Finding Your Flow: 5 Tips for the Start-Up Entrepreneur
So you’ve done what most people won’t and decided to bet on yourself! You’re stepping out into the fabulous world of entrepreneurship where you can wake up whenever you want, schedule meetings on your time, and if you want to take Wednesday off, you can absolutely take Wednesday off! You imagine a world of prosperity and financial success where your earning potential is unlimited. Give yourself a round of applause… what you’re doing is MAJOR!
Here’s the other thing, entrepreneurship is not always glamorous, and it is NOT for the faint of heart. Arguably, because you are your own boss, you have a greater chance of failure. The risks you take are higher, and to be successful, you truly have to commit to playing the long game. You have to learn to weather the storm by pulling out a surfboard when the waves pique! You must become a master at ebb and flow.
Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a race, and there are a lot of fine details that can deter you from continuing if you have not set realistic expectations nor prepared for the inevitable hiccups that come with being your own boss. Businesses that endure and see continued success do so because they have flow. Flow is when your daily operations and systems interact smoothly to support your organization’s mission, objectives, and sales goals (because we're in this to make money). While there are a million articles that can help you with the monstrous tasks associated with large scaling your business and incorporative, systematic flow, I want you to consider some of the smaller, possibly overlooked ways you can establish healthy systems and be prepared to surf when the waters are shaky.
1. Create and Separate Financial Systems
Many Americans are financially illiterate. Generally speaking, we have a consumerist mentality when it comes to money. When looking at financial disparities and wealth gaps, it’s easy to assume that much of this is because we simply aren’t taught how to manage money properly, but this can be detrimental to the entrepreneur. Essentially, YOU are your bank! You write your checks, and you have to pay your bills from income that you generate for your company.
Within this, we have HIGHs and LOWs. As an entrepreneur, you may hit gold one month, making $20,000, and you may barely make $600 for the next few months! Trust me, been there, done that! When you have those astronomical months, it’s so easy to feel like you’re on top of the world, ballin’ out of control! Do not get comfortable! If you have not set up your financial systems, this will be detrimental during those months when you have little to no revenue coming in, and you’re thinking it was all good just two months ago (cue Bobby Schmurda music)!
Do yourself a favor and go to the bank TODAY! Set up a business account with an attached savings account. As soon as you get money, put it into your business account! Then, separate your money in some fashion similar to this: 20-30% into savings for taxes; 10% towards a Roth IRA and/or investment account; 20% to reinvest into the business, and 40-50% for your income. You'll also break your personal income down in a similar fashion. You will need to automate these systems, so put your transfers on a bi-monthly schedule. These percentages will vary based on your personal systems, so collaborate with a financial adviser for more support.
2. Pay yourself a Salary!
Please hear me loud and clear! When you have those months where you’re rolling in the dough, it is easy to forget that that money will need to sustain you during your slower months. When you’ve closed a $10,000 deal, you WILL want to treat yourself. Why wouldn’t you? You deserve it! However, until you’re bringing in $10,000 deals every few days, you have to be mindful that entrepreneurship is an unpredictable game. Decide on a monthly salary for yourself, and STICK to it! If you want to splurge, take only 5% of your additional earnings to do so, once or twice.
All extra money needs to be divided between your other accounts. You will be grateful that you did. Again, automate your payment systems. You may consider putting yourself on a payroll (and your employees, if you have any) which includes direct deposit. Banks typically have signup bonuses for creating payroll accounts, so take advantage. Have your salary directly deposited into your personal account at increments each month.
3. Create a schedule that WORKS FOR YOU!
You are an entrepreneur for a reason. You didn’t want to report to a boss. You didn’t want someone dictating your time and schedule. And that is awesome… you did that! When you work for an organization (outside of self), you have a pretty set schedule. You have been given tasks, projects, deadlines, objectives. You have strategic planning and implementation meetings. You work with other departments to create a systematic flow. It’s hard, but it works because there’s an organized system in place. You dedicate and commit yourself to these systems because you want a paycheck, right? Well, I need you to keep that same energy when it comes to your company!
Just because you’re the boss, it doesn’t mean you get to bump off! If you’re not accountable (consider acquiring investors to hold yourself accountable), you will ruin your company! Create a systematic flow. Research your company’s needs and designate a schedule for your projects, time allotments for each, etc. to ensure you’re not just surviving as an organization but that you’re thriving. You work for you! Respect the boss! Until you can acquire talent in various departments, you are the PR specialist, daily operations manager, creative director, resource acquisitions specialist, marketing specialist, administrative assistant, sales person, and the accountant! You will need to designate days for each task during the month and/or week. For example, take the 10th of each month to conduct your financial statement analysis...and every Friday to reconcile invoices!
If you need more support with this, sign up for our mailing list to get tips and stay up to date with tools to support your growth.
4. DO NOT SEEK APPROVAL
This is a tough one because although we’re risk takers and proverbial warriors (I mean, who really CHOOSES to walk through the fire in pursuit of one’s dreams other than a person who borders as narcissistic with an obsessive belief in himself- insert semi-sarcasm), we’re all susceptible to group-think and comparing ourselves to others. I do this most when I’m in a downswing with my business, binge watching incredible, motivational videos about the habits and rituals of the successful, trying to amp myself back on track. I am grateful for motivational speeches because they have propelled me and opened my mind in dynamic ways, but sometimes, positivity overload causes me to feel horrible when my methods don’t align with theirs. I find myself feeling more anxious and falling further behind in self-pity than if I’d just taken a moment to listen to myself! It was my creative vision that got me here, right?
I’m not saying don’t watch these videos because they truly carry me far, but it’s important to separate your own voice from the masses. Your road map is uniquely crafted for YOU! Let me give you an example. I am a creative. I create educational programs, develop enrichment curricula and strategies for success for small business and non-profits, and even write award winning grants; however, although I wake up at 6am every morning, blossoming with energy, I am not mentally ready to work until 1pm. And between 6-10pm, my brain is FIRED UP! My neurotransmitters are dancing while connecting creative concepts...when I get caught up in videos that say I need to wake up at 6am, be ready to do my meditations and get to work within thirty mins of opening my eyes to be successful, I feel like a total slacker. I spend my 6am-1pm hours moping about how much of a procrastinator I must be because I like to have a sit down breakfast, watch Frasier, and take a drive before I'm ready to work at 1pm....
When I silence the noise, I remember that I became an entrepreneur to work in synchrony with myself. I created this journey to set my own rules and my own path! So, if that means working from 1-10pm and BANGING it out, then that’s my JAM!
Remember, as an entrepreneur, you didn’t just come to the party. Baby, YOU ARE THE PARTY. You are innovative, creative, fearless, and you’ve taken a chance on you! You set the rules! You made the game, and you need to allow that to carry you the rest of the way. It’s the only way you’ll ever be one of a kind. You’re already in the top ten percent of thinkers...so keep creating :)
5. Trust Yourself!
Let’s face it, the majority of your friends, family, acquaintances, etc. are not built to be successful entrepreneurs. They don’t believe they can pursue their dreams. They are afraid and stifled by the idea of failure or the idea of instability, any rational person would be, but to be an entrepreneur, you have to think and behave in disruptive, irrational ways to create the impossible. People in your circle may be comfortable in their lane, and THAT’S OKAY! That’s their lane, but please understand that you’ll come to a time in your career where you’ll go beyond where the others in your current circle (including parents) have been. You are now the trailblazer. You must now explore, find the path, and return to report back.
During this journey, you cannot seek approval or advice from others unless it’s from someone who has accomplished what you seek to accomplish or is on a similar journey. You will have to become comfortable listening for your own guiding voice and following your own commands. Do your research. Find a community that is similar to and aligns with your thinking and build from there. You will need to be okay with not feeling the need for validation from your circle. Remember, this is a long-term journey and the people with the most advice have, typically, barely even taken the first step in the marathon! Trust yourself!
There are so many other things to share and ideas to explore, but I hope this offers a great starting place. If you’re interested in learning more, please set an appointment for a consultation or coaching session by filling out the contact form on our website: www.sjonesbooksandeducation.com
While you’re here, sign up for our email list to learn about e-courses and workshops!
We look forward to connecting with you soon!