5 Healthy Habits Entrepreneurs Swear By
You are the ultimate multi-tasker! You juggle the kids, the home economics, and your ten different bosses (AKA, your clients). You do it all while staying fit, maintaining a swoon-worthy marriage (#relationshipgoals), and you never, not once, have lost your cool on anyone or felt overwhelmed. Right?? Okay, okay. Probably not the case entirely. Let’s face it. You are only human and there is only one of you, and there are only so many hours in a day. Even the most organized and productive entrepreneurs out there have their moments and occasionally need some guidance on how to survive a lifestyle with no rules and lots of deadlines.
Don’t worry, dear readers. I have got you covered! As an entrepreneur myself, I fully understand the many demands and challenges of working from home and being your own boss. It can be extremely exhausting (and of course, rewarding) to wear all of the hats. However, you know as well as I do, that the freedom, flexibility, and autonomy that come with the lifestyle of an entrepreneur makes it all worth it. You need a day off to take care of your sick toddler? Okay, you can work around that. Your sister is getting married and you need to travel for her wedding? No problem! You can take your laptop anywhere! You had a few too many adult beverages at dinner last night? Go ahead and clock in at noon.
But what happens in those rare moments when you hit the wall? You know the one. Your breaking point. The place in time where everything is somehow due yesterday and you feel like you might be getting sick and your family is being extra needy.
Just stop for a moment and take a deep breath.
It is all going to be okay. I have created a list of life hacks for entrepreneurs that will help you stay sane.
5 Healthy Entrepreneur Habits
Have you ever found yourself wondering about the habits of successful people? How do they live? What does their schedule look like? Who do they associate themselves with? Read on to learn our top healthy habits that you should adopt in order to succeed.
1. Find a mentor and meet regularly.
Who do you look up to? Who in your life really has it all together and is doing big things? If success were to be embodied by one person that you know, who would it be? (Bonus points if the person is in the same industry that you are.)
Do you have the person in mind? Good.
Now pick up your phone and dial their number. Make plans to meet for lunch. (COVID edit: or meet them on Zoom or schedule a phone call, if you’re not doing the life-in-public thing just yet.) Make it a regular (bi-weekly? monthly?) meeting.
Mentors are important because they can provide insight and alternative perspectives when yours are in question. When you are a solopreneur, your entire business and professional life mostly happen alone, in your own brain. It is healthy to have another person, who you respect, to weigh in on big decisions and offer ideas that you may not have considered. Plus, if your mentor is in your industry, they may be able to leverage important business relationships and help you to grow your professional network.
2. Establish a healthy appetite & relationship with risk.
If you own and manage your own business, I am willing to bet that you are not afraid of taking risks. At some point, you had to have decided that you were going to take a leap of faith from earning a set paycheck to the ebb and flow of being your own boss.
But when you have bills to pay and a family to feed, you need to make sure that your risks are, for the most part, calculated. I am not saying it is not okay to try new things. I am more so saying, make sure that if you are making guesses that they are educated guesses. When it comes to business planning, make sure you do your research. This applies to all areas, from budgeting and finance to product development and marketing.
If you are taking stabs (and spending dollars) blindly, there is a whole lot of room for error. It is much better to read up on trends in your field, create business plans, and research comparable products/companies/audiences in your industry. Sometimes it pays (literally) to slow down and plan carefully. The growth of your business will come and will be much greater if it is built upon a solid foundation.
3. Visualize the end game.
It can be really easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details of running your business. One task can send you down the rabbit hole of subtasks all too easily. Before you know it, you have 30 tabs open on your browser and you are researching the best kind of food for your cat.
Okay, first of all, cut that out! You are on the clock, Missy! Even when you are never really, “on the clock,” you are actually ALWAYS on the clock when you’re your own boss, because TIME IS MONEY.
Seriously though, in order to avoid getting stuck in the details, you have to have a very clear vision of the big picture. You are the captain of this ship. It is your ultimate job and purpose to create the vision, to think the big thoughts. For everything else, there’s Mastercard. Just kidding. For everything else, you can eventually hire employees (read: minions).
Use whatever tools necessary to paint a clear picture of what the end game looks like. Articulate the target size of your business, what your lifestyle will look like, how many employees you will have, what pieces of the company you will be managing, and what you will outsource. Make vision boards and write in a journal. Do whatever Om Shanti, soul-searching, vision questing you need to do to clarify where you are headed. Once you can picture the end game, literally every step and every question along the way becomes a much more simplified, yes or no response.
In moments of uncertainty, you can ask yourself, “Is this going to get me closer to my goal?” If the answer is yes, then go full throttle and don’t hold back anything. If the answer is no, you can reverse and re-route your path.
4. Surround yourself with the right people.
My mother told me in junior high school (albeit, after the first and last time I ever got detention), “you are who you hang out with.” While that didn’t make a ton of sense to me then, it sure does now. As we have already established, if you work from home and mostly alone, your success rate will be greater if you become part of a community and establish a solid professional network.
Not only is it healthy to get out and socialize (BOOM! I just saved you from another moment of cat food research. You’re welcome.), but cross-pollination with peers in your industry may become an invaluable asset to your creative process. Nothing happens in a vacuum, meaning it has all been done before. You are likely not the first nor will you be the last to do whatever you do, make whatever you make, sell whatever you sell. It is going to serve you tremendously to get out there and see how other people are solving the same problems. Being visible in your field gives you credibility. If you are perceived as a leader in your community, you will be more successful.
5. Establish and maintain a healthy relationship with money.
In the early phases of starting a business, it is easy to have a very ambivalent line between your own money and that of your new enterprise. Presumably, you will be putting a lot (okay, maybe ALL) of your own extra cash into the start-up before it turns a profit.
Whatever you do, keep ledgers of everything you spend. This is not only going to help you understand your budget but will also be essential when you have to file and pay your taxes. You are going to want to write off as many eligible expenses as possible because when you are self-employed, you will otherwise be taxed on every penny you earn. Save ALL of your receipts. You don’t necessarily have to organize them. They simply have to exist all together somewhere (for seven years < read that in the voice of the girl from the “The Ring”) in case you should ever be audited.
Have a plan. Before you spend anything, be sure you have done your research (refer to #3). Create a budget and stay within it. If this is already a challenge for you with your personal finances, please, for the love of God, do not get a credit card. Those are a privilege for extremely responsible and disciplined spenders.
Lastly, get in the habit of saving. For every lump sum of money that you make (no matter how big or small), save at least 30% of it. Depending on your income bracket, a large portion of that will likely go straight to the IRS during tax season. If you can save more, you should. Having a nest egg is extremely important when you are a business owner. There is a lot less protection for you if there is an emergency. You will not qualify for traditional unemployment. You have to pay for your own disability fund if there is ever an accident. You will have to buy your own health insurance policy. Put as much money away as you can, and consider finding a savings account with a high-interest rate.