John Harms: 15 Things I’ve Learned as an Entrepreneur [Part 3]

February 02, 2019  /  By John Harms

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My main stage talks are always created by relaying real life experiences and letting people learn from my mistakes. I presented these snippets of advice at our most recent Millennium Experience conference and thought it would be beneficial to any business-minded individual. Here are 15 things I’ve learned in my journey from building software in my basement, to becoming temporarily homeless and then moving forward into different levels of success.

Missed the first two installments? Catch up on them here:

Part 1 | Part 2

When you fall don’t just get up…leap forward.

Meevo 1, while beautiful and groundbreaking with regard to features needed to be rewritten. We decided not only to rewrite the front-end user interface but to redesign the back-end database and architecture. We hired top cloud development management and top developers to make sure we could get Meevo 2 done right and finished in half the time. When you fall don’t just get up – leap forward. We improved our development process, created five sub-departments around quality and requirements gathering, we tripled the size of company…all while we had just stumbled and fell. We replaced our internal tracking and billing systems with ones that allowed us to scale in a way we couldn’t before. So, when Meevo 2 came out and had the success we expected, our internal teams and systems were prepared to support the exponential growth.

Meevo 2 was released within 24 months, is approximately 20-100 times faster than Meevo 1, and will scale to any size business and number of users. We leaped forward and now have the most technically up-to-date cloud system in the industry. Because we were late to the game, we were able to use tools that didn’t exist in 2010 or 2014 that allowed Meevo 2 to work on everything from Mac and PC, to iPhone and Android devices, and iPad and Galaxy tablets. No app necessary. The whole system works on any device. Now, I’m excited about looking past the technology and working on new features that I know the industry will love.

At some point in your life, you will realize TIME is more important than money.

I realized that I needed to spend a lot of money to get Meevo 2 out within two years and it was clear that time was more important than money. Millennium clients were tired of waiting for cloud and we needed to deliver, regardless of cost. When I started the company, all I had was time and no money. I wished for enough money to buy a home and someday help my dad retire. Most of my desires were unselfish, but who doesn’t want nice things? Now I look back and realize TIME is more important than money, even in your personal life. We’d all give an infinite amount of money up to have more time with the people we love.

Live within your means and save for that rainy day.

I never live beyond my means. What I have I can afford, and Millennium Systems International owns its own four-story building and I have no debt. Why? I remember what it was like to struggle. I don’t ever want to be there again, so living within my means and saving for rainy days is important to me. That became a lifesaver when I need to spend millions of dollars to get Meevo 2 built quickly. Management hires, new development hires, lots of money spent on cloud servers and Amazon Web Services, certifications, research, and more. And I was able to do it without going to the bank or without being forced to sell a piece of my business. Millennium Systems International is still 100% independently owned and I answer only to the industry and my employees.

Happiness equals the difference between your expectations and reality.

It is so important to be happy. Truly happy. When I see a couple strolling with their child in the park while smiling, I know they feel successful. Regardless of what’s in their bank account. The reason so many people are unhappy is every time they attain a goal or get to a point in their life they HOPED to get to, they come up with a new, extended finish line. Stop increasing your expectations of life to the point that you never attain happiness. Stop watching social media and saying if I could own that house or take that vacation, I’d be happy. Feel satisfaction and be content where you are right now. Always work hard and move forward, but control your expectations because happiness is the difference between your expectations and reality. I saw something recently that said, “if you feel your glass is always half full…downsize your glass!” I agree completely. Happiness is success and monetary success does not necessarily bring happiness.

Always sharpen the saw, also known as your mind.

Never stop learning. Sharpen the saw which is your mind. Read, watch videos and webinars, and continually learn about what’s available and new. It keeps you agile and allows you to anticipate where business and life is going. Get out of your house and off your computer and go to a seminar. Experience the networking and social aspects of conversing with other successful people in the industry. You can’t substitute real-world interaction with webinars and blogs.


John Harms, Founder & CEO of Millennium Systems International, has been designing award-winning software and educating the beauty and wellness industries for over 30 years. John’s passion for helping spa & salon owners has helped him understand what they really need to streamline and grow their businesses. John’s commitment to educating owners on Millennium’s key growth indicators and why software is more than a front desk tool is unmatched throughout the industry.

In 2004, John was awarded one of the Top 40 Entrepreneurs under the age of 40 by NJ Business Magazine and Millennium was profiled on CNN and CNBC during the “Pulse on America” segment, which discussed innovations in technology. Today, Millennium is utilized in thousands of businesses in over 42 countries. Millennium’s corporate headquarters is based in New Jersey with 200 employees and its international office is based in the U.K.

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