Words of Advice

December 13, 2019    Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to a couple local high school classes.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what would be useful for these kids to know as they journey into the next chapter of their lives to and after college.

Not only did I provide a lot of advice, but I also with this reflection, I learned a lot about myself.

If only one student walked away with one positive piece of advice, I consider that a good outcome.

But really the advice that I provided wasn’t just for high school students. New business owners of any age could also benefit.

And what’s fascinating, is that none of this advice is new. We have all heard it before. But I found that if you do follow this advice, you’ll do well in your professional and personal life.

So, let’s talk:

1) The Golden Rule: Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated

It’s amazing how many people do not follow this rule, especially in business. Simple things like, calling or emailing people back when they contact you. Giving the necessary attention to each customer. When someone calls, don’t act like it’s a nuisance.

If this is difficult for you, business is probably not going to be your strong suit.

Remember, Scrooge?

2) Do What You Say You’ll Do

From my experience, this is a big issue today. The world is full of talkers and not so much, doers.

After all, your word is your bond. If you don’t have that, you have nothing. There is no number of testimonials, referrals, were portfolio that will make up for this. If you can’t do what you say you’ll do, people will not trust you and they will not want to be around you.

3) Start Now. Volunteer

Whatever you are thinking about doing, get started now. There are unlimited amounts of opportunities out there just waiting for you.

The number of nonprofit organizations that need help are also unlimited. Whatever skills that you have, there’s a good chance they need help in that department.

Will be unpaid? Yes. Since money will not exchange hands does this mean that it’s any less of an opportunity? No. Let me explain.

Let’s say a nonprofit organization needs a web designer to help them with their website. They don’t have any money for a web designer, so they look for volunteers. This nonprofit speaks at your school and you have just started learning how to create websites. Your skill is not yet valuable in the marketplace she couldn’t exactly ask for someone to pay you to create a website. After all, you are just learning. You raise your hand and offer to help at the nonprofit. They are excited and so are you.

You get a chance to work on your craft, work with professionals and create a website for the nonprofit. By the end of your experience, you’ve gained a lot of skills and have now launched a real website. You are now that much more qualified. Not only do you have a website that “has your name on it,” you now have a group of professionals (the board) that has worked with you. If you did a good job, they will refer you. I’ve also often found that board members of nonprofits, are local leaders and business owners in the community. So, they may just hire you directly to work on their businesses website.

Every chance I get to offer at this point of advice, I do it. Having people of taken me up on this offer yet? Not one.

I won’t get into my story right now, but this scenario played a huge role of success in my personal and professional life. It works.

4) Continue To Learn

There is no other substitute for growth. You must continue to learn. When you finish high school or college, the real learning begins. It’s too bad, because a lot of people think that that is when their learning stops. They couldn’t be more wrong.

You must continually educate yourself on the happenings in your industry.

You also don’t have to have your nose in every book or publication from your industry. Stretch yourself and learn new skills outside your expertise and industry.

I’ve always taken so many ideas outside my industry and vice versa.

5) Do More Than What’s Expected Of You

Easy to say, but more difficult to live by.

If you continually do more than what’s expected of you, you will stand out. People will take notice.

If you don’t (like many people), no one will expect much from you. In the business world, this means you have less value in the marketplace. In your personal life, you will have less value to others.

6) Get It Done

Create a to-do list. Already have one? Great. Let me give you some advice that I learned from a very successful real estate investor:

Every day, right down the top three things you want to get done for that day. Don’t write down 20, it’s not realistic, keep it to three. Also, for the first item, make sure it is the biggest most time intensive to-do item that you’re not looking forward to. The one item that you’d rather skip. Get that one done first.

Make sure you get those top three items done each day.

If you do that day after day, you get to be in a good place.

7) Create More Value Than You Receive

This is very suited for the holidays. Give more than you receive.

Have you ever had something just click with you but doesn’t seem to click with others? This is that piece of advice especially regarding business.

Did you know if someone is paying you $15 per hour, that they need to be making double, triple (or more) that for each hour that you are getting paid? And if you’re not? You’re unemployed.

From my experience, the younger generations just getting out of high school do not have this knowledge. I found that they think they just show up, a paycheck is generated (that comes from thin air) whether they generated any value.

You should be a giver in this life and not a taker.

8) Watch and Take Notes / Jim Rohn’s “Best Year Ever”

This video will change your life. Take notes. Watch every year.

Watch it here: graticle.com/bestyear

Last updated on May 04, 2020. Shawn is the President of Graticle, Inc.

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I have worked with Shawn at Graticle for three years, which should speak volumes in and of itself. I am a high school teacher and serve as the Coordinator for the AVID program. Each August-September we create new t-shirts for distribution to all 140 of our students, along with supportive members of the faculty, staff, and administration.

My team of AVID teachers brainstorms ideas for both the front and back of the shirt, and I present the best one or two concepts to Shawn for his expert feedback. We quickly settle on the best design idea and colors, and then Shawn and I bounce more detailed suggestions off each other for a few days. His suggestions always result in significant improvements to my rough concept. He presents me with graphic “rough drafts” at each stage of our discussion until we have a design I’m really happy with.

Shawn then works his magic, and the final design is the work of a consummate professional. We get tons of compliments on our shirts, starting with our t-shirt printer, and usually end up having to do a second print run for additional faculty and staff who want one of the shirts. This year, a middle school in Southern California saw the design and asked if they could use it.

Another positive aspect of working with Graticle is that Shawn is easy to reach by phone or email, and he is very responsive. I hear back from him either the same day or the next day.

Working with Shawn and Graticle has been a pleasure, He produces good work quickly and at a fair price. I recommend him to you without reservation.

Bill Wolfe

Teacher & AVID Coordinator

Taft Union High School


Taft, California

Graticle designed the website for the company that I work for, and it turned out so amazing! Shawn was extremely understanding and helpful, walked me through problems (on my end, not his), provided solutions, and was always available to me if I had any questions. The whole process was very straightforward from wireframing to designing to WordPress. Shawn also recorded training videos to help me (and other associates) understand how to control nearly every aspect of our site from within the dashboard. Our website is now controlled in-house, and we have a beautiful mobile-friendly website that is already seeing more traffic!

Graticle is a great company, and more importantly, Shawn is a great guy! I would recommend Graticle to anyone considering website or design services!!!

Jeff Dean

Marketing Associate

A Nationwide (USA) Public Refrigerated Warehousing Company

Portland, Oregon