Tips • March 1, 2021
19 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs
No matter the size of their business, there are some common habits that all successful entrepreneurs have incorporated into their lives. These habits help them avoid burnout and become better, healthier, and more successful leaders.
To become the most successful entrepreneur you can be, you need to use what you’ve learned from previous experiences while also exploring new ways to level up your game. However, it’s crucial for every entrepreneur to make time to refocus and re-calibrate.
Implementing these simple but effective habits will help you grow personally, professionally, and in your inner circles and communities. They’ll also help you feel less overwhelmed by providing you with more time and energy to put back into growing your business.
Developing as many of these habits as possible will get you on the path to achieving success in a sustainable way!
Personal Growth Tips
#1: Defining Life-Work-Life Balance
Prioritize showing up for your family, friends, colleagues, and yourself. (Yes, our first tip is about taking time to do non-work related things!)
With so many of us now working remotely, it’s essential to make time to be offline and fully present in the life we have outside of work. This doesn’t mean strictly working 9-5. It means working out the right balance so you can prioritize food, sleep, exercise, time with family and friends, and time for yourself.
A great way to define your balance is to leverage tools like calendar blocks. If you need to be offline to make your kid lunch or take your cat to the vet, then take that time and let your team know you’re stepping away. Adapt to more flexible hours if feasible, and most importantly, ask for help when you need it.
Remember, many of us may be working remotely, but that doesn’t mean we have to go it alone to be successful in life or at work.
I picture work-life balance as a pie chart that shows how our efforts are distributed. But that chart needs to move and change along with the shifting demands in our life. Maybe your pie has parenting, or eldercare, or education, or other responsibilities. Achieving balance is not a linear, fixed objective. It’s something that's evolves all the time alongside our commitments.
#2: Taking Care of Physical Health
It has always been important to exercise regularly – but maybe now more than ever. With so many people working remotely, many of us have lost out on our daily walks at work or our post-office gym visits. Step counts have been struggling.
In order to reach any of your goals, you must first pay attention to your own needs. Regular exercise gives you obvious physical benefits, improves concentration, enhances mood, increases creativity, and minimizes stress.
But exercise can look different for each of us. So whether you want to get out for a walk during lunch, go for a pre-dinner run, or do a home workout in the morning – be sure you set aside enough time to make it enjoyable and worthwhile.
Truly Tip: Try to balance work with sleep, exercise, time offline, and healthy eating
#3: Seeking New Sources of Knowledge
You’re confident in your expertise, you keep in contact with your customers, and you regularly speak with other business owners. But, if you want your business to keep growing, you need to keep learning. So, where else can you get exposed to new information and ideas?
How about attending workshops or listening in on discussions? It’s a great way to learn from the experiences of others. Using a platform like Clubhouse or listening to podcasts also means there’s no pressure to join in on the conversation. Plus, you can listen while you walk or unwind!
Another tried-and-true option is to read. Whether it’s forums, blogs, articles, or books, they’re all great resources for picking up new skills and exposing yourself to new points of view. Tools like Kindle make it easy to read on the go. Listening to audiobooks, whether on a smart home device or through headphones, is another great way to learn as you walk or tidy up around the house!
#4: Practicing Public Speaking
Public speaking is a critical skill to have if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.
It’s essential when delivering a pitch to prospective clients and investors. It’s important when dealing with any sort of media exposure, especially if it's a video or a podcast. And it comes in handy in the workplace when addressing your team.
Some people are uncomfortable with public speaking, while others excel at it. But, the truth is, no matter how comfortable you are, there’s always room for growth.
#5: Focusing on Strong Money Management
Successful entrepreneurs tend to be cautious when it comes to managing money. They must be skilled in this area to balance cash flow and avoid exhausting their runway just when they’re beginning to realize success.
It’s also important to note that being cautious does NOT mean being cheap. It’s really about appreciating that every dollar spent either takes you closer to or further from your goals.
So, be sure to budget! Planning and tracking your finances is crucial for your business to succeed - and that’s hard to do if you don’t track your money and set spending/expense limits.
Professional Growth Tips
#6: Having a “First-Things-First” List
Research shows that focusing on high-value tasks gets you to your goals faster than busywork.
Making a list of your most important to-dos allows you to identify your high-value deliverables and work towards them. Sticking to this list will keep you from getting distracted by less important tasks like checking social media, reading articles, and so on.
Successful business owners know how and when to turn off distractions and zoom in on the work with the highest payoff first.
There are so many things to do when running a small business that it’s easy to fall into thinking YOU need to do all of them or that only you can do it best. This inevitably leads to you becoming tired, frazzled, and with no time to do anything else.
Keep an eye on where the majority of your efforts are spent and make sure you concentrate on your most important tasks. A good leader understands the value in giving their team stretch goals and growth opportunities. This won’t just give you back more time to tackle those big rocks, it will also help your team to upskill and excel.
Effective delegation is the key to motivating your team to think laterally. The gold standard is a fully empowered team that is able to achieve their goals without being told how to do the job.
#8: Communicating Clearly
A good leader needs to be a good communicator too. This has always been the case - but now with so many teams incorporating remote work, it’s more vital than ever.
Maintaining productive relationships and ensuring goals and tasks are clearly defined are critical elements of a successful workforce. This needs to be kept going - and there are so many tools you can use.
Zoom? Slack? Email? Whatsapp? It all depends on the situation. Of late, Google Meet / Chat, have also become popular communication tools within companies, while closed Facebook groups are becoming an increasingly popular way to communicate with customers.
Choose the right tool for the occasion and use it effectively - there’s no need to blow up someone’s schedule with a 45-minute zoom call when a simple Slack or Whatsapp message can relay the same information.
#9: Managing Meeting Fatigue
We know from experience that business owners are some of the most over-allocated people in the world. But, the urge to double down during the busiest of times may not always be the best route if you want to avoid diminishing returns.
Be mindful of how much time you (and your team) spend in meetings. Zoom fatigue is very real, and the constant pressure to be on camera can add another layer of anxiety as well.
- Can that 2hr meeting be managed in 90 minutes?
- Can your standups benefit from asynchronous communication?
- Can this meeting be an email?
Remember to make time for actually working on all the fantastic ideas that come from the meetings you do end up keeping.
#10: Making Meetings More Productive
Before you schedule that meeting, set an agenda. Then, when you’re in the meeting, do your best to stick to it!
When you stick to your agenda, you help to prevent one of the biggest progress killers around – scope creep. There’s nothing more demoralising for a busy team than watching a single, clearly articulated deliverable turn into five vaguely sketched out to-dos.
An agenda lets everyone know exactly what’s expected, when, and for how long. This helps both you and your team to come prepared with questions, solutions, and requests for feedback.
Once you’ve begun practising deep work, you’ll find it puts a premium on your time. And using your time efficiently benefits both you and your team.
#11: Investing In “Deep Work”
We’ve all had days where we’ve worked long hours without a real break, only to end up feeling like we’ve achieved less than we’d hoped. If your approach to work focuses only on hours spent being busy, this can lead to slower progress and greater frustration. It’s time to leave those days behind!
The most successful teams and leaders prioritize deep work. This means spending uninterrupted time focusing on the task at hand. To achieve deep work, you’ll have to block out time for your priorities, turn off notifications and make yourself unavailable. It can feel difficult initially, but you can do it.
Deep work isn’t just for you. It can also benefit your team immensely. You can set them up for success by making clear the priorities and tasks required of each of them. When these have been outlined, it’s then crucial that you enable them to focus on executing those tasks.
Provide your team with the tools and the time to do what needs to be done. This will improve the quality of their work output, and produce a motivated team with a higher level of accountability and ownership.
It's important to keep distractions at bay because it takes almost 30 minutes to return to deep concentration. I suggest having blocks of uninterrupted time in your calendar so that you can focus on what will truly moves the needle for your company.
Resource: The Complete Guide to Deep Work (Doist)
#12: Expanding the Business Toolkit
There's always an app for that! So before you start reinventing the wheel, experiment with some of the many tools out there that make the life of a small business owner easier.
When you incorporate a diverse set of tools into your arsenal, it allows you to create efficiencies that can then be passed on to your customers. Essentially, you're equipping yourself with the capabilities to provide a higher level of service and create lasting customer delight.
Resource: 10 Must-Have Tools for Small Businesses
#13: Learning from the Misses
If you’re reaching, or maybe even blowing past all of your goals, then it’s time to raise the bar. But what if it doesn't work?
Truly successful entrepreneurs recognize that failure is where the most impactful learnings come from. They understand that we actually fear the resulting shame or embarrassment that failure can lead to.
So, start looking at it this way - don’t sweat it if you have to apologize to your users for a blip while working on a new feature. Instead, be proud of the fact that you’re pushing the boundaries of what you can do for them. They’ll appreciate your next win even more!
#14: Revisiting Goals Regularly
This is perhaps the most important part of learning from your misses. Revisiting your goals allows you to recalibrate your expectations.
Did you sell yourself short at the start of the year? Did you set unrealistic expectations? Maybe you’ve changed your offerings, resulting in the need for a completely new goal?
By revisiting your goals, you can identify your next challenges - this will help you regain the excitement around your own ability to innovate, and also help you inspire your team.
Inner Circle & Networking Tips
#15: Joining Networking Groups
There may not be as many in-person gatherings right now (thanks, COVID-19), but that doesn’t mean you can’t get yourself out there and network.
Whether it’s a group on LinkedIn, Facebook, Clubhouse, or through an organisation in your city – there’s a networking group for you somewhere. Find it and join – you won’t regret it.
Not only can joining a networking group help you find other owners to learn from, it’s also a great way to get out of that echo chamber and meet potential new customers, partners and employees!
#16: Implementing Diversity Training (Building Diverse Teams)
If you’ve got a team - even if it’s a small one - chances are they probably come from different cultural backgrounds. Even if they do not, chances are even higher that your customer base does.
The aim of diversity training is to help foster positive interaction, reduce prejudice and discrimination, and generally teach individuals how to work together effectively in spite of their differences. When you lead by example, it sets the tone for the kind of company culture that you, as a founder, are keen to cultivate.
Excersize: Creating a Diversity and Inclusion Training Program (Business News Daily)
#17: Leveraging Early Adopters
Let the people who’ve had your back since day one know just how much you appreciate them.
As your business grows, listening to customer feedback is crucial. What better source of information for your future offerings than those who actually need to use it? And who better to test it out too?! The more involved your customers are, the more valued they will feel.
Arrange to chat with as many of your customers as you can. Learn what they like about your product, and what they wish your product could do. Constructive criticism can do wonders to improve your business.
Resource: Why It’s Critical For SaaS Startups to Leverage Early Adopters (Truly Financial)
#18: Building an Online Community
Creating groups on social media is a simple but effective way of strengthening your relationship with the community you serve.
On Facebook, you can create a group where customers ask you questions about your product, provide feedback, and engage in conversation with fellow users. Giving your customers access to your time in such a direct manner helps them feel truly valued and invested in your product/service.
On LinkedIn, you can create a group relevant to your industry. Create a space where business owners and founders share key learnings and seek advice. You can add your close connections, and encourage others to do the same. This will help boost your contacts and find potential future partners/customers too.
Resource: 7 Steps for Building an Online Community (Big Commerce)
#19: Giving Back to the Community IRL
Nothing grows goodwill for your business quite like supporting your local community. Plus it’s a responsible and personally rewarding thing to do.
Make this the year that you join a committee, serve as a mentor, volunteer, or make regular donations.
Contribute to the groups in your community that make the place you live better. Find a cause that matters to you and give what you can, whether it’s a donation or hours spent volunteering. There are other ways to get behind your community too – like shopping local!
Truly Tip: An easy way to show true commitment to your local community is to support a local sports team – particularly in youth sports. Your sponsorship commitment can vary from buying equipment to covering the cost of food at a local presentation night.
These are the 19 habits that successful entrepreneurs build into their lives. Some of the habits discussed are easy to implement. Others may take some time to build out or develop into routine activities, while a few may not be relevant to your business needs.
Don’t rush – try the simple ones first, and then ease into the rest. Take your time to find what works best for you. Every habit you incorporate, gets you another step closer to achieving your goals in a sustainable way.
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