Drink lots of it early in the morning. The point is not to get a caffeine rush, but to start your day early. You’ll find that as a business owner, having a few hours of uninterrupted work can significantly move your business forward. Normally, people are not up at five in the morning. As a former service member, you’re used to that. So drink that coffee and get to the grind.
Don’t go 100 percent
Yes, I just said that. From being a Marine, I was told to give 100% in everything that I would ever do. That’s a great idea in theory, but the fact is that if you put 100% effort into absolutely everything in your business; you’re going to burn out. Choose what to put your efforts in and manage your energy. It takes anywhere from 2 to 3 years to get your business off the ground. It’s impossible to sprint the entire time. Pace yourself.
Go back to school
Running a business is an over-time job. So why go to school? Did you know that there are community colleges that offer courses for entrepreneurship? And guess what? The GI bill will pay for those classes. If you are about to exit the military, it’s a good idea to take a few classes and use that GI bill for supplement pay so you can learn about starting your own company. It’s cost effective, and it’s a good transition into civilian life.
Get an Xbox, or a brand new TV, or something that is completely mindless that you can do. Some would argue that you don’t have time to waste watching movies, but zoning out is extremely important. If you work all the time, you’ll go crazy. Hanging out with friends is good for you, but you’d be surprised at how taxing being around people can be. Spend time alone doing something mindless at least once a week. You’ll be surprised at how charged you’ll feel afterward.
Assume the worst
Not the most positive statement to say, but as a business owner you need to look at both ends of the spectrum. Commonly, business plans have unrealistic projections and goals. You’ll get excited about your plan and what could happen if things go well. But as you know from being in the operating forces, nothing ever goes according to plan. Ask yourself “how could this go wrong” as well as “What can this go right.” Having a grasp on both ends of the spectrum will ground your idea in reality.
Get a punching bag
I can count more times than not where running a business has brought me to the brink of absolute frustration and anger. As mentioned, things never go according to plan, and sometimes the worst will happen. In every instance there is a way around, but in the moment it’s hard not to get upset. My suggestion is to have a release, a specific task or activity that releases this anger and gives you time to absorb it. My activity is strapping on my running shoes and running as far as I can until my steam runs out. It’s safe for me to say that I’m running a great deal more than I ever have.