Ten months ago, The Modern Block was born out of my curiosity for entrepreneurship, newfound respect for modern day creators, and desire for contributing to larger ideas. What came about as coffee shop conversations with those I admire, quickly developed into a platform I freely shared those conversations amongst other young entrepreneurs seeking for meaningful, practical guidance. This publication has since become an extension of myself and my deepest interests, and I thought it might be worth recapping on a few things I’ve taken away in 2016.

Being nice – and I mean genuinely nice to people – matters. If you haven’t already, learn to often give compliments and share compassion. By that, I don’t mean to ‘give’ compliments, either. Really, learn to acknowledge people’s talents, efforts and triumphs. Incredible friendships form when the person on the other end of the table feels that they (and their work) matter, and that you’re willing to somehow contribute to a portion of that work.

Spend more time around other makers. This one is obvious, as our entire publication has been built upon this particular piece of advice. I received it from a friend (and considered mentor) through a chat in those earlier days I knew I wanted to pursue entrepreneurship. Having had that particular chat helped solidify the idea for The Modern Block in ways I likely wouldn’t have been able to on my own. I’ve since set a policy of rarely having lunch or coffee by myself, and have learned to spend a healthy amount of time participating in local/online dialog relevant to my space. Whether it be to seek emotional support and share my burdens as a solo entrepreneur – or to simply seek guidance through the experiences and triumphs of others – spending time around other makers has colored and shaped my personal direction in a very meaningful way.

People are more willing to help than you might think. Just ask. I have yet to meet a person unwilling to help, even when there wasn’t much I could do for them. Even when we were publishing content through an iOS app that was entirely too difficult to access and had a two-digit readership (that’s not to say we have an enormous online presence now, either.) People, generally speaking, are generous with their time and willingness to help – even the ‘hard to reach’ ones. I’ve learned that people appreciate when you go all in with a goal of absorbing and learning from them. Just be intentional.

With that said, don’t be a leech either. Even when I had minimal reach, resources, and skills to offer, I still offered everything I could.

In short, these past months of creating TMB have been an incredible way for me to finally take my long-awaited leap into entrepreneurship and scratch that creative itch I’ve always had. I’ve gotten to uncover the stories of some of today’s most thoughtful, well-spoken, and impactful makers. Beyond interviews, I’ve also built some really solid relationships, learned some of my most valuable life lessons, and hit some small milestones along the way (like getting our first sponsorship from our domain service provider. Thanks for believing in us, Hover.)

2016 was great, but I cannot wait to unveil and share more of what’s to come for us in the forthcoming months. As you may have noticed, we still have one more section of the site waiting to reveal itself.