Preserving your Entrepreneurial Energy
Running your own business is notoriously hard work. You’ll be required to work early mornings, late nights and weekends. It’s probably one of the most mentally demanding jobs you could choose.
In order to be your own boss and have time for other aspects of life, you need to preserve and protect your entrepreneurial energy as best you can.
4 Types of Energy
We often talk about money being a resource and having to be careful about spending money. But how you spend your time and your energy is just as important, maybe even more so, than money.
If someone asked you for £10, would you just give it to them, no questions asked?
What about if someone asked for 10 minutes of your time? Would you give it to them then?
When it comes to giving away our time and energy, social entrepreneurs have the tendency to give and give, until we ourselves become depleted.
As you embark upon your business journey, try to keep a check on your four energies:
- Your physical energy – How healthy are you? – in terms of diet, fitness levels and sleeping patterns.
- Your emotional energy – How happy are you? How positive are you about the future? How would you describe your current state of mind?
- Your mental energy – How well can you focus on something? How productive and motivated do you feel?
- Your spiritual energy – Why are you doing all of this? What is your purpose?
Truly Sustainable Entrepreneurship
There’s a lot of talk about ‘sustainability’ in business. It is that sweet spot you hope to reach when you are financially stable, business is going well and you are achieving your goals.
But what about the sustainability of the entrepreneur at work making all of these things happen?
It took me a while to understand that this journey was more like a 5-10 year marathon, rather than an exhausting 2-3 year sprint. All I wanted to do was cook and teach, but I had so much admin to do in order to make it work.
There is a lot of burnout, stress and anxiety amongst entrepreneurs, most of it swept under the covers. Social entrepreneurs doubly so, as there are moral questions to ask and vulnerable people to help. A lot of work goes into being ‘good’.
This is why my Recipe for Success course is not just about the information around starting a food business. It is also about supporting entrepreneurs to understand what it means to create a sustainable livelihood, doing what they are passionate about.
10 Ways to Preserve your Entrepreneurial Energy
As an entrepreneur, it is easy to be self-sacrificing and forget to look after your basic physical and mental health needs. Here are 9 ways to preserve your entrepreneurial energy and ensure you stay fit and well throughout your business journey and beyond:
1. Be active – exercise is a huge stress-reliever and confidence booster. Integrate physical activities you enjoy at the beginning or end of a work day a few times a week. This time for exercise will allow you to decompress and improve physical strength and stamina.
2. Connect – build bonds with others and find your support network. As part of the Recipe for Success course, we have a Facebook support group for food entrepreneurs. If you haven’t already joined, email firstname.lastname@example.org to request to join.
3. Give – when you do nice things for others, you feel good about yourself. Simple kind acts can have a huge impact on your own mindset, the way you view yourself and the way others view you. Once you have set up your food business, perhaps you might think of how you could give back to your local community.
4. Keep learning – re-discovering skills and learning new ones hugely improves self-esteem and confidence. There is always more to learn!
5. Take notice – appreciate and express gratitude for the little things and all the circumstances in your life that allowed you to read this blog post. Take time to ‘smell the roses’ and celebrate your successes.
6. Eat well – give your body all it needs to feel great and nourished. A lot of energy is taken up by the brain and you’ll need a lot of brain power to run a business, so eat food to fuel it!
7. Sleep well – everything goes better in the day when you’ve had a good night’s sleep. It can be tempting to sacrifice sleep in order to get one last task done, but your productivity will be affected the next day, so think twice before burning the midnight oil. Cut down screen time at night and in the morning after you wake up.
8. Take moment for yourself – you’ve made the decision to run your own business, which means deciding how you want to live your life. Find your own work flow and try not to compare yourself to other people. Allow quiet time for yourself to think and reflect. Try to do this daily.
9. Understand the value of your time – People will try to steal away your time and your focus. Make sure you get paid properly for your expertise. Say no if this can’t be done. They will be the ones who end up benefiting from your mental energy, not you. Understand the opportunity cost between time and money – it is often worth paying money to save time and reduce stress. Some people are simply much better at doing the job than you are. Accept it. Outsource and delegate to reliable, skilled people.
10. Say No – Part of progressing in social enterprise is about being able to tell whether an opportunity is worth pursuing or not. I’ve not been very good at listening to my intuition in the past. I used to take into consideration every potential opportunity that landed in my inbox because I was terrified of being without work. This resulted in a lot of wasted time, seemingly doing everything, but also nothing at all. The moral of the story is to be wary of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Bending over backward in the hope of a little cash can take you in the wrong direction. Being able to say no is a powerful, respected thing.
Your business is too important to be compromised through overwork and overstress. Your business is as much about your personality and energy, as it is about the products you sell. So learn to be happy and healthy first, before any money or social impact can be made.