5 Keys to Maintaining Entrepreneurial Sanity

On January 27, 2011, in Business, Guest Posts, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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OTR friend and  co-founder of College Hunks Hauling Junk, Nick Friedman, explains several ways entrepreneurs can hang on to their sanity.

As an entrepreneur, maintaining balance and sanity while setting, meeting and exceeding personal and professional goals can be astruggle. I have been fortunate enough to pick up a few simple rules and techniques that allow me to avoid fatigue and maintain my focus. Co-founder of College Hunks Hauling Junk, Omar Soliman and I recently published our first book, Effortless Entrepreneur, in which we illustrate the path we took to reach entrepreneurial success.

Entrepreneurship is an adventure that requires discipline, willpower and intelligence.  In our book, we describe 10 business commandments we followed that guided us during the 5 years we have spent developing College Hunks Hauling Junk.

Here are what I consider to be the top 5 keys  to maintaining my entrepreneurial sanity:

1.  Never sacrifice health, family or friendships for business reasons. Everyone should sign off on this before embarking on the wild voyage of entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurs tend to stay “on the clock.”  Most stress comes from what we call “small business-itis”– feeling overwhelmed and inferior to other businesses — usually triggered by financial or operational issues.

2.  Mistakes are problems only if you don’t learn from them. Don’t set mistakes aside and hope they won’t happen again.  When something fails, we try to discover why, how we can prevent the mistake from being repeated, and anticipate similar issues that could arise.  Thomas Edison said of his failures, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

“You can’t do it alone. Find exceptional people and put them in a position to succeed.”

3.  Create effective systems to keep your business on track and enable individuals to succeed. Many small-business owners don’t understand that people don’t fail.  It’s the system, or lack of a system, that causes failure.  The ideal business can take the least qualified employees and put them in positions to do the most productive work.

4.  Work ON the business from the outside, not IN it. A great entrepreneur builds systems to run the business as if it were a machine, and stands over it instead of being ground up in it’s gears.  A business owner grows the business.  A self-employed person works in the business to generate income.

5.  Develop staff, client, and community loyalty. To generate any sort of employee loyalty, a company culture must be created where employees feel smart, valued, and important.  A company culture is the heartbeat of any organization.  At College Hunks Hauling Junk, we believe our employees come first.  In addition, we believe in wowing clients.  You want to leave them marveling about the level of service your company delivered from start to finish.

I believe that habitually following even just one of these practices will radically transform your abillity to maintain balance and focus in your life, both personally and professionally.  Keep in mind that you can’t do it alone.  Find exceptional, intelligent and passionate people to fill your organization and put them in the position to succeed.

Then, you won’t have to barely keep your head above water, you’ll just float.

About the Author

Nick Friedman is the Founder and President College Hunks Hauling Junk.  He grew up in Potomac, MD  and attended Sidwell Friends High School. Nick, along with classmate and friend (now co-founder and CEO) Omar Soliman, had the idea for College Hunks Hauling Junk.  After college, Nick took a job as a research analyst with the International Monetary Fund.  Although he worked the business evenings and weekends, he soon found the office job mundane and within three months emailed Omar ready to pursue College Hunks Hauling Junk full-time.  What began as one beat up cargo van has turned into over 33 franchises across the US, a fleet of over 50 trucks, 30 corporate employees and over 100 employees system-wide.

Connect with Nick: Effortless Entrepreneur | Web | Twitter | Facebook | E-Mail