Success Is…

Here are some things I’ve learned over the last 15 years about success in business — and in life.

Success Is…

  • Building a business you’re proud of — in your own time
  • Using your business to drive change in your community not to make investors rich(er)
  • Not raising money from investors just because everyone else is
  • Walking your kids to school and picking them up — at least once a week
  • Eating right because you know your mind will stop working as soon as your body does
  • Hiring smart, interesting people to work for and/or around you
  • Keeping fit both mentally and physically
  • Continually learning new skills and hobbies
  • Controlling your own destiny and holding yourself accountable for every decision you make — both good and bad
  • Spending your time how you want, where you want, with whoever you want
  • Deciding on your own when/if/how you grow your company
  • Creating memories by taking your family on a few holidays each year
  • Reading books instead of watching the news
  • Having a routine that makes you a bit better every single day
  • Realizing there are very few people you should take advice from, then really listening to the handful of great mentors you find
  • Using leverage to get 5 years of meaningful work done in 1 year

Success Is Not…

  • Money. It’s freedom and 100% control over your time.
  • Raising money from investors as a goal (it’s a small milestone)
  • Being rich while you have no friends, no hobbies and/or poor health
  • Spending more to acquire a customer than they pay you and telling yourself it’s OK because your investors told you to do it
  • Having a highly volatile range of emotions on a consistent basis
  • Having an addiction to alcohol, fast food or caffeine and justifying it as “startup life” or “founder stress”
  • Ignoring the fact that stress is really the achiever’s word for fear — and telling yourself its “normal” to be stressed 24/7
  • Delaying what you know will make you happy so you can work 7 days a week on your business
  • Hanging on to crap customers because they pay you a lot and you’re worried what will happen if you “fire” them
  • Missing your kids grow up because you have a 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance of building the next deca-unicorn company so work 7 days a week
  • Somewhere you end up, but a mindset you develop by making a heap of fuck ups and course-correcting over a 5–10 year period
  • Something you get and then maintain by being complacent — either in your business, your relationships or your health
  • The same for everyone

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About Mitchell Harper

Mitch is a 7x company founder, advisor and investor. He is best known as the co-founder of BigCommerce. His companies have generated over $200,000,000 in total revenue and he is currently building an online education company and a SaaS company.

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