5 Secrets to Success from a Self-Made Entrepreneur

People often ask me for tips and tricks on how to grow their business. I wish there were five secrets I could tell them that would magically turn their business into a raving success overnight–that’s something I’d love to write about. Unfortunately, a lot still comes down to hard work and doing the right things for a long time. 

However, there are some tips that’ll definitely help you over time. In this article well look at:

  • The benefits of asking ‘why’
  • How to fit exercise into your day
  • Why your business can grow without you

1. Keep a Business Mindset 

Mindset is an important tool for a successful businessperson. 

A great strategy that many business owners use to keep their mindset right is to concentrate on your ‘why’.

Why are you starting a business? 

Sure, owning a successful business will earn you a lot of money, but that’s not your why. Having a successful business will also give you some extra time. Again, that isn’t your why. 

Why do you want that extra money? Why do you want that extra time? 

The ‘five whys’ is a problem-solving tool that many use to get to the core of any issue. It’s pretty simple, you just ask why a problem happened, and then ask why that happened, and so on until you get to the crux of your problem–usually five times is enough to get a decent idea. 

  1. Why do you want to own a business? I want a business that can give me a flexible schedule.
  2. Why do you want a flexible schedule? So I can take time off when I need it during the day.
  3. Why do you want to take time off? So I can spend more time with my family.
  4. Why do you want to spend more time with your family? So I can play with my kids when they’re young and pick them up from school when they’re older.
  5. Why do you want to spend more time with your children? Because my parents had to work a lot to pay the bills and I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with them. 

Do you see how different this is to just “wanting a flexible schedule”? Finding your why is a great mindset tool that’ll keep you focused on what’s important to you. 

2. Staying Focused 

There’s a lot of distraction as a business owner. If you’re not focused, you can fall down a side-path that takes six months of your time and leaves you with nothing but a missed opportunity. 

Think of how many budding entrepreneurs out there hop around from idea to idea, spending a few months on each but getting nowhere. 

Instead, you need to focus on what’s important for your business. Don’t worry if you make a bunch of beginners’ mistakes. They happen, and you eventually stop making them–that’s why they’re beginner mistakes. If all you do is constantly try a business idea for six months and then hop to another one, you’ll make those beginner mistakes every time you try something new.  

Instead, spend that time doing what’ll get meaningful results in your business. 

Focus is incredibly hard, and success is a slow process. But make sure you stick with it and keep an eye on what’s important. 

3. Stay Healthy

As a business owner, you need to be physically fit to have the mental clarity to make the best decisions. 

When it all comes down to it, physical health is because of three major factors.

  1. What you eat
  2. Exercise
  3. Sleep

It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation with exercise. You know that keeping healthy is so important, but a business owner’s schedule doesn’t fit daily training or exercise too well. Heading to the gym during the day can take a few hours once you take in travel.

To compensate for this, many business owners have their own workout spaces at home. This is a brilliant strategy because you can fit smaller training sessions into your day when you have the chance–or have one lengthy session without travel. 

Or, you can go fully equipment-less and take on light activities like walking, meditation, and yoga. Whatever you do though, make sure you’re keeping active for a little bit every day. 

With food, eating healthy is a lot easier said than done, especially if you’re working from home– having your workspace that close to the fridge is just asking for trouble some days! 

To make eating healthier easier, you should try limiting the unhealthy food you buy at the supermarket. 

Finally, sleep is an often underlooked part of health. Your mind and body both need recovery from a busy day and sleep is how your body recovers. 

You should look to get a minimum of seven hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. To make it easier on yourself, try these tips on getting better sleep.

  • Avoid using hand-held devices after 8 pm, or whatever time you choose
  • Make sure that your last activity before bed doesn’t involve a screen
  • Keep a consistent bedtime and waking time

4. Outsource When Necessary

Some of you may look to build a business that’ll eventually run without them. Others may want to be hands-on with their business every minute of every day. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.

Regardless, your business won’t really start growing until you outsource aspects of it. For some that’ll be a hard thing to do. That means you’ll have to give up control on aspects of your business.

If you’re struggling to find things to outsource, I’d suggest reflecting on what you’re spending your time on and taking action from there. Start with the tool, Rescue Time, which sits in the background and keeps track of how much time you spend doing certain tasks. 

Don’t just track your time for a day. Look to do a week or two at the very least. Ideally, though, you’d want a month of data to look at. The more days you keep track of, the better your data will represent your work habits. 

Anyway, unless you’re severely mismanaging your days, the tasks that you have to spend the most time doing will be what you excel at–they’re the core of your business. Look to outsource the tasks that you don’t spend a lot of time doing when you begin outsourcing. That will keep the core of your business stable while giving yourself more time throughout the day. 

Another strategy you can use while outsourcing is to outsource the tasks you aren’t strong in. Every business owner has parts of their business that they excel at, and others that they ‘get by’ in. Most of the time, those areas we struggle at or don’t enjoy doing are a great task to outsource. 

That way, you’ll have more time to do the tasks you love doing. 

Whatever you do though, just make sure you are responsible for the main offering from your business. That offering and how you do it is what sets you apart from your competition. 

5. Have a Vision

It’s important to have some mental image of what you’d like your business to look like down the track. A good way to do this is to write your ideal business down with a vision statement. 

Basically, you want to answer the question ‘where are we going?’

When writing your statement, make sure you try to do some of the following: 

  • Talk about business finances (to earn enough to be sustainable)
  • Discuss reputation
  • Mention service quality standards
  • Avoid jargon and hard-to-understand language
  • Make it short
  • Describe the ideal outcome for you and your business
  • Avoid numbers like “making a million dollars a year” etc…

If you want to see a mission statement in action, here’s one from a small tech startup called Microsoft… you may have heard of them. 

“Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

Microsoft’s statement is easy to understand and you can see how it fits into what they do by supplying computer solutions to businesses and individuals. 

This can also apply when simply creating a niche website. Without a proper vision and focus, it’s easy to lose your way.

Final Thoughts

To run a successful business you’ll need to do the right things for a long time. If you stick to the tips in this post you’ll be on your way to running a successful business. 


Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

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