Times have changed. Life has changed. Business has changed.
I originally wrote and posted this blog at the end of August in 2014, then later refreshed it in 2016. And now 2022 is quickly approaching…
Over the years, after working with a number of different clients, ranging from solopreneurs, startup businesses and agencies, and micro-businesses—and even running my own business—I’ve learned firsthand what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
How Do You Become a Successful Entrepreneur?
Sure, successful entrepreneurship requires a level of experience, knowledge, skill set, and specific personality traits. Some believe that entrepreneurial characteristics can be taught, that they can be learned through experience and education.
On the other hand, some also believe what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur lies within inborn personality characteristics, and in both strengths and weaknesses.
What do you think?
Furthermore, each personality trait (positive and negative) plays a part in our behavior. It affects how we work, what motivates us, and how we succeed as entrepreneurs. For example, some are motivated by rewards or incentives, some are motivated by advanced opportunities, and others are motivated by social acceptance and personal feelings.
Mindset is Most Important
Above all, the most important element to being a successful entrepreneur is mindset.
Furthermore, regardless of who you are, what you do, or how you learn and work, there is one thing for sure:
Being a successful entrepreneur means making the most out of every day.
Of course, there are going to be those “slump” days or weeks, when you don’t feel like making that phone call, going to that appointment, running that errand, or when it’s just tough to get anything done.
How Entrepreneurs Can Be Productive Every Day
As a fellow entrepreneur, here are some things that I tell my coaching clients that work for them, and that I also found to help me stay motivated and productive to make sure I get the most out of every day.
1. Develop a solid morning routine.
Starting the day off right makes all the difference. This could mean getting up early, taking the dog for a walk, or eating a good breakfast, exercising, checking email, and mentally preparing for the day.
When I asked one of my coaching clients how she structures her day, she told me that she spends the first two hours every morning on her business. This doesn’t mean responding to customers, working on client projects, or even checking email, but building her business.
If you struggle to get up early each morning, then find out what motivates you to get out of bed. Set your alarm on your phone to your favorite song. Set the coffee timer. Leave motivational post-it notes by your bedside. Figure out what gets you going in the morning, and commit to doing that every day.
This could involve developing new habits to put into daily practice. The key here is to start small. For example, maybe your goal is to get up 30 minutes earlier each day or a few times per week. Start with one or two small changes you can implement right now and then build from there.
2. Get organized.
A little organization can go a long way. If you are a super-organized person, then this one should be easy for you. If you aren’t an organized person, then this one might take a little work. Spend some time each morning organizing your day. Here are some things you can do:
- Organize your desk or work space
- Clean up your cluttered email inbox
- Throw away things you don’t need or don’t use
- Give everything a “home” (whether that’s in a bookshelf, in a drawer, or in a filing cabinet, get it OFF your desk and into its “home”_
Even just spending a few minutes getting organized each morning will give you that little boost of accomplishment to set the tone for the rest of the day.
3. Schedule time for “deep work”.
Do you when you are so fully immersed in what you’re working on that you forget what time it is? That is what we mean by “deep work”. This is also known as your “flow state”. This is the state in which you are most creative, you are able to solve challenges, make decisions, and even learn how to do hard things.
Develop the habits you need to release the power of deep work. Ideally, you should schedule your “deep work” sessions for when you do your best work. This could be first thing in the morning or late at night. This could be a few hours each day, or a few days locked in your office or quiet room. You can also embark on a “grand gesture”, where you drastically change your work environment.
To reach your “flow state”, your “deep work” sessions should involve 0 distractions and interruptions. It’s about finding out what, where, when, and how works for you.
All in all, every entrepreneur should schedule time for “deep work” or “focus work” sessions. In fact, I recently dedicated nearly two straight weeks canceling meetings and tuning out digital distractions to focus on some personal projects, make some difficult business decisions, realign myself with my purpose, and fight burnout. (I nicknamed this the “Banana Bread Experiment”, which you can read about here.)
Of course, we can’t control it all…but as entrepreneurs, we try to. However, there are always going to be obstacles, challenges, and just things that go wrong or that screw up our planning for the day. We can’t always avoid them, but we can choose to learn from them for a clearer path forward.
Every entrepreneur has his or her own personality, work habits, learning style, and different approaches to business. The key here is to find out what works best for you, what doesn’t work and what you need to stop doing, so you can boost productivity and do your best work every day.