Our March Los Angeles City Meetup speaker is a serial entrepreneur who sold her first business for $20 million. She shares the lessons she’s learned so far.

By Nellie Akalp (CEO & Owner, CorpNet.com)

How many of us have wished that we could go back in time and share with our former selves all the wisdom we’ve gained since then? As an entrepreneur, I’m sure you, like me, have learned a few things that would have helped you in the early days.

While I can’t go back, I can at least help others with those lessons I wish I knew back when I started my first business filing company in 2006.

Lesson 1: Don’t Follow Old Models and Behavior

What worked in the past doesn’t necessarily work today. I learned this big lesson when I started my second business filing company, CorpNet. Our first company had been such a success, we assumed that those old processes and models would still apply for this business.

Boy, was I wrong.

The world had changed in a few short years (especially as it pertained to marketing). We had to start from the beginning to ensure that this business would be a success, only with different behaviors to make it one. Don’t limit yourself to what worked for you (or others) in the past; forge your own path.

Lesson 2: Protect Your Business

I was lucky in this aspect, because I actually help people protect their businesses. But let me tell you: I saw (and have continued to see) tons of people who had been operating as sole proprietors who put their businesses at risk before they finally decide to incorporate or form an LLC.

From the start, there are many measures you can take to protect your business. Start by registering your business name and getting all the necessary licenses and permits. Then look at creating a corporation or LLC to protect your personal assets.

Lesson 3: Don’t Worry About Being Perfect

It takes a lot of us (myself included) to realize that perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s better to run your business with passion and a vision, and develop a roadmap for where you’re headed as you go. If you veer off the path, learn from your mistakes and move forward. Remember: if you’re going to run a business, you win by playing fair and playing to have fun, not trying to be flawless.

While we can’t redo what’s done, we can pay attention to those lessons we’re learning as we go, and use them to move forward with intention and success.

Pick up tickets to see Nellie speak at our Los Angeles City Meetup on March 5.

Photo credit: Yuttasak Jannarong via Shutterstock.