As a young entrepreneur, your business is likely to take over your life. Never mind the 9-to-5, being captain of your own ship can be more like 9-to-9. But then you didn’t start your own business because you were afraid of hard work, did you?
As a business owner who always has a multitude of projects going, is location independent (i.e.: a lifestyle of almost permanent travel) and as the mother of a toddler, I know what it’s like to be juggling too many balls. If I’ve learned anything about how to get things done and be happy with what you’ve achieved, it’s this:
Learn to leverage time zone differences
As a location independent entrepreneur – or if you work with clients, customers and partners in different parts of the world – time zones can leave you scrambling to catch up with clients and customers at odd times of the day and night but they can also be used to your advantage:
- Set project deadlines to take advantage of the fact that your clients may well be sleeping, leaving you to get ahead with your work.
- Process emails at a time when you know your clients have finished for the day so you won’t get an influx of new ones as soon as you clear your inbox.
- Send work that needs feedback when your clients are starting the day so they can have it ready for when you start yours.
Instead of seeing it as a tricky challenge, there are plenty of ways you can turn working with global clients in different time zones to your advantage.
Perfectionism is over-rated
Motherhood has taught me that “good enough” is good enough. It can be very easy to spend (waste) time getting everything so that you’re 110 percent happy with it. Your website needs a few more tweaks. That proposal needs to be refined some more. That product needs a bit more testing.
But when you are pushed for time – which you usually are as a nomadic, entrepreneurial mother – good enough has to do. That extra five percent that you know wasn’t done? No-one else is likely to notice it’s not there, they probably won’t know it was even meant to be there. Get used to shipping things that are good enough, gather feedback and then perfect.
Follow your own path
As a young entrepreneur, you no doubt have lots of people giving you advice. You’ll read columns like this, soak in the advice of people you respect and try to emulate the success and approach of those you admire.
The only way you’ll find true success is to follow your own path. What worked for others might work for you or it might fail. What someone else says you should do might be a good fit or it might totally bomb. Nobody knows better or is as passionate about your business as you are. And nobody knows you, better than you do.
What you try might not always work out. But what you learn from those mistakes and failures will be key insights into what will work for you next time. If you look around at the people whose success you admire, you’ll probably notice a common trait: they did things their way, no matter what anyone else advised. Be bold and do the same.
Use your hidden strengths
You’re young, you have energy, you have time on your side. Obvious, yes? But have you realized that these are real strengths you can leverage as a young entrepreneur?
Before becoming a parent, I wish I’d known how difficult it is to juggle parenthood with being a business owner; never mind living a life of travel to boot. I often wonder what I did when I had all day to write a single blog post and didn’t manage it. I look back at what I’ve achieved since being a mother and realize how much I could have achieved before I had the parental responsibility , and didn’t.
You can work twice as hard, fail twice as fast, and learn twice as many times as entrepreneurs older (and supposedly wiser) than you can, and you’ll probably still be under 30 with all of that experience under your belt. If you’re not a parent or you have fewer responsibilities than some of your peers and competitors, use this as a competitive advantage – when the time comes, you’ll be glad you did.
As a young entrepreneur, if you can get good at getting things done early on in your business no matter what pressures or responsibilities you face, you’ll already be ahead of the game. Make it your goal to stay that way.
Online entrepreneur, community builder and digital publisher, Lea Woodward is the founder of Kinetiva – an organization dedicated to helping people with a natural talent create a sustainable business from their talent.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.