By: Bianca Buliga, Content Curator
There are several adages that attempt to identify the perfect recipe to becoming an impactful entrepreneur, ranging from “early bird gets the worm” to “the difference between try and triumph is just a little umph!” And we’ve all heard about the eccentric habits that our society’s most brilliant minds have – like Benjamin Franklin sitting naked in front of a window every morning or Theodore Roosevelt skinny dipping in the Potomac River during the middle of winter.
While not encouraged by SEED SPOT, these quirky behaviors are meant to stimulate critical thought and innovation. Thankfully, you don’t have to resort to such extreme measures to find success. By trade, impact-driven social entrepreneurs are success-seekers and problem-solvers. The key sometimes lies in reigning in creative thought and adding a structured process. As such, we have identified six habits of a highly impactful entrepreneur.
Create a Strict Schedule
A common problem for entrepreneurs? Not having enough hours in the day. Friendly reminder – you have the same number of hours in each day as Bill Gates, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, and even Beyoncé. Rather than wasting time mourning the time you WISH you had, maximize the time you DO have.
Spend 15 minutes each evening mapping out the next day. Block out time for each of your daily appointments and commitments, but also identify free time slots that can be used for uninterrupted productive creation. Keep in mind that consistency is the cherry on top – this helps your mind and body adjust to a certain routine and eventually abide by it subconsciously.
Minimize Day-to-Day Choices
This is precisely why late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs constantly wore the same black turtleneck, blue jeans, and New Balance sneakers. And why Warren Buffett eats the same $3.17 McDonald’s breakfast every morning. Because they don’t want to waste brainpower on choosing different outfits or deciding what to make for breakfast.
With all the large-scale and hard-hitting decisions that entrepreneurs need to make daily, it’s perfectly fine to skim over the small choices. This enables you to get on with the real work, rather than focusing on menial tasks that don’t matter in the long run. Matching black turtlenecks, anyone?
Wake Up Early
For 15 years, Starbucks President Michelle Gaas has set her alarm for 4:30am to go running. For those of you shaking your heads and thinking “why on earth?!”, she might be on to something. Studies show that mornings give you the opportunity to set a positive tone for the day. Unlike sleeping through your alarm, waking up early makes you feel victorious and confident about your day.
All entrepreneurs know how fast a day can fill up. Waiting until the afternoon or evening to do something oftentimes means pushing it off your to-do list altogether. Avoid the distraction and procrastination, and jump start your day’s productivity by setting your alarm for an hour earlier tomorrow morning. It’ll be worth it, we promise.
For many entrepreneurs, the problem may not be setting goals but setting REALISTIC goals. Identify what specific targets you want to reach or milestones you want to accomplish. From there, work backwards – what tasks do you need to focus on every day to make those happen? Instill check-ins with yourself along the way to assess whether your goals are realistic, measurable, and achievable.
Believe it or not, entrepreneurs tend to dream big. Cue shock and awe. However, dreaming needs to be accompanied with execution. What do you need to do to make your goals happen? Who can you reach out to for help? What does effective task delegation look like? And most importantly, are you taking the time to reflect on and recognize your progress so far?
The life of an entrepreneur is endlessly go, go, go! It is VITAL to meticulously detail each meeting, interview, event, etc. that you participate in. Don’t rely on your overworked and stressed mind to retain every name, statistic, and resource thrown your way. Write down reminders, color code them, type them into your phone’s notes – whatever works to document each communication.
Over time, you will develop your own shorthand with abbreviations that have taken on a life of their own. Your future self will thank you for coming in clutch when you wrote down that one investor’s phone number or that one community organizer’s name.
After a hard day’s work, make it a part of your wind-down routine to recognize how freakin’ good you have it. While it’s not always easy, social entrepreneurs spend their days building relationships, identifying institutional voids, and brainstorming radical ways of addressing those voids. You are doing well by doing good. You are changing lives and having inspiring conversations. Despite the obstacles, you have bounced back and made progress.
You are taking the chance to make your dreams come true. You have the support of your family and friends. You have a hard-working and passionate team. You have mentors, advisors, board members, investors, and strategic partners that make the impossible possible every day. And above all, you have found purpose in serving your customers and clients. Set aside time each day to express gratitude for all you’ve accomplished and the potential that lies ahead.
To conclude, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming a successful and impactful entrepreneur. You may swear by listening to heavy metal for 20 minutes every morning or hiking a different mountain every weekend. At the end of the day, the most important ingredients are passion and hard work. So, continue challenging yourself and achieving the unanticipated. One day, the world will thank you.
Start your entrepreneurial journey today.
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