The media loves to tout overnight success stories, but often fails to report the years of hard work and determination that lead to that “overnight success”. And, because cultivating the right kinds of habits is a major key to that entrepreneurial success, we have asked the CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share the best habit that professionals and entrepreneurs should develop to become more successful. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Living with Gratitude
The best habit that has helped me as an entrepreneur was to make a list each morning of three things I'm grateful for and to review that list before bed each night. Each day, my work gets seen through that lens. It's kept me grounded and reminds me of my true priorities.
2. 15:5 -- Focus, Focus, Focus
Without a doubt, the greatest challenge you will face as an entrepreneur is doing all that you are doing and doing it well, day and night. To achieve this and become successful, you must focus your efforts and not waste any time. One method that help to do this well is the 15-5 method. Take 15 minutes of focused, uninterrupted work doing one task -- no phone calls, emails or social media, etc. Then, take 5 minutes to do something else. Repeat for at least an hour. Focus achieved!!!
Myles Miller of LeadUP
3. Be Consistent and Show Up!
If you want to achieve success in your business or career, be consistent. Being consistent is about the steps you take every day, moving you forward to achieving your goals. It doesn't mean that you have to be perfect. Life happens, things will get in the way, but you do have to show up. Even when you don't feel like it, you have to show up. Being consistent can mean the difference between creating a successful business or career and watching everyone else achieve their dreams. What will it be for you?
4. Observe Everything
I think successful entrepreneurs need to listen and observe everyone everywhere. People watching and overhearing conversations has been important for me and my company. What are people wearing, what are people talking about when they wait in line at the coffee shop or with their friends at a restaurant? What are sales people saying in stores? What are the topics people are talking about on line, in forums? Observe everything and incorporate the best!
5. A Habit of Continual Learning
Entrepreneurship is a game where the rules are constantly changing and the winning strategy evolves over time. To keep up, you have to develop a habit of constant learning and improvement. Study your competitors, study your partners, study the masters and those in history who have succeeded - you need to integrate all of this as a daily habit if you want to succeed today, tomorrow, and into the future.
6. Do Nothing
About 6 years ago, JP Hansen, my client and author of the "Bliss List" and "Finding Your Bliss" suggested I try meditating. He said, "Just do it for 15 minutes a day." I said, "Do what?" To which he replied, "Do nothing. Do nothing for 15 minutes each morning. Clear the clutter from your mind and you'll make each day more productive." I made the commitment for 30 days. I now use an app called "Simple Habit" 2-3x a day. It has transformed how I do business, stay healthy, and live with less stress.
7. Strive for Minimal Achievement
Stop multi-tasking. Focus on doing one task at a time by blocking out all of the interruptions for at least 2 hours every day.
8. Watch Yourself
Do you ever wonder how much time you spend working on legitimate projects versus how much time you spend surfing the internet each day? Consider installing an indoor camera as a feature in your home-office. This is a great way to watch yourself, learn your habits and hold yourself accountable each day. At the end of the business day, watch the recorded feed and see how you actually spent your time. From this, you can learn when you are most productive and what triggers you to get sidetracked.
9. Mindfully Set Daily Intentions
My number one tip to getting more work done, and not just work but meaningful work, is to mindfully choose your top 2-4 intentions for the day before you even open your email. Then, focus most of your time on achieving those intentions. By doing this, you'll see that you make a lot more progress towards meaningful goals than if you let your day be driven by demands in your inbox and interruptions from your colleagues and the phone.
10. Doing = Earning
Many entrepreneurs spend a LOT of time learning - watching webinars, reading free downloads, attending events, etc. These resources can be useful, but it's easy to get so caught up in learning that you don't have time to USE what you've learned. After working with thousands of entrepreneurs, in 79 industries, over 12+ years, I know this - DOING gets results. DOING gets you visibility, clients, and more revenue. For 3 months, commit to DOING instead of learning and watch how your business shifts.
11. STOP Doing Everything!
If I could bill all of the hours I have spent creating presentation documents, proposals, etc., I would be a millionaire! After being in business for 18 years, a friend suggested that I hire a graphic designer. I said there is no way I can afford that! Was I ever wrong? All it took was one time and I was hooked. My presentations looked so professional and it was extremely affordable. Hire experts... amazing things will happen.
12. Don't Use Your Eyes
Always, always, always turn off your filters and your biases and see the world through the eyes of your consumers.
Feel and understand their emotions, because purchase decisions are based on emotions.
Understand their needs, look at the world as they look at the world and solve their problems on their terms.
Remember, it's not about you. It's always about the people you serve. If you can solve someone's problem and make his/her life better, you'll have a loyal customer for life.
13. Timeblock to Save Your Sanity!
It's one thing to set goals, actions and measurements for success. But, if you aren't organized to get what needs to be done, done, then all of the planning is for not.
Tip: Assuming you work from 9:00-5:00 on your business (income generation work, I hope), take those 'actions' you defined and block them out on your calendar as 'appointments' not to be canceled, and do the work you scheduled to do. Things will come up and your plan will change, but if your goals are important, keep your plan.
14. Follow It Up
One of the very best habits every successful business person and entrepreneur needs is consistent and thoughtful follow through.
In today's crowded and competitive world, it is not enough to merely engage with a client, you need to have the calendaring ability to remember to follow on up with them.
Studies have shown that sales are often made on the 5th, 6th, and yes, even the 7th contact - don't lose out on sales opportunities and client management situations by failing to follow through.
15. Start with Intention
Every day, review what needs to get done, then start your business day intending to get the top 3 done by close of business that day. Write it down. Tell others. Commit to yourself to achieve something valuable that day. Your work plus value equals productivity.
16. Promptness Equals Success
How many times have you made a call to a company or a salesperson and waited days for a returned call? Success requires promptness.
People want their calls, inquiries returned promptly. 24 hours is too late & sometimes, even 1 hour is too late.
Technology has only reaffirmed that people want to speak with people now, not some automated voice mail or email.
Develop the habit of being prompt in all interactions. Your success will multiply because others have not learned that habit.
17. Let the Team Play to Strengths
Having an eye for talent is one of the most critical skills an entrepreneur can develop. Having the patience and restraint to allow your team to flourish with minimal guidance is an even tougher trait for some managers to master. The same ego and tendency to micromanage that leads many to become biz owners may hinder their company's growth if not kept in check. It's important for staff to be on the same page, but give them the space to be the best at whatever it is that enticed you to hire them.
18. Accountability via Masterminds
I co-founded a mastermind group made up of equally driven entrepreneurs. We meet twice a month and discuss our problems, successes, and goals for the next 2 weeks. We help, brainstorm for, and push each other. And, maybe most importantly - we hold each other accountable. Didn't complete a task? You'll need to sell the lame excuse you had for not doing so to the group. It's amazing what you'll hustle to get done before each meeting when you're putting your efforts on display to people you respect.
19. Moving Forward
The one best habit every professional and entrepreneur should develop to become more successful is the ability to move past mistakes. This has to be done without wasting time on unfixable aspects. There will be times one attains help that isn’t of the best quality and being able to implement procedures to quickly move past them will be key. The end result will be a great learning experience.
20. Be Informed of Current Events
The one habit entrepreneurs should strive for is to be plugged-in to current events. Every entrepreneur should be spending dozens of hours a week keeping current: reading newspapers in print or online, books, countless journals, and magazines. Successful leaders are informed readers. If you are not knowledgeable about the world around you, you’re at a distinct disadvantage.
The one habit that every professional or entrepreneur should develop to become more successful is friendliness. Being a friend to society, showing friendliness to everyone around and always having a smile on one's face is the way to go. Be aware of what is happening in the society you live in and always support those around you in every way possible. Never ever use language that is insulting.
22. Early Bird Catches the Worm
Every successful entrepreneur should develop the habit of waking up by 4:00 am in order to take advantage of five extra hours that most of your competition sleeps away. You effectively pick up an extra work day each day which makes you twice as effective/productive. Your mind is also sharper and more creative in these quiet hours. Not only does the early bird catch the worm, it has time to create and develop better ways of doing it.
23. Early Bird Gets the Worm
Punctuality is the first step to success and is not limited to meetings. Response to emails and calls, follow-up skills, and taking initiative in a timely manner all deal with timing, which inevitably contributes to the perception of your character. Your competitor might not offer a better service or product, but if they can respond quicker, you will lose a potential customer.
24. Laugh Hard Every Day
Whether we became entrepreneurs for the challenge, or to prove to ourselves (or others) that we could do it, or because we had a big idea we just couldn't let go, I think all of us want the journey to be fun and adventurous. Laughing hard every day – about ourselves, our victories, our mistakes, and our circumstances – reminds us that we're lucky to be doing what we're doing. We can momentarily shrug off the burdens of starting and growing a business by adding levity to our daily routine.
25. "You Gotta Be Sincere..."
Always do the best you can and always be sincere with your clients and co-workers. Besides, they can tell when you are not being sincere, so you might as well always be sincere. And, if you don't have anything nice to say, remember the old adage, don't say anything at all. And, as the song by Conrad Birdie from the musical "Bye Bye Birdie" goes...
"You gotta be sincere..." Go online and check out the rest of the song.
26. Communicate Like a Class Act
Communicate like a 'Class Act' to differentiate yourself:
• On the phone – be brief, clear & respectful of their time. Create a caller-centric voice mail greeting.
• Face-to-face – talk less & listen more. Tell less & ask more. Pause and ask good questions to engage others.
• In presentations – embrace audience centricity & clarity of purpose. Avoid death by PowerPoint & too much information.
These tips will help add ‘Class Act’ to your brand image.
27. Thrive on Rejection
The more transformational your innovation, the more people will reject your idea. You will have more friends, investors, customers, etc. who reject your idea than those who get it. You must persevere and thrive on this rejection to overcome it. Assess it and categorize the feedback as coming from people who are not early adopters, or learn to tweak your messaging or product strategy so that future feedback from different people are more likely to understand it. Keep iterating and persevering.
28. Do What You Say!
Simply, do what you say you are going to do. I hear far too much "Sorry I did not call you back." "I have been so busy." "I haven't had the chance to take care of that." Guess what? Your prospective customers/clients are busy too and they have taken the time to respond to your marketing.
There is too much competition in the business world. If you do not do what you say you are going to do, your competition will.
The best tip is to learn to listen with your entire body. Just because you are not talking does not mean that you are listening. Stop talking. Stop moving. Focus your eyes and mind. Be 100% present. It does not matter what just happened or what is about to happen. Stay in the moment.
30. Shut Up and Listen
If you're an entrepreneur, you're probably a jack or jill of all trades, which is awesome, but it also means that you'll need to surround yourself with experts with critical knowledge and experience. While it might seem we value gut-feelings and bold arrogance as a society, the reality is that expertise is the long-game winner. And, you can't learn from experts when you're talking.
31. Empathy for Client Success
Develop your empathy muscle and you'll better understand your prospective clients' pain points, how to resolve them, and how to customize your solutions to meet their needs - a big bowl of win!
32. Build New Relationships!
Reach out to someone new each day. At least once per day, I use LinkedIn to contact a person that I don't know but would like to know. They could be a potential client, a potential supplier/service provider, or future investor. If they accept my invitation, I write a brief message about why I contacted them and try to start an email dialogue. Getting in touch with "someone" immediately is very difficult. I like to already be in contact before I have a strong need to have conversation.
33. Shake It Off
I learned a lot growing up playing golf about life and business. My dad was a PGA teaching pro and one of the most useful things he would say when I was standing over the ball too long was walk away and shake it off. It was a literal reset button. Too often, we over-think and freeze when working on something too long. Good form is a combination of muscle memory and execution. At work, I use this to reset my thinking. I stand up, walk away and shake it off.
34. Ask More Questions
Asking the right questions is key for entrepreneurial success. I know that when I really pick apart my business and really look at everything that is going on in detail, the right questions appear. Once the right questions appear, viable solutions are easily created and implemented. I think asking the right questions is very important. It is easy to go in a thousand directions at once. However, it takes determined effort to ask the right questions to make the progress that you desire.
35. Kick Time Management Out
Many knowledge workers today feel stuck in crisis mode. You’re getting more harried and overwhelmed by the day. But, the organizational skills you’ve been taught, like time management, aren’t helping anymore. You need a new strategy to reduce stress, raise your productivity and just keep from burning out. Knowledge workers need attention management to reduce stress and be productive. Attention management means you decide where to direct your focus based on your priorities.
36. Less Zzzz
The success in your business is directly related to what you can accomplish in every single day. The ability to put in more hours of work gives the entrepreneur a competitive edge and may be the pivotal element that makes their venture a great success. Learn to sleep less and work more. Regardless of the hours of sleep, or lack thereof, from the previous night, learn how to focus your energy on the day's tasks and accomplish just as much as if you had slept like Rip Van Winkle.
Andrew Toal of Oeveo
37. Plan Your Day in Advance
The most important habit an entrepreneur should develop is the habit of planning the next day the night before. This helps skyrocket productivity because not only can you formulate a game plan in advance, but you can eliminate any mental fog or preparation in the morning. You can get straight to work and quickly build momentum.
38. Learning From Failure
It has often been said that failure is an important step on the path to success. But, this is only true if you learn from it, so as to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, and then leave it behind and get right back to realizing your positive vision of the future. The skill of looking back analytically, understanding what went wrong, then moving forward is an essential ingredient in the entrepreneurial recipe of success.
39. Make Your Bed!
Believe it or not, I think making your bed at the beginning of your day sets the tone for you and the rest of your day being a successful one. It shows in a weird way your commitment to excellence and getting things done. I've heard this in many people that are in the military. It's the first thing I do every day and I must say it definitely works. It shows discipline and character as well, to a certain degree. Try it!
40. Power Up with Podcasts
Learning and inspiration are incredibly important for entrepreneurs. Some entrepreneurs get it from books. For me, I discovered business and marketing podcasts in 2016, and I now follow about 7-8 regularly. It's impossible for me to estimate how much I've learned that I've parlayed into real results at my agency. I listen to them every morning on the way to work, and I highly recommend it as a habit for any entrepreneur to build into their daily routine. It just lights a fire under me every day.
41. Do Away with Distractions
In this day and age, with always-on Internet and mobile communications devices, it's very hard to avoid distractions. But, these things eat into our time and make us less productive and less observant.
We need to develop systems to shut things off, to give us time and space to concentrate.
I certainly find I write better when I close all my browser windows. The more we can beat distractions into submission, the more productive and effective we'll be.
42. Responsiveness & Accessibility
In the age of poor customer service where it is so difficult to get to a live person who can help you with problems or questions, the most useful business traits to set you apart are being responsive and accessible. People more than ever in their virtual computer and cell phone worlds crave human contact to help them with their issues. And, to the degree you make yourself easily and happily available to anyone interested in what you have to offer, you will truly create a very successful business!
43. Delegation on Steroids
One of the hardest things to do as an entrepreneur is to spend more time working ON your business instead of IN your business.
Each time you do a new task, you can ask yourself whether it can be delegated. If the answer is yes, then you can create a standard operating procedure, with a screenshot or video walk through.
All low to mid value tasks can all be given to someone else to do. Over time, you'll build a company SOP library, saving all future staff from unnecessary training time.
44. Be Prepared
Every evening, entrepreneurs should look over their schedule for the next day and get their paperwork and whatever else they need in order. That way, when the new day arrives, you will be prepared and not scrambling to find what you need for your meetings. Being prepared makes you more organized and able to handle your daily tasks, hopefully with time to spare.
45. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
As a Chief Everything Officer (CEO) of your business, there is only so much you can handle in 24 hours (hey, you gotta sleep too, right?). Delegating non-essential tasks will enable you to focus on what's most important.
46. Start Your Day Right and Calm
Start your day right because positive input produces positive output. Use a soothing alarm clock sound. The best alarm clock sounds are those that mimic water falls or nature like chirping birds.
The way we wake up has a connection with the alarm clock sounds we wake up to. Now is the perfect time to change that loud and harsh generic alarm clock sound because believe it or not, it can send some kind of stress waves through your body.
47. You've Got the Power
"Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens." Epictetus admitting that there are things that are outside of your ability to control, or even modify in any way, is a key activity that must be practiced every day. Apply yourself to each situation uniquely so that you can have CLARITY, FOCUS and unencumbered VISION. This daily activity is unequivocally coupled with attempting to get the best result you can, all day, every day with those things you can control.
48. Focus on ONE Thing at a Time
The thing that will help you more than any other is to focus on ONE thing at a time. Bright Shiny Object Syndrome that most entrepreneurs have is a big detriment to success. What's important is taking action, implementing AND completing tasks. Starting doesn't get you anywhere. If you aren't the finisher, then work with somebody who is. The key to your success lies is your ability to FOCUS! You're more likely to be successful if you can focus and complete things than if you can't or don't focus.
49. Just Do It... Today
Don't wait. The time will never be perfect. Choose a path. Take action. Jump in with both feet. Make it happen. Your future self will thank you.
50. Do What You Do Best
Do What You Do Best & Delegate The Rest...
This is the one habit I help my clients create. As entrepreneurs, we have the mindset that we need to do everything ourselves in our business. If you focus on what you do best in your business & delegate the rest to others, you will be more profitable. ROI for entrepreneurs is measured by TIME. When you use your strengths in your business & delegate what you are not as strong at, you will gain valuable time & money. Do What You Do Best!
51. Constant Consistency
One of the best habits that was taught to me was to be consistent.
Be consistent with your marketing behavior (call on X new people per week), with your media (post x times per week), with your work (under promise and over deliver every time), and with your life. Plans and actions can always be adjusted, but if you are not consistent with execution, you won't get anywhere!
52. Educate Yourself
Take a few minutes every morning and read an article or listen to a Podcast that will inspire you. Before I read my emails, I read an article related to my industry. We all have so much to learn and it's vital to constantly educate ourselves in our industry. Even if we take away one tip each day and implement it into our business, we will grow. Knowledge is power!
53. Clear Your Head
Start your day off with a bit of relaxation. I began meditating two years ago and it was the best thing that I could have done. I use an app called Headspace and I take 10-20 minutes to clear my head, relax and get ready for the rest of the day. It has been a great way to start to my business day.
Chris Carter of Approyo
54. Focused Work
One habit that every entrepreneur should develop is carving off time on a regular basis to focus on getting important things done and being more productive. You can put this as a recurring calendar entry, so it automatically blocks off a period of time in your day. During that focused time, block out all distractions and shut off notifications. We think that we can multitask, but we can’t. By turning off everything for a certain period of time each day, you will accomplish way more.
55. Want to Be Rich? FILTHY Rich?
I repeat my one desire (life motto) that sums up everything I want to accomplish in my life. “I will be rich, filthy rich.” I write it down multiple times a day. I say it in my head and out loud all day. It helps remind me what I’m focusing on. It puts a fire under me that makes me feel like I can do anything. In fact, when I’m working out and I’m getting tired, I repeat that same phrase and I somehow dig deeper and push myself in my workout way harder than I thought I was capable of.
56. Set Aside 30 Minutes to Read
I find that setting aside 30 minutes for reading every night before sleeping helps me both relax and also think creatively. I vary the types of things I read so that on certain days, I'm learning and other days, I'm using my imagination. Some of the books are business books, others are science, and I also get a good dose of fiction. On top of my reading on Commaful itself, this is super helpful for me.
57. 4x6 Exercise Timer
Combat sitting disease, increase your energy and willpower, and improve your decision making and capacity for creative thinking by performing 4 minutes of high-intensity exercise 6 times throughout the day. Set a timer to go off six times throughout your workday (every hour or so). At each timer, do 4 minutes of high-intensity exercise, such as dancing, jumping jacks or squats. Make it fun: ask coworkers to join in, add it to meeting agendas, or create a playlist of 4-minute songs.
58. Make a Habit of Saying "No"
If you say "yes" to every business opportunity, you close yourself off to opportunities that could grow your business. I found myself saying “yes” to a lot of work that wasn’t fulfilling or worth my time— frustrating! I was luckily taught an important lesson: When you say no, you open yourself to receive something greater. Now, every time I say "no," within days, something else finds its way to my inbox that's a better fit or more worth my time, I swear. Trust it will work and it will.
59. ONE Habit: It's All About Cash
Every entrepreneur should learn to manage cash. More specifically, develop the habit (and skills) of ensuring that you always have adequate cash available, so that you can seize growth opportunities while the fleeting window of opportunity remains open.
60. Pick Up an Instrument
One habit that I think all entrepreneurs should adopt is learning how to play an instrument.
Playing an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. The brain is a muscle and learning and playing music is like a full body workout that strengthens those brain functions, allowing one to apply that strength to other activities.
61. Be Proactive!
The concept of being proactive is very simple and something every business owner should familiarize themselves with. However, it is the act of being proactive that many stumble over. It's easy to say what you are going to do, but another thing to actually do it. Talk is cheap. As an entrepreneur, it is entirely up to you to take the initiative. Nobody is going to take the first step for you.
62. Big Blocks of Time
When your livelihood depends on delivering, distractions can be the death of you.
That's where "Big Blocks of Time" come in. Locking yourself in a room with your most important task and not coming out until it is complete is the most effective way to get the job done. Often, this means first thing in the morning or after everyone leaves the office or goes to bed.
If you try to fit your most important tasks between urgent emails, staff interruptions or try to multi-task - you'll fail.
63. Just DON'T Do it!
One of the most important skills an entrepreneur needs to develop is the ability to say "No" with ease and grace.
Say no to crazy discounts, say no to projects that don't fit with your vision, say no to collaborations that won't benefit you and your brand.
If you can stretch your "No" muscles early on in your entrepreneurial career, you'll have more time for all the OTHER projects you actually want to say "Yes" to doing!
64. Being Proactive is Key
We are often reactive to networking, and the people that are most successful understand the value of their personal network. Be proactive!
Create several searches on LinkedIn that are full of people that would further your business goals, then actively and authentically connect with them. Daily. Not negotiable. Then beyond the connection, look to develop actual relationships with your new connections. Good old fashioned marketing using today's most valuable business tool, LinkedIn!
65. Please, Delegate to Grow
You cannot grow if you do not delegate. If you start to hoard every task of your enterprise, you will never grow, you will never enhance your collaborators nor yourself.
You must learn to delegate, and take it as a habit. Surround yourself with the best team, but if you do not delegate appropriately, your team and your enterprise go straight to litter in spite of all your efforts and skills.
Please, learn to delegate and delegate.
66. Test, Fail, Learn and Grow
I always say that I am the founder of a “test, fail, learn and grow” organization, which means that I don’t really focus on avoiding mistakes. We’re human, so we will always make them. But, the only wasted mistake is the one that you walk away from having learned nothing or not being better in some way. So, I say continue to test, to fail, to learn and to grow from both mistakes and successes. It’s certainly how we’ve gotten here.
I've noticed this with many entrepreneurs and successful business leaders. They're very good at changing the inflection of their voice. They put emphasis on words. Especially when asking questions. This seems to make the other person in the conversation feel important. They feel like the entrepreneur cares about what they're saying. And in most cases, the entrepreneur does care. They want to learn from anybody. But, the key to it all is inflection.
68. Effective Communication is Key
Encourage open, written and asynchronous communication:
Open communication provides visibility and is shared with coworkers, allowing employees to remain informed with ability to participate; written communication leaves a record that can be easily searched, referenced and shared. It also requires more thought and effort, which ultimately benefits everyone involved; asynchronous communication limits interruptions, is respectful of everyone’s time, and allows coworkers to stay in flow.
69. High Fives for Morale
Every business owner should take the time to say hello to every employee, every morning. Every day, I walk around and greet each employee with high fives. I even have a secret/special handshake with many of them. Implementing this habit is simple, but does wonders for workplace morale. It is personal, it sets a positive tone for the day, and it makes each person on the team feel appreciated and noticed. Do this for a month and I promise you will start to notice positive changes in morale.
70. Your Feelings Don't Matter
I work on building my personal business on the side of working 55 hours/week at my career. The best habit that an entrepreneur or professional should develop is the ability to say: SCREW YOUR FEELINGS. You may feel like doing something. You may not. Doesn’t matter. Get out there and do what you’re supposed to do! Don’t feel like making a cold call? Cool, make the call. Don't feel like grinding on a project? Cool, grind on the project. Screw your feelings, because there’s work to be done!
71. Entrepreneurs Must Exercise!
I am a busy entrepreneur with multiple websites including Got Oil Supplies. I have found it very effective to get up early every morning and exercise. Exercising doesn’t seem like it would help you in the business world. I get so much more accomplished when I take the time for myself and exercise. Exercising also gives me time to think and make a plan for the day. Busy entrepreneurs sometimes don’t think they have time to exercise; for me, it sets the foundation for a productive day!
72. Delegating to Empowerment
The key habit to succeeding as an entrepreneur is the ability to delegate and allow true employee autonomy, with the understanding that long-term progress will be predominantly driven by participants closest to the market.
As a social entrepreneur, I have learned to hire and empower staff and beneficiaries from the community being served. While a founder may drive early success, the capacity to delegate local level ownership and buy-in will determine the success of any project or enterprise.
73. What’s in it for Me?
Start living by the “What’s in it for me?” concept. Everything you do, make sure the person on the other end is getting something worthwhile out of it. Want someone to open that sales email you just sent? Make sure they have a reason to. Want your employees to step up and perform better? Find out what motivates THEM (hint: it’s not always money). Once you begin thinking and operating from a place of giving value and shift out of a self-serving mindset, success is inevitable.
74. The Business of Gratitude
What's a habit that has the power to change your business & takes just minutes a day? Create a grateful journal. Instead of focusing on what's not happening, every day jot down at least 5 things you are grateful for about your business. Science has proven what we focus on gets bigger. Focusing on what we are grateful for encourages our subconscious to seek out more things to be grateful for! I dare you to try it for 21 days & see if it doesn’t just change your business, but change your life.
75. Get Up Early, Really Early
A great habit to start is to get up early, really early. We have worked with a number of millionaires and many start their day at 4am. Why? They can get a three or four hour head start on the day. It's a quiet time to strategize, work on projects, read, meditate, exercise, listen to podcasts, etc. You’ll get a lot more done before the phone rings and the business stuff begins. As a PR firm business owner, I try to be at work by 6am and find myself fresher, energized and ready to take on the day.
76. Read to Stay Relevant
If you want to stay relevant in your industry, spend at least half an hour everyday reading. Read the latest blog articles from key influencers that you’ve identified, read the latest news about companies that matter to you, and read the LinkedIn and Twitter posts by your boss or future employers.
By doing this, you’ll develop a refined education about your industry, and you’ll remain relevant despite any changes that time and technology bring.
77. Persistence is Key
In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be able to continue working hard even in difficult times. There are many risks involved in being an entrepreneur, so more likely than not, you are going to come across challenges that are discouraging, and hurdles that may seem impossible to overcome. It’s during the most difficult times that you need to keep your head high and believe in yourself. Most success comes when you learn from your failures, so giving up can never be an option.
78. The Wheat from the Chaff
The one habit I would recommend would be a regular practice of identifying inefficiencies, and eliminating them from your practice. I like to do this monthly; it's like iterative A/B testing, but for your business (works well for your personal life too!). Client taking too much of your time? Fire them! Spending too much time on things that don't affect your bottom line? Cut it out! Set time aside each month to think critically and separate the wheat from the chaff.
79. Organization is Key!
Stay organized to stay prioritized and forward-focused. Organization in every aspect of your business is critical for minimizing stress and setbacks, while maximizing efficiency, retention, and profits.
Thanks to: Jeanne Rodriguez, Author of Ready Set Work!.
80. Listen & Keep Up
Technology has impacted the way service industry brands, such as PuroClean, acquire and maintain customer relationships. Companies make big mistakes by not listening to customers or keeping up with technological advances. It’s important to evolve with consumers by actively listening to what they want or need and updating the business to utilize technology.
81. Be Authentic!
The one key habit every entrepreneur should strive for is to be authentic: be yourself and don't try to be someone else or someone that you think you need to be. In order to be authentic, you also must be trustworthy. This means being honest with your team about the business, plus, your expectations regarding success and their performance. Being authentic and building trust with your team are key to being successful in business.
82. Consume Intentionally Online!
It is so easy to become overwhelmed as to where to focus when running a business. Consciously consuming online is the key habit I believe entrepreneurs need to develop in order to become successful.
Self-development is vital, especially in an ever-changing online space, however, it is only when done intentionally that it is effective.
Trying to learn everything or follow everybody (especially in the early stages of the entrepreneurial journey) only leads to confusion and comparison.
83. Quiet the Rage
Eliminate conflict! Many people limit themselves in life based on an inability to manage conflict. Often, people get stuck in a pattern of reacting emotionally, long past the time when the combativeness that once served them no longer does—long past the time when the pattern has become destructive without them being aware of it. If entrepreneurs learned to eliminate conflict from their lives and engage in more peaceful interactions, more successful outcomes would result!
84. Noise-canceling Headphones!
Get yourself some noise-canceling headphones. If you're an entrepreneur, chances are you do a fair amount of work in coffee shops or in shared working spaces.
Even when you *think* you're tuning out the noise, you probably aren't.
I've seen my productivity skyrocket ever since I got noise-canceling headphones. Putting them on and queuing up some soft electronic music gets me focused like nothing else!
85. An Attitude of Gratitude
One habit every entrepreneur should develop to become more successful is an attitude of gratitude. People who are thankful and see the best in situations (and others) often have the best outcomes. Entrepreneurship is not a piece of cake. There are twists and turns all day long – employees, clients, partners, marketing ideas, tech issues… the list goes on. If you see the best in things, others around you are likely to, also. A positive, can-do attitude is infectious.
86. Morning Mindfulness
Entrepreneurs have what feels like a million projects and it can become overwhelming. By creating a morning routine that includes 5-10 minutes of mindfulness, entrepreneurs can easily transition into “work mode” and reduce stress. Morning mindfulness also helps with the organization of daily tasks. Entrepreneurs can leverage this practice to solve problems in a calm and focused manner. Finding 5-10 minutes every morning is tough, but once mindfulness becomes a habit, it is very beneficial!
Matt Edstrom of Zacol
Being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely experience, especially at the beginning. Becoming part of a co-working community helps entrepreneurs create social connections, strengthen their professional networks, hire freelancers and increase their revenue. It also helps them create a sense of structure during what can be a very unstructured time and co-working spaces are great to meet clients and collaborators.
88. Ask for Help
Shortly after starting Patrice & Associates, I learned that asking smart, informed questions wasn’t a sign of weakness, but a step towards improving my business. The smartest business people in history have all had great advisors. In fact, the mark of a really successful person is being wise enough to ask for advice, and knowing when to seek it. Asking for help opens yourself up to new ways of thinking and allows you to explore ideas that can greatly increase your success.
89. Wake Up (Really) Early!
Entrepreneurs lead busy lives and might find themselves working IN the business a lot more than working ON the business. If you scramble to get it all done, then try giving yourself a boost by being the first one up in the morning. Starting at 4:30am or 5am gives you time to yourself to do strategic planning and prepare for the day ahead. Give it a shot. You might find that you do your best work in the still of the morning before the clients start calling and there are fires to be put out.
90. Seek the Advice of Others
The habit that every entrepreneur should develop for success is to actively seek the advice of others. Entrepreneurs often have insular tendencies and can have trouble respecting or seriously considering constructive criticism. This is a big mistake - the world is a vast and diverse one, and neglecting to consider valuable advice from individuals who come from different backgrounds is a big missed opportunity. Seeking advice also helps to prevent tunnel vision.
91. Don't Be a Ghost
Your company should respond to every inquiry; whether you do that as the owner or delegate it to an employee. A nice, friendly returned email or voicemail will go a long way with those that don’t hire you, let alone the fact it will certainly increase the number of people that actually do hire you. You never know who people know or who they’re connected with. I can’t even begin to count the thousands of customers we’ve gained from simply replying to every inquiry.
92. The Skill to Actively Listen
As entrepreneurs and business owners, we need to listen to our marketplace to learn the best messaging that resonates with our buyers and to learn and pivot from issues with our offerings to make our company better. This active feedback makes us better prepared to changes in the marketplace and allows us to mitigate risks. If we are truly listening, we can respond to possible partnerships, new ventures and new buyers.
93. Walking to Solve Problems
Problems fly at entrepreneurs from every angle. A great habit to incorporate into your daily routine: take a break when the stress seems overwhelming and go for a walk. The simple, mindless act of moving around provides a sense of calm while freeing up “mental space”, allowing you to digest information and make rational decisions to solve issues faster. Great entrepreneurs know when to act immediately and when to step back, go for a stroll, and ensure that all sides of an issue are examined.
94. Communication Follow Through
From employee to customer, I believe an important habit is following up on promised communication. Too many times, I am personally faced with being guaranteed information from a supplier, and it is so frustrating to not get those vital updates. I make a point to ensure that no one I work with ever feels this way, even if it is a difficult conversation. In the end, it develops trust and respect from customers and people I work with since they know I will always follow through and shoot straight.
95. Market Yourself!
The habit I encourage almost all of the entrepreneurs I work with to develop (because almost all of them lack it) is to be constantly looking for social media marketing opportunities. For example, I recently had a client who does beautiful work plating food for parties. She never thought to post pictures to her various social media accounts! Entrepreneurs are oftentimes so caught up in their idea that they forget to tell people about it.
96. The #1 *Secret* of Success
Everyone reads "Think & Grow Rich" unaware the original title "Meditate & Manifest" had been blacklisted by the church for "paganism".
Thinking about issues allows for solutions only at your current level of consciousness.
Meditation allows you to tap into your genius-brain and the vast power of your subconscious.
Conducting hundreds of interviews, billionaires, business icons & Hollywood Oscar-winners, I discovered that *all* of the high achievers were meditators. It's worth some *thought*.
97. No Isn't That Bad
One habit that entrepreneurs should adopt to become more successful is understanding that the worst anyone is ever going to say is no. If you understand this, there is nothing that can hold you back from pursuing the growth of your business, because if one person says no, then that leaves the opportunity for the right people to say yes. The word no is just a gateway to growth and better opportunities.
98. Cultivate the Kindness Habit
Be kind to your customers. Be kind to people who aren't interested in what you're selling. Be kind to people who are struggling to get where you are. Be kind to those who are in a position you’re striving for. Be kind to people who can’t serve you currently. Be kind to those who have served you in every possible way through your journey.
Being kind is more than just smiling and saying thank you, it is deeply ingrained and comes from a space of gratitude.
99. One Habit
I learn so much from our customers after one of our desks is delivered to their door. While 99% of the time they have a good experience, 1% of the time they don't and you have to learn from your mistakes. It is also amazing the small details you learn throughout the process of speaking with customers.
100. Finishing Increases Happiness
Want more success in your business? Finish more things. Finishing increases happiness & reduces stress. Entrepreneurs tend to be great starters, but not good finishers. When we wear multiple hats, focus is pulled in many directions. Overwhelm sets in as we think of everything that isn’t finished. That creates stress. Decide to work on one thing & stay focused until it’s complete. Repeat for the next item. By the end of the day, you’ll look back and realize you were productive, not busy.
101. Wear Blinders
Entrepreneurs need to focus and follow through for success. Don't attempt to do everything all the time. Seeking help and delegating tasks will allow you to focus on working ON your business, not working IN your business. It's supposed to be a business, not a job. Likewise, you need to follow through with leads and key tasks. If not, you'll be burnt out or out of business rather soon. Remember, success takes time. Invest in smart efforts and spend your time wisely.
102. Quality Attracts Quantity
Consistently give your best efforts in all you do and if you are an entrepreneur, render quality service and create excellent products. The reasoning behind this philosophy is "quality trumps quantity". If you exemplify quality in your actions, then quantity will eventually become attracted to you.
Damon Nailer of Kitril
103. Leaders Achieve Results
Successful leaders consistently achieve results, not just through their own efforts, but by motivating their team to do the same. This begins with having a strong vision that compels themselves and their team members to work harder and get more done. The leader must be a model for the team in terms of achievement. By habitually achieving what he or she sets out to do, the leader sets a tone for successful results across the whole company.
104. Work Hard
I know, big surprise. But, make sure that your work is relevant to your future goals. In other words, work smart. 1) Focus. Turn off social media if you don’t need it for work. Concentrate only on the one job that you’re doing. 2) Use a timer to track your work progress. 3) Cross out the jobs that steal your time out of your list. 4) Set a routine for the most useful jobs and work on them at least for 20 minutes every day. 5) Take mini-breaks, it helps to come up with new ideas.
Sarunas Budrikas of Angle180
105. Ditch the Freelancers
106. Start and Finish
Having nice ideas is great, but you’ll need to act if you want to see them materialize. Starting something is difficult, but you’ll need the real strength to continue. Surround yourself with people who support you. They’ll help you to keep on going when things get tough.
107. Be More Decisive
Speed up your decision-making process. Any successful entrepreneur needs to know how to make decisions quickly and effectively; sitting on the fence and deliberating over every choice you need to make will get you nowhere, fast. While the big decisions may take a little more time to think over, which is normal, business owners should be decisive about areas like product/service pricing and staff hiring.
108. Build Your Own Morning Routine
Developing (and sticking to) a morning routine is a must for any successful entrepreneur. My morning starts around 4am and is pretty consistent five days out of seven. It always includes meditation, exercise, journaling and priority setting. Getting these four things in before I start my day ensures that it runs so much better than if I don’t do them. You don’t need to spend a long time on these activities. I’ll achieve all four inside thirty minutes.
109. Habitually Successful
After 25 years as a solopreneur, I’ve learned the best habit requires you to tackle the odious tasks as early in the day as possible. One then has the rest of the day to complete the easier, more enjoyable tasks. Productivity increases, procrastination is defeated, and one has manufactured an overall positive attitude for subsequent accomplishment. In the words of the immortal Twain, “If you have to swallow a frog, don’t stare at it too long.”
Marlene Caroselli, Ed.D. of Author
110. Entrepreneur Habits
An entrepreneur has to develop good habits to make the entrepreneurship successful. Among them, the most important one is the habit of knowing what can take you to the top of your trade if you utilize it properly. You have to keep your mind widely open for any data or information related to your business. By properly analyzing all this knowledge, you can make the right decisions at right times to lift your business to the next level.
111. No More "Weezing"!
The lens through which you view your business will determine your success. If your outlook is focused on you and "the business" rather than how you and your company are serving customers and prospects, you are likely "weezing"... which shows up as a lot of "we" and "our" statements in your marketing and other areas of your business. Turn your viewpoint to that of your customer/client/coworker and what their needs are; this will help you align your language and actions for greater success.
112. Motion Versus Productivity
Understand the difference between motion and productivity to ensure business goals are accomplished on time and that your team has clarity on their deliverables. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average work day is 8.8 hours. However, the average worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes. Motion includes: checking social media, texting or instant messaging, and reading news websites during work hours. Ensure the 2.8 productive hours move your business forward.
113. Step Away from the Yoga Pants
Although I can wear whatever I want, I dress the same way I did in the corporate world. Studies show that clothing influences everything from our confidence to our productivity. Putting on a nice outfit sets a certain tone for the entire day. It reminds me that my business isn't a hobby I pursue in gym clothes--it's a real enterprise and I need to dress the same way I would for any other job. Just like standing up straight improves your focus and confidence, so too does dressing well for work.
114. Time Block to Free Your Mind
Time block to free your mind from to-do lists so that you're able to exercise creativity in the moment. Organize your day into blocks for long-term success. For example, I dedicate one day a week to schedule out my week and another day is dedicated to meetings. Within each of these daily blocks, I have time slots dedicated to more granular tasks, such as calls. This way, I make sure nothing gets put aside and I always stay focused on the project at hand, freeing my mind to be creative in the moment.
115. Keep on Truckin'
One word captures what every single entrepreneur needs: Perseverance. Sometimes, the wins are going to be few and far between, sometimes things are going to look bleak for your future, but you need to keep trucking along. You are going to fail at certain aspects of building a business, but you can't let that affect other things. You will need to ask for help, get advice and see how others solved problems. Always keep moving towards your end goal and don't let anyone stop you!
116. Meet One Person a Week
Every entrepreneur and professional should make meeting new people a priority. Your network is the most important tool you have throughout your career, as the people in it will become your mentors, cofounders, investors and clients. Spend a bit of time each week meeting someone new, learning their story, and trying to be helpful in return!
Ludovic Huraux of Shapr
117. Shifting into High Gear
Highly successful entrepreneurs are different- driven, focused, and seeing possibilities instead of obstacles. But, being different has caused them to disconnect and shut down key parts of themselves, limiting the success they're determined to achieve.
It's time to shift into high gear; develop a habit to shift on demand, embracing and leveraging your personality and perspective. You'll be more creative, innovative and enjoy the freedom and feeling of being in control you thrive on.
118. Ray Kroc's Formula for Success
"I believe that if you hire a man to do a job, you ought to get out of the way and let him do it. If you doubt his ability, you shouldn’t have hired him in the first place." -Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonald's
To grow their businesses, entrepreneurs must hire lieutenants to carry some of the load. Yet, they may refuse to delegate any real authority to the very lieutenants they hired to handle critical issues! So, after hiring good people, a wise entrepreneur focuses on coaching his team.
119. Get a Thick Skin
1 trait for every entrepreneur: a thick skin. Seriously, at times, everyone is going to doubt you. Customers are going to complain. Stuff is going to go wrong. A thick skin lets you focus on what's important and will keep your self-confidence intact.
120. Stand Out
Standing out is what has helped me created self-sustaining brands, such as Teriyaki Madness. Nothing is more detrimental to an entrepreneurial venture than doing what ‘everyone else is doing’! Some people make the mistake of hiding their unique talents or ideas, when it can actually be what sets them apart from their peers and competitors.
121. Maintain Focus
Mastering the habit of focus is crucial. Doing multiple things at once is only going to return a satisfactory result on each, whereas putting laser focus on one thing will return excellence. As entrepreneurs, we’ve always got multiple ideas on the go. However, spreading ourselves too thin results in a failure to launch. Completing things properly one at a time is a much faster path to success than leaving a string of unfinished tasks.
122. A Humorous Advantage
Science and research suggest that being funny is a sign of intelligence and a key to success. One example from a Robert Half International survey, found 91% of leaders believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement.
At an organizational level, certain companies tap into the humor advantage. Southwest Airlines and Zappos are two that use humor and a positive culture to help brand their business, retain employees and to attract customers.
How will you leverage humor in 2018?
The one habit every entrepreneur should develop is self-restraint. This quality of character is useful in just about all aspects of business — communication, finances, and strategy and development. The management of people, documents, and resources will all be more appropriately handled with the virtue of self-restraint.
124. Make Habits of Creating Habits
The most valuable habit is the habit of creating new habits.
I had a client who didn’t floss. It seemed like a tedious task. I challenged him: “Floss every night for 30 days.” After the 30 day flossing challenge, he continued to floss.
We don’t floss because of motivation. We floss because it becomes a learned habit. The same is true for any change we seek.
Once we recognize how to change our behavior, we are empowered to create new habits.
125. The Ultimate Habit
I can devote all my success to my habit of Kaizen. This ideology was coined by Toyota which believes everything can be and deserves to be improved.
With the devotion to improve a little bit every single day, any entrepreneur can accumulate incredible improvement and success. This is even more powerful if the entrepreneur is able to establish this ideology within the culture of their company. This is what we've been able to do at MonetizeMore and is a big reason for our success.
126. Incorporate a "Do Not Do" List
Having processes and procedures in place is very important to scale a business. I believe in the importance of having a “Do Not Do” list. Make sure your ideas align with your mission statement, and if they don’t, move on. In the beginning, I was the guy that tried to do everything on his own. As I’ve grown, I’ve definitely learned there’s a lot of value in networking and building relationships. The relationships that I’ve formed are what’s opening doors for the future.
127. Have an "Unstoppable Mindset"
Having an "unstoppable mindset" creates a strong foundation for success and is a prime factor in whether I win or lose. It helps me accept losses and look beyond them. Afterwards, I'm stronger and ready for what's next. My state of mind becomes retrospective and reflective in positive ways, creating a source of fuel for more episodes of success, happiness and celebrations, both big and small. And, best of all, is that my human nature makes that mindset manageable, so I
don't have to crash.
128. Cultivate a Laughter Practice
LAUGHTER opens you up to creativity, connection and playfulness - three things that are vital for any entrepreneur, business owner or leader.
Set the intention. CHOOSE to laugh every day.
Incorporate laughter at your next staff meeting. Laugh in the shower, in the car, walking in the park or wherever you choose.
CHALLENGE yourself to laugh ten minutes every day for 30 days. Make it a habit and watch the positive impact it has on your life, your relationships and your business.
129. Make a List
Start making lists to ensure everything you need to get done, gets done. There's a big difference between having a hectic day and having a productive one - you might be busy, but are you achieving anything? There are many ways you can keep a list: project planners, Google Calendars and various software programs all act as interactive 'to do' lists and all make the life of a busy business owner much easier.
130. Think About How to Be Lazy
A habit every business owner should develop is to constantly evaluate tasks for more efficient ways to complete them. I’ve seen business owners get stuck in the “I’m too busy to stop and think about a better way to do this” trap. If you’re frequently asking yourself, “How can I get this done with less effort?” and then acting on that, you’ll get more done in less time. Unfortunately, many of us believe being busy is good and that we’re only productive if we’re busy.
Do you know a habit that every professional or entrepreneur should develop to become more successful? Please share it below. And, as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!