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5 Time Management Tips For Lazy Entrepreneurs

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Admit it, building a business is tough.

You have a million different things to do, and you must prioritize from a list as long as the Nile.

It drives you nutty sometimes, right? You complete one task and 10 more pop up.

You question your decision to take the entrepreneurial route to save you from the nine-to-five grind, especially now that you’re working twelve-hour days with no end in sight.

So you do the only thing you know how to do. You knuckle down and work even longer hours, clinging to the hope that suddenly everything will become easier.

Yet, you know that won’t work either. Fortunately, the solution to your entrepreneurial woes is more simple than you think — become a lazier entrepreneur.

Why the most successful entrepreneurs are the laziest

Society has always frowned upon laziness, but I have always seen it as a talent. The laziest people are normally the most driven and successful.

Think about it for a second, lazy people want to spend the least amount of time on any given job so they can have fun.

Which of the following scenarios represents less time expended?

  1. A client emails you asking for an invoice, but you put it off. You take one minute to read it. You spend five minutes pondering a reply over dinner, and you re-read the email before replying the next day.
  1. You read the email and send a reply instantly.

 

Ironically, which option represents less effort for a lazy entrepreneur? Which option allows you to grab drinks with your friends or watch a movie with your family without worrying about work?

So it’s time you became a lazy entrepreneur.

It’s time you worked less and became more efficient, and, most importantly, its time you gained the freedom that inspired you to begin entrepreneurship in the first place.

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” – Robert A. Heinlein

5 Ways to work less and do more

Time management is a skill, but you’ll only use it if you have a good reason to. It’s extremely easy to fall back into working long hours, especially when entrepreneurs seem to compete for the most hours worked.

Efficiency and results should be your only aim, not the length of time worked.

So before you jump headfirst into testing these tips, make sure you’re ready to smash your efficiency levels and work less.

It’s pointless if you don’t actually want to work fewer hours. If you get an ego boost by gloating about that 80-hour week, stop reading now.

But if you’re like me and want the freedom, wealth, and happiness you deserve, beat your ego with the following tips.

 

1. Cut work that doesn’t truly matter

This is one of the hardest things to do, but analyze how you spend your time and what results you actually want from that time.

80% of your wealth will come from 20% of your work, so cut wastage. Only focus on work that brings in the money you desire.

To do that, you must understand what your goals are.

As a founder, are you looking to increase gross profit, net profit, or spare time?

When you’ve chosen your goal, you must track and understand where you stand right now.

Which clients are your most profitable and easiest to work with? Once you’ve figured this out, ruthlessly cut the other clients that eat up your time and profit.

“Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker 

2. Do everything last minute

Let’s imagine you have to write a press release, and you only have one hour to write it.

I bet you would complete it on time.

I also bet that if you had twenty hours to complete it, you’d end up taking twenty hours.

You would spend your time collecting useless facts that you wouldn’t even use, and you’d write and rewrite until you reached perfection.

This phenomenon is based on the Parkinson’s Law where “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

So force yourself to do work at the last minute, and set a time limit to make sure you get it finished and don’t run over.

 

3. Train yourself like you would train a puppy

Do you know that every time you stop halfway through your work to grab a coffee or similar distraction, you are training your body to have bad habits?

Such actions are analogous to training your dog to sit, yet giving him a treat when he plays dead instead.

So if you want to keep your mind focused, you must train yourself like a puppy.

When you finish your work, you get a treat.

This will teach you to work harder and stay focused longer so you can get a break and grab that coffee.

Sounds a bit weird, but it works.

 

4. Stop wasting energy on pointless tasks

I woke up one morning, grabbed breakfast, and then picked up my phone and read two articles about a new live streaming app.

This led to me downloading the app and playing with it a bit.

Before I knew it, one hour had disappeared.

Has this happened to you?

I bet it has, so to avoid such pitfalls, you must have one aim only.

Seriously, only one aim!

It could be building your email list or designing your logo, but create one thing to focus on.

This gives you a reference point you can refer to when considering and doing other activities throughout the day.

You are an entrepreneur; your job is to succeed. So next time you pick up that new article, app, or social network, ask yourself, “How will this help me reach my dream? How will it help me reach freedom?”

Chinese-Proverb-Picture-Quote
 

5. Skip your meetings

That’s right, I said it.

Meetings are a waste of time and energy. Stop lying to yourself.

Do you truly need to go to the next meeting you’ve got arranged?

Would emailing the information be more effective?

Even better, could you use team collaboration software like Basecamp and just cut out all meetings?

Most meetings are just distractions and excuses not to get the critical work done.

So rethink your meetings.

Will they add to your productivity and efficiency or take away from them?

 

Its your turn

You started your company to build freedom in your life.

You built your website, brought your first client on board, and made that first dollar for one thing.

Freedom!

So stop working long, grueling hours, and start working smarter.

Start being lazy and efficient, and start using your time only on the things that matter to you and your goals.

This is your opportunity to radically transform the way you work.

Start living the type of happy, fulfilling life you truly desire.

 

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Pinki

    May 4, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Thanks for suggesting- Do everything at last minute.

  2. Chanelle

    Apr 28, 2015 at 6:26 am

    Love it! I agree with all except for #2. I hate doing things last minute because it causes me stress. Though I work well under pressure I like to prioritize my list and get things done as early and quickly as possible so I have time to revise if needed get consensus etc and strike it off my list. I do strongly agree with number 5. A lot can be accomplished by phone or email. Commuting to a meeting is sometimes pointless. Give me an agenda and if I have nothing to contribute or have no reason to be there, I will not go. I can do 10 times more things with my time than sitting in a meeting.

    • Edward

      Apr 30, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Chanelle,

      Glad you liked it! I agree number 2 can be scary and puts a lot of pressure on you. It was looking at it from an efficiency sense with the aim to stop you from procrastinating. Which is something I am very guilty of… Especially as game of throne has just come back on!

  3. Jiliane

    Apr 27, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I love this! It makes me feel less guilty about the way I do things.

  4. Doensie

    Apr 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    The problem with the second tip is that people tend to underestimate the time needed for any work. So, as you said, set a time limit, but perhaps it’s better to set it 19 hours before the deadline.

  5. Abuzar Tariq

    Apr 26, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Very helpful post. Doing things at last minute is so true i experienced this in my daily routine.

  6. Bethany @ Online Therapy and Coaching

    Apr 25, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you for this! Great suggestions! I look forward to the day when I can stop going to meetings and focus on what truly matters. 🙂

    • Edward

      Apr 30, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Glad you liked them Bethany,

      I think we are all looking forward to that day! But hopefully as companies are becoming more savvy with the use of collaborative softwares such as basecamp or Asana soon we can all work from the comforts of our own home!

      Hope they help 🙂

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Startups

How to Create a Winning Startup Culture

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Some time back, in my infographic on 51 Business Mistakes that most Entrepreneurs Make, I had outlined that one of the biggest mistakes is that you do not give any thought as to what you consider would be a great startup culture. And, without good policies or HR to keep things in check, the startup begins to develop a toxic business culture. (more…)

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51 Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Dream Startup

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So you’ve got an idea. You know it will work. And, it means the world to you.

You are an entrepreneur and you think you can rock the world with this one idea that matters to you the most. And, you set out to form the idea into a startup that you are going to nurture and develop into a blooming business in the upcoming years.

However, I don’t want to throw water over your dreams but, I do need to bring this “optimist” you into the hard and cold reality…….. the reality which says that 90% of all startups fail.

Of course, this can bring a great deal of uncertainty into your life and you got to be prepared to deal with it. You are also going to face a ton of challenges in your life which will force you to grow as an entrepreneur. But, the important thing is that you stick with it.

Of course, as Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s friend) once said, “All I Want to Know is Where I’m Going to Die So I’ll Never Go There”. No entrepreneurs want their startups to fail after putting in days and weeks of effort into it.

So, a lot of research has been put forward into knowing what does actually sabotage a startup?

Fortune reported that the single biggest reason startups fail was because they do not identify what the market wants before setting up their startup.

However, it isn’t as simple as that. An entrepreneur needs to perform a comprehensive business plan before he sets out with his business idea. Also, you have to know whether your business idea actually suits you or not. If it doesn’t then, you either you need to fine-tune yourself with your business idea or you need to change the business plan so that it suits you.

And, it is only after that, should you venture upon your startup.
Now, is that all? Of course not. The problem most entrepreneurs face when they first begin their entrepreneurial journey is that they don’t know what they don’t know.

That’s where they tend to make a series of mistakes that may cause great harm to their startup.

That’s why I scoured for successful entrepreneurs to provide me with information on what they think were the most common mistakes that startups do. Plus, I also got tips on how to avoid these mistakes.

You can check out the original article here: 70 Mistakes Startups Make And Tips On How You Can Avoid Them

Now, it’s your turn to do some work. Let me know what you thought of these mistakes and tips that entrepreneurs commit. Do you know of any other mistakes that entrepreneurs do? Comment below!

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8 Key Factors That Discourage Investors From Putting Money Into Your Startup

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Today’s ideas are tomorrow’s winning businesses. Ideas executed brilliantly and with proper investment bring your business success. That is how the world of business got the likes of Apple, Google, McDonald’s, Amazon and so on.

But why in spite of the brilliant and promising ideas at the core of their business, many startups fail to attract investors? Why do investors hesitate to put their money into some startups? Well, investors have reasons and only by deciphering these reasons we could get hold of some deterrent factors that hold them back.

Let us explain some of the vital factors that prevent investors from putting their money in the startups below:

1. Inefficiency or Absence of Leadership Qualities

Inefficiency is the most significant deterrent factor for pulling the success of most startups. This can also be referred to as the lack of leadership qualities. Investors always want to make sure that they don’t lose their money through a company that has an extraordinary business model but no efficient and skilled business leader to make it successful. When fetching investment from investors, you need to offer a clear prospect and detailed plan of how you are going to achieve the goals.

2. Lack of Trustworthiness

An investor puts his money on a venture purely on the basis of the credibility and trustworthiness of the business. This is why besides having a sound business plan with clear objectives, you need to establish the integrity in terms of the security of the investor’s money and how the fund is going to be invested to give results as per business plan.

If an investor has a feeling that the startup may not have enough customers to fulfil its financial liabilities or if it finds that the business is hiding some information, it may further push the trust of the investors down. Total transparency and establishing the faith of the business brand are crucial for finding investors in favor.

3. Lacking Experience in Business Management

You have a great business idea backed up by a sound business plan and solid trustworthiness based on your background, but you have zero experience in managing a business. This is a serious reason for an investor to deny making any investment in your business. An investor cannot put his money just to allow you trying and learning your management skills the harder and riskier way. Uncertainty is the single biggest turn-off factor for any investor and lack of managerial experience is synonymous to that.

4. Business Model is Not Sound Enough

You have a business idea, some efficient, competent and experienced professionals as leaders, the great stamp of trust and pretty much everything that make a company look promising. But what about your business strategy and business model? Are they sound enough to take on the market competition and challenges for business growth? Well, this is what investors are most interested in.

In most cases, a business model is what makes an investor think twice and even take a backward step from investing in a startup. After all, your business model and strategy will decide how your business and products will be able to withstand competition and become victorious.

5. Taking Investors for Granted

This is a big mistake on the part of many startups. Just by becoming confident in the potential and the soundness of the business model and prospect, a business can consider getting investors on board requires just a little effort and time. But in reality, getting investors on board is the toughest thing a business can think of.

This is why without proper and meticulous preparation, it would be foolish to approach investors for your business. Most investors receive hundreds of such emails and a similar number of approaches through other means and they coldly just let them pass. This is why you need to send them very detailed proposals backed by strong recommendations and referrals.

6. Targeting the Wrong Investor

Every business has a target customer base, right? Not all customers are interested in every product in the market. Similarly, not all investors are interested in your business. Investors based on their prior experience and industry exposure, put their money in businesses that they know like their own palm of their hand.

So, targeting an investor who has no interest in your business will only drain your energy and bring you unnecessary frustration. When you are seeking investors for your software startup, don’t approach someone investing in real estate business.

7. Non-Realistic Proposal for Funds

Investors normally come with huge experience of your industry and so they have a clear idea about the fund requirements for your business startup. Moreover, they already have invested in other ventures or have gone through many proposals. Naturally, they have every bit of estimate already in their mind. So, any proposal claiming a lofty and unrealistic amount will only face rejection.

This is why it would be wise to become meticulous about your estimation of the required fund and calculation of various cost factors. Have meticulous details about every facet of investment backed up by breakup of the costs. Only when you can convince them with correct estimation, investors can take interest in discussing the matter further.

8. Make Sure Your Product Solves a Customer Problem

Will any investor put money in building a simple calendar app now? No, simply because such an app idea has no value for the end users now. Will an investor put money in a product that has already been outdated and has no use? No, no investor has to even go through such a proposal for dismissing them.

Well, to fetch investment, your product must be thoroughly customer-centric. It not only has to solve a problem but has to deliver some competitive value in comparison to similar products in the market.

Obviously, finding an investor for a new business is not an easy task, considering the huge competition that businesses need to deal with. But, if your business idea is unique and you fill all those requirements correctly as mentioned above, finding investors may not be as tough as it sounds.

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5 Must Have Branding Tools for Your Startup

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Your brand is more than just the colors on your website. And for startups, it’s important to create a strong and memorable brand from the beginning if you want to stand out from the competition, scale your company, and find your ideal customers faster.

Here are 5 simple tools that will help your company avoid branding mistakes, take charge of your visual identity, and set a solid foundation for future growth:

1. Graphic Design Software

The word “design” doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Before deciding on your startup’s logo, colors, designs, and overall tone, consider working with a brand strategist who can translate the core ingredients of your startup into a visual identity that speaks to your target market.

Brand strategists have expertise in the psychology of colors, shapes, textures, and words, and they will work with you to make sure that your branding appeals to your target audience. Once you have those basics of your brand established, there are several tools that can help your company refresh and maintain your visual identity.

The absolute best graphic design tool for non-designers is Canva. While the free version has a lot of functionality, the paid plans offer more customization such as the ability to import your exact brand fonts and colors.

But if your company handles all of your design in-house, you will need something more advanced than Canva. In that situation, I would recommend Adobe Creative Cloud to startups who work on their designs in-house, as it includes top-notch design software like Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, InDesign, and more.

“Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room – Jeff Bezos

2. Visuals & Creative Imagery

Have you ever wondered where your competitors get those beautiful branded photographs that end up on their website? While it’s possible that they worked with a photographer, it’s also likely that much of their imagery comes from stock photos.

Here are my recommendations on the exact places to purchase stock imagery to improve your company’s branding:

  • Creative Market – A treasure trove of quality visual imagery where you can buy anything from stock photos, to branding mockups, to social media templates (Facebook cover photo, anyone?), to custom fonts… the options are nearly endless.
  • Adobe Stock – Beloved by designers, and the platform offers tiered pricing plans based on your image needs and download quantity.
  • Pixels – If you’re on a tight budget and just need to grab an image or two for a blog post, you may be able to find what you need on Pixels – which is great because all of the photos and videos on Pixels are free!

3. Social Media Scheduler

You’re a leader. You’re an entrepreneur. Your staff, board, funders, and admirers depend on you to make big decisions, lead the ship, and plot the vision towards your company’s future. You don’t have time to stare at a blank screen every day wondering what to post on Facebook.

By using a social media scheduling tool, you can sit down for a few hours, schedule batches of content, and schedule the dates and times when it will post to your accounts over the next couple of months. Then, once the content is posted, you only need to worry about responding to comments and engaging with your customers. 21st century efficiency at its finest.

Popular social media schedulers include Buffer and Hootsuite, both of which include free and paid plans. Not sure what exactly to post? Check out these social media ideas from influential businesses. And if the idea of writing and planning months of content still overwhelms you, our next tool will help you stay organized and on-brand.

4. Editorial Calendar

When it comes to your content, it’s time to step it up a notch and start thinking like a media outlet. Every piece of content that you put out as a company, whether it’s an e-mail blast, blog post, social media post, podcast, or video, needs to be aligned with your brand.

Each major magazine maintains an editorial calendar which outlines the overarching theme for each of the upcoming 12+ months. By establishing a monthly content theme in advance, they create a framework to generate and organize their ideas.

Consider creating an internal editorial calendar that will guide your startup’s content over the next 6-12 months. The software tool you use to maintain your editorial calendar isn’t that important — I like to use Trello, but you can also create a simple numbered list in Google Docs or Microsoft Excel. You may be surprised at how quickly the creative juices flow once you have an editorial calendar in place.

“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” – Paul Rand

5. In-Person Networking

Offline efforts count towards your branding too! And if you run your entire startup from behind your laptop screen, you miss out on ample opportunities to build your business offline and gain local referral partners.

If you’re new to in-person networking, start by visiting Meetup.com or Eventbrite.com where you can browse for events in your area. Think outside the box when it comes to selecting events to attend. For example: If you’re a chiropractor, it makes sense to attend local holistic health meetups. But you could also attend a travel event and meet digital nomads who don’t yet realize that a chiropractor can help them recover after long plane rides.

Remember that you’re not at the networking event to make instant sales, you’re looking for referral partners and connections. Don’t be the person who tries to shove your sales pitch down everyone’s throat upon meeting them.

As you can see, there are many simple online and offline resources that can help you spruce up your branding, reach new customers, and pique the interest of your target market. If you take branding one step at a time and start with the tools above, you will be well on your way to creating a brand that your customers will cherish and remember.

Have you used any of these branding tools before? Are there any additional tools that have helped your startup’s branding shine? Share your thoughts below!

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