Recently, I announced I quit my job and my reasons for doing so.
When you tell people you’re quitting your job, they picture you lounging around the house all day with a head full of rollers, a cigarette dangling from the side of your mouth, wearing a dingy pair of smelly, pink pajamas.
That’s not how it works.
Those who’ve made the leap into entrepreneurship develop a new appreciation for the saying, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”
Now, more than ever, it’s absolutely critical I stay productive.
One of the first things I learned during my freshman year at the University of Central Florida was this:
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
While listening to The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale, I learned that Dorothea Brande once said,
Act as if it were impossible to fail.
From those two insightful quotes, I concluded that failure can be avoided if you act and if you plan. You need an action plan.
What I have here is an action plan for my action plan. A list of rules I’ve committed to following.
Rule #1 - Somehow, some way, each day, interact with a fellow human being. I know you don’t like people, but locking yourself up in your apartment all day will lead to both insanity as well as Rickets. Who’s gonna respect the advice of a bowlegged, crazy person?
Rule #2 – When you notice doubt and fear creeping into your thoughts, remember this:
Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt. ~ William Shakespeare
If you have trouble internally motivating yourself, there’s no shame in turning to the experts for inspiration. Listen to a motivational speech by Tony Robbins or Zig Ziglar. Study Dan Miller’s No More Mondays.
Rule #3 – Recognize failure for what it is. Sure, you’re pretty awesome. Maybe you’re the most awesomest person on the planet, but you will fail at some things. Sleep easy knowing that failure is only feedback.
Identify what you did wrong, what you should’ve done differently, and what you’ll do next time to accomplish your objective. And then…keep it moving.
Rule #4 – Realize that perfectionism cripples success.
Endlessly tweaking blog posts, videos and other content doesn’t benefit anyone.
Quit perfect. It’s an unnecessary obstacle. 90 percent perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100 percent perfect and stuck in your head. ~ Jon Acuff
Rule #5 – If you feel overwhelmed by all the work you have to do, stop!
Write down ONE thing you want to get done, create a list of action items for it, and work your plan step by step. Remain singularly focused on that one thing, and clear your mind of everything else. Who says it’s got to be all or nothing?
Rule #6 – Stay sexy. A healthy Shawanda is a happy Shawanda. Why? Because even when things aren’t totally going your way, you can look in the mirror and honestly say, “At least I still look good.”
Rule #7 - Focus on the positive.
You can think good thoughts. You can think bad thoughts.
It’s easier for a human being to think negatively than positively. That’s why only five percent are successful. ~ Earl Nightingale
Regardless, it’s important to remember you have a choice.
Rule #8 – When you shut down your computer for the night, you have four options:
1) Write. Doesn’t matter what you write. Just put some words on a piece of paper.
2) Read a book. Not a magazine, not a blog post, not Facebook status updates, an actual book whether it’s electronic, paper, or inscribed on stone tablets.
3) Listen to a podcast. Feel free to document what you learn as well as any content ideas you have while listening.
4) Sleep. If necessary, use an ASMR video to help you relax.
Rule #9 – Spend at least 15 minutes or so every day tidying up. Your apartment is your home/office/sanctuary.
Pursuing your dreams required you to make serious financial sacrifices. As such, you’ll have to give up little luxuries you were accustomed to. That can take its toll. You don’t want to feel like a filthy, poor person, do you?
Rule #10 - Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people.
People are like elevators, they can take you up or they can take you down. ~ Zachery Tims
Rule #11 – When you’re suffering from writer’s block, stand up. Literally, stand up. Our human brain evolved to function while physically in motion.
The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get into the office. ~ Robert Frost
Rule #12 – Whether online or offline, be unapologetically self promotional without being spammy.
Rule #13 – Track your progress.
What gets measured gets managed. ~ Peter Drucker
Rule # 14 – Don’t let business cards go unanswered. Nowadays, there’s simply no excuse. Either connect with the person on LinkedIn, send them a Facebook friend request, or follow them Twitter. And stop beating yourself up for not sending an it-was-a-pleasure-meeting-you email to everyone you meet.
Rule #15 – No multitasking allowed UNLESS you’re combining two mindless tasks. Such as washing dishes and listening to a podcast. Keep a notebook handy so that you can capture ideas and interesting facts learned.
Rule #16 – Make your activities time based. For instance, instead of creating tasks like “write one blog post” say “write for 2 hours”. Instead of saying “read 50 pages” say “read for 1 hour.” Certain activities have a funny way of stealing time from other things you need to do.
Rule #17 – Don’t feel inadequate or envious because of what others in your field have accomplished.
Look at competition as a great source of inspiration. ~ David Novak, CEO of Yum Brands
Rule #18 – Assess the effectiveness of your social media interactions. There’s a fine line between online branding and wasting time.
Rule #19 – Accept defeat. Give it the old college try and then quit. And then come back to it. And then quit again. And then come back to it. And then give up and hire someone else to do it! You’re not to become frustrated, forsake every other task on your to do list, sacrifice your relationships, or get fat trying to figure out how to do something that should be outsourced.
Do what you do best, and let others do what they do best. ~ Unknown
Rule #20 – Make time for education. You must strike a balance between learning and doing. Don’t learn so much you never do. Don’t do so much you never learn. Set aside time to learn every day. During this time, think about ways you can effectively use what you’ve learned.
Learn a little.
Do a little.
What rules would you create for yourself to effectively accomplish your goals as an entrepreneur?
This blog post was featured in the Yakezie Carnival, Zombie Apocalypse Edition at 101 Centavos.