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  • Writer's pictureJared Yellin

23 Lessons From 2023 + One Declaration for 2024


“You either WIN or you LEARN, and eventually you will EARN from your LEARNINGS, which will lead to a WIN." - Jared Yellin

What a freakin year!


By far the most growth…

By far the most challenge…

By far the most uncertainty…

By far the most change…

By far the most pressure…

By far the most wins…


For as long as I can remember, my life has been a roller coaster of emotions - but 2023 was Kingda Ka from Six Flag Great Adventures, where I just held on and believed that somehow, someway, I would make it to the destination.


I also committed to a core creed that I have always had but needed to tap into it and remind myself daily…


God will never give you more than you can handle.


But boy oh boy, were there days when I questioned whether what I was experiencing was a challenge or a sign.


Challenge = How badly do you want it?

Sign = When will you realize that it won’t work?


And for whatever reason, every occurrence (positive or negative) led me to believe it was a challenge to test if I was the right person to take on such an ambitious life.


But here’s an interesting data point for you…


My wild ride of 2023 had NOTHING to do with the economy, politics, the President, war, interest rates, media, COVID, etc.


My wild ride of 2023 was self-induced.


I caused it…

I attracted it…

I accepted it…


Because of the following…


"There comes a time in your life where you must make a decision…


Is GOOD ENOUGH...enough?


There is no right or wrong, but no decision means GOOD ENOUGH is enough.


And WAY MORE than good is just one decision away." - Jared Yellin

 

Prior to 2023, I had a really good life…


Marriage

Kids

Health

Career

Finances

Adventure

Etc.


But I just knew that I was destined for something more - something legendary - not from an ego perspective but to reach my full potential.


And I refused to leave anything on the field…


But what I ended up committing to - Build, Scale, Exit 10,000+ tech companies - has NEVER been done, and as a result, I would be embarking on a very uncertain and unknown journey where almost no one thought it was possible.


And in the first 18 months - it was kind of a game - but in the last 12 months, it got serious, which is why I said - what a freakin year!



2023 Will Go Down In The History Books For Me


Can you imagine WINNING and, in the next sentence, asking yourself if it’s worth continuing?


“What did I get myself into?”

“There is no one on planet Earth more qualified than me to do this.”


This was the theme of my 2023.


I trusted a number of the wrong people WHILE also adding more people to my foxhole this year than all of my 19 years combined of being an entrepreneur. 


I unintentionally ruffled a number of feathers WHILE building a tribe of people from around the world who are committed to seeing our vision to fruition.


I made countless mistakes WHILE driving our company to a better place as we enter 2024 than ever before.


The duality of 2023 has made me feel like Gumbi, where I am stretched between elated and defeated, but where I will end this year is stronger, more committed, and 10,000X more certain that we will 100% achieve our outcome - Build, Scale, Exit 10,000+ tech companies.


I am grateful for every challenge.

I am honored to have been called to do what has never been done.

I am fearless of what stands before me.

I am powerful beyond measure.


And the reason for this is because of the following 23 lessons and 1 declaration…



23 Lessons From 2023 + One Declaration for 2024

Before you begin, please realize these are my lessons, they were instrumental for me. They helped me see what I did not see. They have led to my growth - AND - you might disagree with one or all of them, but what I know to be true is that if you open your mind to these lessons, 2024 will be one of the most momentous of your life.


AND…


These lessons might appear all over the place, but I am the founder of one of the more ambitious companies in the world, and it’s a very diverse organization that exposes me/us to a wide array of lessons, opportunities, distinctions, and more.


Use what’s relevant…

Open your mind to all…

Earn as a result of these learnings…


Here we go in NO particular order…


1. TOGETHER is a way of life.

We have an operating code within the company that aligns every character - team, co-founder, shareholder, vendor, strategic alliance, etc. You might look at it as a word, but we look at it as a way of life. I always knew this, but 2023 was the year where I realized it - on such a deep level - because I experienced what it felt like when some people would SAY IT but not LIVE IT. The distinction between the LIVERS versus the SAYERS was so vast, so uncomfortable, and so obvious, that it reinforced my certainty in TOGETHER as a way of life. 


T - Take 100% Responsibility 

O - Omit Excuses

G - Go All In

E - Energy Matters

T - Teamwork Makes the Moonshot Work 

H - Help Others

E - Exercise Patience

R - Radical Transparency 


2. F^2 (aka FU**KING FUN)

Please don’t be offended by this word - it's just a word - but it’s actually more than just a word from the standpoint of the lesson. 


For as long as I remember, I have had fun even when it makes no sense to have fun. Challenging times, scary times, unknown times, etc. I find a way to transform the mood into one that is light, exciting, funny, and memorable, BUT for a very large portion of the year, I turned off the power of F^2. I refuse to point fingers at anyone for this - it’s my fault - but it’s also now my decision to enforce that we will ALWAYS have F^2.


Because here’s my reality…


I would rather fail while having F^2.

Then

Win and detest the journey. 


Therefore, petty BS, keeping score, drama, more talk than action, complaining, pointing fingers, and breaking the CODE are all fireable offenses or elimination offenses when they happen because I will NEVER negotiate again against F^2. 


3. My greatest strength is also my greatest liability. 

This lesson is not just for me but it's universal for people with dominant skill sets.


My greatest strength is my ability to sell a vision, have unrelenting confidence in my ability to achieve the vision, and have the courage to take seismic action to ensure we make it.


My greatest weakness is my ability to sell a vision, have unrelenting confidence in my ability to achieve the vision, and the courage to take seismic action to ensure we make it.


That is not a typo - that is REALITY.


A handful of people took my confidence that we WILL FIGURE IT OUT as we already FIGURED IT OUT and, as a result, are not part of the Jared fan club - my sincerest apologies - my intent is to only serve.


But in reality - doing what has never been done will also NEVER be figured out. It will require constant figuring it out, which is why I feel so honored that God called me to catalyze this project — Build, Scale, Sell 10,000+ tech companies.


AND I refuse to suppress my greatest ability - even though I know it’s a liability - but I am not more in tune with this reality, and I am more conscious of who I deploy this ability on because if they are not the type of person I want on the journey, there is no reason to showcase this skill.


AND AND AND the same holds true for you!


Your greatest strength is also your greatest liability - never suppress it - just be conscious of who experiences it. 


4. Being selfish might get your minimum needs met, but it will become the barrier to achieving your maximum desires.

Project 10K is really a human experiment in many ways because there are such a variety of people with a ton of responsibilities that are on the field. But by far, the most unique dynamic is between Project 10K and the people we call Co-Founders because usually, when you launch a business with someone - you have known them for many, many years - whereas - we know our Co-Founders for a few hours of a very intense process. 


I would say this is the greatest “gamble” in our journey is whether or not we will be simpatico with the person we just gave the title Co-Founder to. 


And for the most part - we have been blessed with such wonderful humans but there have also been others who might be stand-up people, but they are just WRONG for us because one of the strongest characteristics is being selfish.


For the record, I wish I was more selfish, so this is not a bad thing, but it’s a misalignment of values, which in turn will lead to the demise of whatever is being worked on. 


2023 was a year of great exposure for me because a number of people - some Co-Founders and others I have worked with in different capacities, showed their true colors that they ONLY want a WIN-WIN as long as their needs are met first - not wrong - just not right for me or Project 10K. 


5. Hiring should be daunting, time-consuming, and overly burdensome - NOT CONVENIENT!

My team has worked so diligently on building an iron-clad recruiting process and whenever we deploy it in full with no corners being cut - it WORKS - and 100% of the time we hire out of convenience, it blows up in our face.


I am sure you have heard this saying…


Hire slow

Fire fast


Well - it’s freaking TRUE! 


In our world, we don’t have the luxury to stretch the hiring process out too far, so instead, we just stick to the process in an abbreviated time frame so we can mutually make a decision faster.


But I can't even begin to explain how important it is to NOT hire out of convenience - even if you know someone really well - have them go through your process, with other candidates so you have a point of reference, and get everyone to SHOW YOU RECEIPTS.


Proof they have done what they said they have done. 


6. Even if everything inside indicates a specific person/organization is ideal, don’t get caught up with the feeling of it being right and instead allow the data to prove it’s working or not. 

I have had countless REALLLY big partnerships in 2023 - some such notable names that it would blow your mind - and regardless of the level of influence, fame, resources, etc. The greatest partnerships have such a deep level of alignment that they will always produce catalytic outcomes, even if some of the material measurements are not present.


But the key in any partnership - for you and them - is to TRACK RESULTS!


First, align on what a WIN-WIN looks like.

Then execute TOGETHER.

Then TRACK RESULTS!


If the results are less than mutually expected after the first committed effort - give it one more time - but if the results remain to be less than expected - universally move on.


The opportunity cost of the wrong partner - mutually - is often a significant setback, so it’s key to assess quickly. 



7. When your gut says something is wrong, address it immediately. If it does not start to feel right, eliminate it!

This was a tough lesson for me in 2023 because I really pride myself on listening to my gut and for some reason, made exceptions in 2023 that ended up costing me a ton of money, time, and slow-down. 


I tried to justify my feelings versus addressing them which then exacerbated the situation until it reached a point of no return.


ADDRESS things immediately when they feel off.

COMMIT to a plan of action to course correct.

REASSESS within 90-days

ELIMINATE if things don’t objectively improve.  


8. Add 0000 to your expectation of effort.

Everything - that’s worthwhile - will take more time, money, and effort than you expected. Knowing this is important because many people quit steps away from success because their expectations were so out of whack that they did not believe they were making progress - although - the outcome was RIGHT AROUND the corner!


EVERYTHING will take more than you expect, which should excite you because the only things that will take what you expect are things that have already been done before, but if you are looking to cause a positive revolution and achieve the seemingly impossible, then just EXPECT to add ZEROS to your effort, time, and money!


9. Go all-in on revenue-producing activities.

I have been preaching this for years, but 2023 was the pinnacle of the importance of revenue - especially in early-stage entrepreneurship. It’s simply imperative to put revenue points on the board - unless you so independently wealthy or your family is or a friend is that you can tap into “other people's money” - because if one of your future needs is going to be investment capital - the world of speculation is really only reserved for those with such a strong track record of success that their previous experience mitigates against the downside.


But if you don’t have a track record like that OR access to capital from people who already know, like, and trust you then you MUST do everything possible to put revenue points on the board because if you don’t - you will be a ticking time bomb and your dream will come crashing down. 


10. Effort might get you a trophy, but outcomes will change the game.

I know this will come off harsh, but this lesson has become such a significant realization for me in 2023, which is…


I don’t care about how much you tried.

I don’t care about how much time you invested.

I don’t care about how much money you put to work.

I don’t care about how much you grew.


ALL I care about are the results!


The effort, money, work, growth, etc., go without question, but if you put in reps and not getting anything in return - that is probably a sign that you are NOT onto something OR you are NOT the right person to be onto whatever you are attempting.


But you must look at this as a sign because maybe you will earn a trophy for showing up, but you will NEVER change the game unless you put points on the board. 


11. Starting at a napkin idea represents too long of a road to liquidity with unnecessary risks.

As you may or may not know - the first era of Project 10K was what we call napkin entrepreneurs.


People who have an idea on a piece of paper and they believe their idea is a needed solution in the marketplace with an addressable audience. 


We tested 133 of these ideas, and 15 of them became very viable businesses - but guess what - this was freaking hard, and I would venture to say unnecessarily hard.


Which is why we have begun to go a bit upstream by acquiring SaaS companies from engineers who have taken their vision as far as they can and want to. This happens to be the bluest and most exciting ocean of my career because there are 1,000s of companies ready for an acquisition, and there is no buyer for these types of businesses since they are still very early and resource intensive. But for us - they feel like we are beginning with momentum because the product is built, there is some level of product market fit, minimal cash flow, and a KNOWN ideal customer profile.


By acquiring these assets, we are able to step directly into sales and marketing mode, which means liquidity versus 18 months of testing before we are able to reap any benefit of our effort at all. 


 12. Emotion in the early stage is kryptonite to your success.

I always tell people to care about everything and care about nothing at the same time - this is often difficult to comprehend but what it actually means is STOP sweating the small stuff but CARE about it. 


The STOP part = Sell/launch before you are ready.

The CARE part = Identify improvements and make them over time.


But when an entrepreneur feels they can’t launch because of a feature, a color, a logo, a word, a ___________ - I am 100% certain they won't make it.


Because they are putting their beliefs and feelings ahead of DATA!


PLEASE realize this…


DATA matters more than how you feel.

DATA will improve your company.

DATA will increase your chance of success.

DATA will help you prioritize.


GO FOR DATA before you GO FOR PERFECTION!


13. You don’t need to make someone an employee to ensure they are committed.

I had this very limiting belief until recently which was the only way to get loyal talent was to make them an employee, but the risk associated with this decision is extreme…


1 - You will absolutely have bench cost.

2 - Employees have certain expectations.

3 - Firing is far more difficult.

4 - Many, many other potential challenges.


What we have now learned and uncovered is a pool of talent that loves the flexibility and the consistency of work. They are driven by our mission but not on our payroll. They show up 100% all of the time because they know they are only as good as their last project, and the benefits go on and on and on!


We have also exponentially improved our resource allocation process by building a vendor network versus always only having employees, which has led to millions in savings. 


The moral of my story is - don’t default to employees until a contractor is able to prove they are the right fit for at least 90 days!


Just work on the right compensation plan, right communication plan, right culture plan, right integration plan, right growth plan, etc. No different than an employee, just without some of the extra baggage!


14. 1,000s of engineers want to scratch their innovative itch.

There are 1,000s of engineers who are gainfully employed at Meta, Google, Microsoft, Uber, etc., who are not entrepreneurs; they love their job, but they are YEARNING to scratch their own innovative itch.


Instead of watching Netflix or playing tennis on the weekend, these engineers are building unique SaaS for FUN!


But imagine a world where this same person is able to build a SaaS platform and get credit for it…


Compensation

Equity

Recognition

ETC!


Well, we are building this world as you speak and will onboard 1,000s of these engineers who have the desire to leave the world better off than they inherited it, but they don’t want the responsibility of being a founder and becoming an entrepreneur.


15. Eliminate anything that detracts from enterprise value.

Every action you take falls into one of three buckets…


  1. Subtraction - Uses up energy

  2. Addition - Incrementally increases energy

  3. Multiplication - Exponentially increases energy


Therefore, do an audit of your actions and commit to eliminating, delegating, or automating anything that falls into the subtraction bucket. Give the addition bucket some attention to make it a multiplication within 90 days, or begin to delegate it out.

Then double down on the multiplication actions because in order to listen for, commit to, and relentlessly achieve your calling, you must commit to EXPONENTIAL actions (aka MULTIPLICATION ONLY!).


16. Sell before you build.

I have always done this but somehow veered off course a bit until 2023 when we began ONLY building really strong clickable prototypes OR MVPs with low/no code before going down the path of custom development because I would rather lose $50-100K versus $500k-$1M by SELLING before we BUILD!


I want to know - in advance…


What does the ideal customer want?

Will the ideal customer pay for the solution?

How much?

How often?

Will they refer?

Who is the ideal customer?

What features MUST exist?

What are they currently using?

What about what they are currently using is not optimal?


ETC

ETC

ETC!


The ONLY ONLY ONLY way to uncover this is to SELL before you BUILD!


And sell does not always mean get money - but it does mean SELL the vision and, at the very, very, very, very least, collect REAL data.


It’s WAYYYY better to pull the plug at the idea stage than at year 3 when you realize you have a product market misfit and 7-figures invested!


17. Remote work is great, but being together is the edge.

When I first launched the experiment called Project 10K, I told our team that working remotely was a huge disadvantage for us, but it felt irresponsible to ask people to move when our outcomes were completely unknown. Think back to early Facebook - they did not just work in the same office, but they also lived in the same house!


Now that our 2.5-year experiment has concluded and the results were 200% better than we expected - it’s time for us to double down on what worked, add what was missing, and eliminate anything that subtracts from our enterprise value.


Well - one of the ADDITIONS will be - a new company HQ - stay tuned for details - but WORKING TOGETHER (in-person) will give us the edge!


18. Ask for help more often.

100% of my success has been my ability to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders - BUT - this project is just too heavy for me to squat on my own.


Which is why I am reminding myself DAILY - to ask for very, very specific and targeted help from relevant people.


My lack of asking for help was never an ego thing. It was more of not wanting to inconvenience anyone when I was not necessarily clear on how I could pay them back, but after 19 years of helping others and expecting nothing in return other than satisfaction when my help worked, I decided to give it a shot - and WOWZA - asking for help is the greatest entrepreneurial hack there is!


19. It’s easier to raise more significant economic capital, but extremely advantageous to focus on relationship capital.

Let me preface one thing…


I am NOT a fundraiser - I am a bootstrapper and executor - but this project DOES need capital, which is why I immersed myself in capital over the past year, and this is what I learned…


  • It’s EASIER to raise $25M versus $2.

  • Investors are looking for ambitious companies with high-energy founders.

  • Using an investment vehicle people understand is imperative.

  • Fundraising will take WAYYYY more time than you expected.

  • Get hyper-clear on the use of capital.

  • Stand in the shoes of the potential investor and predict why they will say yes or no.


So here’s what I did…


I raised relationship capital from about 90 people - the P10K Shareholder Community - where each member invested $25k-$250K into P10K, but the money from each of these people is BY FAR the least valuable, and WHO they are is why they are here. We can open any door in the world because of these 90 people.


In addition, we are raising a significant 8-figure round, which is for the purpose of growth and acceleration, and this DOES NOT need to be strategic - although I would like it to be - since we have such a profound shareholder community we can tap into from a strategic perspective.


So my recommendation is to raise more than you need AND set up an advisory network of 5-10 people you can call on. Ideally, they invest a bit, so they are fully committed.


20. Never stop producing content.

There are a few things you should NEVER stop doing…


  • Never stop going on date night with your partner

  • Never stop making time for your kids

  • Never stop working out

  • Never  stop producing content


There are 100s of NEVER STOPS, but these four compound on one another, and the moment you stop - is the moment the compounding ends, and when you pick back up, you are beginning at ZERO!


Be HYPER vigilant and consistent with these four items above, but specifically for the purpose of this lesson — YOUR CONTENT!


Daily 

Daily

Daily

Daily

Is the name of the game!


21. Give yourself more credit, but never get high on your own supply.

I legit never give myself credit…

I never pat myself on the back…

I never take a moment to celebrate…


And partially, it’s because it doesn’t do anything for me, but the reality is this…


I began a new exercise about 3 months ago called GOAT, and what it looks like is this…


At least 1x a week - usually daily now - I look at myself in the mirror, and I say…

“You are the freakin G.O.A.T!” (Greatest Of All Time)

I don’t say this with arrogance or ego, but rather, I want to remind myself how damn good I am, then I default back to no the no-credit zone.


This reminder is a reinforcer whenever doubt emerges that I have everything in my capacity to accomplish my outcome because…I am the GOAT! 


Give it a shot!


22. No story has ever ended on a comma.

I PROMISE YOU SOMETHING….


When your going gets tough…

When you feel you are at your wits end…

When you think everything is against you…

When you want to quit…


PLEASE realize….


This moment is AT MOST a sentence and probably even a comma in your story called life.


But in the moment, it feels like the last chapter, but remember — NO STORY has ever ended with a comma, so you have PLENTY more to go!


23. Change your mind as often as you want.

We have changed the name of our company 3x (and might still have another one)...

We have changed the timeframe we will achieve our outcome…

We have changed our processes…

We have changed our model…

We have changed our agreements…

We have changed our criteria…

We have changed ________________ (a ton more)...


And guess what…


We have the permission to change anything we want and whenever we want to because everything in life is man or woman made - which means - we can make it up, test it, change it, solidify it, and then change it again.


Once you realize this - you stop thinking that every decision is final, and you make more decisions quickly, which leads to more data, more progress, more wins, and more growth.



Now For My 2024 Declaration 


Although from the outside looking in, this statement will probably make no sense since Project 10K won and grew exponentially this year — I feel like we were on defense for almost the entire year.


A few bad people decisions…

A few bad frivolous situations we needed to handle…

A few bad ideas that we said yes to…


Led to a year where we never truly got momentum going.


YES we grew.

YES we won.

YES we put points on the board.

YES by anyone's standards — this was a monumental year.


BUT I know the reality. We played it too safe, introverted instead of extroverted in the face of adversity, held on too long to some of our poor decisions and tapped the break one too many times. 


Therefore, my declaration of 2024 is the following…


2024 is the YEAR of MOMENTUM.


Even if everything inside is saying - slow down, introvert, think twice - we WON’T!


We are coming out guns-a-blazing, and we did not wait until 2024 - we already have momentum going into the new year - but what I can declare once again is this…


MOMENTUM is the theme of 2024.


We won’t be stopped — it’s freaking GO TIME!



Now What?


Whenever I write an article, there is also a very specific NOW WHAT that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with you.


But this article actually has a ton to do with me…(and also a ton to do with you)


The next steps for you are to cheer me on, join me, attempt to stop me or watch me, but I ask that you make a conscious decision as to which it is because there is NO WAY you can ignore me.


I share this with ZERO arrogance or ego, but because what we have set out to do has NEVER been done before…


It’s truly history in the making…


A new asset class called Capital Efficient SaaS, where we don’t only hunt for unicorns but also put a huge emphasis on singles and doubles. What we are doing is the present and future of venture where we provide venture-like returns with the need for venture-like capital. And what ties all of this together is a network of Innovation Hubs that we own and launch in tier 2, 3, and 4 cities around the world, which become the mecca of entrepreneurship for the community.


You can call me crazy…

You can call me a visionary…

You can call me inspiring…

You can call me an ego-maniac…


And I don’t care because I am not doing THIS for any one person — I am doing it because I am called to, and I must.


But this article is not only for me - none of my work is for me - it’s really for you.


It’s for you to step up…

It’s for you to play bigger…

It’s for you to access your dormant potential…

It’s for you to realize who you are and what you are meant to do in this life.


I am just an example of someone who refuses to have anything other than MY ALL.


Family

Health

Success


I will never compromise on what matters to me, and the purpose of this article is for you to realize that you, too, should NEVER settle on what matters to you.


Let’s make 2024 BY FAR the best yet — I am declaring it’s the year of momentum.


TOGETHER!


Live with Intention,






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