- A mastermind is a group of like-minded people who connect on a regular basis to brainstorm, educate, keep each other accountable, and provide support.
- Find a routine that works for you and stick to it!
- Many successful entrepreneurs read the newspaper and trends in other niches as this can spur inspiration and creativity for their own industry and business.
There are several things that successful entrepreneurs have in common. They can be in an entirely different industry, with diverse backgrounds, education and experiences, yet they all practice the same habits. These habits or ways of life are the foundation for their success. If you are pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, you should embrace the following 11 ways mentally strong entrepreneurs succeed against all odds. These tried and true practices will improve your mind and body, allowing you to reach your potential and make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality!
1. They are vulnerable and put themselves out there.
Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with dust and sweat; who strives valiantly, who errs and may fall again and again because there is no effort without error or shortcoming.” This quote has inspired many, including Brene Brown, the researcher, author, and speaker who gave one of the most infamous Ted talks and wrote the book Daring Greatly. Strong entrepreneurs are okay with being vulnerable, and they put themselves in “the ring.” Instead of being afraid of what people may think or how they will look, they pursue their dreams, create a blog, design the product, or write the book.
2. They meditate.
There are different forms of meditation; breath counting, silent, guided, or prayer. Calming your mind and silencing the constant input of information and stimuli can have an incredible effect on your mind. Research has shown that meditation can actually change brain matter! More and more entrepreneurs are incorporating a regular meditation practice into their day. Bob Stiller, the founder of Green Mountain Coffee, believes in it so much that he encourages his entire team to meditate. Oprah, a self-made billionaire, has said that meditation is a form of “getting closer to God,” and has been one of the most impactful things she has done that contributed to her success. Fifteen minutes of meditation is said to improve productivity, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
3. They surround themselves with like-minded people.
Entrepreneurs-turned-coaches like Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk recommend spending time with people who are entrepreneurs as well. As the saying goes, you are the company you keep. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, starting hanging out with them. This is a known success strategy for entrepreneurs and the reasoning behind masterminds. A mastermind is a group of like-minded people who connect on a regular basis to brainstorm, educate, keep each other accountable, and provide support. The skills, knowledge, and experience of the group are combined to everyone’s benefit.
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4. They get enough sleep and have an early-morning routine.
These early-morning routines are what many entrepreneurs call “power mornings” – they get up between 4am and 6am and do something that will start their day off right. Research has shown that 50% of self-made millionaires wake up at least 3 hours before they begin. Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin group, wakes at 5:45am, exercises, and eats breakfast before starting work. Jack Dorsey, co-found of Twitter, wakes up at 5am to meditate and have a coffee before looking at his phone. The key is not to sacrifice sleep in order to wake up early. Sleep deprivation may have been considered a badge of honor for entrepreneurs in the past, but thanks to Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution, a lack of sleep is considered a big mistake. The most successful entrepreneurs insist on getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night because they know they will function better the next day. Journaling, meditation, and exercise are great ways to start your day in the right mindset. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it!
5. They prioritize learning and reading.
Ask any entrepreneur what books they’ve read lately, and you will see just how much they prioritize learning. Successful entrepreneurs look for learning opportunities through books, courses, mentorship programs, and masterminds. They are also always learning within their own business; they learn through customer feedback, employee feedback, errors, industry trends, and peer discussions. Curiosity and this passion for knowledge goes beyond their own industry as well. Many successful entrepreneurs read the newspaper and trends in other niches as this can spur inspiration and creativity for their own industry and business.
6. They plan and stick to a schedule.
Successful entrepreneurs are excellent at managing their time. A lot of entrepreneurs swear by a schedule down to the minute. If a call or meeting is scheduled for 20mins, that’s exactly how long it will be. Scheduling everything, including exercise and reading, makes it feel like you have gained more hours in your day because less time is wasted when following a more rigid schedule. When scheduling your day, a major productivity tip is to schedule the most pressing and challenging work first when your mind is the freshest. When you are awake and alert, you are able to complete the work faster so you can accomplish more in the day. This doesn’t mean scheduling your entire day with work tasks. Successful entrepreneurs also know the importance of rest, self-care, and spending quality time doing things they enjoy with people they love.
7. They exercise regularly.
As you saw from #3, many entrepreneurs exercise first thing in the morning. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, quickly checks messages and then goes for a run before work. There is scientific evidence that supports this as well. Exercise has been shown to improve one’s memory because of its effect on Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) that supports function and brain cells. Studies have also shown that regular exercise leads to sustained attention and increased cognitive abilities. At Stanford University, scientists found that creative output increased by 60% in those that took a short walk outside each day. As you can imagine, improved creativity, concentration, memory, and cognitive abilities will help you succeed as an entrepreneur.
8. They manage their money well.
Many entrepreneurs have shared stories of selling their car, eating noodles every day, or working out of their garage to get their business started. David Klein, the founder of CommonBond, lived in his office for years before getting $4 billion for his start-up. Closely monitoring expenditures and saving when they can is how many entrepreneurs were able to grow their businesses and attract investors. Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx and self-made billionaire, started with just $5k and continued to work her day job as she built her business. She was cautious with spending, which kept Sara and Spanx out of debt and helped turn it into the success it is today!
9. They drink water.
Entrepreneurs are always looking to optimize their performance. When they are sharp with laser-focus, they can accomplish more, effectively solve problems, and create new businesses and partnerships. For optimal cognitive performance, you need to be hydrated. Entrepreneurs know that by drinking water throughout the day, they will continue to be able to deliver their best work. If you love your coffee, don’t worry – they do too, but they also make sure they are drinking enough water.
10. They set clear goals for themselves.
If you don’t have goals, it’s like being on a road trip without a final destination in mind. You’ll just be driving aimlessly, taking in the sights and spending a lot on gas. When you know your final destination, you will get there quickly and take the most direct route. SMART goals have been a popular method since they were first written about in the 80s. Author and entrepreneur Jack Canfield recommends using SMART goals for all aspects of your life. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. Successful entrepreneurs don’t just write these goals down and forget about them. They regularly review their goals and progress.
11. They embrace failure and aren’t afraid to fail again.
Arianna Huffington, the founder of Huffington Post, created a $30 million business in just over six years! When asked what the best advice she’s ever received was, she said that her mother told her that “failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a stepping stone to success.” It makes sense then that the advice Huffington gives to entrepreneurs is “You’re going to fail, probably many times. But that’s okay – in fact, it’s essential. Very often, the difference between success and failure is simply perseverance”. The lessons that come from failure are often more valuable than those you learn in a book or course. When you fail, figure out why and what you would do differently, then keep going.
When starting your own business, it can feel like the odds are against you. The entrepreneurial path is bumpy, with lots of ups and downs along the way. Fortunately, there are proven habits and ways of living that will make the road a lot smoother. To succeed against all odds, incorporate the 11 ways listed here, and you, too, will be a successful entrepreneur!