Running a business is never easy. Going to school is never easy. How are you supposed to do both at the same time?
This is something that you might be asking yourself if you are anything like me. I run an independent record label, a design firm, and a clothing company. On top of this, I attend a private university where there are very strict academic policies. I’m not going to say that I have never been in the Academic Support Office, or that I’ve never had major problems with my business, but here are some tips I have for being a successful business owner and student.
If you find yourself running a business while going to school, you are in for a very unique and elegant juggling act. Going to school takes up most of your time, as does running a business.
Sleep Less, Work More
If you want to be a business owner, you are going to need to learn not to sleep as much as the average person. If you want to be a college student while being a business owner, you can forget about having a good night’s sleep for a good long portion of your life. The average American worker spends 40-60 hours a week at work with fulltime employment. The average American Entrepreneur spends 70-120 hours a week working on their business. The average class load of an American college student is 12-15 hours. Even with minimal homework and studying you are going to be spending at least 1 hour a week per class. This totals up 24-30 hours of school work a week. So were talking about 150 hour work weeks on your most intense midterm busy business season. Time is money. The average American sleeps 6-8 hours a night. You are NEVER going to get 8 hours of sleep again in your college/business owner career. It’s a joke, don’t count on it. Learn to drink Red Bulls and sleep 3-5 hours a night. Remember, Time is Money!
Organize your Time! Work Smart not Hard.
Make sure every single minute of your time is a precious asset. You have no time to fool around. As I said earlier, if you are trying to go to school while running your own business, time is going to be sparse. Buy yourself a notebook and keep track of what you need to get done and what you accomplish every day. I have a little blue notebook that I keep with me to remind myself of all of my daily tasks. I also write down all of my daily accomplishments. The motivation that comes from that little blue notebook is incredible.
Set worthwhile, meaningful short and long term goals.
Make sure you have some good goals that are captivating to you. These goals need to be strong enough in your life that they are able to get you out of bed when you are just not motivated at all! Make sure you have a good mixture of short and long term goals in your life. If you have way too many big long term goals that just seem unreachable, you need to throw some good short term goals in there as well. Break it down. If you have a goal to graduate college, start with getting your first 25 credits out of the way!
Don’t Procrastinate Too Much
See how I said don’t procrastinate too much.
You are bound to Procrastinate, it’s inevitable, but try to keep the damage to a minimum. For smaller assignments at school, or little business issues that aren’t as pressing, you don’t need to sweat this one as much. When it comes to big things like midterms and finals, paying back loans or important client meetings, you need to be much more on the ball. Don’t let the big important things slide.
Exercise is your friend
Exercise is going to be one of your greatest assets. People might think that working out will drain all of your energy and make you tired, but it’s exactly the opposite. Spending a little time every day on physical activity gives you extra energy. Exercise releases endorphins which will not only give you more energy but will help keep you from falling into an emotional slump. Working out doesn’t have to be boring either. Exercise every day is going to the skatepark!
Have some fun! Don’t Stress Too Much
Please do yourself a favor and don’t burn yourself out! When I was younger and less wise, I would constantly do this to myself. I would be invited time and time again to worthwhile activities with my friends and I thought I had to say no in order to work. You need to be enjoying life in order to be productive. Taking a break for some good times with your friends can help you to hit it up hard when you return to your work. Make sure you aren’t being dumb about this though. Binge drinking, smoking, isn’t going to make you the focused committed person you want to be for your business and school work. Be smart, have some fun and don’t stress out too much about your goals and work. If you work hard and keep with it, you are bound to be successful!