successful entrepreneurs

As a startup founder, you may find it difficult to keep up with what successful entrepreneurs do. But I believe it’s what successful entrepreneurs don’t do that really defines them. Successful entrepreneurs never fuss around with busy work.

Cocky influencers and media may have you believe you need to wake up at 4am, drink raw egg yolks, plunge into an ice bath, do some morning yoga, set 10 goals for the day, smash out your day’s work, go to the gym at lunch, meditate, write in your journal, chuck in some “me” time and go to bed just a tad after midnight. In truth, you need to give as much thought to what you eliminate, as to what you add to your day.

What successful entrepreneurs never do

Successful entrepreneurs never fuss around with these 7 things:

Answer every phone call

While most phone calls these days have some sense of urgency, few are actually important to the receiver. When you answer your phone every time it rings, chances are you waste time with telemarketers, bots, scams, tire kickers and your most time consuming (but often not highest paying) clients. When you are working on something that’s most important to you and a phone call is related to that task, then it’s important.

Alternatively, if you’re a sales professional and your primary function is to close inbound sales calls, then inbound phone calls are important. Similarly, if you are an entreprneur and you are the one who deals with this function, some phone calls may be essential. However, applying the 80 20 rule to your clients may help you decide which phone calls will pay dividends and which will waste your time and energy.

Treat email like a to-do list

Successful entrepreneurs set their own goals and work on projects that are most important to them. Therefore, if you want to be successful, you need to set your own agenda. When you treat your email inbox like a to do list, it is always someone else setting your agenda. Maintain a seperate calendar and to-do list, from your email.

Do everything, for everyone

When you launch a startup, you need to get crystal clear about what you do and who you do it for. I know I have previously written about the importance of focus and of defining your target market because you can’t be everything to everyone. You need to decide what you can do well (or be the best in the world at) and develop that skill until you are.

Check and respond to notifications first

In my book, Time to Start, I recommend you never check your social media and phone notifications first thing of a morning because these apps and devices are designed to attract and keep your attention. Of course, the cost of paying attention to your phone and social media notifications is your focus. What could you focus your time and mental energy on instead, if you were not distracted by apps, influencers and marketers whose job it is to get and keep your attention?

Fit more in their daily routines

At the top of this post I outlined a quite detailed daily routine, including morning and evening rituals. While so many gurus talk about adding elements to your morning and evening routines, few talk about what you need to subtract. Remember, when you add something to your day, it’s at the expense of something else. So, if you plan to introduce a new good habit, give some thought to what you’re pushing out of your life. Can you find a way to replace your bad habits with your good or your good habits with better ones? If not, maybe don’t fix what aint broke.

Focus on what they can’t control

When you choose to focus on something you can’t control, you waste your efforts. Successful entrepreneurs focus on what they can control, rather than all of the bad news in the world that’s beyond their influence right now. Maybe you’ve heard of the mantra, the three feet world. After wider reading, I’m still not sure if this originated in the climbing world or in the Navy Seals but either way Focus on everything that’s three feet around you and you have some control over right now.

Pick every fight

As a startup founder, it’s usually good to stand for a cause but you need to decide which battles are worth fighting for. Not every battle is one your business should devote time, money and resources to despite what mainstream media tells you. Choose a cause that aligns with your business mission and values, instead of chasing a “cause of the day” on social media. For short stories of successful Australian entrepreneurs who have effectively used cause based marketing to promote their business, check out Marketing Without Money.


What you don’t do

I believe it’s what entrepreneurs choose not to do that defines them just as clearly as what they do. As a startup founder, being selective with how you invest your time is a must because time is your most precious resource. Check out our free short video course to make every day more productive as a solopreneur or micro-business owner.


Leave a Reply