We often talk about the signs that suggest someone will become a successful entrepreneur. People who dive into the moment, founders who have a great sense of their niche, and business owners who excel at building communities and teams — these are just a few success indicators that are often discussed.
But even people born with entrepreneurship in their blood have bad habits they have to unlearn in order to be truly successful. Do you need to unlearn any of these bad habits?
1. Bad habit: ‘Tomorrow’ thinking
Whether it’s hitting the snooze button a few times every morning or leaving your most important tasks until tomorrow day after day, if you aren’t committed to taking advantage of right now, you are unlikely to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Successful business owners assess what needs to happen immediately and take action; if they wait until tomorrow, it’s often likely that the opportunity will have passed.
Unlearn this habit by searching for the source of your procrastination. Do you need to go to bed earlier? Should you reorganize your to-do list to make sure that nothing is getting put off regularly? Do you have too much work on your plate that you should unload to a freelancer? Once you know why you’re procrastinating, you can focus on how to move forward.
2. Bad habit: Consistently undecided
When you’re presented with a choice, what do you do? Do you assess the pros and cons of your options and then make a decision, or do you spend hours and days trying to decide what’s the right move?
Successful entrepreneurs are called upon to make definitive choices on a regular basis. Leaping before you look isn’t a good strategy, but neither is spending days dithering.
Unlearn this habit by practicing choices. It sounds silly, but spend some time learning what works best for you. Creating pros and cons lists or talking through options with trusted team members are two methods that can help you figure out the right way to move forward.
3. Bad habit: Passing the buck
If you spot a problem with a project, or even a piece of litter in the street, do you stop to fix the problem, or do you think “that’s someone else’s job”? When you are a business owner, the buck stops with you; there’s no option to ignore the problem and hope that someone else will plan to save your business from disaster.
Unlearn this habit by paying attention to your thoughts and project management. If you see a problem, make a note of it. Either resolve the problem or delegate it to someone else within your organization. It doesn’t always have to be your problem to fix, but you don’t get to pretend it’s not there.
4. Bad habit: Seeking perfection
Striving for high quality is crucial as an entrepreneur. You need to focus on getting the details right, on making sure that everything as it should be, and that your products and services ultimately work as intended.
But there’s a myth of “perfect” that haunts anyone who does creative work. You cannot make anything perfect for everyone, and it’s unlikely you’ll even make it perfect for yourself. Ultimately, perfectionism becomes another kind of procrastination. If you keep from shipping your product, then you won’t have to experience the moment where it isn’t good enough.
Unlearn this habit by deciding what good enough means. Understand the difference between small details that some customers will appreciate, but many will not. Talk to trusted advisors about when enough is enough.
5. Bad habit: Multitasking
Do you sit in your office checking your email while you hold a conference call, with music playing in the background? If so, stop!
Multiple studies have shown that when we attempt to multi-task, we overwhelm ourselves, and don’t pay enough attention to anything. We are less efficient when we try to do more than one thing at once.
Unlearn this habit by blocking out focused time for each daily task. Schedule time to check email, run that conference call, and to work on major projects. If you find that you need additional stimulation to focus, consider sitting on a balance ball, or playing classical music in your office.
Rewarding yourself for your focus by getting up and walking and stretching for a few minutes can help you stay fresh and productive throughout your day.
What habits have you needed to unlearn to become successful as an entrepreneur?
This article has been edited and condensed.
Margarita Hakobyan, founder and CEO of MoversCorp and Solopreneurs.co, is a serial entrepreneur, creator and a business consultant. She is a business woman, wife and mother of two with bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah with a concentration in International Studies and a Masters Degree also from the University of Utah with a degree in International business. Connect with @margahakobyan on Twitter.
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