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10 lessons from 10 years as a solopreneur.

What I would tell my younger self when starting out. Learn from my mistakes and save yourself years and a vast amount of money.

1. If you have a job, you have a 0% chance of success:

In the early years, I thought about quitting and going back to my old job many times. What stopped me and gave me motivation was the fact that if I chose to give in, my odds of success went from slim to none. Of course, there is a time and place for a job. But, remember that you are working on someone else’s dream. And, opportunities just pass you by.

2. Selling your time for money is a fool’s game:

Most people exchange their time for money. This is a terrible business model as there is a finite amount of time you can physically work, and it isn’t scalable. You need to charge for the value you provide. I can charge £20k for a consultation period. I have the experience and confidence to make businesses more money and cut costs. If I can spend a few days with a business and help them make an extra £500k in profit each year, that’s worth more than just a day rate.

3. You get paid based on the number of people you can add value to:

The highest-paid people in the world don’t work with a small number of people charging a day rate. They provide value to large audiences. Here’s a good example that I read years ago: A film star provides a small amount of entertainment (value) to a global audience and gets paid millions. A teacher, in contrast, provides a large amount of value (teaching) to a small class of people and earns a small amount. The game is to productize your knowledge and services and sell to a global audience.

4. Your income is directly correlated to your skill set.

The difference between you and someone earning a million pounds a year isn’t intelligence or luck. It’s a skill set. If you earn £50k per year and they earn £1m, they are not 20x more intelligent than you; they simply have skills. Depending on their job or business, they will have a skill set in leadership, money, understanding reports, and communication. You need to constantly learn new skills and then put them into practice in the form of services or products.

5. The Education system is a con

The school and higher education system are beyond a joke and are many decades out of date. It was designed to produce a workforce for the industrial era and is completely unfit for purpose in the digital age. The system provides almost no useful skills for adult life. It leaves you clueless when entering the real world. This is like the army training people in how to play football for 10 years and then sending them to war with no training on weapons, organization, or tactics. You need to learn how to learn and then teach yourself in-demand skills. The other problem with the legacy education system is that it only goes at the pace of the slowest performing student. Any changes to the ciriculum have to go through a 5 year feasibility process so by the time new things are being taught they are already out of date.

The future of education will be taught online. International experts will teach specific skills to solve real problems. You can already see this with Youtube. It’s the second biggest search engine. Many people go there to learn.

6. Do the opposite of most people

Most people go through the education system. They end up failing in life. Do the opposite of what most people do. Don’t work a 9-5, don’t sit in traffic at the same time, don’t go to university, don’t follow convention. If most people are losers, don’t do what they do. I make more money in one month than most people earn in a year by getting paid by businesses to provide services and to continue to learn new skills. This is the opposite of paying to get a degree and then trying to get a job. You can get paid by businesses to keep learning and using skills. This compounds over time as your skills and experience grow, making you better. This allows you to get better and higher-paying clients.

7. The system is rigged against you

Unless you are born rich, you will soon realize the whole game is rigged. The odds are stacked against you. The government controls the money. They print more, which makes each pound worth less. This causes goods, services, and asset prices to rise, which is inflation. The money you earn doesn’t go as far, and if you are able to save that money in the bank, it goes down in value every day. This makes buying assets, like property or stocks, impossible. You can’t capitalize on their value increases.

If you actually make enough money and can invest, the government wants a cut. This happens even after you have paid tax on that income. You pay tax at every step. When you retire, the nest egg you saved has been taxed and shrunk to almost nothing. Then when you die, they want a 40% cut before it gets left to your kids.

This is the harsh reality, and the only way to not get totally screwed is to understand the game and beat it. The only way to do this is to make enough money that you only need a small % of that to live on. The rest gets invested to earn a yield that outperforms inflation so it can grow and compound over time. If that sounds complicated or overwhelming, that’s because this is not taught to you in school; they make you financially illiterate intentionally.

8. Millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z are screwed like never before

My last point has always existed. But, unlike past generations, the government had much less debt. Also, property prices were much lower relative to income. When an older person preaches about how they worked hard to buy a house, they could buy a 4-bedroom house in the suburbs for 4 times their income for £20,000. Now, it could be worth £800,000. Today, even taking into account inflation, you would need to be earning £200k per year to buy that same house. Good luck finding a job that pays that with a useless degree. And, don’t forget the 20% deposit you need to save while spending most of your wages on high rents.

However, unlike past generations, you have a big advantage. I will explain it next.

9. We live in extraordinary times

Our grandparents were grateful for running hot water and not being at war. Through the ages, most people had tough lives. They were lucky to live to 40 and suffered violence and starvation. Today, we live in very safe and comfy times. And, we have more opportunities than ever before. Before the internet, to start a business, you had to raise lots of money for buildings, equipment, staff, research, and operating costs.

Today, you can start a business with less than £50 and broadcast to a global audience for free! You can learn all you need for free or cheaply on YouTube or with online courses. Then, you can sell services and product to businesses and customers worldwide. You can do this from your bed wearing pajamas or while traveling the world with just a laptop and a phone!

Previous generations didn’t have these opportunities. They wanted a secure job for life because they had no other options without taking big risks. If you are young and motivated, you have a huge advantage. You grew up with this technology. Using it is second nature to you. Most business owners are 50+ men. They can barely use email, let alone social media. Technology grows fast. Now, with AI, it speeds up even more. This change means huge disruption, but also huge opportunity.

10. Have a big clear dream

When I was at sixth form college, everything was geared around going to university. When I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do, my tutors basically ignored me, and the school wrote me off. Aged 18 or 19, how on earth could you know what job you wanted to do having zero knowledge or experience around it? All I cared about was riding my BMX, and I wanted to be a professional BMX athlete. You can imagine what my teachers and parents thought of this, but I didn’t care; this is what I was going to do. All I knew was I was capable of big things, I was determined and extremely ambitious albeit clueless. I would craft a vision of my future self being rich, having a big house, and riding my BMX. I clearly imagined it so vividly with every detail until I just came to believe it would happen.

Now I am not rich, at least not yet, but it’s now only a matter of time. I did go on to be a professional BMX rider and lived out that childhood dream. I got paid to travel all over the world, I did competitions and shows in awesome places like Dubai, Lebanon, America, and all over Europe.

I also knew I would run my own business of some kind and would be my own boss; I have been living out this dream for years now. It hasn’t been easy. But, I am doing what I set out to do. If I hadn’t had that belief and clear dream, I would still be at my old sales job, fat, unfulfilled, and a loser. It could have gone that way. I don’t want you to make that mistake. I have decided to teach people instead of making boring companies loads of money. It would be more rewarding to help people like my younger self make enough money to follow their dreams.