Tricks of the Trade: What you need to know to make it in the startup scene!

So, you want to be an entrepreneur. You want to own your own business, work your own hours, and make your own rules. Congratulations for even thinking about it.

It can be extremely rewarding, but it’s hard! As an entrepreneur, you’ll soon find yourself working grueling 18-hour days. Finding the balance between work-time and chasing your dream is the ultimate goal for most entrepreneurs. It’s true that if you “do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life,” but successful business owners also know when to turn off the phone and close the laptop. Here are three sure-fire ways to stay the course and enjoy everything entrepreneurship has to offer.

Create a schedule and stick to it

Successful people do things in an orderly and organized fashion. For example: waking at the same time every day, setting aside time for meals and only checking correspondence at scheduled times. Work communication time into your schedule and devote 30 to 50 minutes to answer all correspondence rather than answer every ping as they come. Don’t fall for the multitasking myth; schedule your day and stick to the plan. End your day with a recap and an arrow. In other words, carry over unfinished tasks to the next day. At some point you need to loosen your proverbial tie, kick off your shoes and end your day. You wouldn’t be happy burning the midnight oil for an employer, so don’t do it for yourself, unless it’s mission critical.

Practice saying “NO”

Trust your gut. Your workload and your past experiences are your best indicators that if it doesn’t feel right, just say “no.” It is much easier to revisit the issue in a few days and renegotiate to a ‘yes’ than explain why you can’t complete the task or keep up your end of the agreement. When you say ‘no,’ you respect yourself and your time as well as the person you are saying it to. In the end, a definitive “no” is better than a fake “yes.”

Don’t try to make your projects too perfect

Startups involve a lot of moving parts. Your idea will change and evolve as you develop it. Spend time thinking about what you want to achieve and how best to do it, but at the end of the day, just get started. If you use too much time trying to perfect the idea before you go for it, you may never get it off the ground. Once your project has the legs, get it up and running – even if it isn’t pretty yet.

Follow @derekrundell on Twitter for more great tips on #startups!

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