With the opportunities offered by the Internet, more and more people these days are becoming entrepreneurs – often digital nomads who travel the world while working on their own businesses at the same time.
The idea of being a “Digital Nomad” is one vision of what entrepreneurship can look like. Then, there’s also the stereotype of the overworked entrepreneur with dark bags under their eyes, who laughs at the very idea of work-life balance, and who seems to subsist entirely on strong black coffee.
Becoming an entrepreneur can be an extremely fruitful thing, and can lead to financial independence, and work that feels a lot more meaningful than whatever run-of-the-mill stuff you may have been doing before. It can also be an excellent opportunity for you to develop new skills, and to have some fun, in general.
So, how do you organise things so that you get the best parts of being an entrepreneur, without experiencing some of the worst pitfalls?
Here are a few tips for living life as an entrepreneur.
1. Focus your energy on stuff that you actually like and find meaningful
First things first, if you’re going to go to all the trouble of becoming an entrepreneur, then be sure that you are actually working on stuff that you like and find meaningful – and are focusing on a niche that inspires you, rather than one that just seems like a “safe bet.”
Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme by any stretch of the imagination, and if you try to focus your professional aspirations on things that don’t really inspire you on a deeper level, not only will you likely feel quite unfulfilled by the entire process, but you’ll probably also struggle to even work up the motivation to keep going beyond the first month or two.
On the other hand, when you focus your energy on stuff that you actually like and find meaningful, you’ll often be able to find ways of making just about any niche potentially profitable. You’re certainly more likely to have the drive and creativity to keep pushing the envelope and testing new things.
It might be that you are really into custom car fresheners, or home office posters. If so, follow your gut and see what you can do with those topics.
2. Don’t be afraid to take some chances
As an entrepreneur, you certainly don’t want to be “reckless,” and nor do you want to be overly hasty in any way that could lead to your prospective customers being harmed, or in you having to deal with legal issues of one sort or another.
Beyond that, though, you really shouldn’t be afraid of taking some chances – because daring actions are the ones that often make all the difference in any business venture.
Taking chances in your life as an entrepreneur allows you to constantly test the boundaries, discover new things, experiment with your own creativity, and perhaps most importantly of all – have fun while working.
Life, in general, is always more fun and uplifting when there are some chances being taken, and when you are exploring some new and interesting subjects. So, remain action-oriented and don’t be too hesitant to aim big.
3. Say no to most things, and always focus on the core “20%” of activities
The 80/20 rule, also known as Pareto’s Principle, is something that you often hear discussed in entrepreneurial circles. To summarise the principal: 80% of your results will come from 20% of your actions, while the remaining 80% of your actions will only account for 20% of your results.
This “principle” is basically a heuristic designed to drive home the importance of being selective about the things you do so that you don’t waste time, and so that you aren’t too unfocused in your professional efforts.
There is a well-known saying attributed to Warren Buffett that goes: “the difference between really successful people and everyone else is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” The reason why it might be good to say “no to almost everything,” is specifically because we all have limited time, energy, attention, and physical resources to spare. So, if you don’t use those things well, problems are sure to arise.
When you give yourself permission to ignore most of the small tasks you could potentially be preoccupying yourself with, in favour of focusing on the big few that really count, you’ll have more time, you’ll be less stressed, you’ll have less mental clutter to deal with, and you’ll probably love life significantly more.
4. Be sure to find balance and take care of your own personal well-being, too
Just because you are an entrepreneur and are dedicated to making your business a success, doesn’t mean that you aren’t also a normal individual who needs to take care of their own personal well-being, too.
In the stereotypical image of the burned-out entrepreneur, the entrepreneur in question has invariably given up on work-life balance and has decided to cut back on sleep, disregard proper nutrition, say no to casual entertainment, and to essentially give up on all aspects of life other than work.
Not only is this likely to make you pretty unhappy and resentful about the work you’re doing, but it’s also not a good practical strategy for success, either.
The more you neglect things like your own health and well-being, the less likely you are to be dynamic, creative, and effective at your job. So, be sure to find balance and to take care of your own personal well-being, too.
5. Be sure to have regular social outlets
Many entrepreneurs – especially those whose businesses are web-based – can fall into the trap of becoming accidental hermits who eat, sleep, and work from their homes, and who start suffering from a significant shortage of social contact.
It’s unlikely that you’re really going to love life, or even to feel highly motivated in your job, if you don’t have regular social outlets to keep you happy and balanced.
So, consider joining classes and clubs, having regular lunch meet-ups with friends, and maybe even getting involved in entrepreneur discussion groups.
One way or the other, do things so that you aren’t totally isolating yourself.