Someone famous once said,
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
There is a fine line between people trying to reach the top of their industry and people who are eventually fading into the backdrop of mediocrity. What sets the two apart is how they actually choose to spend each day! To become a successful entrepreneur, you don’t need to be a prodigy working round the clock or having an ability to sizzle like ice on fire; you need a hardworking and tenacious routine. The sooner you realize it, the better you become at boosting your business to unprecedented heights of success.
According to USA Today, roughly only 20% of startups survive past their budding first year, 50% of which completely dissolve after half a decade.
I remember how my old man always used to preach,
“Walk in the steps of a successful person sonny, only then can you truly become successful in life.”
And after crossing the 27th year of my life, the full implications of his words have only now dawned on me. Different entrepreneurs have different personalities and they each walk a separate path to success. But, what they all share in common is following up a routine and being consistent about it.
Here’s how different successful entrepreneurs choose to spend the days of their lives:
Beginning at the First Light of Day…
Mornings are the most crucial part of each day. It’s the time when you need to break paths with the cozy comforts of your bed and plan the day ahead. While, most of us roll sideways, snuggle tighter into our duvets, and hit the snooze button, most successful entrepreneurs jump out of bed at the first ring of the alarm, put the coffee on brew, dash in the shower, and start getting productive for their personal and professional well-being.
Virgin Money’s Jayne-Anne Gadhia, in her interview with The Guardian, reveals that she mostly starts her day at 6.30 A.M. by checking her emails, and if she does come across an interesting one or one that needs her utmost attention, she replies back right away.
“I do it because I always like to be on top of work so I can enjoy the non-work stuff, like having breakfast with the family and talking to my daughter on the way to school, rather than being distracted by work,” she says. “So it sort of helps me have a normal life.” – Jayne-Anne Gadhia
Replying to emails is essential. According to one of the most successful Digital Marketing Specialists, Neil Patel:
“the start of the day – before I even get out of bed in the morning, the first thing I do is grab my phone to check all my missed calls, text messages, and emails that I need to respond to. I usually respond to everything while lying in bed.”
For the better part of the day, big-shot entrepreneurs are caught up in the throes of schedules which are pretty hectic and out of their control, such as building strategies, organizing workflows, establishing businesses and what not. So when exactly do they get a window to be themselves? In the early first two hours of the day! Successful entrepreneurs jump on this opportunity to get social and feel connected on a personal level with their fan club.
Active Lifestyle Promotes a Healthier Life
While responding to emails is how most entrepreneurs kick-start their days, for others adapting, to a healthy lifestyle is a top priority. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Square & Twitter prefers to head out for a jog in the wee hours of the morning.
According to Neil Patel,
“Every morning, I try to hit the gym. My workout isn’t that rigorous. I usually lift some light weights, run on the treadmill while watching TV, and then head into the steam room to relax.”
Sticking to a healthy lifestyle is necessary, as it keeps the mind and heart active, and fuels you up for the struggles of the day ahead.
While Jack Dorsey is busy jogging down a track and Neil Patel is sweating it out in the gym, musing over their thoughts, somewhere on Earth, Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox, is busy pushing all limits in her daily exercise regime with her personal trainer.
Parliamentary representatives, such as Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and the Former US President Barack Obama, believe that exercising can be a key driver of motivation and lead to an active lifestyle. In his book, Dreams from My Father, Obama explains how running 3 miles a day helped him overcome his drug abuse and shrug out of an underachiever mind set.
On the other hand, Nancy Pelosi takes 45 minute power walks everyday as a pretext to mull over her days and clear her mind. While most prefer to spend their morning hours working out in solitude, Howard Schultz isn’t one of them. The CEO of Starbucks has his mornings reserved for his beloved wife. You can usually find hem cycling round the block in tandem!
Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day
While we often skimp on his quintessential in our lethargy, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for entrepreneurs. It is their first meal of the day and an energy source to run the powerhouse (the brain) and brace them for the long, weary hours ahead. For entrepreneurs, the starting of the day is the most essential thing to do as it will carve the path for the rest of the routine.
Buzzsumo founder Noah Kagan gouges on a healthy breakfast every morning. He usually starts his meal with a cup of green tea and often finds himself digging into waffles or a helping of oatmeal drizzled over with nuts and a hearty sprinkling of nuts. While he takes his breakfast, he makes sure to keep all traces of technology at bay.
So what does Kagan do while he enjoys a hearty breakfast?
“During my breakfast time, I won’t use a computer and instead read a book or magazine. I like reading free CB2 / west elm catalogues for design inspiration.”
We all know Richard Branson, the CEO of the Virgin group of companies and one of the most popular entrepreneurs from around the world. To Branson, life is all about staying healthy and active. Therefore, he prefers to start his early hours by consuming fruits and vegetable salads. Occasionally he would’ve a side of kippers and muesli along. On the other hand, Two hard boiled eggs with a dipping of soy-sauce is all the gastronomic pleasures that Jack Dorsey needs.
Some revel in breakfast in the comforts of their homes, while others prefer to grab a quick bite on their way to work. Payal Kadakia, the founder and CEO of ClassPass, chomps on fruits on her way to the office. She usually makes a pitstop and picks up a Starbucks venti citrus green tea on her way. If you want to read a complete post on what most entrepreneurs eat for breakfast, Click Here.
Reading Is Their Most Favorite Hobby
An entrepreneur’s marathon is to chase his dreams till the end. If you want to make your dream come true, you must go every mile to get there. There are two dependencies for achieving dreams; knowledge and experience. In order to fulfil both, one must read and satiate the mind’s thirst.
For successful entrepreneurs, reading is a daily habit, one they cannot thrive without.
Rand Fishkin, the Founder of Moz (the leading SEO knowledge base), spends most of his afternoons reading GeekWire daily email digest, Moz blog, Everywhereist, SearchEngineLand, Inbound.org, Hacker News, Techmeme, Metafilter, True Reddit, and The Slog.
Somebody asked why Rand? Why do you read so much! And he tweeted:
“You have to ask yourself, whenever you are producing any type of content, who will amplify this and why?”
David Cush, the CEO of Virgin America, is also open in expressing his fondness for reading. After he is done with replying to Emails, breakfast meals, and his daily exercise drills, he spends his afternoons reading The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Financial Times.
Some people work round the clock! Reading & research becomes an important task for them. The leading content marketer & CEO of Buffer, Leo Widrich, explains his professional day in a nutshell,
“In general, I write in a 2-step process. The first step, normally in the morning starting at 6:30 am, is the sourcing process. I find lots of research studies on a topic, write a few sub-headings, and basically make a big mess in a word document. I intentionally jot down lots of things that don’t flow well. This helps me to break the ‘blank page’ syndrome. I do this for around one hour or so.
Then I go and do other tasks (mostly business development and some admin tasks that I’ve taken over.) Then in the afternoon, around 3-4pm, I get back to the post. The great thing is that my brain has by then normally made sense of all the different sections. I then edit and write the actual content in a concise form. In this 2nd phase I’m much focused on the actual wording, the flow, and ordering all the research I’ve collected.”
Off to Bed? Wait! Have Some Fun, You Deserve It.
We are all aware of the phrase,
“Jack of All Trades”
But you should also realize,
“All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy.”
Entrepreneurs don’t want to turn into Jack and they have a strong reason for that; the survival of their dream. When it’s time to hit the bed, don’t walk straight to your comfort zone! Give yourself some time to unwind.
Michael Lewis, the famous journalist, finds his peace in writing during the late hours of the day.
“That is the way I used to write. I liked to get ahead of everybody. I’d think to myself, ‘I’m starting tomorrow’s workday, tonight! Late nights are wonderfully tranquil. No phone calls, no interruptions. I like the feeling of knowing that nobody is trying to reach me.”
While this is the way the cookie crumbles for Michael Lewis, it goes southwards for others. You can choose to spend time with your family or you can simply have a stake out with friends at your favorite food joint. You can go watch a movie or play online games with your friends. The choice is completely yours! One way or another, don’t walk straight off to bed without giving your mind a breather. Or you’ll always find yourself lost amidst the haze of confusions.
My Two Cents
We all make important decisions day after day. However, it is the little decisions we make which usually get us to achieving the more significant objectives later in life. For example, giving up on your favorite episode of Vikings of Netflix to get absorbed in an informative book. Choosing employees that are more likely to challenge you rather than hiring someone who accepts everything you send their way docilely. Above all, the decision to wake up instead of hitting that snooze button on your alarm clock!
If you bring into consideration what elites do, the chances are high that you will move an inch closer to achieving your dreams. Moreover, look at the silver lining; even if you do not meet your goal, you will surely stand in a better place compared to where you stood yesterday. Improve your relationship with yourself and be loyal to your vision, since it is the only way to move forward.