Today is National Entrepreneurs Day, a day on which we highlight people who have designed, built and run a business from scratch.
I am lucky to have so many amazing entrepreneurs in my life from whom I learn every day.
I am an accidental entrepreneur – I started my own business after losing my job and deciding to try something different for a short time while I found a full-time job.
Well that short time has turned into two years now, and I am loving running my own business and having such great clients.
Here are some things I’ve learned over the past few years of running my own business. I’d love for you to add your advice too.
- Be the change you want to see in the world. Treat yourself like you wish your past bosses had treated you and learn from their mistakes.
- Work with who you are! Becoming a good self-manager does not mean changing who you are, but rather maximizing your existing strengths and mitigating your weaknesses.
- Don’t force yourself to do things you could otherwise outsource. Being the manager of your own business (while also being the founder, executive, and worker bee) means fulfilling the description of multiple part-time jobs, sometimes in a single day.
- Manifest what you want to make it happen. Why is it so easy for us to imagine all of the things that can go wrong, but difficult to focus on what can go right? Gather energy around the excitement of what it will feel like to get what you want. It will help you remember why you’re putting in the hard work and long hours.
- Don’t waste your time sweating the small stuff. You can’t be the brilliant visionary that you are for your business if you’re maxed out on perfectly organizing your files.
- Multitasking can be counterproductive. Trying to do too many different things at once, or constantly switching tasks while in the middle of them is not actually productive. In fact, there is lots of evidence to suggest that multitasking isn’t a good thing for our brains or our businesses.
- It is so important to exit all situations with grace and dignity and maintain relationships. Accept the fact that business doesn’t always work out the way you want it to, sometimes there are circumstances beyond your control, stay watertight and professional at all times says entrepreneur across the pond Helen Burness.
- Helen also says to accept that you can’t work at 150% all the time. You will have periods of flow where you feel like you will never stop – then periods where it is like wading through treacle. And that’s OK – you simply cannot operate at 150% all the time.
- Try completely focusing on the task at hand. When it’s time to pivot and focus on something else, mentally leave the last task and completely focus on the new task.
- Find positive habits that help you shift gears yet maintain focus. This might be going for a walk, playing with your dogs, getting a latte, meditating, exercise – whatever it is, put it in your calendar if that helps you make it happen.
- My good friend Jen Klyse says entrepreneurs should fail fast and then get back up. It doesn’t roll off of the tongue, but it is really important to remember that everything you try as a solopreneur isn’t going to work perfectly, or won’t be a perfect fit for you. You may not discover those things until you try and fail, but that just means you’re learning and can adjust your approach or change direction as needed.
- Find a balance between accountability and self-care. You have to be kind to yourself, and also hold yourself accountable. Not much good comes from dwelling on past mistakes or berating yourself if you made an error in judgment or a simple mistake. Look at the situation matter-of-factly and then calmly assess what happened.
- Fellow entrepreneur Deb Scaringi says to find positive habits that help you shift gears yet maintain focus.
- Find your tribe. I call these people my “board of directors” – I can run ideas and challenges by them. Sometimes they just help me not get in my own way. They can be mentors and also anyone you respect and trust. You don’t need to go at it alone.
- And one final tip from Helen Burness – Nurture your community and give them lots of value – and then when you need them back, they will be there for you too.
What would you add? Celebrate the entrepreneurs you know in the comments!
Here’s a video with more on how to be a successful entrepreneur.