8 Life Lessons Entrepreneurship Is Teaching Me

I have been an entrepreneur since 1995 when I left my job to start a business. I knew what I wanted my business to accomplish and how I wanted it to make the world a better place.

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What I didn’t know when I started was that my business would teach me a lot about life. Here are 8 life lessons entrepreneurship is teaching me.

1. How to manage relationships

It gets dicey sometimes. Entrepreneurship forces me to deal with people I like, and with people I don’t like. Entrepreneurship forces me to deal with people who like me and with people who don’t like me. It’s all in a day’s work, and I am a better person for it.

2. How to reign in my emotions

Every time someone has totally and completely made me so SO angry, and I wanted to Tweet about how awful they were toward me (using their Twitter handle), and tell the world how unfair, and how ugly, and how nasty, and how bitchy, and how inhumanely they treated me, I am always glad that I didn’t.

3. How to reproduce success

When I am fearful that something I have to do won’t work out, I remember how fearful I was last time I had to do something I thought might not work out. Then, I remember that it worked out. And I take a deep breath. And I do it again.

4. How to prioritize

If it’s not on a list, it’s not a priority. If it’s not a priority, it doesn’t get done. If it doesn’t get done, my business ends. That’s pretty much it for this one.

5. That I’m not SuperWoman


6. That nothing happens in the status quo

No matter how I may think that my business is where it needs to be, and no matter how many “atta-girls” I and my friends give me, the status quo is a place where I do not want to hang out. Nothing interesting happens in the status quo — unless you think watching a business die is “interesting.”

7. That I can always try again

I have tried so many things that worked out well. I have tried so many things that were utter disasters. I have failed at many things.

But one thing I have never once failed at … is trying again.

8. That each day starts at zero

No matter how fabulously I perform on Monday or how much money I made on Monday, Tuesday does not care. Tuesday does not know how wonderful Monday was. It just starts me at zero and gives me the opportunity to work up from there.

No matter how terrible I perform on Monday or how little money I made on Monday, Tuesday does not care. Tuesday does not know how awful Monday was. It just starts me at zero and gives me the opportunity to work up from there.

And, I thought of another one …

9. That no one can disagree with results

You may disagree with me on things like politics and religion. You may not like how I run my life or my business, or how I am raising my children. If you have followed me for a while, you have probably seen many of my flaws and imperfections. So very very many.

But I have helped a lot of people build their dreams, and IBN is making a difference in the world. And no one can disagree with that.

What is entrepreneurship teaching you? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.


  1. Marilyn ~ Ritual Waters says:

    Well Donna Marie you are superwoman in my book!  Thanks for your sound words of wisdom and I also love and appreciate number 7 – really needed to hear that!  Thank you for writing this piece!

    1. Ha! I am so not Super Woman, but I am surrounded by them. Glad #7 resonated with you. I first heard Martha Stewart say something like that a while back. It resonated with me too. If I relied on yesterday to start today, I’d be on a roller coaster for sure. It’s much safer to start a zero each day and do my best. That works for me — every day is brand new. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Anne-Marie says:

     #6, fail often and fail early. Someone smarter and famous said that and I 100% agree with that assessment. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying!

    1. Thanks for your contribution on that one. The more people who hear about failure (and what we can do with it) from people like you, the better! #winning