More often than not, being an entrepreneur is extremely demanding. You might have aspirations of being on shark tank or making it into Entrepreneur Magazine, but as a founder and CEO, the responsibilities and pressures can seem infinite.
You are in charge of choosing the direction your business takes. When it comes to your personal branding, online presence, and online reputation management, social media.
It might seem intense, but you need to take advantage of the fact that you frequently have to take risky decisions. Ultimately, you are the one responsible for generating success from your endeavors.
Younger small-business owners often begin their business ventures with relatively little knowledge, fewer contacts, and even fewer resources. Yet some entrepreneurs generate results in a short period of time that others take decades.
What are these select few entrepreneurs doing differently from the rest of the entrepreneurs out there? What daily tasks are they performing that help them stand out from the crowd?
Here we highlight some of the more interesting habits that successful entrepreneurs practice and wholeheartedly endorse.
Shake yourself into action with a fluctuating hot and cold shower
Spring into life as quickly as possible with a hot-cold shower. For half a minute, stand under ice-cold water, then change the temperature to hot for another half minute. Then follow this up with a cold burst again. This will bounce your mind and body into an alert state immediately.
Start the shower under normal temperature for a minute or two. Then begin fluctuating the temperature, alternating every 30 seconds-1 minute.
Phil Dumontet, the founder of Dashed, swears by this habit, “I’ve done it every morning, no matter where I’ve lived or what hotel I’m staying in, for 14 years”. Once you set your goal, it can become a habit if you pursue it for approximately 21 days.
Make several ‘to do’ lists at the start of the working day
As soon as you get to the office in the morning, take an hour to create lists for everything you have to complete during the day. This will allow you to mentally walk through your working schedule, and provide you with images of how you should carry out certain tasks. Thus, you will have more chances to execute your plans as close as possible to how you have imagined. Notes on the iPad and Gmail tasks are both highly suitable to make ‘to do’ lists.
Jonathan Nostrant, the founder of Ivee, creates lists for every imaginable task, “It forces me to think through my day, my week, my year, and my long term plan before beginning to execute”.
Devise a stringent schedule and stick to it
Make it a specific goal to establish a consistent schedule, one which allows you to get the most amount of work done every week. Create a continuous block of time during the day for an uninterrupted session of work, perhaps for 3 hours in the evening after dinner, if you are not ‘a morning person’. Ensure this three-hour work session is among your highest daily priorities. Don’t allow other tasks or potential distractions to come between you and this work session.
Doing this consistently allows you to unleash your creative juices every single day. As a result, you can sleep well knowing you achieve your productive potential every single day for at least one set period of time.
Rameet Chawla, founder of Fueled, believes that “Setting aside a block of time in my schedule for uninterrupted productive creation is vital to my work process”, and attributes this period as the time when he thinks about his biggest ideas.
Establish an achievable number of clear goals on a weekly basis
You can’t improve every facet of your business at once. It is important to be realistic about your available resources and limitations – if you end up spreading yourself too thin, you might make little headway in any one specific task.
Stay focused on following the 3 or 4 goals you have set yourself. By questioning yourself regularly and by checking whether the tasks you are executing are actively contributing to achieving those goals, you won’t get distracted by irrelevant tasks, and ultimately, you will accomplish bigger challenges instantaneously.
Patrick Ambron, the co-founder of BrandYourself, believes in the benefits of having weekly Friday meetings. Staff can then reflect on the week and see how much progress they have made, while also setting goals for the following week. According to Patrick, having the meetings on a weekly basis makes tracking progress more manageable “It’s a lot easier to say ‘what went wrong this week’ than ‘what went wrong this quarter’”.
Approach problems from several different angles
In an attempt to solve challenges that don’t have immediate or obvious solutions, it is highly desirable to ask open questions, ones that might persist for months or years. Often, the most innovative technological advancements have come about as a result of addressing specific open questions. An example of such a question might be how to sell your product to the risk-averse demographic. Or, “how do I make my business appeal to a specific age group or gender?” This might require you to prove your worth initially before the specific subgroup warms to your appeal.
Danielle Fong, co-founder of LightSail Energy tries to cast her net as wide as possible when approaching such open questions. She examines the extremes of a situation, tries to test the assumptions upon which the idea is based and thinks about all the different industries that could potentially get involved to solve the problem. According to Danielle, “I find some real traction with an idea that seems novel and has a good chance of working”.
Think about the future you are creating at the end of every working day
After work is finished for the day, or perhaps just before going to bed, ask yourself what kind of future is being created by the work you are doing. This will help focus your mind on what is important in your business and will align your priorities with the actions you are taking. Think about the steps you can take in your life now and the objectives you want to follow.
Jesse Lear, co-founder of VIP Waste Services, asks himself every night, “If I live every day the same way I did today, what kind of future would that create?” By doing so, he is shaping his future one day at a time. Build your future, don’t sit around and wait for the spark, make the fire.
Regularly go for a trek/hike
Go for a long trek or hike to a destination that you have not yet discovered every weekend (or if this is not feasible, then once or twice a month at the very least). Furthermore, make sure that your chosen destination is far from your normal work surroundings, so that it may require a couple of hours of driving to get there.
As a form of meditation of sorts, trekking in a wholly new environment will help to relax you, while also allowing you to calmly dissect the previous week or month’s main work discussion points. It will provide some perspective, you will be able to reflect on many of the ideas while being in an imaginative state and you can then decide how to fit your new ideas into your business to make them a reality.
Ryan Kania, founder of Advocates For World Health, goes hiking every weekend for this purpose, and his hikes are “anywhere between one and four hours long”.
By getting into the right habits, you will be giving yourself every chance of success as an entrepreneur. Indeed, research from Duke University has found that our habits trigger 40% of our behaviors to occur automatically. Therefore, if you decide upon forming the right habits, you will have made your day substantially more productive, which ultimately gives you a far greater chance of success. Persevere and make your goals a reality.