Balancing life and business can be hard, especially if you’re focusing on entrepreneurship. Here are the top six lessons I’ve learned along the way.
You’re going to have bad days but that’s totally normal.
Sometimes those days will feel really, really bad. But know this. Bad days are a part of the process. We learn some of our most valuable lessons when sh*t hits the fan. We become better people for it and we reveal the depth of our dedication to pursuing something we really believe in. Expect things to go unexpectedly and accept that this too is a part of being committed to what you do.
People won’t like what you do or even you sometimes and that’s okay.
Not everyone will love every single step of your path. Sometimes people just won’t like you or treat you with the respect you deserve. This could have nothing to do with your work. It could be because you look differently than who they expect to be in the boss’s chair or because of the level of confidence you have in yourself that makes them feel intimidated. Sometimes people are jerks and there’s nothing you can really do about that. Do your best to define your boundaries, let people know when they’re out of line with the most cordial handshake you can muster and remember that those people are little fish who have absolutely nothing to do with your bottom line. Stay true to you and keep walking in happiness and joy with your head up.
You’ll ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing. The answer is yes.
Don’t let yourself scare you into believing that you’re doing the wrong thing. What’s great about our individual journeys is that we write them all ourselves. And like any author who pens a novel or an essay, you don’t always know how it will end — but that doesn’t matter. What really matters is that you put your all into doing what you think is best. Have no regrets. Just go for it and enjoy the moment. Some of the best inventions of our time were really major boo-boos that people just happened to fall into accidentally. Remember that and keep at it.
Before the money starts rolling in, put it in the excel document.
Oh, and it will roll in. Before it does, have a plan for how you will invest it. What is it that you can do today to turn that beginning profit into an even bigger deposit slip? Think about that. Do your research. Ask for advice. Planning has an incredibly positive effect on how we do business every day. When we go so far as to pre-organize money we plan to spend, invest and save, we’re saying to ourselves, “I believe in the future and value of my work and I will do my whatever within my power to make my business work for me.”
Self-care is important, and I’m not talking about watching cat videos.
If you’re anything like me, you have a never-ending love for what you do and could work on it from morning ’til night without doing anything else. It’s good to be consistent in your work ethic but your business needs a healthy you, both in mind and body, to thrive. Take time to yourself. Clean your apartment. Do the dishes. Take non-business-related time to spend with your friends or family. Go the gym. Get away from any and all screens. Turn your phone off. Go for a walk. Talk to your counselor if you have one. Entrepreneurs are all creative people. Think creatively about fitting in time in each week that has nothing to do with being “on” for the business and you’ll be happier for it.
Surround yourself with people that make you go, “Damn.”
We’re talking about the good “damn” here, not the bad one. I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful to seek out people who are striving to meet goals in their everyday lives. It gives me inspiration to keep going when the going gets tough, while granting me even more space to celebrate with people who I admire who also love what they do. Never underestimate the power of a strong and supportive network. Don’t know people like that now? Look for them. Go to a networking event or a panel discussion or a dance party (entrepreneurs get it in too) and ask meaningful questions of the people that you meet. Ask them questions such as why they get out of bed in the morning, what the most interesting lesson is they’ve learned this year or if they can describe the legacy of their work in one word and what that word would be. Or just go the basic route and ask them where they bought their pants — whatever gets you connecting with dope people. Do that thing. Be you.