying to “get rich” with zero-value “private label rights” products that doesn’t help anyone.
We all have greatness in us.
Let your greatness shine, my friend. Create a business that matters…
PLEASE SHARE YOUR OWN LESSONS BELOW!
P.S. If you liked this, please “like” “tweet” and “+1+”
P.P.S. To celebrate my 10 year FREEDOM anniversary – when you get the 1K per Day Formula – you’ll also get my COMPLETE 30+ hour “Ryan Lee Method” training system for FREE. A to Z on building your own business that matters – from scratch. Get it now ***HURRY: OFFER EXPIRES ON FRIDAY, JUNE 22ND***