Deciding to become an entrepreneur can be an incredibly exciting time in your life. As an entrepreneur, you are able to take control of your future in a way that you may have previously considered to be impossible. However, simply having determination is usually not enough for you to be successful. In fact, recent studies indicate that roughly 20 percent of small businesses fail within their first year and 50 percent of small business fail within their first five years. Though there are many successful entrepreneurs for you to inspired by, what remains clear is that while some entrepreneurs are able to succeed, others are not.

Fortunately, developing healthy habits as an entrepreneur may be something that is much more within reach than you initially assume. Though building habits is something that—by definition—will require a significant amount of time, once you are able to effectively do so, you will have created the kind of stability you need for your business to succeed.

Focus on your personal health and well-being.

If you are the creator of a new business—especially if this new business is a sole proprietorship—then, even though you may not realize it, you are likely your business’ most valuable asset. While equipment and consumable goods are something that can always be replaced, individuals with ambition and original business ideas are much more difficult to find.

For the sake of both yourself and your business, focusing on your personal health is an absolute necessity. Many entrepreneurs fallaciously assume that by abusing their bodies—whether this from a lack of sleep, constant stress, excessive caffeine, nicotine, or anything else—is what will help them move past an arbitrary checkpoint and finally “make it.” However, success with most new businesses is much more likely to be a long-term game. It is very important to take actions to make sure you will be able to consistently perform over time.

  • Try to get at least of eight hours of sleep per night
  • Exercise multiple times per week
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and take vitamins if necessary
  • Stay hydrated throughout all times of the day
  • Keep your brain sharp and focused

Though many of these things seem to be quite obvious, they are often overlooked by individuals with entrepreneurial personalities.

Learn how to keep your work life and your personal life separate.

Many entrepreneurs consider their new business to be one of the most important things in their life. While this mindset can often be quite productive, it can also result in a wide variety of negative outcomes. As is the case with seemingly all things in life, being a successful entrepreneur requires balance of some kind.

There are many different things that you can do in order to help draw the line between your work life and your personal life. The most obvious of these things is to focus on keeping your business and your personal expenses separate. This can be done by establishing a limited liability company (LLC), creating multiple bank accounts with very specific purposes, and by establishing a detailed budget that you will have the discipline to adhere to over time.

In addition to your resources, it is also generally a good idea to keep your time commitments separated and organized as well. On common trap that many entrepreneurs fall into is that they commit themselves to the “168 hour work week” where they are essentially always working in theory or feeling guilty for taking any time for themselves. However, falling into this trap can be quite damaging over time. By clearly drawing a line at the beginning of each week where you say “these are the times I will be working and these are the times I will be off”, you will be able to not only enjoy your free time more, but you will also be more productive during the actual work week.

Be willing to say no.

Another common issue faced by entrepreneurs is that they are unable to say no to things, even when doing so is objectively in their best interest. This phenomenon can be observed in numerous different dimensions of the entrepreneurial world.

  • Increasing your personal expenses (or salary) with every minor increase in revenue
  • Offering your friends jobs for positions they would not otherwise be qualified for
  • Abusing the ability to create your own schedule
  • Allowing yourself to be taken advantage of by certain clients (not all revenue streams are worth the cost to obtain them)
  • Excessively going out with your friends
  • Lending people money

Even if your business is relatively small, there are a wide variety of dangerous temptations that you will likely be confronted with. By being able to take a step back and recognize what is objectively best for your business, you will be in a much better position to succeed.

Know when to ask for help.

Many entrepreneurs assume that because they are the sole founder of their business, they have no need to ask for help from other people. However, by wrongfully assuming that you will be able to make it all on your own, you will be functionally limiting how much you are able to actually accomplish.

Reaching out for help from specialists will allow you to focus on the aspects of your business that you can create the most value with. Most business owners do not have a mastery of accounting and marketing and everything else involved in running a business. Instead, they reach out to others that can give them the assistance they need. Additionally, speaking to other entrepreneurs—no matter what industry they may be in—may also make it significantly easier for you to get your business off the ground and running.

Being an entrepreneur can be an incredibly stressful experience. Though many entrepreneurs have a natural instinct to pretend that “everything is fine” for the sake of their business, they are actually statistically more likely (32%) to be struggling with at least one mental health issue. Taking care of yourself in this regard is also quite important.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur will certainly require a long-term effort. However, if you are able to focus on these habits and continue to make sure that everything is running as it should be, you will be one step closer to achieving your goals.

About the Author

Nikki is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, and active stock market investor. She is the founder of She Talks Finance, a personal finance initiative for women. She also specializes in helping traders and investors improve their mental game.