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10 Business Lessons I Learned In 2023

#1 What to work hard on > working hard

There is no shortcut to success and we all have to put in the hard work to achieve what we want in life.

But I’ve learned that choosing what to work hard on is way more important than blindly working hard.

I can work very hard as a private guitar tutor, but I know I’d hit an income ceiling that won’t be able to sustain the lifestyle I need.

If I needed extra income right now, I could work really hard as a food delivery driver but I know it doesn’t improve any skills that can grow my income in future.

So I worked hard on building a business instead.

This can also be applied inside a business. 

When I had 4 music workshops running (guitar, piano, ukulele, percussion), I focused equally hard to scale them.

But I noticed no matter how hard we tried, the percussion workshop always struggled to be profitable.

So I worked hard on scaling the other workshops instead.

Built more digital products to sell where it was easier to sell and more profitable.

This allows me to maximize my efforts on activities that make more business sense and have more growth potential.

#2 Be really good at 1 money-making skill

There are a lot of skills that you can charge money for.

But here, my definition of a money-making skill is something that can generate more money (sales) for your business.

For example, I can charge money for teaching guitar. 

But a more valuable skill would be to learn how to generate endless leads who want to learn guitar from me.

I learned how to be really good at running Facebook/Instagram ads to get more customers.

Along the way, I realised that for my ads to convert better, I had to be good in copywriting.

So that’s another money-making skill that I learned.

Social media marketing, email marketing, running ads, video marketing – all these are money-making skills you can learn to be good at easily if you devote enough time to learn and practise.

These are skills that used to bring in more money for your business.

#3 Sharpen your axe (body & mind)

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  – Abraham Lincoln.

This quote is often used when it comes to productivity.

However, I see the “axe” as my body and mind.

Without a sharp and clear mind, and a healthy body, I will never be able to work and focus well.

That’s why I’ve been swimming twice a week.

I realise exercising regularly helps me to clear brain fog, gives me a lot of mental clarity which allows me to focus on my business.

I do it primarily for the mental benefits. 

And of course it helps me to stay active and fit.

#4 Play long term games

Right now, I only do things that I see myself still doing 10-20 years from now.

Because I truly believe in the power of compounding.

Compounding interest is a very powerful concept in the investing world.

After studying a lot of successful people around me, I noticed none of them made quick money.

They did something really long enough, to become really good and known for it, and then be able to charge for it.

#5 Know what you don’t want

Sometimes it’s easy to say what you want.

I want to make a million bucks. I want to become rich. I want to start a business.

But it’s more important to think about what you don’t want.

For me, I don’t want to not be there for my kids especially in their early years.

I don’t want to be worrying about my job security in my 40-50s.

I don’t want to be forced to wake up at 7am, travel to work, tap my card in and be in a job I don’t enjoy.

Knowing what I don’t want gives me clarity on what I should do and should not do.

#6 Think more before doing

When I was in my 20s, I prided myself in taking actions fast and being daring to try new things like taking on more business projects, executing more new ideas.

But now, I think a lot more before doing something.

Because saying yes to something means saying no to something else.

Saying yes to bringing in a new product to sell means saying no to putting the resource to better use.

One simple technique I use to make decisions when I’m unsure is to draw 2 columns, upside and downside.

When the upside outweighs the downside, and the downside is not detrimental, I’ll do it.

You define what’s your upside/downside.

I value time a lot – so if something’s gonna take away a lot of my time without any huge upside, it’s a straight no.

#7 Trust people with more experience than you

When I first wrote my eBook, I didn’t know how to make it profitable.

Right now, I can lose up to $80 selling each eBook, but still earn it back through my backend products.

And it’s because I trusted a friend/mentor who had more experience in this than me. I am indeed very blessed to have met someone in my life.

Talk to more people.

Ask for advice if you need help from people who have “been there and done that”.

You’ll stand to gain knowledge much much faster than watching youtube or reading.

#8 Track the right stuff

Having run my businesses for several years, and being a marketer, I only track a few metrics right now in my business.

Ad spend

Return on ad spend

If return on ad spend is bad, I look deeper in the marketing metrics, tweak them, optimise it again, and repeat the whole process until it works.

It’s complex, yet it’s simple.

#9 Leverage time

There are 2 ways you can “get more time” in business.

You hire people.

Or you use softwares to automate your processes.

I have a lean team of 4 people in my businesses.

I automate a lot of processes using Zapier. 

For example, I don’t manually follow up with leads anymore, as I automated that process using Whatsapp automation.

Incoming Facebook lead -> Send Whatsapp message automatically

I constantly think about automating processes and how to get more time leverage.


I want to send my kids to school every morning at 8.30am, and pick them back up again at 5pm, while still getting things done 🙂

#10 Believe in yourself

THIS… to me, is the most important thing every entrepreneur needs to have.

To believe that you can do this.

To believe you have what it takes to build the life you want

To believe it’s possible.

Here’s wishing you a great new year ahead!

Who Is Edmund Chew?

I own a 7-figure music education company called TravelClef. I help fellow business owners scale their business using paid ads. I’m obsessed with marketing and entrepreneurship.

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I dive deep into online marketing and business so you can grow to the next level.