The other day I was thinking about what makes me happy as an entrepreneur.  And so I did a bit of a brain jump and jotted down 20 different things that make me a happier entrepreneur:

1. Get Yourself a Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Some people cope better with being alone than others.  I can quite happily spend an entire day with myself.  A younger me believed that having a boyfriend/girlfriend was no big deal.  If I had one, fine.  If I didn’t, that was also fine.  I wouldn’t let a relationship get in the way of my goals.  As I matured a bit, and started having relationships, I started to understand how important a good partner can be.  Someone to unload on.  Someone to listen to.  Someone to just lie down and do nothing in particular with.  Now I’m in a relationship and I work hard to keep it healthy.  My business doesn’t need to take over 100% of my time.  There is plenty of time to have a partner.

2. Socialize

Just like having a partner, socializing with friends is also important.  If you’re in school/college, work hard to keep those friendships.  If you’ve left education, you’ll have to work harder to maintain/start friendships, but it’s really worth it.  Go to the movies, have a drink at a bar and every now and then don’t be afraid to get a little crazy and have a big night out with your friends.  You should never be too busy for these people.  You’re going to need them a lot more in the future.

3. Get enough sleep

Staying up all night isn’t a badge of honor.  It’s a mark of stupidity.  Sure, there will occasionally come a time where you are on such a role that the night just seems to disappear.  But don’t make this a regular occurrence.  It’s just not a good long term strategy.  You’ll burn out and won’t be able to handle even just 1% of your current workload.  Getting enough sleep is easy.  Turn off the TV and go to bed!

4.  Eat a proper diet

I fall down on this one.  I really need to do better.  I’m young and thin, which means I can get away with eating rubbish.  But I still feel like crap if I don’t eat the right food and I know I’m not going to be young and thing forever.  I notice a big difference in my energy levels if I start the day with a proper breakfast and have unprocessed food throughout the day.  I have better focus, I don’t crash and burn during the afternoon.

5. Walk

Nobody walks anymore.  Ok that is going a bit far.  But seriously – all of my friends drive everywhere.  I love to walk.  Everyday I walk for around an hour – mainly to and from work.  I don’t have to, I choose to.  Walking gives you an excuse to think.  I don’t listen to music while I walk.  Instead I just let my thoughts go for a wander too.  I motivate myself, clear my mind, focus and gain confidence.  All by ditching the transport and going for a walk.

6. Go Exercise

Apart from my walking I try and do strength training as exercise on a regular basis.  The options for exercise are endless.  So I’m not going to offer much advice here.  Furthermore, you also are well aware of the benefits.  So take this as a friendly reminder to integrate regular exercise into your schedule.

7. Read books.  And not just non-fiction

I’ve started reading more recently.  I think it’s had a great impact on my state of mind.  And I don’t just read non-fiction.  Because I chose not to do much reading as a child, I have a massive backlog of “must reads”.  I’m sick of my boyfriend rolling his eyes everytime he asks if I’ve read something :p

But I’m also reading more non-fiction too.  If you haven’t yet discovered Brainpickings, then head over there to get some amazing suggestions

8. Cut down on the Netflix

Or youtube, hulu, cable etc.  Netflix is fun – too much fun.  I’ll be the first to admit i’ve skipped working days to binge watch an entire series.  Unlike reading a book, I don’t feel great when I’ve finished either.  Why is that?  I don’t know, but I do know I would rather be doing other things.  So I try and limit myself.  Since switching entirely to an on demand setup I’ve cut down on TV time and watch the odd show here and there.

9. Master skills outside of business

I’m a strong believer in having hobbies.  I love cooking.  And I’m pretty damn good at it too.  And I got good at it from years of practice and learning from the best.  When I’m having a horrible day at work, I relish the opportunity to ditch what I’m doing and dive into some cooking.  Devoting all my attention to creating perfection.  It’s such a good way to regain focus and put things in perspective.

10. Travel

Whats the best way to learn new things, refresh your mind and fill yourself with a zest for life?  Travel.  I love travel.  I always come back having picked up some new life experiences.  And some of my most treasured moments in life have been on the road.  So don’t overlook travel.  Don’t tell yourself that you can travel when you’re retired.  What fun is that?  Travel now.

11. Buy yourself proper clothes

I used to believe that clothes were all pretty much the same.  It didn’t really matter which brands you bought.  How wrong I was.  I perfectly fitted suit, an expertly tailored pair of chinos, a nicely stitched pair of shoes – they all make the difference.  I now buy fewer clothes but I make sure they are the best I can get.  I exude confidence when I’ve wearing an outfit that fits perfectly.  It really shows.

12. Stop buying crap you don’t need

I still struggle with this from time to time, but for the most part I’ve dramatically reduced my consumption.   I try and buy better quality.  I don’t try and buy every new gadget.    Instead of buying “things”, I try and buy experiences.  I enjoy the bf out for a fancy meal or going away on  trip and staying in a 5 star hotel in Paris.  That makes me happy.

13. Don’t read/watch the news

You might think being a forex trader I would need to be on top of the news.  And it’s true, you need to have one eye on the news.  But it’s very important to choose the type of news you follow and how much you follow.  “Fear” articles – terrorism, immigration, senior people getting bashed etc etc – are the articles YOU MUST avoid.  Don’t get sucked in.  I follow business news and pretty much avoid everything else.  I don’t need it. It doesn’t make me happy.  It doesn’t make me any more informed or educated.

14. Become a Sharer.  Share your journey

I like the idea of sharing your journey.  Entrepreneurs are often guilty of only sharing the positives.  Whether it’s just with friends or on a blog like this, sharing the ups and downs will do wonders with your mental state of mind.    My new years resolution for next year will be focusing on sharing all the ups and downs.

15. Network and Mentor

Get out of the fucking building!  That was the exact advice my mentor gave me.  Sure, sometimes you need to put your head down and power out the hard hours.  But the most important thing an entrepreneur can do is get out of the building and talk with their customers, clients, mentors, advisors, other entrepreneurs.  Go out and drink, invite people for coffee, or attend meetups.  It’s really not that hard.

16. Don’t settle

This is a really good one.  What you have right now might be amazing.  But such is life, that tomorrow it might all be gone.  That’s why you can’t settle.  You need to keep exploring new opportunities, meeting new friends, pushing yourself.  There will come a time when you are forced to settle.  And by then all you will wish for is that when you were younger you kept on pushing yourself to experience new things.

17. Kill your ego

If I had a dollar for everytime I’ve let my ego get in the way of a good decision! Well I certainly wouldn’t be writing this blog post myself 😉

It’s a constant struggle.  I’ve found when I force myself to eat my ego and instead use rational thought  – sure it doesn’t always work – but when it doesn’t work out, I know it wasn’t my feelings getting in the way.

18. Learn to live with Uncertainty

My number one tip for other entrepreneurs.  Accept that uncertainty is going to be a part of your life.  Where is the next dollar coming from?  Is this company going to crash and burn tomorrow?  Embrace the uncertainty.  Learn to love that feeling of standing on the edge.  It’s what will drive you in the future.

19. Do nothing

Stuck for ideas?  Feeling burned out.  Turn off the TV.  Turn off the music.  Stop reading this.  Just sit down with zero distractions.  Just sit and do nothing.  When you’re struck with inspiration resist the urge to get up and keep working.  Just keep doing nothing until you can no longer sit still.  I have yet to find a greater way to motivate myself then doing absolutely nothing.

20. Create a clean work/living space

A clear desk = a clear mind.  Get rid of the clutter.  Learn to live in an orgnanized fashion.   Trust me, keeping a clean apartment helps you live a better business life.  It doesn’t sound connected but the discipline of keeping things clean will flow across all areas of your life.

So there are my tips for being a happier entrepreneur.  What do you think?  Let me know below.