'Sometimes I wake up wondering if this was the wrong move'

Advice I wish I could give myself 2 years ago

Last week I missed a wedding by a former colleague in equity research. I wish I was able to go, but my business wasn’t stable enough to take such a trip. It was shameful to admit.

It’s been almost two years since I left the financial markets, and I always thought I’d be further along by now. Some days I wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I’m doomed and this was the wrong move. Should I call it quits?

But by the time I wake up at 6:30AM, I realize these thoughts are harmful because it’s easy to be cynical and negative. In the end the responsibility is on me, so I get up and start plugging away until they surface again. As it turns out, this is just a typical day most entrepreneurs go through.

If I could talk to myself two years ago, here’s some advice I would dish out:

Drop the pride

You don’t know everything and that’s OK. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own because it’s a giant waste of time. Most people are willing to help if you ask them. Not only that, they’re likely better than you at many things.

Don’t over-analyze

 This is a MAJOR and CRIPPLING flaw you learned from banking. Quit being an armchair CEO. Excel spreadsheets don’t move a small business forward - it’s hustle, sales, and customers.

Don’t be afraid to sell

 Most people only care about themselves and you gotta give them a good reason to pay attention to you. It’s the nature of EVERY industry now in this noisy world. Don’t think that you’re special and people will come knocking down your door. You have to find something they value.

Don’t stagnate

Mosquitos and bacteria breed when water stagnates. Movement creates power and momentum. So be like water. Always be moving and pushing things forward. Every. Single. Day.

Money Isn’t the Answer

Some days money will stress you out, but you’ll realize that it's not connected with your happiness. You no longer wake up unhappy looking at the red flash of a Blackberry, and that in itself is a small win.

Terry Lin is the founder of #baller leather, a boutique leather accessories company that offers 100% handmade Italian leather wallets, card holders, and travel accessories.

You can find him @itsmeterrylin on Twitter or email terry@ballerleather.com.

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