27 Lessons I’ve Learned From (Almost) Five Years of Biz

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  • November 25, 2013

November 8th, 2009: I launched my very first client website under my shiny new business, violetminded Design. It was magnificent. It was creatively exhausting. And, more than anything, it was the first in many lessons that I’ve had to learn since starting up on my own.

I’ve got twenty-seven of them for you that cover pretty much every aspect of being a digital business owner.

  1. Never do work on the cheap. Instead, work for free and from the heart if the cause (or the project) is too delightful to pass up.
  2. Implement systems to take care of your people.
  3. Be kind and expect kindness in return.
  4. Collaboration trumps competition. Every. Single. Time.
  5. Inspiration is fleeting. Deadlines are not.
  6. Determine whether you’re the visionary, the processor, or the operator in your business.
  7. There’s no wrong answer, just different approaches to a problem.
  8. Check your baggage at the digital door before you go into a collaborative partnership.
  9. Contracts. If you’re a service provider, you need one. (We have three.)
  10. You can do all the coursework, legwork, and masterminds in the world but if you don’t launch your shit, you’ll effectively remain at square one indefinitely.
  11. Creativity requires deep vulnerability and the utmost trust in yourself and your collaborators.
  12. Always trust your intuition. If a project feels wrong, it will end nastily.
  13. Be courageous, loving, and audacious.
  14. For new designers: your skills haven’t caught up to your tastes, yet. Keep experimenting and don’t lose heart. (Or hope.)
  15. Burnout happens, so learn what your limits are and respect them.
  16. Rest. Deeply rest. And then throw caution to the wind.
  17. Risks and mistakes are necessary.
  18. Apologize for breaches of trust quickly.
  19. Don’t apologize for standing your ground.
  20. Find or create a community that you can trust with your fears, dreams, and unabashed enthusiasm.
  21. Always be reading. It keeps you sharp.
  22. Hype is hype. Jargon is jargon. But love letters are forever.
  23. Create an amazing team as early as you possibly can. Then get ready to get into the trenches and lead by example.
  24. Hone your bullshit detector.
  25. Know your tools and be open to new technology.
  26. Any motion is good motion. (Even if it’s backwards.)
  27. Don’t be a dick.

Got any you’d like to add? Post ‘em in the comments or hit me up on Twitter: @AmandaJFarough

About Amanda Farough

The visionary. Ardent adorer of trailblazing entrepreneurs and rebellious rulers. Mama in many, many capacities (but especially to two younglings). Sometimes podcaster. Always nerd. The Force is strong with this one.


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