On May 17, 2011 I accidentally became an entrepreneur. Oops.
But this wasn’t a mistake like forgetting to turn in the rough draft of my English paper or leaving the milk on the counter.
No. This was a big deal.
I was sitting on a plane to Paris, one-way ticket in hand when it hit me: “I am incapable of working for someone else. What the hell am I going to do?”
Oops indeed.

When I arrived in France, I scrambled to figure it out. I did everything in my power to avoid the world of vacation days and 401ks. And though it was rough, I did manage to collect enough money to afford the occasional bottle of champagne and as much goat cheese as my heart desired.
Fast forward a few months to October 2012. In the past year and a half, I’ve established both an online tutoring and copywriting business and a successful lifestyle blog. I’m no longer in France, but am now capable of working for myself and only myself. I’ve even put my entrepreneurial plans into something I call Project Moolah: My plan to earn $2,000 a month by August 2013.
But it’s been a bumpy ride. So, I thought I’d help you out by giving you a list of the 21 lessons I’ve learned on the road of accidental entrepreneurship:
  1. Give yourself a pep talk in the morning. Every morning. In the mirror.
  2. Optimize your best hours. Often, this is in the morning. (See above tip for motivation).
  3. Take care of yourself! Eat your veggies :)
  4. Work smart, not hard.
  5. Friends are either lifting you up or bringing you down. Nurture the former and stop worrying about the latter.
  6. You do not have to do everything. Identify your strengths and find other people to do the rest.
  7. Stick to a routine. Eliminate decisions. I hear this is what Obama does, too :)
  8. Track your time.
  9. Invest in learning. Invest in anything that will help you to develop your skills or teach you how to turn them into a business.
  10. The world is not your competition. We’re all in this life thing together.
  11. People are busy. Respect their time. Don’t expect them to remember anything if you don’t take time to remind them.
  12. NEVER use marriage or children as an excuse for not going after your dreams.
  13. Look outside of your industry for inspiration.
  14. Start before you’re ready.
  15. Don’t wait until your parents die to start living your truth. (May sound shocking, but an alarming number of people do this).
  16. People will judge, critique, and advise you. You don’t have to listen.
  17. On that note – only take advice from people whom you admire. Don’t take nutrition advice from your obese uncle or happiness advice from your drama-ridden best friend.
  18. Be. Confident.
  19. People only really care about what’s in it for them. Make someone else feel like gold and you can’t go wrong.
  20. Jump! The parachute might not appear, but you aren’t going to die. In fact, you’re going to learn more than you ever could have by reading about it.
  21. Don’t forget why you’re doing what you’re doing. Always start with why.

In the comments: What lessons would you add to the list?

Featured photo credit: business person holding a briefcase via Shutterstock and inline photo by Debs via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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