Imagine yourself as a marathon runner. You’re at the starting line and the gun sounds, you sprint as fast as you can for the first half mile of the race. You now have a sizable lead on the other runners, but you’re out of breath and your jogging pace has slowed to a crawl. With another 25.5 miles to run, it doesn’t look like you will hold your lead for much more than another mile. What went wrong? Now apply this situation to your business startup. Do you see the connection?
When it comes to starting a business, especially if you are doing most of the work on your own, you need to learn to pace yourself. Sprinting out of the gates will only get you so far before you feel burnt out. Realize that starting a business is more like a marathon than a sprint. You need to conserve your energy, expend it slowly, and keep your head in the game.
I’ve often found myself ready to start a new business idea and I jump right out of the gates in a mad dash to get my idea off the ground and out to the public. At first glance, this may seem like a good idea. You obviously want to get your product out there before anyone else does and the faster you get it to the customers, the faster you have the chance to profit. But those of you that have taken this approach will know that it usually doesn’t work out that way. Instead, like the sprinter, you find yourself burnt out and tired and you’ve lost your motivation to keep up with the project. Sadly, I’ve had this happen to me a number of times.
Alternatively, try to be like the marathon runner and remember the following:
1. Keep Your Ambition In Check
What I mean by this is that most, if not all entrepreneurs have plenty of ambition. It’s one of the qualities you need to succeed. What you need to learn is to control that ambition and not let it cloud your judgment of what you are capable of. Oftentimes, you will take on way more than you can handle and run the risk of running out of time to complete them all. Stay focused and clear headed about what you can actually accomplish.
2. Divide Your Projects
Instead of saying I want to complete Business X (I’m guilty of this), divide Business X into 20-30 smaller tasks and say you want to complete Task 1, 2, & 3 by the end of the month. Focus on those smaller tasks and to some degree forget the overall project. By focusing on the smaller tasks you can still get work done, but not over-extend yourself and run the risk of becoming burnt out. The large project can be daunting, a mountain and can kill ambition. Recently, Michael Nemeroff, founder of RushOrderTees said his favorite quote is one by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right!” and that is key to understanding ambition. It is much easier to make yourself believe that you can complete simple tasks rather than completing THE big task.
3. Consider Outsourcing
It’s definitely a good thing to want to get your business off the ground as quickly as possible, but as I said it can be a dangerous trap to fall into if you push too hard and burn yourself out. If getting your business off the ground quickly is crucial to its success then consider outsourcing some of the work to free up time for yourself. Oftentimes outsourcing your work will get you higher quality work than you could have done while freeing up your valuable time to focus on Task 1, 2, & 3!
Outsourcing may not only mean to outsource your work but you may consider to outsource your place of work especially if your business is digital. You can take advantage of cheaper cost of living elsewhere in the world and reinvest the saved money to your business or just enjoy a higher quality of life. You can take advantage of working from South Korea and benefit from amazing internet speeds, cheaper cost of living outside of Seoul and a new experience and perspective. If you go this route, do not neglect your taxes as you will need to file for U.S taxes in South Korea apart from the local taxes you will need to pay.
4. Relax! Relax! Relax!
You might think that taking a day off or even a few hours off to lie in front of the television is just pure laziness, but it isn’t! It’s being smart! By giving yourself time to relax, you are giving your body and mind time to unwind and recharge. Sometimes a break away from all of your worries and work can be just what you need. Give yourself a day or two away from your projects and when you are ready to come back to them you will find that you are more focused than ever before.
Remember that working your fingers to the bone can only work for so long. Eventually you will either become burnt out or you will lose interest in your project. If you are serious about creating a business with longevity, remember to pace yourself!