11182017

4 Essential Habits for New Entrepreneurs

Photo credit: Natasa Adzic/Shutterstock

What are the habits that differentiate successful entrepreneurs from failed ones? These are the 4 habits every entrepreneur should follow to achieve success.

It has long been debated whether successful people are born or made. The assertion that successful entrepreneurs are born sounds to me like the term “predestined,” which is something that does not make sense to me.

I used to think there was some truth to it, too, and tried to get people to at least be open to the idea.

Early in my foray into entrepreneurship, I had a rude awakening. Fresh out of college, with little money and experience, I started a small ecommerce business selling outdoor gear and a few related products. In a few years, I had grown it into a six-figure profitable business. I then started a second business, and this time, I made five figures – in losses.

I assumed my success from the first business would carry over to the second. I finally understood that success is not necessarily a destination; it’s a journey that builds knowledge and character. The more knowledge and character you have, the more successful you will become.

Success in other spheres of life, as in entrepreneurship, is worked out; it isn’t offered on a platter. It is not a privilege of any demographic classification. Armed with this new knowledge, I reprogrammed my mind to align itself with this much more sensible perception of what a successful entrepreneur is, and I have had no regrets.

Are you a newbie in the entrepreneurship space? Or have you enjoyed some level of success and want to scale it? Here are a few non-negotiable habits you must build to start off in the right direction.

1. Value rest and sleep

As a new business owner, there will be times when you will need to burn the midnight oil to get vital work done, but when you do that continuously, you are only putting your productivity at risk, and your health. 

The body was not built to go on forever. Take time out of your schedule and rest adequately. It is better to schedule rest and sleep into your daily plan as opposed to viewing it as something you need to pause your schedule for.

Regularly give your body horizontal downtime; leaning back in your office chair to take a power nap doesn’t count.

Further, buy a good ergonomic mattress at home and an office chair that promotes good posture. The last thing you want is to wake up in pain when you should be performing at your peak.

2. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you

As much as your business idea may be yours, and the responsibility for its success ultimately rests on your shoulders, that doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone. I tried that, and it blew up in my face.

As an entrepreneur, you need people around you that challenge you to do more and learn more while you trust in their ability to move your business forward. 

Entrepreneurship is a team sport; the better the players, the better the performance. Don’t try to be the sales rep, the customer service rep and the CEO all rolled into one. As I learned, no one is truly self-made; at some point, we all need others to help us continue our success story.

3. The road to true selflessness is through selfishness

On the surface, it sounds counterproductive, but suppose you are going to spend the night working in the office. Therefore you decide to spend a good chunk of the day sleeping.

That afternoon, you refuse to take any calls or reply to emails, regardless of how important the sender says it is. This determination to avoid any form of disruption to your downtime translates to you getting a lot done that night.

Compassion and selflessness are not new concepts, and I agree that we should all subscribe to the idea of putting others first. However, I believe that understanding yourself first, including what your capabilities and limits are, your schedule and your priorities will put you in the best position to help others.

Learning to play by your own rules will help you to discern when to say no (it is not always a bad thing). You can only offer others your best when you are at your best, so take care of yourself first, and you’ll be able to adequately take care of others.

4. Done is the new perfect

Striving to be your best is one thing, striving to be perfect is an absolute killer of success. You run a business to deliver a product or service to your customers. You should focus on that, in lieu of seeking perfection, which will kill your momentum, slow down your revenue generation and maybe even mar your business reputation.

Truly successful entrepreneurs do not care about being perfect. Ever. They only care about delivering on their brand promise to their customers. And when it comes down to it, customers don’t care that you are not perfect either. 

Perfection can never be achieved, so if trying to make everything better is negatively impacting your business in any way, it’s not worth it. It will only limit you and waste your precious time, so let it go and focus instead on getting things done instead of trying to make them perfect.

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