I am sure this is not the first 2022 Recap you have read, so one more can't hurt you. I will discuss 5 lessons learned in 2022 and 5 goals for 2023 that can benefit you.
For those new to my brand, I quit my research analyst job at a start-up hedge fund earlier this year (my lessons for you are here) and launched my career coaching services full-time in April. It has been a transformative experience as a first-time entrepreneur and I am very grateful for those who encouraged me to give it a go.
5 lessons from 2022
Go Do It
Execution is as important as the vision. My mentors and the influencers I follow all say the same thing – building a business is about dealing with all the details and gathering feedback. That applies to starting a business, a social media account, a YouTube channel, etc. JUST DO IT (yes, Nike is right). Having worked for a sell-side analyst who is an unnecessary perfectionist helps me: so that I don't obsess over being perfect on the first go and just launch it.
The Pareto Principle probably applies to everything in life (because otherwise it won’t be a principle) but it’s particularly true for founders and investors of businesses. Pareto Principle is the idea that 80% of the outcome is influenced by 20% of the causes (decisions or drivers). Of course, the tough part is to know which 20% matters, but I definitely see in hindsight that very few of my decisions drove majority of the progress for my business this year. So it’s very impressive that Vilfredo Pareto discovered how the world works long time ago.
Not Giving a F**k Helps ... A LOT
My brand continues to grow. Of course that means I attract proportionally increasing number of haters, doubters, and freeloaders. I definitely have become better at not caring about 1) pleasing every style of investor 2) convincing every doubters and free-loaders to pay.
Even before I started my Instagram, my friends always applaud me for not caring about external validation. After starting my coaching business, I admit I cared a lot at first because I thought pleasing everyone can maximize my addressable market.
Then, the Pareto Principle kicked in: majority of the revenue was generated from a minority of royal supporters. So, to quote Sahil Bloom (I am sure you have seen his name on Twitter or LinkedIn): If I can help one person with my content, I don’t give a f**k about every single person’s opinion. There is a great book on mastering this discipline: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
I look forward to creating more content to attract like-minded investors and thinkers in 2023 and beyond.
The Value of Pivoting
If your stock thesis is permanently impaired, you sell. Entrepreneurship is that mindset on steroid. My analogy is I feel I am the captain of a very tiny boat.
Sometimes I can just tell things are not working – whether it's poor pricing, customer segmentation, or flawed customer acquisition, etc. I just know, it’s not MBA knowledge, it’s not investor knowledge - it’s just instinct when you have strong skin in the game. I know my business the most.
Any entrepreneur or early-stage investor knows: the vision during business conception is nowhere near what the business ends up becoming. I definitely pivoted a lot this year to get the coaching offerings into a form receptive by consumers - the benefit to my bottom line is very evident.
Tying back to "Just do It" - it's better to put a minimum viable product (MVP) and pivot than waiting for the perfect moment that will never come because you cannot know how customers will react beforehand. Same goes for scaling a social media account.
Growing up with limited financial resources has instilled in me the need to be resourceful, so I am very good at finding information and figuring things out. And that’s when I realize: The information is already out there on how to find jobs, how to do financial modeling, and analyze businesses. However, clients still struggle in their career journey because they need help piecing information together that helps them internalize and apply to real situations.
I read a great book on selling this year that says coaches sell curation of information, not information itself. That was my big eureka moment (I love eureka moments). My value add is 1) weaving in my industry and life experience 2) distilling complex ideas and piecing together disparate information to provide an integrated solution.
With that understanding, I will stick to my own style because that’s why I get thumbs up on finance forums and clients come to me.
My 2023 resolutions
Treat Myself Better
Very straight forward and personal. I say this every year but fail. I am a very social and funny person but indoorsy (I know that might be contradictory statements). So the point being, I want y’all to keep me honest about enjoying life more.
Publish More Stock Contents
Focus more time on putting out contents on either studying good businesses or money-making ideas that resonate with my investment belief (can be compounder, can be hypergrowth, can be special situation, etc.)
As much as I enjoy helping others learn the basics of how to go from 0 to 1, I have not analyzed enough stocks myself last year. There is some shadow consensus that 2023 is still going to be a down year - as always, I concede inability to time the market. And given the broad market drawdown, there should be more actionable stock ideas than the cray-cray times 2 years ago.
So by writing this down, I hope you will keep me responsible for putting out more research contents consistently.
Similar to doing work on stocks. I have not read enough books this year. So I will try to read more and even share my findings through my YouTube channel.
Focus On FEWER Things
Pareto principle. Easier said than done because building a business is a very dynamic process of finding the best return on time.
Implication for me: I will spend less time on many-to-many platforms such as Reddit and WallStreetOasis. Instead, I will focus more on one-to-many platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and my email list (please subscribe above!).
Cathrin Manning, a big-time YouTuber, said every day she manages time by assessing whether a said activity grows her brand. That advice resonates very well with me: As an investor, time is a precious commodity because investors face opportunity cost of time every day on what stocks to research. As a business builder, it's a dynamic assessment on what to do focus on that will move the needle.
Build More Leverage
I feel I am still doing too much on my own. While hiring another person is probably beyond my financial capability (so you gonna have to wait, Employee #2), I need to start thinking about 1) outsourcing video editing because it’s so time consuming 2) pivoting toward things with better time leverage (YouTube video, this article and social media content are all great examples of things that don’t require incremental effort for one more audience) and away from selling time. It’s a work-in-progress but I need to think hard about activities that let me make once and sell infinite.
That's a wrap for 2022! Thank you all so much for the engagement. I will talk to you next year. Happy holidays and Happy New Year to you in advance!