30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years

by Sharon Goldmacher, President, communications 21

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Adages speak the truth. Sayings like “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” and “time flies when you’re having fun.” I can honestly say that it’s hard to believe that I have been at the helm of communications 21 for 30 years – but it’s true. And to this day, I can honestly say that I love what I do, and time has definitely flown by.

I still learn every day, and fail often, but I also believe that I have learned a few things over the years that might help other entrepreneurs. I hope you’ll enjoy this listicle!

  1. Having great people on your team makes all the difference in the world.
  2. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you find the right people to fill in the gaps and make you better.
  3. Winning is the greatest feeling in the world, but clients will come and go – even though you’ve done your best.
  4. Let your team do what they do best.
  5. Be flexible – (this one took me a long time to get, but it’s important!)
  6. Managing people is the hardest part of any job. Everyone is different and while it’s hard to please everyone all the time – you have to try.
  7. Use tests like DISC and Meyers Briggs to understand your team’s work styles – it truly helps and makes you a better manager.
  8. Time entry sucks but it sucks less when you keep on top of it. Unfortunately, I never do.
  9. Support (and encourage) training and education.
  10. You’re never too old to learn new tricks…although I still don’t get Snapchat.
  11. Take risks and try. Go for the projects you’re mostly qualified for – you never know what can happen.
  12. When I started at 28, I was too young. As I approach 58, some may consider me too old – but age is just a number.
  13. Specialization will likely make you more money, but if you have ADD, it’s boring! Squirrel!
  14. It’s ok if interns come in once and never return. It wasn’t meant to be! It’s better to find the right fit rather than fill a position quickly. The payoff will be greater in the long run.
  15. Coming up with cool holiday gifts for clients can help make your company more memorable.
  16. Keeping the office clean is harder than it looks – so much cardboard. Amazon…STOP!
  17. Treat yourself like a client – don’t neglect your own marketing and PR – it’s critical.
  18. There will always be a competitor that is bigger, more profitable, more successful, but you contribute, provide livelihoods to your team and are valuable to your clients.
  19. You can never adequately prepare for a pandemic.
  20. Take the time to plan for your company’s future – and then try to work that plan!
  21. “21” is simply my favorite number.
  22. Find mentors – they provide great outside perspectives.
  23. Join organizations and stretch your skills.
  24. Digital marketing moves fast! Staying current is critical – but man, it’s tough. And from where I sit currently the metaverse is today’s version of “the emperor has no clothes…. or probably how my parents felt when I wanted a pet rock…a head scratcher that is making people money.
  25. It’s ok to say “No” sometimes.
  26. Determine your values and try to live your life so that your actions maintain those values.
  27. It’s ok to not be a morning person (or to not like coffee).
  28. Don’t set team meetings on Mondays at 9 a.m. or Fridays at 4 p.m. – people hate that!
  29. As the boss, you set the tone. It’s hard to be upbeat all the time but do your best!
  30. Work will always be there. Find time to celebrate the wins, great work and each other!


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