2 Crucial Lessons I Learned From 10 Years Of Being An Entrepreneur

by Josh Bocanegra
Columbia Pictures

I started my first business when I was 16, shortly after dropping out of high school. I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a hip-hop music producer.

It all began with an Internet music business, which allowed musicians to browse through instrumentals I produced to buy and write lyrics to.

It didn't take long for me to discover that, although it may seem fairly simple in the beginning, starting an online business was going to take much more effort than I thought.

Not only was I lacking experience in building and maintaining an online business, I also lacked other skills crucial to the success of any Internet business.

I quickly began to understand if I wanted to build a successful company, I would have to learn marketing (and all that comes with it), customer service, graphic design and a little bit of coding.

You see, when I was 16, I didn't have a job. In fact, because I dropped out of high school, I couldn't get a job if I wanted to.

So, I couldn't just hire someone to do the work for me. I had no choice but to learn how to become who I needed to be.

Know your objectives.

One problem I would always run into was beginning to learn a new skill and then getting distracted.

Whenever I learned enough graphic design to start creating logos and websites, I would start thinking about offering a graphic design service. The same goes for when I started learning more marketing and how to code.

Of course, finding ways to create multiple streams of income is ideal, but only to a certain extent.

You don't want to have multiple streams of income that serve as a distraction to each other. For example, when I was working on my music site, my daily task was producing beats.

When I started thinking about offering graphic design as a service, the time it took for me to organize my time to find new clients for that got in the way of producing beats for my music site.

Sometimes, when you try to do more than one thing at the same time, it can slow things down. You may ultimately end up not making as much money as fast as you'd like.

Know your objectives and stick to them.

Your passion is not obvious.

When I was still a teenager embarking on the new journey of entrepreneurship, I was desperate for guidance. So much so that I spent a lot of my time reading self-help books.

Theses books have helped me look at things in a more positive light, but sometimes, they made me even more confused.

Everywhere I'd look, I'd see the same advice being offered: Find your passion. I used to always feel frustrated by this advice because, although it seemed simple enough, it is much easier said than done.

Thinking about my overall journey now, I've come to realize I've never found my passion in the sense that these self-help books suggested.

What I've discovered was my "passion" wasn't making music. What I love to do is not specific; it's broad enough to almost apply to any industry.

My passion was, and still is, to create. I love to create something out of nothing.

What this means is I can do anything that involves using my creative prowess. It made perfect sense to me because I would always be naturally turned off by anything that held a lack of creativity.

Work like repairing cars, serving food, fixing roofs and most labor-based work was 100 percent unattractive to me.

Know that your passion isn't obvious; I suspect it's not going to be anything specific.

Broaden your passion (what you love to do in general) and then find industries, products and/or services you can spend your time on that fit within the realm of what you love to do.