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7 Keys to Entrepreneurial Sanity

I’ve asked myself this more than a few times, wondering if this magical place of peace exists for entrepreneurs who haven’t “made it” just yet and the resounding answer is yes. Except, it doesn’t look as I’d expect. Instead of the fictitious ideal of a destination where I’ll no longer need to reinvent myself or my practices — I’ve come to embrace a growth mindset. After all, revisiting, regrouping, and making strategic changes are the mark of every great business owner. That’s who I wake up every morning striving to be.

My routines have been an interesting cycle of trial and error that took a year and a half to get “right”. Though I’m sure this will look different in the near future, I’ve put together a list of 7 things that have allowed me to transform my business from 0 to 5 figures a month with a little sanity on the side.

1.A solid morning routine

My day starts off with the same things. Boring right? I like it that way, really, I need it that way. In the world of entrepreneurship where there are surprises every day, I love having something I can count on. 

Starting my days at 5:00am with my cup of apple-cider vinegar water, my iron supplement, and the positive read of the day is my recipe for a great morning! With 10-15 minutes under my belt of practical knowledge of how those before me conquered their minds, I change into my workout gear and do the 30-minute session of my choice. 

Why 30 minutes?

I’m sure I read something somewhere about how this is what you should do and there are probably awesome scientific reasons to back it but none of those got me to choose 30-minute increments. For me, 30 minutes hits the endorphin sweet spot that makes me feel like I’m a conqueror without stripping me of the energy I need to actually conquer the day.  

My workouts vary between yoga, running, and HIIT depending on my mood but how often I workout is intentional. I workout every day that I work.

After coming home, getting ready for the day, and making my smoothie, I visualize the flow of my day and who I will be throughout it.

Noticing a morning routine pattern? Everything I do is designed to train my mind to win because I truly believe that it’s the one really running this race.

2. I use systems to do the things no one should waste their time with.

Go figure, a workflow specialist who can’t live without her systems, real original right? I know but this is why I do what I do — I truly couldn’t run my company without them. My systems handle appointment cancellations, invoice sending, form submissions, proposal sending, predictable client updates, follow up and more. This frees up my time and my team’s time to stay in our respective lanes. 

3. A roadmap to the finish line

It’s important that I’m leading with purpose and to do that, I must regularly check in with myself and my team. Asking important questions and listening to the answers helps me determine what changes I need to make. These check-ins are paramount to continuous growth and humility.

Then, I sit down and map out the month. I start at the end with the overarching monthly goal and then mini, achievable steps to get there. 

The thing that’s important is the emphasis on all the little steps it takes to have a successful month. How many times have you set a huge goal and worked as hard as possible toward it? How many times have you actually gotten there? Did you have measurable steps to follow or were you just shooting in the dark? I’ve been guilty of the latter more times than not.

This roadmap creates clear expectations, so course correction is easy to do. 

4. I go to work

Working from home can become a cycle where you’re never off the clock. It’s easier than you think to do when your bed is the boardroom and living room is your office. Hours go by and you’ll convince yourself this is the last task but somewhere between your 5-hour Netflix marathon and the big comfy couch, you end up finishing 10 more tasks and falling asleep in the middle of your place of business. 

It’s not okay.

Sadly, I did this for the better part of owning my business but last month, I moved my headquarters to Starbucks and that’s when it all changed. 

No, seriously. 

Starbucks forced the structural element that my business was desperately craving, literally and figuratively. Literally because it gives me a place to go that isn’t my bed, couch, or an apartment lounge that is just steps away from my bed or couch. 

Inadvertently, I gained business hours that I had to stick to. 

The issue I was having before was setting an end time and staying on task during the workday because it always felt like I’d have more time. I mean, you technically do when the workday is an indefinite abyss.

Now, I close my laptop at 8pm on the dot (when my Starbucks closes) and refuse to open it again until I’m back at my office. 

Honestly, it’s genius. 

5. Co-workers

The welcome side-effect of having an office with 32,646 stores worldwide is the flexibility and a built-in network of like-minded individuals.

I’m not sure if it’s the unlimited access to caffeine, WiFI, or the family (otherwise known as Starbucks baristas) who warmly welcome, that make this spot an entrepreneurial hub. I’m sure not the only one who got the memo about making this headquarters and I love it.

You’d be surprised how much sharing outlets and that one high-top table with a stranger can create some of the most impactful work bonds you’ll have. In every sense of the word, Starbucks has given me coworkers which is something I’ve desperately been missing since leaving my 9 to 5pm and the synergy is unmatched. 

Now I have coffee, a headquarters, and accountability partners? Really, what more can a girl ask for?

6. Segmenting my day

I use 2 methods to do this: the pomodoro method and time blocking.

The Pomodoro Method is breaking up your work sessions is small time frames so you can max out on productivity without feeling burned out. Using this method, I fluctuate between work sessions of 30-50 minutes with 5-10 minute breaks depending on what my body can handle. 

Before implementing this, I’d get caught up on a project and force myself to stay still until it was complete. I’m not sure if you’ve tried this but usually, a 2-hour job turns into 4 when you try to power through it. With the pomodoro method, I’ve noticed the opposite. The science of breaking it up has transformed my productivity as it gives me mini end-times (like how Starbucks closing time means the end my workday). This helps me to feel like I can give everything I have because I know when it will be over. 

When I know there are only 40 minutes, I stay on task for all 40 in hopes of beating the clock and finishing the task so I can check off another item on my to do list — exciting. 

Time Blocking

Even with systems, I still haven’t expanded my business to the point where I don’t have to wear more than one hat but the waythat I do this differs from when I first started out. 

Before, I’d notice a lack of sales, or that I haven’t been posting on social media, a backup in client work and I’d panic. I’d dedicated the next few days to extreme measures to re-balance but guess what that did? It created a lapse in another area that I’d have to repair. This cycle was endless until I finally couldn’t take it anymore and got proactive. 

Now, everything is scheduled. And by everything, I mean everything.

When I check my emails, when I do sales and marketing, the times of day I’m available for consultations, etc. Instead of the age-old excuse that there’s just not enough time in the day, I got intentional. 

Time Blocking allows me to wear one hat at a time, get in the zone, and stay there until the block I’ve allotted is over. It’s much easier to do this than to oscillate between admin, sales, and marketing whenever it calls.

7. I move from a place of alignment

I used to think that doing was the most important element of becoming successful. Now I can see that even though doing is important, you can’t do anything without knowing who you’re striving to be.

You need a mark. 

Asking myself probing questions like: what am I driven by? Who am I? How do I want to make people feel? 

All of the above are keys to the kingdom when deciding what to do because it gives you a compass to alignment. Knowing where that is made it easier to trust my intuition on all fronts — knowing when it’s time to rest, work, accept a new project, or turn down a client who isn’t a good fit. 

Though sanity is a little subjective, I know it’s possible to prevent burnout and run a business without feeling like you’re sacrificing pieces of yourself. 

This list was my key to that.

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