There is a difference between theorizing and doing. While there are plenty of books, videos, and podcasts available for rising entrepreneurs, no amount of preparation can prepare you for the struggles of the journey. When done correctly, entrepreneurship tests the core of who you are as a person. Your beliefs, effort, and skills come into question and while the resources available give you the blue-print of what to do, you still have to get it done.
The truth is, taking action is simple, but it’s far from easy. At every level, there is a repeated cycle of learning and applying with the key to success being consistency. Fortunately, no matter what situation you face, applying these four strategies, will help put your plans into action over and over again.
Let go of possibility syndrome-
One of the biggest setbacks to entrepreneurship is getting caught up in the world of possibility. With all of your experience and varying interests, there are numerous tasks that could make you money. In fact, there are so many options that planning becomes difficult. Let go of this erratic thinking by organizing your ideas into short and long-term goals.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t solely exist in the world of dreamers, they plan and execute over and over again. To avoid analysis paralysis, start by picking one immediate goal to execute (how to execute will be explained in strategy two). As you grow, you may be able to juggle multiple goals, but whenever you are stuck, start with one. As opportunities and ideas arise, ask yourself if they will move you closer to your goals. If the answer is no, you know what to do.
Focus your activity-
Once you are clear on your main goal, taking action becomes easier. This is where dreamers separate from doers. To move into action, consider these steps:
- Set a deadline with checkpoints along the way.
- For each weekly checkpoint, establish concrete trackable goals.
- Expert Tip: Trackable goals require specificity. This means instead of saying “apply for grants,” consider a specific number. In this case your goal could be “complete two city grant applications by Friday.”
- Mark off exact days and times within each week to work on your tasks.
- Expert Tip: Treat this time like you would a meeting with your favorite celebrity; don’t miss it ever.
It’s important to note that setting and keeping deadlines are the heart of your business. Your self-discipline and action directly impact your production. That said, always be gentle with yourself. There are days you will get a lot done (and still feel unaccomplished); there are other days you may have wanted to do more. As you’ll see in strategy four, both days are necessary. The secret is to balance out hitting your weekly goals.
Evaluate and adjust-
Evaluation is what sets advanced entrepreneurs apart from the beginners. Anyone can make a plan, but it will only work if you revisit it. At the end of each week, checkpoint, or deadline, look at what you accomplished. One way to objectively view your work without being overly critical is to make a list of “glows” and “grows.” For the glows highlight the work you completed, and for the grows, consider the areas you fell short.
If you missed a goal, use that as insight. Missed goals could be a sign of poor planning. If you don’t have set times to accomplish tasks, they get lost in the shuffle of the day. Sometimes your goal could be too ambitious. Whatever you determine, go into the next week with adjustments based on your evaluation. Missed goals should never be considered failures; everything is teaching a lesson or giving insight.
Incorporate silence and rest-
Believe it or not, recharging and stillness are as important to the journey as taking action. Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely endeavor bombarded with expert tips and outside suggestions. On a regular basis, you will need to recharge your brain, energy, and spirit. This prioritization of rest and stillness will result in clarity and increased productivity. Many successful entrepreneurs have a morning meditation routine, a mental health app, or a place they go to recharge. Find your peaceful practice and incorporate it into your regular routine.
Final Reflection: It’s often said that insanity is doing the same action over and over again. The same can be said of those who repeatedly recite their dreams without taking action. Moving from dreamer to doer requires lots of growth, clarity, planning, executing, and shifting. Don’t get caught up in the world of possibility. Get clear about one goal and work from there. Every journey starts with the first step.