9 Tactics for a Successful Entrepreneur Lifestyle (Without Wrecking Your Personal Life)
A successful entrepreneur lifestyle is the holy grail for entrepreneurs. How do you grow the business of your dreams and achieve the entrepreneur lifestyle you aspire to, including maintaining balance with your personal and family life? In reality, can you achieve work/life balance?
You've embraced the challenge of pursuing your dream to build a successful business. That's inspiring. But it can also have a profound effect on your personal life and even your health.
As a performance coach, I've lost count of the number of entrepreneurs who describe being committed to pursuing their dream, but also feel burnt out, exhausted, anxious, depressed, frustrated, or completely overwhelmed as a result of their uncompromising drive to grow their business.
How to get a balanced entrepreneur lifestyle
The truth is you can have it all...
You can enjoy a flourishing business and successful personal life, quality time with your partner, family, and social circle, make time for fitness and sport, and look after your physical and mental health. For many business owners in my entrepreneur accelerator programmes, this all-round performance is at the heart of becoming the entrepreneur they aspire to be.
Read on for my top 9 tactics to help you develop the structure to create the balanced entrepreneur lifestyle you want.
1. Know your purpose in life and as an entrepreneur
When you have a powerful sense of purpose, you have more energy and a clear sense of direction. The challenge occurs when we have conflicting purposes in different areas of our life.
For example "I want to complete this piece of work, but I'll end up divorced if I'm home late again." or "If I miss my gym session I can spend more time with the team, but that won't keep me fit."
The purpose of your business is a subset of your overall life’s purpose. Until you are clear on your purpose at both of these levels, how can you possibly balance your efforts into the different areas of life and build the entrepreneur lifestyle you want?
When you are crystal clear about your purpose - where you are going and why - then you can make instinctive, well-judged decisions about how to invest your time.
2. Don’t habitually overcommit
There are times to knuckle down and invest heavily in one area of life, for example, to cope with family illness or to capitalise on a significant business opportunity. It would be irresponsible not to.
However, many entrepreneurs habitually over-invest in growing their business and under-invest in one (or more!) other areas of life. That eventually leads to a predictable crisis. Relationships reach a tipping point, fitness and social life suffer, and physical or stress-related illnesses erode their quality of life. That has a knock on effect on their performance in business creating a vicious cycle.
Entrepreneurs can look at life as consisting of four significant areas that make up the entrepreneurial lifestyle:
- 1Wellbeing – physical health, fitness, mental health
- 2Relationships – marriage, friendships, family, community
- 3Wealth – income, investments, free cash
- 4Career – purpose, people, ability
For all of us, and especially for business owners, it is common to experience conflicting demands from each of these areas.
When we think about work life balance, it’s about building equity in these important areas of your life. This way you can consider the equity you have earned, for example with your family, before you start spending it. Over the long term, this pays dividends for both your business and personal life.
If you start from a positive balance, when an unexpected opportunity (or risk) presents itself, it’s easier to borrow time equity from other areas of life without creating an additional crisis. When you discover the strategy and mindsets to create positive equity in all areas of life, you can more easily draw short-term loans to attend to crises and opportunities as they arise.
A few important questions:
3. Set inspiring goals for your entrepreneurial lifestyle
What are your big goals? Typically entrepreneurs respond with those related to revenue, profit, number of employees, number of customers, product launches, valuation, exit date, etc. These targets provide crucial direction for the business and drive strategy and behaviour.
We wouldn’t dream of running a business without goals. How would you measure progress? And yet most entrepreneurs set few goals for other important areas of life.
4. Schedule time in your diary to create balance
Most professionals use their diaries to keep track of their business meetings and appointments. Recurring calendar meetings are a great tool to ensure consistency - one of the keys to high performance.
Importantly, these timely reminders also help to prevent decision fatigue, which can cause us to default to the status quo because it takes effort to make decisions. Remember that we make around 35,000 decisions every day – and as entrepreneurs, this will include countless choices that affect you and your team. Clearly, reducing the impact of decision fatigue is a big win.
These principles apply equally to our personal life as well as business.
5. Don't let your emotions sabotage you
Your emotional patterns determine your highs and lows as a business owner. Emotions define your daily habits; when you’re in your element and when you’re out of your comfort zone. Whether you react with poise, clarity, and direction, or explode and go to pieces under pressure.
Our emotions in the moment are governed by our unconscious emotional patterning. They are triggered in response to your surroundings and your internal thoughts.
When these patterns are activated at inappropriate times or intensity, our reasoning goes out of balance. Failing to learn how to command and utilise our emotions is a major source of, not just stress and anxiety, but also poor judgement and ineffective action. Self-awareness and the ability to harness our emotions are vital in maintaining motivation and developing resilience.
6. Believe in yourself and your business
If you’re reading this article, I’m sure that you have a strong sense of self-belief. Believing that we have what it takes to achieve our goals enables us to invest in the action needed to bring them to fruition.
What most don’t realise is that belief has thresholds. To achieve at higher levels requires higher levels of belief, meaning even the most ambitious entrepreneurs can be stalled by their lack of self-belief.
Beliefs act like switches, turning on or off levels of achievement. Without believing that you deserve to have the entrepreneurial lifestyle you aspire to, you won’t take the action needed to make it happen. More likely, you are on a path to uncertainty, defensiveness, and self-doubt. Each one of these emotions is a performance trap filled with stress and anxiety and overthinking
I recommend taking this quick test:
7. Overcome your fear of failure
You get what you focus on. Fear of failure causes us to focus on avoiding failure. This means you are not focused on creating success.
The milestones to building success are different milestones to those of avoiding failure. The former gets you to your destination. The latter can at best only stop your ship from sinking. Ironically, because fear of failure causes us to over-react it typically accelerates failure rather than avoiding it.
Of course, it’s important to have an awareness of the hidden rocks that could sink our ship, to navigate safe passage to our destination, but we can do this without fear. A balanced approach with an appreciation of consequences across different areas of life typically gets better results.
Resolving your fear of failure is a game-changer in achieving the entrepreneurial lifestyle. It will help you to work through the milestones to success in each area of life, develop resilience to handle the threat of failure, learn and grow and enjoy the journey.
8. Business knowledge and entrepreneur skills – know the difference
Business knowledge is important, but it is only one part of balancing the performance equation.
Imagine an entrepreneur who has the biggest pitch of their career to make. They know what they need to say. But when it comes to the crunch nerves get the better of them, they lose the train of thought, stumble over their words and crumble under pressure.
The problem here is not related to knowing what to say or even how to structure their presentation, but rather a psychological block. Presentation nerves, anxiety, or a fear of public speaking cause our bodies to act in a way that is more suited to our primitive fight or flight situations rather than giving a killer presentation in the 21st century. If this entrepreneur does not address the psychological blocks, no amount of presentation skills training will help them inspire confidence in the pitch.
The lesson here is to avoid over-relying on business knowledge alone. A critical part of developing entrepreneurial success is developing the Psychological strategies that enable you to grow your comfort zone and put knowledge into action.
9. Don't reinvent the wheel - who has the shortcut?
To achieve the entrepreneur lifestyle you aspire to, time is of the essence. If your primary learning strategy is trial and error, how can you possibly learn fast enough to seize the business opportunities as they appear and give quality time to your family and other pursuits?
Who is best placed to help you move with speed?
Over to you, how’s your overall entrepreneur lifestyle?
Do you feel your lifestyle has a perfect equilibrium, or would you like to grow your business and be more successful in your personal life as well?
If you've got it totally handled, that's fantastic. If you are looking for more ways to create your dream business and entrepreneur lifestyle, or how to get more done, check out these entrepreneur resources.