As both an entrepreneur and blogger, I consume an inordinate amount of content. Much of it is about the world of work, technology, entrepreneurship, social issues and small business. One of the things I have noticed in reading and even watching the content people share on social media is the notion that everyone seems to have the magical answer to being successful in business. Don’t get me wrong, there is some great advice out there but by and large, a lot of it is polarizing, desensitizing and quite frankly false.
Sleep and Your Well-Being
Let’s start with sleep. There are tons of messages out there telling entrepreneurs to “work harder” or that “people are up creating when you are sleep.” Should you work hard to make your business a success? Absolutely. Are people grinding through the night while some of you opt to get a good night’s rest? Yes. Does getting less sleep make us slackers or your business less of a success? Not at all. Sleep is not your enemy, but being burnt-out and stressed is. I’m not proposing that you sleep all day and wish-upon-a-star for your business to succeed. Being your own boss comes with many challenges and sacrifices. In order for you to be lucid enough to face those challenges, you have to be operating at 100%. Trying to be a heroine by working around the clock without taking care of yourself and sleeping adequately is not sustainable. In fact, it will have you out of business and in the hospital; if you aren’t careful.
If you’re not convinced that sleep is important, take a look at this 2010 TED Talk from Arianna Huffington about how we can all “sleep our way to the top”.
Now For Planning
We’re supposed to have a business plan, a financial plan, a go-to market strategy, exit strategy, a strategy for all of our strategies as business owners. You will hear many experts say if you don’t have one or all you are doomed for failure. The problem with that generalization is entrepreneurship isn’t a rote process, it is a passion and lifestyle. As entrepreneurs, we ruminate about creating new things, solving problems in the world and creating efficiencies. It’s rather difficult to contain that kind of serendipitous thinking and motivation by way of a buttoned-up business plan (at least initially). Eventually, we all have to get around to tightening up our mission, vision and plan- to woo investors and operate efficiently. However, don’t panic! Your lack of a pristine, MBA-worthy business plan is not going to derail your business.
The best of entrepreneurs didn’t have it all figured out when they started. Watch this Inc. video for more inspiration.
Create the Hype
You can’t create greatness in a vacuum. Being able to draw on the experiences and blunders of other business owners is a necessary evil of growth as an entrepreneur. The trouble starts when you draw too many conclusions from what you see and hear. It often leads to self-doubt and unnecessary comparison. Success is contextual. Each of us has the ability to create our own definition of what it means to be successful. Depending on your definition, create your own hype. Record your own wins and failures and learn from them. If you created your business to make a difference while having more flexibility in your life, you must strive for that. Perhaps you’re a mom like me and you want to be around more for your kids; structure your business around that reality. All you need to do is run your own race. As long as you are satisfying the requirements for the business as you envisioned it; you have no one else to prove anything to but yourself.
The more clear and focused you can remain about your purpose and goals the better off you will be. Don’t believe the hype. Take all of the available information in and breath out anything that distracts you from your vision. It’s your life, your business.