4 Key Lessons I Learned as an Entrepreneur in 2016


Starting a business can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but as with all great things it is a roller coaster ride through and through, complete with ups and down, loops, and changes in speed and pace.


For the better part of this year I have steadily been building my business based on my belief that through hard work and consistency, great things can be accomplished. I founded my website artisbeing.com applying my dream to redefine the word "art" and making it accessible to all, while learning as much as I can from those before me in the process.

The four lessons listed below have carried me through 2016 to help build my network, increase my following, and grasp a richer and more fulfilled sense of purpose for myself and my business.


  1. Know Your Vision


It took a blind man to make me understand vision. Earlier this year, I had the honor and privilege of photographing Paralympic Lex Gillette before he graced the stage at TedX San Diego, captivating the crowd into a standing ovation as he professed his message: “There is no need for sight when you have a vision.” 

Discerning the difference between sight and vision is imperative to getting started, allowing you to see past the obstacles stacked against you and allows you to begin thinking long term.


ASK YOURSELF: What is my vision?


2. Stay True to Yourself


This advice is harder than it sounds. Many things can divert a business (and a person, for that matter) from its initial goal and purpose. Money can cloud decisions, forcing you to take on jobs and roles that may not suit you. Search for clients with long term goals in mind. Not only will this make you feel more fulfilled by your work, you will create a network and circle of others who are ready and willing to join forces with you. Think of Simon Sinek’s deduction in his book, Start With Why: “I don’t believe that any of these leaders were looking for their ‘WHY.’ Instead, I believe that something happened in their lives that caused an emotional reaction. That reaction naturally instilled their driving purpose. This is the most powerful ‘WHY’ a person can have.” -Simon Sinek, Start With Why

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ASK YOURSELF: What is my purpose?


3. Social Media is the new TV


Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck has spent a portion of his career redefining how entrepreneurs can use social media to grow their business. With Americans switching from television to smartphones, we are seeing a major shift in how we consume media, one that could be likened to the transformation from radio to television. Gary urges modern day entrepreneurs to stop viewing social media as some new concept or technology and to think of it as what the internet has become. Most of our engagement online comes from our use of social media and its different formats. Vayernuck tells us to view each of these formats--from Facebook to Instagram, Twitter, to YouTube, as channels on the television, and to create content that fits the audience and format of each network.


“The average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day, accounting for 28pc of the total time spent on the internet.” - Source


ASK YOURSELF: How can you utilize social media?


4. Not Everyone Is Going to Support You


This is a harsh reality. No matter what industry you are getting into and how lucrative it may be, no matter your experience, relationships, know-how or motivation, the life of an entrepreneur can often be a lonely one full of tireless pursuit toward an idea that only you can see.


Phil Knight, creator of Nike, expresses this point throughout his memoir, Shoe Dog, where he constantly refers to the conception of Nike as his “crazy idea.”


“So that morning in 1962 I told myself: Let everyone else call your idea crazy . . . just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where ‘there’ is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.”

Phil Knight, Shoe Dog


Learn what you can from this experience. On a positive note, it allows you to quickly weed out those who believe in you from those who don’t. In the long run, getting acclimated to this process will make hiring that much easier.


ASK YOURSELF: How do you strengthen my convictions to rise above the haters?


Take pride in yourself that you have gotten this far. Even if you haven’t begun your entrepreneurial pursuit, applaud yourself for planting the seeds. Remember that your ability to succeed comes from within and that no one ever said that this route was going to be an easy one. At best, through your hard work and perseverance you strive to attain the goals at which you set out for. At worst you learn something about yourself, do something you love, and push yourself to new levels you never thought possible. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Alex Ingram



Ignore the haters.


The more you begin to share stories about your dreams, passions, hopes, and goals for your business undoubetedly the more haters you will collect. It doesn’t matter what your venture is