Depending on who you ask the term Entrepreneur has become an increasingly divisive, almost meaningless label. In the past founders were labeled entrepreneurial by their peers for their tenacity and their ability to continually persevere the gruelling highs and lows of running a business based purely upon gut instinct. Today entrepreneurship has become synonymous with unnecessary displays of status, pseudo motivational rhetoric, the excessive use of fire/prayer/key emojis and rich kids supported by a safety net.
We still believe true entrepreneurship stems from a hungry state of mind and dedication to a vision. Whether you’re taking your first steps or the next steps in establishing your business in 2017, be prepared, true entrepreneurship will occupy your every waking moment. For a time your work will be your life and because of that you’ll find yourself increasingly time poor. So keeping that in mind we decided to make an achievable new years resolution list for those would be entrepreneurs to help you get the most out of your 2017.
Initiate 12 new relationships
Don’t think of this as a quick and dirty networking exercise, but as a chance to build genuine relationships with old & new friends, family and colleagues. And, yes, besides the wondrous affects the social interactions will have on your mental health, this resolution will also give you the chance to improve your professional network.
Spread the time it takes to develop your relationships over the year with an aim for one a month and an even split between personal and professional. Keep in mind that professional relationships are an investment that need to be cultivated and respected before they can be useful.
You might find it easier to meet these resolutions if we break them down into simpler parts. For instance, aim to attend one entrepreneur/startup/investment/innovation meet up event a month. This will ensure you remain active in your industry, improve your relationships and your professional knowledge.
Or, if we want to simplify that even further start a conversation with one new person every day. This could be the person making your coffee in the morning, someone at the gym or down at the beach. The idea is to keep pushing the number of people you interact with until it feels like second nature.
Separate your Personal and Professional Life
Odds are 2017 will be a busy year for you, there’s also a million ways you could improve your professional development but we want to make suggestions that are specific, actionable and set you up for long term development.
So, keeping that in mind, this year you need to separate your work and home life. If you’re in the process of bootstrapping your business odds are you’ve been working from home for months, if not years. You need to get out of the house. Your work will be your life this year, so you need to make an effort to find moments of disconnect and while it might be tempting to work from your laptop in bed if you’ve fallen into the habit of making your personal space your work space, you will never mentally escape your work.
Also, you might not realise it but working at home has made you reclusive and potentially inefficient. Working from home means there will always be a distraction and can only work if you’re extremely disciplined. If you’re a startup or small to medium enterprise your best option is a co-working space that offers flexible options, a stimulating environment and access to expertise that will help nurture your fledgling business.
Sometimes you need some perspective and feedback from others in the same boat as you, maybe you’ve fallen into the mistake of working hard for the sake of working hard rather then picking the right moments to work hard. Thats where the collaborative community aspect of a co-working space becomes important, in 2017 your goal should be to improve your professional connections and appearance by improving your facilities.
365 miles in 365 days
This was a great one Mark Zuckerberg started up last year that warrants a revisit in 2017. The physical and psychological benefits of this challenge are fantastic and not overly taxing on your time. You can pool your distances together by running further as well which allows you days off. The appeal of this resolution is its an achievable way to start exercising regularly. Getting a gym membership can be expensive and means you are motivated in the short term whereas doing 365 miles (or 584 kms) shows you have long term dedication. Odds are you’ll find yourself finished half way through the year and hungry for a new challenge.
If you want our advice, the best time to get your run in is early in the morning. Wake up, fall out of bed into your gear, do your distance and the combined endorphin release and blood pumping through your system will galvanise you for the rest of your day.
Priorities your time
This year lets make an effort to be honest with ourselves and others about our priorities. How many times a day do you catch yourself using ‘I don’t have time’ as an excuse? Is it true that you don’t have time or is the truth that what you’re being asked to do is not a priority?
In a 2012 piece for the Wall Street Journal, Laura Vanderkam suggested you replace the phrase “I don’t have time” with “it’s not a priority”. Vanderkam’s simple exercise is designed to demonstrate the psychological power language has in altering our behaviour by forcing perspectives on our priorities
On the surface this may seem like the simplest resolution to actually achieve but the brutal honesty forcing some perspective into your life requires should make this a tricky but highly rewarding resolution. After a couple of weeks saying “its not a priority” you’ll find yourself reassessing what you should be making more time for and what you currently spend time on that shouldn’t be a priority.
Pick a Charity
True entrepreneurs care about creating value for society, not just themselves. So if you’re having a good year pick a charity to make your mark on. When it comes to donating a feasible amount of your hard earned money do yourself and those you are looking to benefit a favour and do a bit of research beforehand.
Ideally you want to maximise the impact your donation will have by avoiding charities that have unnecessary administration fees and when possible choose a local charity that will have a greater impact on your community. Use websites such as www.changepath.com.au/ to compare your options and donate with confidences, also keep in mind that most charitable donations are tax deductible!
Why you’ll follow through this time
At the end of the day all these resolutions are relatively simple because our goal was to set you up for further development. We find the hardest part about making and keeping resolutions is learning dedication. It’s easy to be motivated, which is why new gym memberships spike during January but overall attendance falls by March and why overall only 8% of people actually achieve their New Years resolutions.
We want our resolutions to be habit forming, with the future development of both your personal and professional life in mind. Hopefully we’ve given you some achievable resolutions while avoiding the unnecessary self-help snake oil thats flooding the industry. Sure, its important to have motivation when we want to kick start something new in our life, but too many resolutions revolve around instant gratification rather then dedication to fundamental changes.