One of the most difficult things you can do in life is to build a new business from scratch. As any startup founder will know, creating a new company from the ground up is a Herculean task. It requires long hours, huge amounts of energy, intense focus, and the ability to frequently step far outside your comfort zone.
You need to stay mentally strong otherwise you’ll sink.
But how do you maintain mental strength, emotional equanimity, and the motivation to continue when inevitable hurdles arise? This is a question asked by most entrepreneurs seeking a healthy work/life balance.
Startup life is hard. It’s essential to be prepared before you begin on the long, difficult, but exhilarating and potentially very lucrative path of entrepreneurship.
When it comes to developing your mental strength and preparedness, here are a few things to consider:
Is the entrepreneurial life right for you?
If you’re someone who thrives in pressurized situations and you’re accustomed to breaking the rules and trailblazing your own path, then creating a startup will be your thing. If you prefer stability, job security, set hours, and finding deep satisfaction in pursuits outside of work, then an entrepreneur’s life might not be aligned with your personality.
Consider also your current life realities. For some would-be entrepreneurs, the birth of a child or the sickness of an ageing parent can put a startup dream on hold. It’s not always the right time to add even more stress and hard work to your particular reality.
Your loved ones might also not appreciate the sacrifices needed to create a new company, especially without any guarantees of success.
Freelancing might be a sound alternative.
Accept beforehand the realities of a startup life
Part of preparing yourself mentally before building a new business is to accept the realities of startup life. These include huge financial obligations, faltering cash flows, teams to run, powerful competitors, complicated marketing strategies, an ever-changing market, product failures, unexpended problems to fix, few if any vacations in first few years, and more.
The benefits of course, are excitement, adrenaline, and the growth of what could one day become an extremely lucrative and life-changing company.
But the key to staying mentally strong is to accept it’s going to be very difficult and to ride the waves regardless. Make peace with the inevitable hardships and understand they’ll be a constant companion, especially in the early years.
Invest early in the right tools
Tools are essential for entrepreneurs looking to boost their productivity and profits, as well as to make their startup life a lot easier. In this day and age, with the plethora of excellent software options, there’s no excuse not to streamline many of your processes and tasks.
Invest in the right tools early on in your entrepreneurial career. There are numerous cloud-based apps which can be integrated together and synchronized in real-time across multiple platforms. You can work from anywhere, via mobile devices, allowing you to run your business even when you’re on the go (perfect for digital nomads).
Invoicing software, for example, can be integrated with time-tracking tools, project management boards, and many other money, business, and communication focused apps and software.
We provide all this and more here at Invoice Ninja.
The more you use technology to help your business, the more you can free up more hours to focus on taking a little time out to enjoy life and relax.
Schedule work intelligently
Part of investing in good tools is the ability to accurately record and analyze your work patterns, time, productivity, and schedules. The data allows you to schedule work intelligently based on the times of day when you naturally do your best work.
For some people, that’s in the early morning, for others, it’s later in the day. Quickly recognize when you are at your best and make the most of it.
Kanban boards and time tracking software, as well as scheduling apps and automation tools can boost your productivity and focus. You get more done and are better able to pounce on problems before they escalate.
Use non-work hours effectively
There’s no 9-to-5 when you’re an entrepreneur, especially when you’re also in charge of a team and working with co-founders. You usually have a to-do list as lengthy as the Amazon.
To reduce stress and even longer hours, place great importance on using “non-work time” effectively. These micro-moments include time when you’re travelling to a meeting or conference, resting after a CrossFit workout at the gym, shopping at the store, or while waiting for your partner or child somewhere.
With mobile apps and tools, you can work in any spare moment, whether that’s simply a couple of minutes or half an hour. Doing so will help you remain in control of things especially when you synchronize data across different platforms.
Cultivate a strong support network
“No man is an island…” as the poet John Donne once wrote and this applies equally to the entrepreneur. Mentally strong business founders almost always have a rock-solid and secure support network behind them. A support network of fellow professionals not only helps you in developing bigger and better products/services but also reduces feelings of isolation and doubt. That’s where having great friends outside of work can also help.
Cultivate and grow your network early on so when the inevitable hardships and emergencies happen, you’ll have people there to support you. Plus, be there for others as well. It’s simply the right thing to do and will go a long way in developing your own inner-strength.
Emotional intelligence is key to building strong bonds.
Building a strong foundation for success
Staying mentally strong as a startup founder and entrepreneur is a matter of planning ahead, relying on the best tools, forging genuine human networks, and ensuring you maintain the right mindset.
Building a business is an immense undertaking and there are no guarantees of success or wealth. But what you can ensure is that every possible benefit is put into place to make your business life a lot smoother.