One big lesson that I've learned from launching a new business, and launching a business in what seems to be a never-ending recession, is that things don't always align with your expectations.
I don't mean this in a bad way -- we launched our first wines to amazing acclaim from Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, The SF Chronicle, Wine & Spirits ... and I could continue. We attended some amazing, exclusive events, and build a great wine club with people we love hanging out with. It's just that 1+2 don't always equal 3. Sometimes you get 1.5 and sometimes you get 5.
I've also learned that persistence is vital. And I hate that word. To persists means to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc. Not exactly the most exciting or inspiring word.
Persistence is vital because, when you aim for 3 and get 1.5, you have to readjust and continue on. We've had way more than our share of success since our 2006 launch, but I've feel that one of the most valuable things that I've learned is how to deal with rejection. When things don't go our way, I've learned to keep pushing forward, moving toward our goals and readjusting our strategy to get there. It's not easy, but I think it comes with the territory.
Everyone wants instant success, but it doesn't happen that way for the vast majority of people. We all go through that moment where we realize we aren't going to be millionaires by the age of 30 after all. It's pushing on, being good at your non-million-dollar-salary job, and loving life that is the accomplishment. And maybe we'll make that million by age 40 instead. :) I mean, one can always hope.