Life as an entrepreneur is never an easy one. Decisions, goals, success, and failure all rest squarely on your (or you and your team’s) shoulders. At the same time, entrepreneurial life is full of opportunities, enormous victories, and a shot at making a tangible difference for the world. To maximize the gains of the entrepreneur’s life, here are a few great tips.
One of the biggest challenges as an entrepreneur is finding the funding and support that you need to get your real work done. While the rare few might “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”, most don’t go it alone. Kickstarter and GoFundMe are easy places to start for a short-term push for funding (especially if you have an audience who believes in your vision already), but don’t stop there. Consider capital investors such as Xfund who make it their mission to invest in startups and back innovative entrepreneurs, or for the really ambitious, look at exposure opportunities such as Shark Tank who will help you get funding and spread the word about your mission simultaneously.
Keep Your Chin Up
The road ahead can sometimes be an unpredictable one. To maintain hope and keep sight of your vision in uncertain times, make it a priority to stay optimistic. Maybe that means keeping track of your successes to remind you of your past wins in the hard times. Perhaps it means surrounding yourself with a team that will hold you accountable for making progress even when you seem to be working in the dark. At the very least, it should mean maintaining a glass-half-full mindset. As Emily Dickensen describes in her poem, “Hope is the thing with feathers”, hope is the voice that will still be heard, even in the midst of storms.
Streamline Your Business
When lean seasons come, it can be tempting to play the comparison game and think about making dramatic changes to match what everyone else is doing. While this may be practical when big changes happen (such as when the advent of the Internet shifted many processes to the digital world), sometimes it’s smarter to take tumultuous spells and use them as opportunities to refine your existing business practices. If resources are at a premium, find a way to make your existing ones go further. Reevaluate your budgets. Cut waste. Maximize productivity. Do some good old-fashioned research and review best practices to make the most of what you have and minimize the fat while you’re at it.
Do Your Research
Considering expanding your business’ reach or building an offshoot company? Don’t neglect research on market trends and up-and-coming arenas to get in on before the market is saturated. It might make sense to simply offer a new service (such as a monthly subscription for your existing products) or to branch out a little into a related field. For example, if you already sell technology accessories, consider expanding to offer cell phone repair, a field with increasing demand in the last several years. If your customers already have trust built with your company, they are more likely to consider coming to you for an added service, especially if you are able to offer them a deal (say, a discount on your retail merchandise).
Many an entrepreneur has suffered burnout at the hands of over-working. To combat this, make a point to give attention to self-care. If you prioritize your own (and your employees’) self-care, you can maximize your chances of maintaining momentum even through demanding seasons. In addition to daily self-care including adequate sleep, daily exercise, and a nourishing diet, long-term self-care should get some attention too. Though it can sometimes feel like a waste of time in the moment, things like intentional time off, making use of sick days and personal days, and encouraging regular mental health work contribute to an overall sense of well-being that will keep you going and help you and your staff keep doing what you do best.
Hire Based on Character
Unless you’re a solopreneur, chances are you’ll have one or more employees or contractors who help you make your business happen. It’s certainly necessary to choose people who are highly-skilled and will get the job done, but it’s also extremely important to hire those whose values align with your business’ vision and priorities. Skills can be learned or refined, but values are often ingrained. Don’t neglect the power of people’s character to make or break the work that they do with your company.
Entrepreneurial work is a challenging and rewarding journey. Nearly anyone can start a business, but it takes someone with courage and endurance to keep it going. It can be hard to know what to do, but by keeping your mindset, habits, and the flow of your company all in ship-shape, you’ll have a better shot at making it even in the toughest of times.