The new year is a great excuse to turn the page on your entrepreneurship adventure; where you do what you did last year, but better. Like any adventure you probably had your fair share of challenges and troubles, but hopefully accomplishments and successes you can be proud of were plentiful too.
I speak to many entrepreneurs and one particular skill that seems to be missing from a majority of young entrepreneurs is their ability to integrate fun into the daily grind. Arguably, this skill is important for entrepreneurs because being an entrepreneur comes with large amounts of stress and frustration.
Even when things are going well for a founder (e.g., you’re working hard, thinking of the next step, closing important deals, managing people and marketing, etc.) you can forget the basics that keep you balanced and sane.
The importance of having fun is often discounted by new entrepreneurs; an afterthought likened to college students forgetting to eat as they cram for final exams. Therefore in the year ahead, dedicate some of your time to having fun as an entrepreneur.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Do things differently.
If you have been working in your industry for more than five years, you probably know how things are done. Yet, what is the sense in doing things the same way others do it?
Just because something works for others does not mean it will work for you. Stretch your creative muscles and do things differently, present your company in a different way, try out alternatives to anything your company does to see if it works better.
Richard Branson, Joy Mangano, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Jobs are just a few great examples of entrepreneurs who disrupted their respective industries. They succeeded by taking risks and standing out from the rest; they simply did things differently.
Founder of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson is a prime example of how important having fun is in business. He manages to combine his love for adventure with his brand. Branson suggests, “At Virgin we have always believed that if you have fun and do good then success will come.”
2. Stop being busy.
How often do you find yourself saying that you don’t have time for a new experience or time to discuss a potential project? If your day is full, then you are probably focusing too much on being busy, and not productive.
Often, entrepreneurs get caught in the rigmarole of doing time consuming tasks which are not really important, such as decorating the office, and decline opportunities to network or collaborate (i.e., activities which will help their businesses grow).
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg is well known for his time-saving “dressing the same way” routine. The uniform approach might only save minutes in his day, but it goes to show that if you collect various minutes that are wasted (e.g., making photo copies, checking Facebook, answering emails, etc.) you will quickly find ways to make more time for fun and productive business tasks.
3. Learn how to let loose.
When you own a business it’s easy to sometimes forget the people around you, like your friends and family. But this is a mistake. These people are your support group.
They are there to help you in difficult times and celebrate your successes too. Having fun as an entrepreneur is much easier when you have a healthy social life outside of the office.
In the same way you schedule your office time, schedule personal time. For example, plan to go kayaking with your friend next month, have a coffee with your business bestie, go to the gym with your spouse and so on. Break the monotony of daily routine and embrace flexible working, working different hours on different days.
Meet friends for lunch during the workday. Check emails on a slow day from the comfort of a local cafe. Most importantly, have fun!
This article has been edited and condensed.
Sergio Zammit, creator of The Fun Entrepreneur, has been setting up businesses since the age of 16. He has succeeded in some, failed in others and learned to fail better, while succeeding in others yet! Sergio believes entrepreneurship is challenging, but so is any adventure. He enjoys sharing tips on the fun side of this adventure with entrepreneurs who are struggling and those thinking of becoming an entrepreneur. Connect with @thefunentrep on Twitter.