10 Learnings from 10 Years in Entrepreneurship, freelancing and side-hustles!

Aditi Chakraborty
4 min readOct 7, 2023

It was a hot summer day in Hyderabad, and I couldn’t sleep in the afternoon (possibly a weekend?). I decided to open my laptop to watch a series. While searching for something to watch online, I stumbled upon a few blogs with those annoying ads that popped up all over the website. I searched for what they were called and how people could have their own websites. That sent me down a rabbit hole of reading and exploring.

And thus, my first blog was born on WordPress.

There was no looking back. I started exploring how to make websites, blogs, and how to monetize them. A year later (2014–15), I even launched my first e-commerce website as part of my graduation project.

I named my website styleplethora.com (Yes, I’m as amused as you are when I think about it). I created websites for friends, family, and beta clients. In my ten years, I’ve worked with over 50 clients. In the last few years, I’ve added coaching, writing, social media management, and more. I plan to continue doing this for the next few decades as well. So, as I complete ten years in business and entrepreneurship, here are ten key learnings (yes, it might sound clichéd, but bear with me, please):

10 Learnings from 10 Years in Entrepreneurship

Nobody else is doing the work for you. Only you can do it yourself — I’ve often found myself wondering if somebody could complete the work for me or do the lead generation for me. I felt too shy, too tired, or just too apprehensive. When you’re starting off, you have to do the dirty work yourself.

You can learn everything if you want to look for it — There will always be loads of things you don’t know. How to set up a domain, how to grow social media, how to write, how to generate leads, and so on. Trust me when I say, everything is Google-able. Figuring things out on your own when you start off is incredibly satisfying.

Your network is your biggest asset — You cannot have a business without people in it. The more people you know, the higher your chances of getting gigs, jobs, and roles. Invest time in building relationships every day. Not everything will convert to sales, but your network will be your biggest asset.

Business grows by doing one thing — Selling — Imagine Steve Jobs or Larry Page never spoke about their products or reached out to the world. They just waited for someone to find them and buy from them. We would be in a world without Apple and Google. You can have the greatest product or service in the world, but unless you sell, nobody will know about it or do it for you!

The better you are at communication — writing and speaking, the more connections you can build — People want to listen to you; you just need to know how to grab their attention. Valuable, relevant, and impactful content is what wins whether you’re speaking to people or writing!

Mentors and coaches help you shorten your journey. Use them — You don’t need a mentor to do your work for you or teach you how to do it. You need to figure that out for yourselves. What a mentor can help with is telling you which mistakes are avoidable, which path can be better for you, and helping you understand yourself.

You cannot copy a successful business owner’s strategy to become successful — Templates help, but they will only take you so far. Each of us is unique, and there’s enough space for everyone in the world. Observe successful entrepreneurs, learn from them, and adapt their strategies to your unique situation.

There will be far more failures than successes, but keep going — It’s natural to experience more failures than successes. You have to try many things to discover what you’re good at. The faster you do that, the sooner you can embark on your successful journey.

Clients are not superior to you; don’t let them treat you that way — Clients may assume a position of authority because they pay, but they forget that you help them grow their money or save it. This is as, if not more valuable. Never accept subpar behavior from anyone just because they can.

You are as capable of having a successful online business as anybody else — Belief and mindset are crucial. You are as good as everyone else, and you can have a successful business just like them. Read success stories, follow people who have grown, and remember that it takes time, effort, and a lot of experimentation.

I’ve seen the good, bad, and ugly of online business, and I’ve outlasted most people. I know that this is the single biggest factor. If I can continue showing up for the next decade or more, I believe success (and possibly money) is not far behind!

--

--

Aditi Chakraborty

A freelance Web designer. I help people start profitable side-hustles by offering key marketing skills — Social media management, web design, copywriting & more