5 tips to create a successful founder mindset, avoid burnout, and do it all (hint: you don't.)
Every entrepreneur has a dream. An idea. An end-goal of where they want to go and be. As a founder, it may be almost second nature to take action on those dreams and goals. What’s not to push for? You got the determination, you got the drive, and you also have a blueprint of where you want your business to go!
Starting a business can be one of the most stressful, frightening, and taxing jobs known to humans. Whether it be revolutionizing the next big technological breakthrough or providing charitable services for the most-in-need, startups are not something to be taken lightly when diving in.
Business owners are usually present and involved in every facet of departmental choices and actions, to such a point where it creates a heavy impact mentally and physically. Since entrepreneurs today are pushing for exponential growth on a day-to-day basis, it may seem tempting to over-indulge on how much can be made possible at the current moment. They have so much on their plate to worry about: Sufficient capital and cash flow, employee management, outer-networks, potential investments. The list goes on!
In fact, founders have to constantly keep an eye and be prepared for what is happening around their business, the market, and economic/political shifts around the country. As a result, it becomes a hyper-activity for entrepreneurs because they have to focus on many duties that overlap each other and occur at the same time. One day they’ll be working on reaching different Venture Capital firms for funds, then the next day there’ll be a to-do list for product management. On top of that, they are pushing for faster progress in due time.…how exhilarating!
As a result of the fast-paced environment, hectic schedule, and plethora of switching costs and duties to finish, the life of an entrepreneuer can be emotionally draining, and sometimes even unpleasant when things don’t go his/her way. Business goals may not be met, partnerships fail, and stock market crashes may occur. It’s an endless gamble to play, but risks are a part of the game.
Tip 1: Calmness and Patience
At the beginning, it’s easy to stay hopeful about the future after coming up with a bright idea. However, it’s better to be realistic and know the consequences of making a bad business decision. The market is not always sunshine and daisies (have you tried fundraising in 2022?!). Sometimes, a leader has to be prepared and calm in situations where it could even be a detriment to the future of his/her company. Be patient and calm. Know that there isn’t going to be a million dollars handed easily, and instead, find ideas to extend runway. We all make better decisions when we are calm and composed. Take a step back to process what is happening before making rash decisions, that could be 10 min or a day, whatever will clear your mind.
Tip 2: Persistence
Being a Founder is not an easy job. It’s an ongoing responsibility that requires organization, preparation, learning, and heartbreak. Most of the time, things don’t go to plan. It is most important that one stays persistent during these times. Hitting a rough patch is the norm in an entrepreneurial journey. Stay persistent and keep moving for the company. Stay thick-skinned. Sometimes, in order to solve an obstacle, it is better to just keep trying and working. If you give up when hitting an obstacle and barrier on the trail, how could you maintain a startup when repeated problems occur in the future? You're winning if you're still in the game.
Tip 3: Prioritization
At the beginning, you need to do everything as a founder, and as the company grows, it's easy to say ï'll just do it it'll be faster". This is a passport to burnout! You’re not Superman. You can’t do everything at once. Here's one way to prioritize, for every task ask yourself
Will this move the needle right now? If not, don't do it
Can it be automated? Schedule time to automate a task so you don't have to repeat it
Can someone on my team do it? D-E-L-E-G-A-T-E.
Can I outsource it? You can easily find people on Upwork for things you're not the best at
When you can't delegate, outsource, or automate, and it's a priority, block your calendar accordingly. Use an "Urgent Important" matrix instead of a never-ending to do list, and focus your efforts on things that are important and urgent (news flash: few things are truly both urgent and important)
Tip 4: Social Time
Now, this might sound counter-intuitive, but hold on there for a second. Founders need time to rewind and catch up in their social settings. One can’t just be solely focused on work the whole time. A founder needs time to reflect, add variety, and step away from the situation to recharge and see the bigger picture. This can possibly lead to fresher and brighter ideas for advancing the company Go on that 5-mile run. Go do yoga. Get dinner with your closest friends. Spend time with your family. Go on that hike you always wanted to do. Don’t stress, play chess!
Tip 5: Learn From Your Mistakes
As a Founder, learning throughout the process is given. Failure, as long as it doesn't bankrupt the company, can be a win. Failing means that you're doing something, that you're experimenting and making decision, it means you had guts to take action. There is much to analyze and see what happens after a bad decision. Don’t dwell on the losses and failures made. Find it as an opportunity to learn and see what the better option is when similar decisions come in the future. Mistakes can ultimately cultivate a team-effort into creating systems that solve complicated business decisions. Keep your head up and don’t let the failures break you down.
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