There is no shortage of advice available these days, yet some of the simplest suggestions for entrepreneurs bear repeating; their truth is too easily forgotten.
You stepped out on your own and took an enormous risk in doing so. You trusted yourself. You had a vision that motivated you to live life differently. And the risk was worth it because you seek the freedom to design a life you want.
You are pursuing a dream in both how you work and how you live. There are no guarantees. To be successful in your venture there are core practices you've probably already adopted. But if these are among the simple suggestions you've forgotten, it's time to focus in on them again:
You are disciplined and you follow through.
When you are disciplined and follow through, your business will grow and thrive. But it needs your constant care and attention. When you set out you must be patient and persistent.
You go to your edge of comfort and capacity, and then when you are ready, you go beyond it.
Again and again. Set your sights and stay true to that vision.
You practice balance.
If you worked a regular job, you would be given holidays and time off. When you run your own business, there is always more to be done. A friend recently admitted that he had worked 152 days straight. This is not a bragging right. This is a tragedy. You didn't go into working for yourself to work more. Being your own boss means being an ideal boss. So commit right now to taking regular time off. It is essential in order to do your work well. Seek balance in your work and in your life.
You integrate regular self-care into your routine.
In alignment with your new commitment to balance, you will be successful when you integrate regular self-care into your routine and business plan. Self-care can and should involve the following:
Time for exercise and personal health: go for a run or a swim before work, or take a yoga or dance class.
Time for social and emotional rejuvenation: go for lunch or a drink with a friend and meditate regularly. Even journalling regularly can be very uplifting.
You develop intellectual and spiritual pursuits.
You are a whole person and as such deserve to hold space for all your parts. Your mind, your business and your soul will prosper when you do so.
You start and end your day with gratitude.
There is never an end to the To-Do list. That is the nature of working for yourself. But how often to you reflect and recognize how far you have already come? What are the three best things that happened to you today? Five minutes spent recognizing all that you have in your favor will dramatically remake your perspective, even on the hard days.
You stay true to your purpose and re-vision your purpose.
Regularly return to your original motivation. Why did you start this in the first place? Maybe your exact purpose has evolved and the tangible reality is likely to be very different than what you originally had in mind, but return and re-vision the motivation for your work. Maybe it is the core service you provide, or maybe it is the flexibility to live your life the way you want. Keep what motivates you at the center of your attention. This will keep you focused and doing the work you love the way you want.
You build community.
No man is an island. No woman either. And certainly no entrepreneur will be truly successful alone. Build your community within your business, whether your community is clients and collaborators or other entrepreneurs (or both). We are more successful in collaboration and in community; together we thrive. Seek colleagues and mentors. Find people in your field who inspire you and share your values. Maybe a collaborative effort is ideal, or perhaps just a social relationship will be fruitful and supportive in the long run. Invest in an advisor because there is always more to learn. And build a community with intentionality. How can you bring your clients and collaborators together for the greater good?
You continue to learn.
When we are young, learning is a part of everything we do. Somehow when we grow up we too easily lose that spirit of inquisitiveness. Maybe we tell ourselves that we are just too busy. Today is the day to refuse that premise. Build into your business plan and your budget regular opportunities for learning and growth. Perhaps there is a conference or weekend workshop or an online class. Formal or informal learning all has the same result. You know yourself best, so chose what will fit your life and serve you. But remember your learning is an investment. It is a chance to build community, maintain balance and care for yourself.
You started your business on your own, but it is best not to do it all alone. You may identify with some of this advice and leave the rest. After all, this is your story and the beauty is that you craft it like no other. While all of these are valuable practices, any one of these alone can improve your life and job satisfaction. In the end it is up to you what you chose to practice. You have made it this far already. Success exists in every step of the journey.
Which of these practices are part of your daily life? How have they impacted your life and business for the better?
Educator, life-coach, mentor and expat entrepreneur (mom-treprenuer), Sierra Melcher runs a small yoga studio in Medellin, Colombia. Writer, avid traveler and single parent, she specializes in community building, self-care and personal development. She offers online mentoring for expats, entrepreneurs, educators and anyone seeking deeper knowledge of self. Learn more about her at sierraiscoaching.com and teachmeabroad.com. You can read her fantastic tips for starting a business and running a business abroad in Issue 12 of Growth Advance Magazine!