As far as business success goes, few can argue with the tenets of hard work, grit, resilience, and tenacity. It’s a winning formula that has become the backbone of 40-hour work weeks and the near-obsessive dedication to getting the job done.
In the quest of doing so, most entrepreneurs forget that all these come at the expense of your ability to be creative, to sustain productivity, and to make sound business-decisions—all of which are critical to the longevity of your business. In fact, statistics say that nearly half of startups survive past the fourth year. That’s a whopping 44 percent of businesses who fail—despite putting in the hours and setting aside the need to pause, breathe, and take a much needed day off from the hustle.
Why? Megan Yelaney thinks it all boils down to self-care.
On top of being a business coach, Megan is also a self-proclaimed “super aunt,” an avid traveler, a wife, and is even poised to take the stage in her quest to make her passion for musical theater live on.
As an entrepreneur, the 32-year old native New Yorker’s main passion lies in helping female entrepreneurs start and scale their own businesses online. A background in musical theater allowed Megan to build resilience against rejection and negativity that budding entrepreneurs tend to hear and experience a lot when they’re starting out. This ultimately led her to start her own Network Marketing business in 2012, before shifting to focus on health and wellness coaching, and eventually focusing on life and business coaching.
Juggling all these successfully goes back to an understanding that self-care is essential for all entrepreneurs. And considering all she’s done and achieved, it would be wise to pay attention to what she has to say. So let’s hear it straight from Megan herself.
How did you get started?
When I first joined my network marketing company, I became very passionate about it because not only did I get such great results, I saw such a deep transformation in my own life because of it. It came naturally for me, and at the time, I was performing professionally in musical theater so I saw it as a way to supplement my acting income.
As much as I loved what I was doing, I wasn’t necessarily rollin’ in the dough; and I knew I was meant for more. So, I decided to start my own business and go all in, which resulted in me doubling my income and hitting the six-figure mark in 2016.
Can you tell us more about the link between business success and personal health?
It is everything.
When I first hit six figures in 2016 with my old network marketing company, my approach to business and strategy was anchored on prioritizing my health. I know a lot of people say that and pay a lot of lip service to this idea. But if you’re being honest, taking time out for yourself isn’t necessarily celebrated in most work cultures. If you announced that you’re only going to work four times a week, instead of five so you could have an extra day to focus on getting more rest or exercise, the instinctive reaction you’ll get is—Why? Can’t you hack it in the fast-paced, competitive field you’re in?
And that’s unfortunate because it’s a complete fallacy.
In my experience, truly taking the time to focus on your health opened up more opportunities for business and financial growth. I focused on solidifying a non-negotiable morning routine—one that didn’t let me look at my phone or laptop so I could focus on just me. I started intermittent fasting and tracking macros and balancing my nutrients. I made sure I prioritized sleep; rest and recovery was a must. I carved time out for personal development through reading or listening to podcasts, when I wasn’t working or coaching. All these helped me level-up my mindset, gave me better perspective, helped me understand what my clients needed to achieve long-term success.
Entrepreneurs are busy though—between everything they have to do, how can they even fit in self-care?
If you can take the time and prioritize your email, your clients, your paperwork, you can find the time to think about yourself as well. Yes, all these are necessary for running your business. But behind every email sent,, every client call you have to answer, every report you have to read is you. Why shouldn’t you prioritize the very person responsible for getting all these done? Why wouldn’t you manage your time to make sure a little bit is left for you to recharge so you not only get the job done, you get it done right?
In my case, I make it a point to wake up early so my first few hours are dedicated to self-care. My workdays are so much more productive when taking the time out to do this. I’m more efficient and focused, which allows me to get work done faster.
Taking that much needed “me time” in the morning gets me excited to show up for my business, and reminds me why I love what I do. I recommend sitting down on Sunday nights and scheduling in your workouts and movement for the week, and planning out your meals. This will also help you have one less decision to make on a day to day basis, making your life that much easier (and healthier).
To that end, what are some lifestyle changes that you recommend entrepreneurs make?
Lifestyle changes don’t always have to be massive, earth-shattering shifts. I always say start off with something small…something manageable that the idea of doing it every day and making it a part of your daily routine won’t overwhelm you. For example, try drinking half your body weight in ounces or adding a slice of lemon or lime in your water to make it more interesting and enjoyable. Or what about taking three to five minutes in the morning before you jump out of bed to meditate and do some focused breathing before you grab your phone?
From there you can try adding movement to your day. I’m not saying you have to train for a marathon, but at least thirty minutes for stretching or a short leisurely walk can do wonders for your health to counter how much time we entrepreneurs spend sitting behind computers, and rarely move our bodies. This will not only help you health-wise but for me, it gets the creative juices flowing.
Any words of advice on how to ensure success in business?
There are so many things that contribute to me being able to achieve my goals, but I think one of the best advice I can give is to focus on yourself. You’re the primary person driving your success—taking the time to ensure good health physically, mentally and emotionally makes you better equipped to handle the ups and downs that are inherent to a growing business.
Try not to compare yourself to people who you think are doing things better or faster. We are all on our journeys and you’re very likely already on the exact path that you should be on to begin with, forging your own path to success.