It’s one thing to start a business. It’s quite another to create meaningful and rewarding employment for yourself (and possibly others). The truth is that it’s astonishingly easy to create a business that is unsatisfying. It always surprises me how many unhappy entrepreneurs there are…after all, you’re the boss! Yet, despite clear goals and the best of intentions lots of entrepreneurs make big compromises in order to do what they think it best for the business. They end up feeling overworked, underpaid, stressed out, and alone.
The beauty is they (and they alone) have the power to change their circumstances and to prioritize their own satisfaction. It’s up to them to take advantage of the amazing opportunity that entrepreneurship affords them – the ability to craft a business that delivers the satisfaction they want and deserve.
After working with thousands of entrepreneurs I can tell you that no two go about achieving this goal in the same way. However, I can also tell you that the happiest entrepreneurs do have several things in common.
They all honor these 5 rules to live by:
1. Don’t go it alone
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely experience. Not only is this emotionally challenging, but it also creates a huge opportunity cost. Your community is your best secret weapon and the most direct route to more support, inspiration, ideas, feedback, and sales! The better connected you are the stronger your business will be.
2. Do what you do best.
Your job as an entrepreneur is not simply “the doer of things that need to be done.” With a to-do list that never stops multiplying it’s tempting to just dive in and get going. This is a loss for both you and your business. Don’t squander the chance to do work you love every day. Instead, consider where you’re strong, and consider where you’re not. Restructure your schedule to do what you enjoy at least the majority of the time. And, have a good reason for doing tasks you don’t like.
3. Honor your original goals.
Do you remember why you became an entrepreneur in the first place? Do you still derive that reward from your business? Once they have a few years of experience under their belts many entrepreneurs find little if any trace of their original motivations. Given how hard you work, it matters that you are able to get the benefits you want. So ask yourself, what’s in it for me? What makes all the work worthwhile? Then figure out how your business can deliver.
4. Build your stamina.
Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint, and it can take a while before you see the financial fruits of your labor. That’s why it’s imperative to maintain your stamina. Bolstering your endurance requires you to adopt a “work smart” mentality and commit to valuing yourself as much as the business. It’s important to also leverage common best practices, such as learning to set boundaries, delegate work, keep a clear focus on goals, and employ small steps towards progress.
5. Don’t believe the hype, bigger isn’t always better
Our culture tends to glorify size and fixate on numbers. This is even true in the small business world. Entrepreneurs often pursue particular metrics at the expense of their own satisfaction. Measuring success depends on the goals you have for your business. Generate your own definition of success. It may include numbers and metrics but shouldn’t praise growth for growth’s sake. It’s remarkable how differently entrepreneurs grow their companies when they aim for their own benchmarks instead of others’.
Strategic Entrepreneurship Expert – Adelaide Lancaster of In Good Company from Philadelphia, PA
Adelaide Lancaster, co-founder, is a successful entrepreneur who excels at making business ideas a reality and helping businesses grow to their potential. Adelaide is both a strategic thinker and a master implementer. She has spent her professional career dedicated to helping women find work that is meaningful and rewarding. Adelaide was recently featured in the book Upstarts!, as one of 60 Gen-Y entrepreneurs who are rocking the world of business. Adelaide was co-founder and Principal Partner of Berkman Fives a consulting firm that helped women professionals with career development and advancement and women entrepreneurs with business growth and efficiency. Adelaide also is a contributor to The Huffington Post and Daily Muse.
Adelaide also co-authored the book “The Big Enough Company”.