We're obsessed with studying the habits of successful people to figure out how to better structure our days and lives.
But how can you tell if your daily habits put you on the right track to success? The following 12 habits of successful young entrepreneurs should give you some easy insight you can apply to your own personal and professional lives.
Jesse Lear, founder of VIP Waste Services, asks himself a single question each day: "If I live every day the way I did today, what kind of future would I create?" He credits this question with helping him to constantly evaluate his actions and make sure they line up with his priorities.
Successful entrepreneurs have a habit of seeking new experiences. They get tired of doing the same thing each day, every day—that’s what opens their minds to the new experiences they draw on as they grow their companies. As an aspiring business owner, get in the habit of seeking new experiences. These things stretch your comfort zone and make you more open to the new ideas that will drive your success.
Phil Dumontet, CEO of Dashed, swears by this morning ritual. Each day he takes a hot-cold contrast shower, using it to clear his head and invigorate his body. He learned this routine as a marathoner, but now uses it daily to get himself going. It might sound crazy, but a contrast shower can help you start your day with a better mood and a heightened focus.
Patrick Ambron, cofounder of BrandYourself, sets himself only three goals each day. Then, he works on them with relentless focus to the exclusion of everything else—no matter how urgent the other tasks that pop up each day might seem. Doing so helps him avoid distractions and achieve specific, needle-moving results quickly.
If you want to get started with a similar habit, take another lesson from Ambron and set your goals at a weekly planning session. Every Friday, he meets with his leadership team to set the goals he’ll focus on for the next week.
The millennial generation is known for desiring work that is both fulfilling and meaningful; it’s one of the many reasons millennials make such great entrepreneurs. To be a successful business owner, you have to have a habit of enjoying helping others, as this allows you to find what makes your customer happy, produce it, and enjoy the rewards.
Not sure where to start? Find a cause that really ignites your passion and contribute to it in some way—whether with your time, your money, or some other resource. Let the excitement you feel carry over to the work you do every day.
Jon Reynolds, co-founder of SwiftKey, started out intending to outsource some the coding of his app. However, he quickly found out that it was worth the effort to develop software in-house. Since then, the company has focused primarily on building a team that can complete tasks with quality and efficiency.
Take a lesson from Jon and be thoughtful about the way you grow your company. Just because it seems like everybody else is outsourcing doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you.
When Jessica Scorpio and Sam Zaid came up with the idea of creating a peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace, there were plenty of naysayers. They were told that people would never be comfortable sharing their cars, and that insurance companies wouldn’t offer coverage. Instead of giving up, the team created a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway to offer the security of appropriate insurance. They didn’t take no for an answer—and you shouldn’t either.
All entrepreneurs face a time when they simply have to let go and launch into the unknown. Young entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to take this step—although, the most successful of them do so with a well-educated guess, having done their homework ahead of time. Learn from them by preparing to the best of your abilities, but not being afraid to step on the gas when it’s time to move forward with your business concept.
Having a connection with those around you is key for an entrepreneur—you never know who will be the source of your next idea. To stay connected, Brian Wong, founder of Kiip, rides public transit regularly. He considers it an important way of building his business skills, as his daily rides have provided him with plenty of new contacts, as well as time to study business-building resources he otherwise wouldn’t have if he was driving.
When he first started Everlane, CEO Michael Preysman would be the first to tell you that he had no idea what he was doing. However, he knew that he wanted to bring upscale shopping online and share the story behind each product. Over time and with consistent effort, he learned everything he needed to know—and in 2013, he had a revenue of $12 million.
Entrepreneurs who aren’t honest with themselves and their team about their strengths and weaknesses generally don’t succeed—or, if they seem to, it doesn’t last. Knowing your strengths helps you know where to focus, and knowing weaknesses helps you know where to hire. As an entrepreneur, you really can’t live without these two key pieces of insight.
Like many young entrepreneurs, Julia Hu got her start by noticing an opportunity. She saw that technology existed to record personal fitness data, but that most people had trouble knowing how to use it. She created a device that met that need and provided simple, easy-to-use tips for those who wanted to improve their health and wellness. Learn from Julia—and from successful entrepreneurs around the world who rely on this habit—and teach yourself to always keep your eyes open for your next opportunity.
Being a successful entrepreneur isn’t easy, but these 12 habits give you the information you need to see how others do it and how you can improve your own daily practice.