I sorted through a couple dozen articles on habits for entrepreneurs and roughly 47 cutesy printables so that you wouldn’t have to. There were a lot of commonalities, some worthless advice, and things that make me worry that some people’s cheese has fallen off their metaphorical crackers.
Luckily for you, I was able to boil everything down to 12 overall habits that you need to cultivate to become the best entrepreneur you can be.
The Best Habits for Entrepreneurs
You thought you were done with school, didn’t you? Or maybe as a CEO you already know that you can never stop learning. Even if you work within the same niche for your entire life, there will always be changes.
There are a variety of ways to foster a growth environment for yourself. You can read books, blogs, and articles, listen to podcasts, watch videos, take courses online, or work with a mentor or coach. Choose what works best for you, and what you enjoy the most.
Don’t feel like you have to read just because that’s what Bill Gates does. And don’t feel like you have to take an expensive online course just because everyone else is taking it. Do what feels right for you, your business, and your particular situation.
I’m not going to tell you to go out and buy an agenda. Unless you want to, and then I fully support your decision and highly recommend Target because their office supplies are my significant other.
What I really want you to do is set aside blocks of time that are completely protected. Create a 3-hour block to work on projects, a 1-hour block for lunch and a nap, a 3-hour block for family time, and maybe an entire day just for self-care.
You don’t have to plan out every minute or even every hour of your day. Owning an online business is all about freedom and that sounds like 1) prison and 2) work. We can’t have either of those now can we?
In addition to loosely planning your schedule, you should also set some goals. I’m not talking about a New Year’s resolution to lose weight that you give up on by January 4th. I want you to set daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals for your business and personal growth.
You get to decide what that looks like. Are you writing out SMART goals on a regular basis? Thinking through your goals each morning while you grab breakfast? Or jotting them down quickly in Trello?
Without goals, you don’t have a target to aim for. All of your ideas, projects, and daily tasks should point you toward your goals.
I don’t know if you know this or not, but you can’t actually do everything. You can certainly try. You can stay up nights, work weekends, and burn yourself to the ground. But even then, there will be things that you just can’t get done.
The last thing you want to do is burn out and lose your business. The ONLY way to stop that from happening is to prioritize. Choose how many hours you’re going to work each day, decide on the most important things that need to get done, and then let the rest go.
As your business grows, you can hire help and do more of the things you want. Until then, start each day, week, and month with the most important tasks on your list. Work your way down your to-do list and accomplish as much as you can, as best as you can. Quality over quantity.
You will have to set boundaries for yourself and for others if you want to effectively prioritize. Sometimes saying no (to requests, to family and friends, to more work) is the best thing you can do.
It’s not enough to just set goals. At the end of the set time period, you also need to reflect on those goals. Look back on what you’ve accomplished and asses. What worked? What didn’t work?
Your goals need to be measurable so that you know if you can check them off your list. Did you make $5,000? Does your Instagram account have 500 followers? Did you meet the deadline?
If there are any goals you didn’t complete, you should spend some time reflecting on those and then adjust them accordingly.
You can’t assume that everything is going to work perfectly. Or that everything is going to fail. You need to be prepared for all the various outcomes that the universe might bring your way.
By anticipating what’s coming down the road, you’ll be able to stay focused. Surprises and unmet expectations can throw you off balance and even destroy you completely. Run through the possible scenarios before you hit the big red button so that nothing, hopefully, catches you by surprise.
It’s possible that no one has told you this before, and if so, allow me to be the first. You are a big deal. You are enough.
I need you to believe in yourself. Write down your biggest, boldest dreams and believe that they are possible. Manifest those dreams into reality!
You will always have doubts and fears, but you cannot let those hold you back. You dream your big dream, and you go after them with a fierceness that will scare away the doubts and fears. No one and nothing can stop you.
If you fall, dust yourself off, make a new plan, and keep moving forward. Don’t you dare give up on those dreams of yours.
Ever made a mistake? Yeah… me neither.
But on the off chance that you do one day, I want you to own it. Owning your mistakes isn’t apologizing for them. Everyone makes mistakes, so there’s no need to apologize unless you hurt someone.
What I want you to do is to admit it. Don’t lie, or use language to try to escape it. Don’t blame someone else.
You put on your big-girl panties and you say “I made a mistake.” Look in the mirror and say it to yourself until it feels natural.
After you own it, learn from it. Tell your customer or client what you’re going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. When you’ve done that…
Let it go. You don’t get to beat yourself up for making mistakes. To do that is to pretend that you are perfect, and you and I both know that’s not true about either of us.
Own it. Learn from it. Let it go.
There are so many ways to do this and on so many levels. The important thing is that you show gratitude and keep a positive mindset (as much as possible anyway).
This could be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal. Write down 1, 3, or even 5 things every day that you’re grateful for. You can even buy ready-made journals online. I love this practice even on days when I’m in a horrible mood and all I write down is “I’m grateful for food.”
Another option is to meditate. Sit quietly and clear your mind of all the clutter and chaos. Let your soul align with the universe, or whatever floats your boat, and take a simple time out. 5 minutes. 10 minutes. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
If you’re religious, maybe this is accomplished through prayer for you. If you’re non-religious, maybe it’s a walk in the park with your eyes wide open to the world around you.
Whatever makes you feel grateful, hopeful, positive, encouraged… go do that.
I sincerely hope that you’re past the point of believing everything you read on the internet. If you’re not, send me $1000 and next week karma will return that gift tenfold!
You should be questioning everything you read, hear, and watch. Go ahead and try other people’s approaches, but also try new ways to solve problems. Be the leader instead of the follower.
Find your people.
I don’t care if you’re an introvert. Join a Facebook group. Pay for a community of folks who share your niche.
If you’re an extrovert, go to a conference or a networking event. Start commenting on the content of someone whom you want in your circle.
Reach out and make an actual connection with an actual human. Playing Jeopardy with Alexa does not count.
Stop with all the obsessive research, looking for the next best thing, and buying online courses you never start much less complete. Get to work and create some awesomeness!
I promise you that your business will fail if you focus on consumption over creation. You simply must take action. That’s why I include a “Take Action” section at the end of all my blog posts. I don’t want you to just read and move on.
Everything you consume should be used as fuel for creation. Food and drinks, media, education materials… it all goes back into the business you are building.
You had to have seen this coming.
What’s the number one way we save time around here? Get yourself organized!! And once you do, keep it that way!
Small daily habits can put a huge dent in the disorganized chaos. Things like checking your email and sorting it every single day, cleaning up your desktop every Friday so it’s not a file parking lot, and using SOPs regularly for completing recurring tasks save you loads of time and help you push back against the overwhelm of owning your own business.
Simplify your life and your business.
If you are interested in learning more about habits, I suggest checking out “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. He clearly explains the what, why, and how of habits using scientific research to support his findings. It’s an interesting read (or listen) that’ll help you form new habits for your life and business.
This week, I want you to identify 3 habits that you most need to improve and come up with an action item for each one that you can immediately put into place.
Plan: Set monthly revenue goals for the remainder of this year
Action: October $3000, November $4000 (Black Friday sales), December $3000
Learn: Finish the SEO course that I purchased last month by March 15th.
Action: Add one module each month to your schedule until it’s finished
Organize: Clean off my desk by the end of Friday.
Action: Start your day 30-minutes early on Friday so that you can file the stack of paperwork on your desk and wipe the dust off.
Keep adding these habits into your business until you are doing them without even thinking about it. Be intentional because these 12 things could make or break you as a small business owner. And I definitely want you to make it!