The long hours, the anticipation, the thrill of the push—starting a business is a lot like training for a half marathon. This summer, I did both simultaneously and learned a ton in the process. In each step, I grew smarter, stronger, and even more prepared for my next set of challenges.
Here are 5 training tips that can help you in your new business:
1. Form is everything.
When you first start training for a long race, you learn really quickly that your stride, pace, and physical form will be uber important to your success. Sure, you can ignore it for a couple miles, but there’s no way you can continue and go as far as you want and need to go without having a solid foundation.
There’s no way to avoid it. You’re going to need to practice with a pro, or take a class, or maybe even go back to school. Proper training in your field is essential to long-term success. Discover what you need and waste no time in building up your talent, brick by brick.
2. Take your supplements.
To push your body to physical lengths that it’s never experienced before, you have to be in the best shape of your life. Nutritionally, you’ll need all of your vitamins. Whether from additional supplements or from an extremely strict diet of fruits and veggies, your energy, muscle recovery, and ability to go faster and farther will depend on getting what your body needs.
Similarly, when it comes to your business, it’s the extra, supplemental things that will take you farther than others that are on the same track. Having an A1 website, always being prepared to answer customer inquiries, keeping fresh, cleanly designed business cards on you at all times, and sharing info for free via blogs and social media help you stand out among the competition. Go the extra mile; it always pays off when you want to operate at an exceptional level.
3. Go hard.
When you get tired, it’s really easy to want to give up. You want to just sit down and let the race go on without you. The problem there is that you have to get to the end and often times, people just kind of…well…drag themselves through the finish line, even when they know they can do it. They have trained, after all. They put in the work so there’s no need to let it all go when it’s most important. You’ll never get where you’re trying to go if you’re dragging your feet. Quit halving it. Slow down if you need to, even take a break. But, don’t stop and don’t compromise how you get to the finish line.
When I first started writing, I became so obsessed with trying to create unrealistic deadlines for myself. One time, I interviewed about seven people and thought that I could write all seven interviews in one night. Not only was it a stupid idea to try, but in no way were the articles adequately representative of my ability to create stellar pieces. In fact, one of the people that I’d interviewed was so disappointed in what I’s written that she asked for her interview to be taken down. I was humiliated and upset with myself. Sincere apologies couldn’t, and still haven’t, repaired that connection that I injured from not giving my all. Never let frustration, fatigue, or plain stupidity reduce the quality of what you’re producing.
4. Stay hydrated.
When I first started training, I hated to take water breaks. As stupid as that sounds, I was convinced that stopping for water made me weaker. Physically, I should be able to go at least halfway without water, right? Who needs water?
Well, you do! In your entrepreneurial journey, you’re going to need people and things to pour resources into you—you’ll need your water. Whether it’s your mentor connecting you with industry influencers or an article recommending new books for you to read, these things aren’t optional to the process, they’re absolutely necessary, and without them, you’ll run out of steam far before you reach your full potential.
5. Know that your race is never really over.
You’ve training and you’ve surprised yourself by finally crossing your finish line. The feeling is amazing and you’re glad it’s over, but guess what? It isn’t. The next big goal is right around the corner. The key is to use this accomplishment to propel yourself—and your business—forward.
It’s likely that you’ve acquired skills and characteristics that you may not have even noticed. Take note. Document what you’ve done and how you did it. Then, take the time to write what your next goal will be and plan out how you’re going to achieve it. And what’s next? To hit the ground running…again.