Here at the Brandhouse, we’re celebrating our 10-year anniversary this year. My team asked me to reflect on what I’ve learned leading this business over the last decade. In truth, A LOT!


Like most business owners, you don’t know what you don’t know. You make a lot of mistakes along the way, but the best thing I did was learn from those mistakes. I feel like those lessons are the ones that stick with me the most. There’s an Instagram reel of Actress Rue McClanahan accepting her Emmy in 1987. She talks about how “every kick is a boost.” I think about that often because it’s especially true when you are an entrepreneur or CEO.  


Needless to say, I’ve had a lot of “kicks” over the years that certainly turned into a boost and here we are today, celebrating 10 years. I’ve put together a top 10 list for you of things I’ve learned being a CEO. No matter where you are on your business journey, I hope some of my mistakes/experience/kicks help boost you and your business to the next level.

1. Be ready to work harder than you have ever worked. Starting, building and running a business is not for the faint of heart. If you are entertaining the idea of being a business owner in order to leave a job because you work too much, think again.

2. Develop processes. It’s not sexy and it’s tedious but once you start growing beyond yourself or your partner, you need to have processes for everything you do in your business so you can train new staff and create efficiencies.

3. Know your numbers. They tell a story and should be guiding your decisions on all fronts.

4. Create a peer group of other business owners. This will be a great sounding board for you as you learn how to run a business and navigate challenges.

5. Listen to your team. As the boss, in many situations – you’re the last to know something so if someone is dropping a hint (or, not-so-subtle hints), pay attention.

6. Don’t work with clients or customers that are jerks. Life is too short and usually no amount of money is worth the pain of working with a client who is awful.

7. Trust your gut. If popular opinion says one thing, but your gut is telling you something else, listen to that inner voice. You know your business better than anyone else and go with your instinct.

8. Build a strong network. Networking is essential to run and grow a business. From sales and strategic partners to new hires and opportunities, a strong network is always a vital piece to the puzzle.

9. Apply for programs such as Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and learn how to scale your business the right way.

10. Pay it forward. Always lend a hand to a fellow entrepreneur. Share the knowledge you have to help others.