Life Lessons From the Business World That College Won’t Teach You

by / ⠀Startup Advice / April 1, 2011

My time in the business world started quite awkwardly.  Apparently learning does not come with a manual. Although it wasn’t always easy, the lessons I brought from the business world and my fledgling entrepreneurship were invaluable. College is a great networking tool and it has opened opportunities for me, but nothing can replace real world experience. Business is like poker; it’s not the hand you are dealt, but the way you play it, that really matters. In poker, life and business, a cast iron stomach and the ability to pick yourself up and keep going everytime you fail are priceless.  Among the things that I learned that college won’t teach you are:

Mistakes are expensive but necessary

Although they can be costly, mistakes are nothing more than a learning experience. They can provide valuable knowledge if you use them as a reason to learn and keep going. We have all made plenty, but they have helped us to be a stronger more knowledgeable business people because of them.

Get everything in writing

Contracts or written agreements might seem like a hassle but they are totally necessary to avoid future headaches. You never know when you might end up thanking yourself for having something in writing. The legal protection and the clarity it provides to the operation you are running are priceless.

Networking is vital never stop building connections

When you stop trying to build a footprint and gain ground in the industry you are attacking, you are setting yourself for failure, as the only two ways you can fail are giving up or failing to plan. My connections have been a huge help.

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It’s okay to find a mentor

You don’t know everything and the odds are you could use the help early on. My first was the CEO of the Legacy Company I marketed for as well several members of the music industry I have turned to for advice. It’s also okay to share your ideas as an idea isn’t worth much unless it is built into a concept and taken forward from there.

Never stop learning

The day you think you know enough, you are making a big mistake.  Someone much hungrier than you is waiting for you to stop pushing. You can never know too much and you can never want what you feel you deserve too much either.

Don’t be afraid to take on the big boys

Just because you don’t have a niche isn’t a death sentence for your business. The real difference between success and failure is how bad you want it. A niche could even be worse depending on the industry you are going into you could even be handicapping yourself.

Never Give Up

It’s like the Thomas Edison quote, “failure is only realized when you accept it.”  I also love the similar quote, “many who have given up and failed never realized how close to success they really were.”  Its true 99% of us will fail not because we aren’t smart enough but because only a small fraction will have the courage to fail again and again, until success is truly theirs.

I am a US Navy Veteran who runs his own indie label. Among my other projects were a web business and helping market a legacy startup. My Label Bored Student Records has worked with artists including Electric Valentine, Don’t Wake Aislin, The Dollyrots and Oh Hush (Atlantic Records)
http://www.myspace.com/boredstudentrocks

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.

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