By Raffi Keuhnelian, CEO of www.iNexxus.com
Entrepreneurship is deeply rewarding and offers the opportunity to make a difference and transform lives. That said, people often put it on a pedestal and overlook the stresses and sacrifices. I experience this daily, and have some key advice so you can too -- successfully.
As the co-founder and CEO of two digital firms, I have learned the steps, skills and strategies for staying healthy, organized and ready to lead a team of over a dozen inspiring individuals every day. Discover my top five tips for aspiring entrepreneurs' professional and personal success.
Your decision to be an entrepreneur can't be purely financial. There are many reasons for getting into this business. I resonate most with the desire to keep learning, needing to build things and wanting to affect change.
For me, being an entrepreneur has never been a career -- it's a calling. It's challenging 24/7, yet the feeling of achievement and success is second to none. My businesses make a difference and transform my staff and clients' lives. Plus, I am constantly inspired by the people I connect with, whether they be a new intern or an innovator in Asia.
Make the Most of Your Mornings
It can be tempting to hit snooze when you're your own boss. Don't. According to this Inc. article, Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up 3:45 a.m. and Richard Branson rises at a luxuriously late 5:00 a.m. Maybe that's a little extreme, but there are many reasons for waking up earlier.
The Ladders cites a 2013 study showing our brains are most active and creative immediately following sleep. Every morning, I answer all my emails so I know where my attention is needed, squeeze in some family time and write down everything I need to do that day. To make sure I stick to my plan, I have gotten into a healthy execution routine and use apps like Google Calendar to block off time for tasks and meetings.
Build the Right Team
As you scale, you will need to hire and learn to delegate. It's quality over quantity. Two exceptional employees are better than five paycheque collectors.
Human resources should be your top investment. Employee turnover can cost companies 1.5 to two times the departed team member's salary. Incentivize staff to stay by building a culture that makes them feel engaged, enriched and equal. I do this through regular one-on-one communication with my team, group talks and having workplace perks like Friday lunch outings.
Plan Out Every Day
Scheduling decreases procrastination and increases productivity by helping achieve goals, being better equipped to handle unforeseen obstacles and ensuring you have downtime. Routine is the antithesis of anxiety and stress.
Each week, I create a to-do list that must get done. Then, I use Google Calendars to plan every day by the hour. Having a to-do list helps turn abstract goals into concrete work. I schedule periods for creativity, team brainstorming, socializing and networking.
Take a Break
The scariest word to any entrepreneur should be "burnout." Mental health issues have been reported among 72 percent of entrepreneurs. They even have a name: "Founder's Blues."
Downtime is key. I disconnect from work by spending time with my family, doing sports and reading, which keeps me productive longterm. I also do things outside my comfort zone for new experiences that build up positive memories.
These tips are based on my experiences being an entrepreneur, though I wish someone had mentioned them when I was starting my businesses. That said, this position requires constant learning. For instance, now I know to be a multi-tasker and never a micromanager.
Through learning, you can turn every setback into two steps forward. It also makes failure impossible -- and finding a solution to any problem always possible.
Digital Expert and Brand Development - CEO of www.iNexxus.com and MusicPromoToday.com. Raffi Keuhnelian is a leading tech entrepreneur.