Every entrepreneur has great dreams, which push them forward, motivating them to get things done. I know this because I am also an entrepreneur with big dreams. When I decided to start my own business I wanted to get there ASAP and I was doing everything I could to make my dreams come true. But as I was chasing my dreams, I was also burning myself out. After two years I realized I was close to a complete meltdown and that I had to pause, take a deep breathe and resume my work, but at a slower, more rational pace.
Now, after seven years, I wish someone would have told me that entrepreneurship is not a sprint, but a marathon. After I realized I had to change something in order to reach my dreams without stressing myself out, I took up a series of entrepreneurial habits which made my journey easier.
Plan your hot seasons
Every business has its own hot season. For the retail industry and transportation it’s the holiday season, for other industries there are other hot seasons. Either way, the problem is most of the times you work so much and stress yourself out. This makes you prone to mistakes and it’s the worst time to make mistakes.
When you are in the middle of a hot season, just slow down and take care of your well-being. Resist the urge to work endless hours and get enough sleep. Drink water and eat healthy, as this is going to fuel your much-needed energy. Get organized and make written plans for each day of work, then focus on achieving those deadlines. This is going to help you work smart, not hard and will make you more productive. This is what your business needs from you during peak season and is one of the most valuable lessons you will learn as an entrepreneur.
Watch out your rates
A startup has low rates, because you can’t afford to charge more. Really? I left my 9 to 5 job because I was underpaid and overworked. In the first two years of developing my own business I was undercharging and I ended up underpaid and overworked. This was the moment I understood I had to change something, because it was never going to work for me. So I began to raise my fees, gradually. When a customer was asking me to work during the night or during major holidays, I made it very clear that I was going to charge more for my work. In time, this helped me become a better professional, as I had the time and money to invest in my skills. In turn, I was able to deliver better work to my clients. And I was growing!
Adjust your schedule to your own productivity
I happen to be productive between 12PM and 6PM. In the beginning, I was working the same 9 to 5 hours everyone works, which turned out to be a huge mistake. So, I adjusted my schedule according to my own natural schedule and I now work from 11AM to 7PM – a schedule which enables me to tap into my peak productivity time.
Know how to communicate effectively
The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make is not being able to communicate effectively with their customers. When you read this, you automatically think this is not your case, because you know how to make yourself heard and you know how to talk politely to your clients.
Think again! I had the opportunity to take a communication course and I was amazed at just how much it helped me afterwards. I had no idea how to communicate with my clients! This is the raw truth!
While I don’t believe a MBA is going to make you a great entrepreneur, I strongly believe a communication course is going to help you thrive in the business medium. And in your personal life, but that’s another story.
Don’t neglect your own personal life
Speaking of personal life, most entrepreneurs neglect it. Caught between deadlines, projects, and negotiations, it’s easy to forget how to unwind and just live. Time is a very limited resource and you must learn how to use it as effectively as possible.
Now you have other people who depend on you, but you also have the freedom to set up your own schedule. Take advantage of this and work on prioritizing the tasks at hand. You will have to give up on certain projects, you will have to outsource.
For an entrepreneur, the moment they understand they can’t do everything and accept this fact is the moment they really become a successful person. Your personal life is what will give you the motivation to continue working, it will provide you with the inspiration you need, so you can’t neglect it. After all, time flies and you do want to be there for your loved ones.