When you’re just starting out in business, you can get bombarded with advice on how to do (or not do) just about everything.  So here’s a tip: focus on the advice from people who were once in the exact same spot you’re in, and who somehow managed to navigate their way to long-term success.

One such compendium of information is Young Professional’s Guide to Success by Ryan Kohnen, which includes business tips from Cindi Bigelow, President and CEO of (our client) Bigelow Tea.  Among Cindi’s rules for workplace success: “Remember that people are watching you.”  And while her observation is meant to highlight the importance of leading by example, it also serves as a reminder of the changing times we live in, where more and more of what we do and say is available (and searchable) online.  Now setting a positive example extends beyond the boardroom and applies to “public” forums like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr — proof that your actions define you, no matter where those actions take place.

Worried?  Don’t be — everyone’s human, and everyone makes mistakes.  But if your mistakes are going to be cached on Google for all eternity, they should at least be mistakes that everyone (including you) can learn from.