5 years on, 9 lessons I learnt as an entrepreneur
Haotanto Anna Vanessa

After 5 years of being an entrepreneur, these are some of the most important lessons I learnt along the way.

1.  I really learnt to compartmentalise myself from my work problems.
When I started out, I get flustered every time I face an issue. Today, I can really emotionally separate myself from wanting to handle the “urgent issue” immediately. I also learnt to detach myself from the issue so it doesn’t affect my work performance or social life.

Recently, my items are taken off unfairly from a shopping platform. In the past, this would have killed me and made me so hopping mad. When this happened in August, I literally just put it aside and went on to have brunch without thinking much about it. 

2. You learn that any lessons about anything… are just theories.
Fail fast, start small, start fast, have a think about the market … when you are actually executing, a lot of business theories are just that. Don’t get me wrong, these are great thought processes and I apply a lot of them. But different businesses and different issues require different “theories”. There are certain times when starting fast is good and you can reiterate to perfection. But there are times that you need to get it 99% right first before launching. 

3. Have a solid and critical thought process
Sometimes you get to the right destination but the journey and why you chose the paths you take, that’s instrumental.

Even if something is not right, ask yourself: What are you thinking? Why? Don’t underestimate how thinking better is crucial and why

Sometimes doing the right thing can be a mistake. Distinguish the outcome and thought process. As long as you are thinking correctly, and you get to the wrong outcome, having a solid thought process is critical because, with time, you get better inputs.

This will flow over to other areas of your lives and you will learn to make better decisions. Reason better. 

4. Getting a GREAT mentor is instrumental
Good mentors teach you how to do something themselves. GREAT mentors introduce you to someone who can teach you the specific knowledge you want to know. Knows people and know who they can send you for specific things. Specialises in those things you need and can connect you to them. 

5. Nothing beats practice and experience – get them quickly
Get more experience, feedback and reiterate your way of doing things. Nothing beats experience and hours invested in perfecting your craft.   

6. Improve your certainty in making decisions.
Betting forms an integral part of your decision process. When you have skin in the game, you become unsure about everything. Will you do something and stand by your mistakes? You can make all types of claims and pronouncements but there’s no recourse unless there’s a price to pay. How much do you value it?

It is easy to criticise people or others but when you have no skin in the game. Have an active mindset

7. Less certainty, more probing
Always question your assumptions. Don’t assume what you know is best. Or that it won’t change.

Don’t only want the answers or recipes. This is the illusion of knowledge. Don’t depend on others’ reflections on events that happened to them. Have your own reflections on what works or not and the limits of your decisions. It makes you overconfident and takes unwarranted risks.

8. Always question if you are good enough
Don’t assume that you are good enough. Ask questions. Think through for yourself. Keep evolving and adapting the way you conduct your business.
9. Make consumption of knowledge a focus and a priority
Learn. I understand that some people don’t like to read but that’s not an excuse. You can watch documentaries, YouTube, Netflix and listen to the podcast. Regardless of how you learn and retain information, you have to always be learning and especially carve out time for it.



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