The Best Business Advice I’ve Ever Received


When I was still in high school I still had an idyllic view of the world whether I knew it or not. Graduate high school, go to University, become an interior designer. That was my sure fire three step plan to a successful life as an independent career woman. I failed to understand just how difficult it is to establish yourself in the real world. I underestimated how sheltered I still was and how out of touch I really was from reality.

Really, No One Cares

Of course I didn’t expect everything to be handed to me, but what I failed to realize was that no one will ever truly care about my success. Of course my loved ones care about my happiness, but at the end of the day, it’s not their job to make sure that I succeed, it’s my job. That harsh reality is one of the most valuable lessons that I have learned.

I have come so far with Progression by Design and learned a lot a long the way. That harsh lesson I finally learned shaped who I am as an entrepreneur, a writer, a daughter, and a woman.  This got me thinking… what other pieces of business advice have shaped my life?

The three lessons below are some of the most profoundly useful tid-bits of business advice that I have learned that have dramatically altered my perspective on running my own business.

Drain the Swamp and Slay the Alligators

This gem of a phrase came from Kate White, the editor and chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and author of I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know. While it may sound a bit weird at first, it’s meaning is simple: Don’t get caught up with the daily tasks that have to get completed (slaying the alligators) and always remember to keep working on your long term goals (draining the swamp.) This lethal combo can kick some serious ass when utilized correctly. Thanks Kate!

As a blogger, it can be so easy to get bogged down with writing and scheduling social media posts, answering emails, responding to comments, etc. that I sometimes forget to take the time to work on long term goals and continue to grow my business, not just maintain it.

Stop Trying to Be Number One

We all play the comparison game. Just stop. Not only does this waste valuable energy that you could be applying elsewhere in your business, but it is just plain incorrect. When I finally realized that I don’t have to be number one in my niche to succeed, I was able to take a breath.

First of all, you are just never going to be as good as some people at what they do, and some people will  never be as good as you. That is just a fact of life that we all need to accept. While you absolutely should strive for continuous improvement, you shouldn’t tear yourself down based on an external standard that you have set for yourself based on another person’s completely different life.

Let’s say, for example, that you want to start a social media consulting website. There are hundreds of similar websites selling e-courses on using Pinterest to grow your business. Should you not explain how to correctly use Pinterest to grow your business just because other people have already explained it? NO. Just do it better. You can make just as much money (or more) than that person by writing a similar course that has better content.

You don’t have to invent the wheel, just make a better one. 

Continuous and Never Ending Improvement (C.A.N.I)

We all have goals that we want to meet. But when it comes to setting and completing long term goals, the whole completion thing can get a little tricky. Tony Robbin’s concept of Constant and Never Ending Improvement (C.A.N.I.) breaks long term goals into incremental steps of improvement in turn, making them easier to accomplish.

What I love about making improvements every single day is that before you know it, you’ve reached your goal. For example, when saving for a larger purchase, I am notoriously bad about not putting money away unless it is in large chunks. Instead of putting smaller amounts every week like I should, I get worried about saving in larger amounts. If I put smaller amounts away more frequently, I will reach my goal much faster.

While C.A.N.I. can be applied to specific goal setting, it’s higher meaning is that there will never be a final chapter in the story of improvement. Your life should be spent taking tiny steps every day to improve your life. As the cliche saying goes, Rome was never built in a day. Time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well utilize the minutes to their fullest.

Powerful Reading for Powerful People

Tony Robbins goes into great detail about this concept in one of my favorite books Awake the Giant Within.  Here are a few of my other favorite business books that have really helped to change my perspective on running my own business, surviving in the work place, and organizing my life:

Business Books Tips and Advice

I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This | Lean In | The Ten Natural Laws of Time Mangagement | Awake the Giant Within | Lean Startup | The Four Hour Work Week |

I hope that you can take these principles and apply them to your own lives and businesses. Each of these practices are extremely powerful on their own, but when combined… watch out world here we come.

photo credit: Carmen Dell’Orefice photographed by Giuliano Bekor




Shop the Post

I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This | Lean In | The Ten Natural Laws of Time Mangagement | Awake the Giant Within | Lean Startup | The Four Hour Work Week |



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    Thank you for sharing your business tips Marie. I just found your blog and am blown away by how young you are…I read tons of decorating blogs and your design aesthetic, writing and advice posts are wise beyond your years. Love your blog!!

      Marie Huang

      Thank you so much Shanna that is one of the sweetest comments that I have received in a while! I’m so glad that you enjoyed my content and that you took the time to let me know 🙂 Have a fabulous Friday lady!


    Lori Hil

    Continuos improvement and taking your goals one day at a time! Thanks for sharing!