Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. There is passion, that’s a given. But there are several more tangible needs to understand before one signs on for the uncertainty of such a career style. There are more than this, but here are my top 5 entrepreneurial essentials for the budding business person.

The first is to find out if you are made for it. When I was starting out years ago I put myself to the test. Instead of going on summer vacation from my job, I took the time to find out the most important thing an entrepreneur can learn … did I have the ability to motivate myself day after day?

I set up shop at the kitchen table to start a newsletter project I’d been thinking about. During those two hot August weeks I discovered that I did indeed have what it takes. So I’d be financially prepared when the time came, I began to get my finances and savings in order so I could make the move from a steady income to one that would be a lot less in the first couple years.

Entrepreneurs are a special breed. Here are 5 entrepreneurial essentials for the care and feeding it takes to sustain us…

entrepreneurial essentials

Clear thinking

To get clear, one needs systems to be the most productive as possible. Most important – it’s about creating a realistic timetable for getting everything done. I have a big list for overall goals, then smaller, and smaller lists for each week and day so I can focus on getting what needs to be done when it needs to be done. I also use small Day Timer for keeping track of appointments and yes, for jotting ideas down. Old school maybe, but there is something to be said for doodling! And for setting and tracking my “passion goals” I like both  Passion Planner and Power Sheets which I’ve written about before.

Bonus tip: Write lists for the next day at the end of your day. This way you  can spend the evening with family and friends without having to think about what you have to get done. entrepreneurial essentials

Mentors, guidance and inspiration

In addition to some wonderful friends in the beginning who supported me – thank you Andrea Michaels, John Daly and Amy Yates – I also found inspiration between the covers … of books! I was already primed with The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale – one of those books you read at an impressionable age that just stays with you. P.S. Positive thinking is very important for entrepreneurs!

Other books since then that have helped me to work better, and be better, are The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, ReWork by Jason Fried and David Hansson (see Shop the Story at the end of the blog) and The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer. And I’d also suggest all these great meet ups and associations there are. There are many for entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs such as The Rising Tide Society and The Amplify Collective. And for education and networking with colleagues, I highly suggest getting involved with ILEA, NACE and WIPA to name a few.


There are times that I will myself to go one more hour, to finish one more item on my list. I am always happy that I do. It’s like working out – that last rep is really the one that makes all the difference. Tenacity is about resolve, perhaps a bit of stubbornness. It’s about being totally aware of what you do, knowing you could be even better. It’s about trying something even if it scares you. And if you don’t know how to do that new thing, it’s about being strong enough to let someone help you. It’s about being open to hearing constructive criticism. And it’s about appreciating what your competition is doing without letting it make you feel as if you are on the wrong track or just aren’t doing enough. Because believe me, there will be days when all of this will come down on you. Hopefully it’s not all the same day! But with a strong streak of tenacity, you will brush it off and keep moving forward.

A great accountant

Well, maybe not this guy! But seriously, a great accountant can free your time and your mind (refer back to “Clear Thinking”) in order to make room for what matters. I remember reading what another entrepreneur said about starting out … he was surprised at how little time the “business” side of business took – the invoicing, reconciling, bill paying, taxes, etc. I have to agree with that in part because of having had a great accountant who set me up in the beginning with the tools I’d need.  They’ve served me well for years and it was money well spent, which would make his bean-counter heart happy to hear. Actually he hears it every year about this time.

entrepreneurial essentialsCoffee and croissants

Reward yourself. Take a coffee break, or a garden break, or a walk around the block. Try a new recipe … or, a new gym which you might need now that you are indulging in coffee and pastries! Whatever it is, shake it up. Sleep is important, but so is the profound rest that comes from being able to turn off through meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving.

Join me next week when I talk with Ashley Allen, owner of Bionic Media and a colleague who opted out of the traditional job world directly out of college to start her own business. Learn what it took, and still takes, the challenges, the benefits and of course, the passion that drives her!

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