Fourteen Rules (And Encouragements)

Curtain Shadow

Over the past three years I’ve learned so much about what I want from my business and what the business wants from me, so I spent some time reflecting on each of those lessons and distilling them into a little list of rules (and encouragements) that will guide everything that comes next.

Creating this list feels like putting bumpers in the gutter at the bowling alley. Hopefully, it will help me keep my energy moving in one focused direction, ensuring that everything I do will remain congruent with my guiding intentions for myself.

I hope that some of these will resonate with you, or that it will inspire you to create a list of your own.


The Fourteen Self-Imposed Rules (And Encouragements) Of Business

  1. The brand and the revenue are equally important, and you will always consider them both before undertaking any endeavor.

  2. You don’t need to always reinvent the wheel. When there are systems in place that work and work well, tap into them. When someone else has done it before, ask their advice.

  3. Community buy-in and support is incredibly important. Your approach shouldn’t be, “Look at this thing I built; I hope you love it!” But rather: “Here’s what we’re thinking of doing; do you have feedback?” Or, “We’re hoping to do this thing, if you’re able to help, please let us know.”

  4. As soon as possible, build in a layer of oversight and assistance, so you don’t have to hold the weight of everything, and you can keep your energy on the big picture. This will require trust, as it will feel like that is income that you could / should be making yourself. It’s worth it. It’ll allow the thing to grow bigger and have more impact in the long run. It’s the long run that you are interested in.

  5. Let the ideas that are arising inform everything you’re creating now, not just whatever ‘comes next.’ It will keep things interesting for you and others.

  6. Be brave.
    (You already know how to be cautious, and you’ll need to keep that too. Be brave AND cautious.)

  7. Keep learning. Keep investigating. It’s the most important part of the job. Building something is far easier than deciding what to build. Take the time to identify the right thing to build. You’ll save yourself time and capital.

  8. Remember that there are two versions of everything. For example: ‘Art’ can be pieces sold at a craft fair for $50. Or it can be pieces worth hundreds of thousands at a Sotheby’s auction. Let yourself investigate the idea enough, so you shape it in the model of the big thing. Let it be expansive.

  9. Only work with people who feel good. And continue to seek out talented people to pull in.

  10. Trust yourself. Trust Pete.

  11. Don’t say ‘yes’ when you really mean ‘yes, and...’ or ‘yes, but…’ or ‘no, thank you.’ People will respect the boundary you create for yourself, and the things that are meant to be will still happen, in a shape that is more aligned.

  12. Continue to build friendships with other people who are stretching. It will help you stretch too.

  13. You must do something five times to perfect your process. Whatever you choose to do next, let it be something you can commit to doing at least five times, so you see what it truly wants to become. Don’t let your creative ADD mean that you never get to see the value of integrating feedback and trying it again. That repetition is how you build something truly great.

  14. You’re seeking the magic kind of collaboration and creative emergence. Nothing else will do. Be patient.

Photograph by Grey & Elle.

Chelsea Sonksen