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Mind Your Own Business

Three essential decisions every entrepreneur needs to make.

Entrepreneur is a buzz word. It’s sexy. Being on your #hustle and committed to the #grind is respectable. Being busy sounds good. The to-do lists entrepreneurs rattle off in casual conversation induce admiration and envy. There are thousands of articles online about starting a business and paving your own path. It’s the American way. Innovation is inevitable. Why not be among the wealthiest names in the world, responsible for revolutionizing communication and technology? If that’s too mainstream for you, open a cupcake boutique or a spa for puppies. Whatever the vision, there is room for you. There are a million messages a day encouraging (forcing) you to believe that you should be working harder and sleeping less. Working for “the man” is so 90s, and being your own boss is the best way to spend each day. Right?

Not necessarily.

The average American makes 35,000 decisions a day. Entrepreneurs make significantly more decisions daily and each choice impacts their bottom line. Here are three decisions you should make before starting or continuing to invest time, money, and tears into that brilliant business idea.

Are you ready to sacrifice stability for a wild, unpredictable journey?

Clocking in and clocking out causes a free spirit to feel caged and panicked. But having no time clock at all, or waking up without a schedule, can cause anxiety. Most people raised in America have been programmed to wake up each day and do what they’re told. Their days are scheduled for them by an educational system, supervisor, or a board of directors. If you work for a corporation, the CEO is answering to someone. She’s most likely trying to please and appease investors and shareholders. Entrepreneurship, however, is a collection of small choices no one else is obligated to help you make. If you succeed, yay! You did it. If you fail, the weight is yours to carry. There’s no one to blame. Most people cannot handle that kind of pressure which is why so many small businesses fail within five years. Before starting a business, make a plan. Not just a business plan. Make a plan to utilize time more strategically. Make daily goals to measure growth and progress. If reading this paragraph terrifies you, take an extra breath before adding CEO to your byline.

Do you suffer from FOMO?

As an entrepreneur you’ll miss intricate and special moments that mean so much to the people you love. Many entrepreneurs lose track of time and get lost in a pile of research due to a nagging deadline or an upcoming conference. When you’re the only employee, delegating isn’t a thing. Birthdays parties and wedding invitations don’t pause for a year while you work out the kinks in your business. People are going to keep living, growing up, graduating, and getting engaged. Can you handle not being in every group pic? Will you find the tenacity to tell friends no even if your absence weakens the friendship?

There are dozens of articles about prioritizing. It’s easy to decide to meet a midnight deadline over a casual wine Wednesday with the girls. But what about the annual destination trip to the Caribbean? Your big break may be a networking event scheduled during the week your whole family goes on vacation. You can’t afford to miss an opportunity to share your vision and attract support. Missing out becomes the norm for an entrepreneur who is hungry and adamant about building a business that’ll sustain the ebbs and flows of her industry.

How strong is your faith?

Entrepreneurs have to be resilient. That’s obvious. Every business book worth reading emphasizes the importance of knowing how to get back up after each and every inevitable failure. But what some great reads don’t mention is the correlation between meditation or prayer and the sustainability of a business. People wake up with big ideas every day. Not all of those people have what it takes to work for themselves. People who plant those big ideas and watch them grow are often deeply rooted in a spiritual acceptance that everything is working together for their good. Scientists have proven that prayer measurably changes circumstances for people facing adversity. When business suffers or entrepreneurs struggle through a unprofitable quarter, the strongest survive by doing more than shifting strategy and hiring help. Sometimes, the foundation of a brilliant business is unfailing faith.

There are 35,000 decisions that you’ll make today. Starting a business may be one of those decisions and if that’s the case, prepare to be in love with the adventure. Don’t be derailed by the drop when the bottom falls out. The ride will be wild. The jolts will shock you and require faith and tenacity. But, if you cling to the reasons you started, you’ll survive. Then, it’ll be your turn to share wisdom with people like you who dare to travel the unpaved and unpredictable path to entrepreneurship.

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More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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