“Don’t get distracted. Never tell yourself that you need to be the biggest brand in the whole world. Start by working on what you need at the present moment and then what you need to do tomorrow. So, set yourself manageable targets.” – Jas Bagniewski, Co-Founder of Eve Sleep.

Maybe you quit your job with a head full of steam or you have been putting off your desire to work for yourself for too long? Or there’s always the possibility your career path has been made redundant by the internet age, or the global need for downsizing people and upsizing profits.

Whatever the case, if you need the fire under you to be lit, this is some grade A gasoline inspired by some great minds in the business world. Chances are you are already in the deep end of your entrepreneurial vision or seeking a Sherpa up the mountain of success.

Either way, what better place to begin than at the bottom and that is knowing how to survive before you can flourish.

We’ve broken these points down to distil the core of each and provide you with a bang-for-your-buck.

  1. Operations Come First

Operating the business should be the first priority above the fun stuff, the kids’ stuff, the stuff you like.

If it really is that bad performing the monotonous parts of the business, outsource, and if it’s not, define the tasks break them down and go after them like a disciplined surgeon so that you indoctrinate yourself into a routine.

The upside to this is becoming more efficient at something that was previously boring or monotonous, plus this frees more time to let you flourish in the more interesting parts of the business or using your strengths.

Learning your strengths as an entrepreneur

  1. Learn Your Strengths & Weaknesses

You started this thing because you had an idea which was inherently born from something you think you can provide.

Think on this for a moment and discover the crystallised gem within. Most likely, this is your strength.

Now, move from this outward and look to places where this strength can also be applied.

You’re a graphic design specialist? Bam.

Your strengths are going to be in the creation of engaging imaginings that cuts a line and defines your brand’s image. Logos, social media posts, paid advertising, collaborations and more should have your distinct fingerprint all over them and drive your skills home to people who view and engage with you.

The flip side to this coin is to learn your weaknesses, but if admin and ops are your weakness, see point 1.

If your weaknesses include marketing, legal, dispatch or anything that is deemed necessary to the core of your business model, either figure it out or outsource.

Personally, I recommend learning to a degree.

Not only will you become a more rounded business owner and entrepreneur, you will also be able to instruct those on the operations and procedures that take place and why when you really start to take off and look to hire.

Another benefit of learning for yourself is that you will become more aware of potential opportunities and threats within your business. It’s funnily poetic that the more you learn about your strengths and weaknesses the more you do so for your business, right?

There is one aspect of this that I find non-negotiable and that is…

All entrereneurs need a knowledge of marketing

  1. Learn Marketing ASAP!

People usually start businesses with their head in the clouds and their feet off the ground, and they are grounded pretty hard the higher you are. One recurring shortcoming that will bring you back to Earth is this:

No one will care about you if no one can see you.

Sounds simple right? You’d be surprised at how many business owners still get this wrong. Say we time warp to when TV ruled supreme, think of your business as a channel and the TV the industry you’re in. If you have an ineffective marketing plan and presence through your social media, website, electronic mail, and old-fashioned outbound streams you have either a weak ability for awareness to the consumer (like a midnight TV timeslot or worse yet, virtually no channel at all).

Get to grips with marketing and become at least competent enough to exist in the eyes of your target consumers.

  1. Act First, Plan Second

Game plans are great and all, but that type of thinking should be done quarterly and in great depth. If you are constantly planning every day for the foreseeable future you aren’t maximising your potential to thrive today or to adapt and react to the potential opportunities that may arise. Obviously, planning doesn’t get anything done but it sets your compass, therefore it is clearly important.

However, the weighting between the two is almost double for action.

You know that saying:

 You have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk.

Well here is the entrepreneur’s version:

Plan early for a long time and act twice as much as you plan your foreseeable future.

Additionally, it might seem counter-intuitive, but chasing that invoice or allowing an ongoing issue to destroy your time is a fool’s errand. Instead, point your compass toward the future and focus on your next move before you’re stuck in the mud for so long you forget which way the business was headed.

Conversely, immediately pay our bills and invoices before they get away from you. Don’t succumb to the trappings of “putting it off to save time” when you’re really just putting it off hoping it will go away. It won’t and you’ve saved nothing. Putting things off for another day is the equivalent of drinking today and having a hangover tomorrow.

Hammer now so you can enjoy the future.

  1. Have Multiple Income Streams

“But I have barely enough time to do my own stuff, how can I work more??” I hear you say…

Let’s head back to our graphic designer example.

If people love your designs, offer to work in collaboration with them in exchange for what they are good at, again point 2 is showing up. Fair work trade for services is definitely income and that’s how you should treat it, especially if it is something you consider a weakness.

Now, should you ask everyone that interacts with your brand if they’re good at doing taxes? Slap yourself if you even set foot down that path. Clearly, this takes some intuition and common sense, so use them both. If that doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, try using what you’re good at in a few different avenues.

Heard of Rob Scallon? He might be the most successful YouTube guitarist of all time. Rob plays his own signature guitar, with sponsored gear, on YouTube and gets paid by all three.

Now that’s pretty much the holy trifecta there and you don’t need to emulate that, but if you have a business people are interested in, why not entertain the idea of using it in a few ways?

Revert back to graphic design guy/girl.

They could perform tutorials on YouTube or one-on-one sessions for graphic design beginners through to advanced. Your site could host some tactful and non-intrusive advertisements for brands that you prefer or recommend. Is there a digital drawing pad or brand of peripheral supplier you prefer? Reach out to them.

*I strongly reiterate tactful and non-intrusive.

You will save time and you will save money.

  1. Fill Your Cup

They tell new mothers to look after themselves because an empty cup cannot fill another and this is certainly true with you nurturing your baby business venture.

Take these points to heart, for your own sanity.

  • Rest, work out, socialise, switch your phone off, set aside days you don’t work and times when you put your head down and all you do is accomplish.
  • Definitely do not work every single hour, seven days a week. Burnout is real and will prevent you from bouncing back or reacting with a clear head if things might take a turn.
  • Say no to distractions (time traps) and yes to opportunities (excitement machines).
  • Take a five-minute break every twenty minutes.
  • Make your downtime related to the business if it is something you truly love but don’t get caught up and go back into work mode.

Hopefully, this is enough to keep you optimistic and not burn out or lose hope in your new venture.

You will stay optimistic and productive if you are fresh as a daisy with a full cup who looks to the future, learns, acts then plans, diversifies, prioritises and learns what strengths they have within the business.