The 10 Top Things I learned in Business During 2017

By James Vannelli | Uncategorized

Dec 20

It seems everyone else is doing one of these lists on Facebook, so just this once, I’ll do what everyone else is doing.

Here are some of the top things I learned in business in 2017:

1 – The “Experts” Aren’t Any Different Than You and I

They’ve just chosen something and gone all out at it for long enough to be noteworthy in their field. You can be like them too, in fact, you can be better than a lot of them. Don’t idolize anyone, we’re all just humans.

2 – The Power of Clarity and Intention

Do the right things, don’t just do things right. I’ve seen so many people fail to get traction or results because they aren’t clear on what traction or results they are seeking through their efforts. Don’t get caught in this loop. Be ULTRA specific about what it is you want to do, and focus in on that.

3- Focus Vs Opportunity

This is along the same lines as #2. Once you are clear on what it is you want you must remain focused. There are going to be many opportunities that come your way that isn’t an exact perfect fit, you need to say NO to these. Why? Because if you want to become great at something, you need to be 100% committed to it. You can’t build a crystal clear and well-run business if you’re always splitting your attention chasing down multiple opportunities. Things just don’t work like that.

4- The importance of rituals, routines, and schedules

If you don’t run your day, the day runs you. Figure out your morning routine, working hours, schedule, know exactly what it is you want to achieve before you start each day and cut out everything else. Finally, know what your working cut off time is and stick to it. If you want to have consistently productive days while preserving your energy, and actually have a life outside of work, this is the way to do it!

5- Systems & Structure

I’ve worked with chaotic people. It isn’t fun. Everything is always stressful, unpredictable, and draining. If you want stability in your business and in your life, you need to be methodical about how you apply systems and structure to all that you do.

6 – Health, Wellness & Connectedness

This year, I quit drinking for something like 5 months now, switched to organic and grass-fed meats, plenty of veggies, better sleep on average and I (usually) meditate daily so I can keep my mind calm and keep perspective on things.

I also got a dog that forces me to take breaks from my computer screen by walking him several times a day to the dog park, where I get real human interaction in.

Finally, I started hosting more people over for dinner, organizing boys nights to watch the game, and engaging in as many activities (driving range, ice skating, cycling, etc) as I can to stay active and connected with people and things that have nothing to do with work or achievements.

As entrepreneurs, our mind is at work constantly unless we distract ourselves. Build a life outside of work, and it will pay dividends for the work you produce because you’ll have a healthier body and a sharper, clearer mind.

Not to mention, you’ll be building a complete life, not a one-dimensional one where your entire identity is tied up in being an entrepreneur.

7 – Money Isn’t Everything

2017 was the first year that I exceeded $100,000 in income.

It was great, I finally didn’t have to worry about supporting myself anymore, and I could afford lots of nice things.

And then, I got bored and felt unfulfilled.

Money is great because when you have it, it gives you the opportunity to stop being selfish.

When you’re broke and struggling, you can’t think about supporting charities or helping others, because you’re barely holding on yourself.

Once you are making a comfortable wage though, you have a decision to make. Become money obsessed, or move onto to higher pursuits like contribution to others.

I’m happy I chose the latter, which has led me to…

8 – Ethics & Integrity

I left the six-figure job I just mentioned because I didn’t believe in the ethics, integrity, culture or direction of that organization, and I couldn’t live with it any longer.

You can make all the money in the world lying to people, exaggerating results, using aggressive or manipulative marketing tactics but I guarantee, unless you’re a sociopath, it’ll leave you empty and miserable.

Yes, money is a necessity to a certain point. We all want nice things, but if we can go beyond this, that’s where the true happiness begins.

Love, connection, compassion, contribution, connectedness to others.

Tapping into these things creates much more meaning than just counting profits.

As entrepreneurs, our first step toward that is utilizing marketing that inspires instead of manipulates, and to treat each customer as an equal human being, ensuring we put our best effort to impact them in a truly positive way.

9 – Contribution to Others

I started donating to different charities, and I founded a business with a mission of transforming the online marketing industry in a significantly positive way, and that’ll support businesses that create positive transformations for others as well. In fact, I’ve even pledged 5% of all profits to charity next year.

Most entrepreneurs are obsessed with self-help and personal development. I’ve realized that going beyond that, doing things to help & develop others, makes my life a lot more meaningful than if I just continued to focus on my own personal achievements.

10 – There’s No Magic Pill

Business takes time and effort. Persistence and dedication. There’s a lot of hype out there trying to sell overnight success but just disregard it. Anything worth having is going to require a whole lot of sacrifice, hard work, time and patience. That’s just the way it is. You’re one person out there competing against many others who want the same thing. To rise above the average is going to take a significantly above average effort.

It’s possible to build an outstanding business and achieve all of your goals, but be patient with yourself along the way, allow yourselves the failures, the stepping stones, and the realistic time it takes to get there. Be aware of where you need help and where you need to improve, but give yourself a break at the same time by reeling in expectations that keep you stressed out and feeling like you’ve let yourself down.

Remember that as goal-driven individuals, we often forget to look behind us and acknowledge everything that we’ve accomplished. We tend to just focus on all of the NEW goals ahead. The thing is though, those NEW goals didn’t exist before everything else you achieved prior. And just like then, once you achieve these NEW goals, there will be NEWER goals that you are trying to get to.

So be easy on yourself and don’t get stressed about it, it’s a never-ending process, enjoy the journey.

I swear, I wasn’t aiming to round this into 10 points, it just happened that way.

Anyways, that’s it for this year.

All The Best,


About the Author

Over the past 6 years I’ve built dozens of websites, managed close to $1M in online ads, and helped shape the online marketing strategies of hundreds of small businesses.