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5 Things I Learned When I Left Home to be an Entrepreneur

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I left my parents home when I was 14 years old.

And to be clear, I believe being an entrepreneur is more than starting your own company.  An entrepreneur, for me, is anyone who tries to do something different to achieve something bigger.

I believe I’ve been an entrepreneur since I am 14 years old, because I decided to move-out to be a swimmer — which didn’t worked out the way I planned because I found beer a couple years later.

But, in almost ten years, I’ve lived in six different cities and worked around the world in countries like Mexico, China and the US.

Today, I’m CEO and Co-founder at Lotebox, a logistics software startup. And my latest “adventure” was in the Silicon Valley. So, after some time living in the most innovative place in the world, I gathered some advice and created a list of the 5 most important things I learned when I left home to be an entrepreneur.

#1) Don’t listen to your friends

People tend to believe in things they understand, things they live and know about it.  If you have an idea that you tell your friends, and they have no clue about what you’re talking about, they’re going to convince you not to do it.

For example, when I left home, my friends said I was crazy. My parents’ friends said it was a stupid idea. The only reason they said that, is because neither of them had ever done what my family and I were trying to do. Moving out was the best thing I ever did, it’s THE reason I’m here writing this.

Don’t listen to your friends, they don’t know whats best for you.

#2) Be the best “you” in the darkest moments

It’s pretty easy to be fine when everything is fine. What I learned from a swimming coach in the US , is that what really separates the normal athletes from the great athletes is how they handle when everything is falling apart.

This translates perfectly into our lives as well. When everything is okay, it’s easy to keep going. The hard part is facing the big players in a moment of crisis. This is exactly the time that separates the great from the average, the regulars from the outstanding.

#3) Respect everyone

I know this is a cliche, and everyone knows they should respect people. Yet, when I was in the Valley, I was amazed with the fact that almost everyone in the area would give me 5 minutes of their time so I could tell my story and ask for feedback. I was amazed by how I could get a meeting with the most important people in the tech industry.

One successful entrepreneur I met, told me that people are like this in the Valley because they never know who is going to be the next billion dollar company. It can be a guy in a suit, or a young woman in shorts and sandals.

This particular entrepreneur finished by telling me that it doesn’t matter how someone looks, it doesn’t matter their ethical background, education or social status; if anyone stops him in a Café and asks for 5 minutes of his time, he should give it to them. The only thing that matters in a place like the Silicon Valley is the person’s way to succeed.

#4) Don’t follow your dreams

“People love what they do because they’re successful.” – Ben Harowitz

The first time I heard this phrase, I thought the guy saying it was crazy. Nevertheless, the guy was Ben Horowitz and he has some excellent points.

Mr. Horowitz started by confronting the idea that “people are successful because they do what they love”.  His opinion is, “people love what they do because they’re successful”. The first point to understand about people who follow their passions is that passions change. What you love when you’re 21 is not what you love when you 40 — just look back to yours exes and you will see he is right.

His second point is “you shouldn’t do something just because you love it”. For example, have you ever watched American Idol? Just because you love to sing, doesn’t mean you should be a professional singer. Sometimes, you suck.

His last point is that “following your dreams, no matter what, is a very self-centered way to live”. The world needs your contribution– it needs you to follow the things you’re good at. And in the moment you decide to do what you love and don’t care about the consequences, you’re probably not doing something that matters for the world. You’re doing it only for yourself.

Help the world to be better by focusing on your strengths. This is something worth following.

#5) Measure yourself only against your previous self

A very wise man told me that people are different and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others. Remember that there is always another level and we have to keep going. You are on your own journey and the only person you should be comparing yourself to is the person you were yesterday.

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