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8 Business and Life Lessons I Would Give to My Younger Self Here are a few valuable lessons I would teach my younger self, gleaned from both successes and missed opportunities.

By Georgi Todorov Edited by Chelsea Brown

Key Takeaways

  • Understand that every experience, whether successful or not, contributes to your growth and development.
  • Rather than regretting past decisions or blaming yourself, view them as learning opportunities.
  • When faced with uncertainty or doubt, consider what advice your future self would give.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As we grow older and wiser, we often consider how we might have done things differently in our youth. It's crucial not to blame ourselves but rather to extract valuable lessons from those experiences.

In this article, I share eight lessons I would give to my younger self — insights drawn from both successes and missed opportunities, designed to guide anyone looking to navigate life's complexities with foresight and grace.

1. Relax — it will be fine

First and foremost, I'd reassure my younger self to relax — everything will indeed be fine.

Reflecting on my youth, I was perpetually enveloped in unease, a constant companion to my every step. Anxious thoughts about success and whether I'd "make it" in life frequently clouded my mind. But looking back, I realize those worries were a part of the journey that led me to where I am today. So, to my younger self, I'd say, take a deep breath; the path ahead may be uncertain, but it will guide you to your destined place.

Related: 4 Lessons This Entrepreneur Wishes She Could Have Taught Her Younger Self

2. Travel more

I traveled extensively as a digital nomad, especially through Southeast Asia. Yet, I believe there was potential to do so much more. Back then, I felt like I was able to do less work while traveling, and my business was suffering, but the truth is that 49% of digital nomads earn a higher income than when they were employees.

I won't forget that once inspired by the book Shoe Dog, I visited a Japanese networking event in Bangkok in 2017. I was the only guy without business cards. The whole ritual of handling a business card amazed me, but I thought, "That's so outdated" until someone explained to me that business cards are deeply ingrained in the Japanese culture — a practice rooted in over 400 years of cultural history — and still, 74% of Japanese sole proprietors and freelancers use business cards! You can't learn and experience something like that if you don't travel!

3. Work on your personal brand

While I did invest time in building it, looking back, I see the immense long-term benefits I could have leveraged further. A strong personal brand not only accumulates value over time but also opens numerous doors, offering opportunities that might otherwise remain out of reach. After selling my ex-blog Thrivemyway, I made good money, but I lost the accumulated snowballing effect of my brand. The website was in full authority mode. Now with my new personal brand Create & Grow, I'll need at least a year to get to the same level.

4. Start an agency

Building an agency is a great next step when you've already established your personal brand. It's relatively easy to set up (compared to a software business) and profitable to run and sell. Agency businesses are also growing in profits, with 46% of service business owners reporting more than 30% yearly growth.

However, running an agency comes with the risk of over-relying on a single client. Agencies that make a large chunk of their yearly revenue from one client risk a big crash should the client decide to drop. To keep your agency stable and appealing to investors, diversify your clients and focus on recurring (read "predictable") income.

Related: I Wish I Received This Advice as a Young Entrepreneur

5. Learn to stay focused on tasks

I was working at an airport lounge and I managed to finish a huge task in just 90 minutes. That's how I found out about the benefits of uninterrupted, focused work and Parkinson's law. It's crucial to develop productivity skills early on, enabling one to accomplish more tasks efficiently. Interestingly, it takes about 23 minutes to regain focus on a task once you've been distracted. Therefore, maintaining concentration while working is essential for effective time management.

6. Flip a website

Reflecting on the past, venturing into website flipping earlier stands out as a missed opportunity. My experience with selling my ex-blog last year validated the business model of buying, improving and then selling websites for profit. This process involves spotting undervalued websites, enhancing their value and selling them at a higher price after a period of growth, usually 12 months. I thought I would need lots of money to buy a working website. However, according to statistics, you can buy a starter website as low as a few hundred dollars.

7. Work in a startup

Looking back, joining startups in my twenties would have been ideal. That period's high energy is perfect for the fast-paced startup life, offering invaluable experiences and networking opportunities. It's a fact that approximately 20% of new startups close within their first year, and 90% of startups fail primarily due to a lack of funding, market need and proper execution. Now, my focus has shifted, and investing my energy in someone else's risky startup venture no longer matches my priorities.

8. Invest more, optimize taxes earlier

I remember I was at a coworking space in 2016, working my face off to make money freelancing when I overheard a chat about someone buying a Ferrari with Bitcoin profits. I wrongly assumed I'd missed the chance to invest. It wasn't too late. From 2015 to 2023, Bitcoin increased its price by over 173,000%.

This taught me to be more open to emerging investment opportunities, emphasizing that timing can be less critical in fast-evolving markets like crypto.

At the same time, I wish I optimized my taxes earlier. I started a small startup with partners and paying taxes early on suffocated it. Many startups do not pay dividends for many years, resulting in a 0% corporate income tax rate. I optimized my taxes four months after our little startup failed.

Related: The Advice 50 Business Leaders and Celebrities Would Give Their Younger Selves

Reflect on your past with kindness, understanding that each step, even those marked by uncertainty, was crucial in shaping who you are today. Never regret anything or blame your younger self, only use it as a learning experience. And when you're in doubt, ask yourself: What would my future self advise me to do?

Georgi Todorov

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of Create & Grow

Georgi Todorov is a self-taught entrepreneur and content creator with authorship in a broad range of publications. Featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, BBC, Los Angeles Times, Fortune, VentureBeat, and Fast Company. He founded 'Create & Grow' to help people create and grow their online business.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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