prentrepreneur

[ prē · entrepreneur ]     noun

1. person who sleeps too little and drinks too much caffeine on a journey to change their life forever

Prentrepreneur

10 Life Changes for Developing an Entrepreneur Mindset

Part 1 of any transformational process is to think about what you’ll need before you begin your journey, in terms of tools but also mindset. To start your own company, you want to create an entrepreneur mindset.

Psychology shows us that, despite yearning for change, we instinctively value security over freedom. It’s hard-wired into our psyche. This explains how we spend years in soul-sucking jobs we hate.

But, if you are willing to take a risk and push past that innate desire for safety, you can use that entrepreneurial thinking to create a life on your own terms, opening up possibilities, opportunities – and, ironically, greater security.

This part of the process can be really motivational – where you get to redesign areas of your life, creating something that builds joy and creativity. Most importantly, something that gives you control over your financial future. Here’s also where you get to junk the things that aren’t working for you and begin new and better habits. When I started out, I discovered I really wasn’t prepared. At all! Along the way, I changed many of my habits, which have unexpectedly changed my life. Here’s the list I wish I could have read when I started out.

DISCLAIMER

First of all, I’m not a doctor. All content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider before implementing any of the ideas in this article.

1.

Nutrition

When you start your own business, you’ll probably work harder than you’ve ever worked – but don’t worry, it’s 100% worth it. You are going to need energy and lots of it. If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, now is the time to make some changes.

  • Cut the sugar. It’s the No.1 way to change your waistline, and without eating less – just eating differently. Stopping completely is incredibly tough. I’ve been a sugar addict all my life, so I should know. But stopping for 14 days clears some of it from your system, cutting some of the cravings. So, tell yourself you will only do it for two weeks and then return to the sweet stuff. However, you may never go back. I found that the sugar highs and crashing lows were gone, my mood became more consistent, I had more energy, and my belt felt a little looser. That feeling can be even more addictive than the sugar.
  • Eat more vegetables. And eat them first on your plate. You’ll get more nutrients, and the fibre will lower the insulin spike created by the carbs on your plate. And if you’re going to have a dessert, have it straight after your meal, for the same reason. That’s according to this short but great book by Jessie Inchauspe.
  • Achieving success doesn’t mean you need to ditch all snacks – just swap them for healthier ones. Nuts are really filling, or try a few squares of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa).

This is another great book for a deeper dive.

And this book contains some extraordinary facts about ultra-processed food (UPF). For instance, eating 10% more UPF can mean you’re 25% more likely to develop dementia.

2.

Exercise

  • Kettlebells. Get one. I do 75 swings (3 x sets of 25) three times a week, and it takes five minutes. I’ve found it to be the best use of the 80/20 principle. It burns calories, builds core strength and stability… and stores easily at home.
  • Walk. Get one of those watches or rings, or use your phone to track your steps. I do at least 10,000 a day – no excuses. The rewards for energy, focus, mood, and positive attitude are great (not to mention creative thinking). Studies reveal that taking regular walks can change brain structure, improving concentration and memory.
  • Walk (or cycle) everywhere you can. Take the stairs, get off a stop early, and do anything to get in a few extra steps each day. They add up. If you can exercise without noticing or losing any time, even better. So many successful entrepreneurs credit walking for breakthrough moments or that million-dollar idea. Steve Jobs was renowned for taking walking meetings.

3.

Sleep

This is now my No.1 daily pursuit. Sleep affects everything. Read Matthew Walker’s excellent book on the subject and prepare to be amazed. For example, he says that a lack of sleep increases sugar cravings by 40% and increases your chances of catching a cold even further.

  • It’s a game-changer. Getting 8 hours of sleep as often as I can elevates my mood, concentration, how long I can work, and much more.
  • Having a good evening routine is key: I try and go to bed at the same time every night (including weekends), no phones an hour before bed, and try not to watch things on TV that are going to make me angry (I had to stop watching the late news).
  • I have blackout blinds in my bedroom (we now know that your eyes can sense light through your eyelids), and I block out my noisy neighbours with a white noise machine.
Technology to help get someone into the entrepreneur mindset

4.

Productivity

Get organised. If you’re not already using something similar, these are the tools you will need.

  • Do yourself a favour and go digital. I took photos of all my paperwork (it took forever), and now everything is in one place and completely searchable. There are lots of apps that can capture information, but I still use Evernote. It has a great phone app, web clipper, document capture, and search capability. And it’s been around for over a decade, so it’s not about to run out of startup funding and close, like so many new apps.
  • I preferred writing down to-do lists on paper for a long time because I remembered them better. But I got fed up being places without my notebook. Of all the many (so many) apps I’ve tried, I love Things 3 – it’s incredibly simple and easy to use, looks elegant and has a one-off cost.
  • Find a calendar app you like, or just use Google’s calendar. I miss my paper diary, but having it on my phone is so much more practical. I use Fantastical, as it’s sleek and easy to use, even though I don’t love it.

5.

Declutter

Much has been written about minimalism and the power of living with less – knowing something’s worth vs its value.

  • Just getting organised and having a thorough clean-up can be very cathartic. You can’t beat the feeling of having a clear desk and knowing that everything’s in order. It can get you into the right mindset for work.
  • Going one step further, Marie Kondo’s classic is a great primer on working out what’s really important to you – and what’s not.
  • If you do decide to make a big change and cut your work hours and, therefore, your budget, know that there is also an upside. I had to downsize to a tiny out-of-town apartment when I quit my regular job. I dreaded it, but found that relinquishing so many of my possessions was like lifting a weight. As they say about belongings, “instead of you owning your things, they tend to own you”. Without them, you’ll feel lighter, and that there are suddenly more possibilities. (Maybe now you could live abroad and save a ton of money while you get your venture off the ground.)

6.

Reading

Read read read!

This has been one of the biggest changes I’ve made. I didn’t think I had time to read until I realized how much time I was watching TV and doom-scrolling social media. You’re about to run your own business and wear many hats. There will be things you don’t know – and things you didn’t even know you don’t know.

Reading = learning. Having a growth mindset means reading to find new business ideas and learn new entrepreneurial skills. New ideas and ways of doing things will also develop your critical thinking.

  • I love the feel of physical books, but I realise now that all my previous highlighting and writing in the margins of books were pointless. I’m never going to see them again. Now I read everything non-fiction on a Kindle, and everything useful or interesting that I highlight goes directly to one place.
  • And that place is Evernote… via Readwise. This is one of my favourite productivity tools. Whenever I make a Kindle highlight, it automatically sends it to a folder in my Evernote app, beautifully formatted and organised by book title. Now, if I ever want to use that great quote from a book, I know exactly where to find it. And if I can remember part of the quote, I can even search for it, too.
  • There is so much content online in blogs, newsletters, magazines and more. When I see something interesting, I send it to Reader to read later. And, just like with Kindle, I can highlight interesting information, and Readwise will automatically send that to Evernote, too.

7.

Vow of Silence

Most experts will suggest you tell friends and family about your plan. That way, you have ‘accountability partners’ to hold you to your goals when things get tough. But I’m going to tell you the exact opposite. In my experience, silence is golden.

One thing you will definitely need is motivation. And, because you’re going against the grain and doing something that most people won’t ever dare, some of those people are going to tell you you’re crazy – even members of your own family. Actually, they can be the worst. Loved ones want what’s best for THEM – and that’s you being safe, secure and away from potential harm. You’re taking a risk, and most people don’t like risk-taking. They will worry about you and only see the dangers. Others will find it unsettling, or even threatening, that your potential success might subconsciously highlight their own inaction or missed opportunities in life. This sounds mean, but many people secretly (or maybe entirely subconsciously) don’t want you to be more successful than they are.

You don’t need negative feedback right now – in fact, you need the opposite. So, only tell your plan to those you know will encourage and support (or even help), like your partner. For now, nobody else needs to know anything. You don’t need that pressure. If it takes longer than you planned, there’s nobody to constantly ask, “Have you done it yet?” If the first iteration of your plan fails, nobody needs to know. Everything going brilliantly? That’s the time to reveal all. I didn’t tell my family what I was doing until my earnings had surpassed my old salary. Did I feel guilty? Sure, but I’m really glad I did it that way around.

8.

Learning to Fail

You can’t experience success without failure. Sorry! There will be times you fall flat on your face. But that is when you learn. So, in a way, you can’t lose… if that makes sense. You either succeed – or you learn something valuable for next time.

You’ll need to take some risks (calculated risks), which means that not all of them will come off. Businesses fail. (Every successful entrepreneur has had a business failure in the past.) But you’ll find that the more risks you’re prepared to take, the more opportunities will open up – which is the key to entrepreneurial success.

Oh, and that’s another thing: luck! When you make it, people will tell you how lucky you are. But here’s the thing about luck – the more you put yourself out there, taking risks, the luckier you’ll get.

9.

Logo

Every guide to starting an online business I’ve ever read says that the last thing you should do is get a logo designed. The theory is that you’re wasting time on the bells and whistles when you should get on with ‘doing the work’. Business cards fall into the same category. A waste of precious time.

However, once I decide on my business name, it’s always been the next thing I’ve done. And that’s because when I’ve got a logo, suddenly it all feels real. Like a huge shot in the arm, it’s really exciting to see a professional-looking brand that you’re really happy with staring back at you from your laptop. I’ve found that to be incredibly motivating.

And on a practical level, once I have a logo, I then know what my brand colors are and what font I’m going to use online… which means I can now visualise my website better. This one action always fires my imagination, constantly triggering ideas and little design thoughts.

Also, hiring a designer forces you to focus and hone exactly what your brand is, what it stands for, and what its personality is. You will be asked. So, is it quirky, is it corporate, does it have a sense of humor, and who is your target customer?

Nearly all my logos were designed on Fiverr for less than $30 each.

10.

Workspace

If you can, create a little space for yourself, that’s yours and only yours. Ideally, you don’t have to share it – it’s where you can be you and do what you need to do. You’ll be spending a lot of time here, so you want it to be an area you like. Even if space is tight, having your own little desk or table where you can have your pens, notebooks, and papers is important. Take some time to set it up, and then splash out on your favorite stationery or whatever makes you feel good.

Natural light will give you a huge boost, especially when the sun shines. So, try to be near a window. If you have a choice, think about what your view will be. I had to move my desk to the back of our apartment because I’m easily distracted. Watching the passers-by in the street outside was as distracting as the TV!

If you can, create a little space for yourself, that’s yours and only yours. Ideally, you don’t have to share it – it’s where you can be you and do what you need to do. You’ll be spending a lot of time here, so you want it to be an area you like. Even if space is tight, having your own little desk or table where you can have your pens, notebooks, and papers is important. Take some time to set it up, and then splash out on your favorite stationery or whatever makes you feel good.

Natural light will give you a huge boost, especially when the sun shines. So, try to be near a window. If you have a choice, think about what your view will be. I had to move my desk to the back of our apartment because I’m easily distracted. Watching the passers-by in the street outside was as distracting as the TV!

TIP

Find the thing that gets you into work mode. For me, it’s a treat to say well done for getting off the couch: I watch a YouTube video of someone who inspires me. It reminds me why I’m doing it, and it’s something I enjoy which gets me to my desk.

The Bottom Line

Finding the time for some of these changes can feel tough. So, start by really analysing how you spend your time each day. You’ll find things you can lose from your schedule. If you’re reluctant, just ask yourself how much you want this change. For me, the big one was watching TV. It’s an easy habit to fall into after a long day, but it can mount up to so many lost hours across a week.

Put some of that TV time into your calendar for your new project – and then, most importantly, stick to it. Start to think like an entrepreneur and use your spare time to learn new skills. Self-education is just a habit: read books on your commute or in bed, watch TED Talks on TV one night a week, and follow people you can learn from on social media. After many years of low and incremental learning in a day job, that entrepreneurial mindset has to be switched on. Most successful entrepreneurs or even aspiring entrepreneurs see opportunities others don’t – because 9-5ers aren’t looking.

FAQs

What is a prentrepreneur?

A prentrepreneur combines the words ‘pre’ (as in ‘before’) and ‘entrepreneur’. So, it means someone who is about to become an entrepreneur.

What is an entrepreneur mindset?

Having an entrepreneurial mindset means developing specific skills, behaviours (like a positive attitude) and thought processes. It’s how you view situations and find creative solutions to solve problems. Many entrepreneurs talk about talk about the 3 Cs: confidence, creativity, and courage.

How will I benefit from an entrepreneurial mindset?

First of all, it’s something anyone can develop and practice. As a business owner, you will face more challenges, forcing you to think out of the box and create solutions, making you more resilient. This will give you greater confidence and self-belief. As a result, where others see risk, you will be more likely to see opportunity. Starting out on your own means taking ownership of your own life and taking responsibility for your own company. It increases self-motivation, and most entrepreneurs become more action-oriented.

What are the 5 entrepreneurial mindsets?

These traits are often quoted as as the keys to entrepreneurial behavior:

1. Being goal-oriented,
2. Creative problem-solving
3. Perseverance and resilience
4. Risk-taking
5. Customer-first thinking

How do I begin developing an entrepreneurial mindset?

This could be a whole article in itself, so here are a few ideas.

Be curious! Keep learning! Be a sponge and always be on the lookout for new things to absorb. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity. You will become more resilient and open to trying new things. Be positive and flexible because things will go wrong – it’s how you learn. Be confident in your own abilities. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”.

Choose another of the 4 stages to making a midlife transformation…