Wake up at six, sit down for a mug of coffee and a stale bagel. Get to work: emails, projects, budgets, marketing, writing, and more social media promotion than you ever thought you would do. Skip lunch, eat dinner, shower, send one last email and turn off the light. Consider all of the ways the business could fail as you toss and turn in bed.
Rinse, repeat; start over again the next day.
An entrepreneur’s schedule is far from relaxing, especially in the first few months of business. Often, a business owner will wear multiple hats; serving as the PR team, the accounting department, the production lineman, and even the social media intern. By themselves, each of those roles could constitute a part- or even full-time job; and aspiring entrepreneurs must handle all of them within the constraints of a day-to-day schedule.
There’s no getting around it – the work needs to get done. But how can one person handle it all without crashing themselves?
Accept your limitations.
The truth of the matter may be that entrepreneurs can’t handle everything all of the time. As John Rampton, entrepreneur and founder of the online-invoicing company Due, writes of his business in an article for Entrepreneur: “It never stops, and I love that. However, trying to continually stay on top of everything and do it well is definitely a challenge. It reminds me I’m human and not a superhero.” Rampton says it simply – completing all of the necessary work on time and with quality is a superhuman effort. Odds are, some things might slip through the cracks…and that’s okay. Entrepreneurs have to accept the limits of what they can do, and organize everything they can within them.
Build a schedule.
Entrepreneurs can’t afford to roll out of bed in the morning and amble from one task to the next. In order to make the limited time they have count, aspiring business owners must set and stick to a schedule of tasks. They may even utilize productivity tactics such as grouping similar tasks together, or setting specific break times to give their busy minds a much-needed rest.
Even the most productive, driven people need help sometimes. While it may initially feel odd to hand tasks to others, delegation is a necessary part of running a business venture. Odds are, that blog post that you’ve been putting off for weeks can be done much more quickly and to a higher quality if you contact it out to a reasonable freelancer. Moreover, bringing others in will free up time you need to direct towards growing your business.
Hold yourself accountable.
Perfectionism isn’t a workable quality in an aspiring entrepreneur. It’s easy to spend two, three, or even four hours sculpting the perfect marketing tactic – but that extra time could be better-spent on other areas. A balance needs to be struck; entrepreneurs need to figure out how much time they need to produce quality work without verging into perfectionist fixing. It often helps to hold yourself accountable by setting timers and sticking to schedules. Move on, and don’t let yourself get sucked into a task!
Balance a go-getter attitude with self-care.
Entrepreneurs need to stay positive, and continue moving forward despite business setbacks and difficulties. As business owner Joe Robinson writes, “Survival comes down to managing the fallout of long-term risk, from living with debt to the high anxiety of chronic fear and stress.” Those who aren’t able to stay focused and positive simply won’t be able to make it in the high-stress lifestyle of an entrepreneur.
Business owners need to be go-getters; but they also need to take care of themselves. While it may be possible to maintain a breakneck pace for a few months while a business takes on, such a rush isn’t healthy or sustainable in the long run. Even the best entrepreneurs need to know their limits, and reassess stressful strategies when need be. Remember, your business won’t maintain its health if you haven’t taken the time to look after your own.