Editor's note: We asked noted entrepreneurs to reflect on what they wish they'd known starting out and to put it in a letter to their younger selves. Jessica Rovello is co-founder and CEO of casual web game maker Arkadium, which ranked on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. in 2011.
You may be a bit naïve about some of the finer points of life, but under that big hair you're smart enough to listen to this advice.
You think that networking is nonsense. One day, you'll prefer to connect with people on a deeper level, and back then, the idea of glad-handing made you sick.
You don't realize now that you make your professional life a lot easier if you meet people and get out of your personal cocoon. You'll be forced to do this when you take over as CEO. An adult understands that you can find ways to network that are authentic to you. You'll meet some duds, sure. But you'll also meet people from whom you can learn, and that is invaluable. Get comfortable with it early on.
2. Start meditating.
You'll want to have a big family and a great career and generally model yourself after Wonder Woman. And the good news is, you can do all of it. But it gets a hell of a lot easier when you practice meditation.
Taking that 20 minutes a day to center and breathe will make you clearer in your thinking, more efficient in your work, and just generally more fun to be around because you won't be stressed.
3. Seek guidance.
Find a mentor or join a professional organization early--because you don't know everything. Later along life's journey, when you need to fire someone for the first time, or decide if you can (or can't) afford to move into a bigger space, you can't ask your parents.
Find a mentor or peer group that you can call every once in a while for advice. They've already been through what you haven't yet, and they'll provide great guidance.
4. Focus your skills.
Jess, you know what you're best at. Good on you for not relying on venture capital to start your business. But, without a cushion of cash and a little room for error, you'll try to do an awful lot at the same time.
So, stop and think about what you can really be best at, and focus more of your company's attention there.
It's often said that as a business leader, you learn more from your failures than your successes. You wouldn't want to be insulated from too many of the knocks that life has in store. But it sure would be fun to sit down with you for just an hour, if nothing else, to pass on some advice that you would have liked to have heard at your age.