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As someone who has dedicated myself to earning money in a variety of different ways, I read a lot. Inevitably, when you read about business, you hear a lot of different pieces of business advice. Most guides on building a business involve the same sort of rehashed content. The thing is a lot of these pieces of advice aren’t strictly true. They’re either misinterpreted by the new entrepreneur or they’re completely wrong.

The fact is most people are wrong about the right way to build a business. These are the biggest offenders.

Following Your Passion is the Best Choice

Entrepreneurs love to talk about passion. Quite frankly, I’m sick of this romantic notion that you have to do what you love. If you’re in business to make a decent living, forget about doing what you want and only what you want. Do what you’re good at. It’s always better to be tied to a market you don’t really care for but you have the skills to succeed in than following a romantic notion of doing this or that. You don’t think I enjoy ghostwriting on some stupid subject for some guy I’ve never even met halfway across the world, do you? I love writing, but I don’t always want to write your crappy content. I found a balance.

You are Your Own Boss

Sure, you’re the boss of your office. You don’t need to come in at 9am and you don’t get to leave at 5pm. You don’t need to ask anyone for time off, either. Being your own boss is utter nonsense. You are never truly your own boss. At the risk of sounding idealistic and irritating, the customer is your boss. They can fire you at any point they like. What use is being your own boss when you aren’t making any money? You are always going to be a slave to the customer’s will. If you’re just here because you like the idea of being your own boss then you’ve made the wrong move.

Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash

It’s amazing how many entrepreneurs believe that branding is just about making a logo and throwing it over your company stationary and website. A logo is a part of it, sure, but you’re not Apple or Nike. You can’t just throw up your logo that came through a crappy website like Fiverr and expect to call it branding. Branding is about what you’re known for and who you are. It’s about the style in which you market yourself and how you’re distinct from everyone else. That takes time to build and it runs through every action your company performs.

You Need to Release Your Product and Immediately Start Marketing

The biggest mistake I made was waiting until I was ready to launch my product/service and then start marketing it. Figuring out marketing after you release your product is the worst mistake you can make. This will send your marketing budget into the stratosphere. Marketing needs to be the first thing you do. You need to know your target audience and how to reach them long before you release anything. That’s how you keep your marketing budget down.

Release a Free Product Then Monetize for Big Money

If the Dot Com Boom taught us anything it’s that you can’t have lots of free stuff then attempt to monetize. Monetization is the biggest pain in the ass in business. I’ve seen this a lot in the video game industry when companies release free games then slap a subscription fee on it. You can’t expect people to take advantage of a product for free then suddenly start paying for it. I wouldn’t.

I remember when my book cover designer upped her prices by around 80% from one month to the next. I immediately dropped her because why would I pay 80% more for the same covers? It doesn’t make sense. I’m not getting 80% more in quality. Now think about how I felt and then how the average person feels when the same thing goes from being free to you now have to pay for it. You either start charging people from the first second or you don’t charge them at all. If I gave you an apple for free yesterday and for the day before that you’re not going to start giving me a dollar for another apple tomorrow. Don’t go down the free to monetisation route.

Read as Much as You Can from Other Entrepreneurs

I’m not saying you can’t learn anything from the entrepreneurs who came before you. What I am saying is that you need to avoid going down the rabbit hole of spending all your days reading. Reading a book by Warren Buffet will not turn you into Warren Buffet. You learn by doing. Reading every so often is good, but only for the purposes of offering some direction. I prefer to read the cliff notes from major entrepreneurs, so I’ll look online and someone will offer a brief rundown of the lessons. That’s all I ever needed. I pick things up little by little along the way.

Don’t be that guy who claims to have read a book on business every day. No, you didn’t. You skipped through most of the pages and you’re an utter nob. You’ll get far more value through procuring a mentor for yourself than attempting to soak up thousands of pages through osmosis.

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

Every Customer Matters

Bullshit! This is the biggest load of nonsense in entrepreneurship. People confuse customers with consumers. Customers are important but consumers are a waste of time. They’re the people who will only buy when you heavily discount something. They’re also often the people who buy something, use it, then return it. These people don’t matter. They’re the freeloaders you should have no time for.

Real customers are those who engage with your brand. They love your products and they’re willing to pay top dollar for them. There’s a reason why you hear that common piece of advice that if you can get 1,000 real customers you’ve made it. Focus not on the number of people buying but the number of people who stick with you. Those are the ones who matter.

You Must Ignore the Majority

The problem with entrepreneurial advice online is that it spreads like cancer. The majority are talking, talking, and talking, but most of these people have never made it and are never going to make it. They’re people repeating the same advice they heard once or twice, and like Chinese whispers, the meanings start to change as they become misinterpreted. Don’t follow the crowd. Look for the unconventional advice you rarely hear.