7 bad work habits that entrepreneurs need to overcome

7 Bad Work Habits That Entrepreneurs Need To Overcome

Published on February 28, 2022. Updated on April 15, 2024.

If you've always been an employee, starting your own business might sound like a dream come true. After all, you'll be in charge of how you spend your time, all of the business decisions, and so much more.

Along with a change of your job title, there'll be a significant transition from wage worker to being the boss. Professional growth is crucial when stepping into entrepreneurship and owning your own business. A big part of your success is dictated by your personal habits and your mentality.

Let's take a look at some bad work habits you should break to give yourself the best chance of achieving success.

1. Waking Up Late

When you start a business, you'll have total control over your own work schedule. If you've spent most of your career working typical 9-5 jobs, then the idea of a flexible schedule is highly appealing.

However, your business isn't going to build itself. You aren't an employee anymore. The actions that you take or don't take are ultimately what lead to the success or failure of your business. That means, you can’t wake up everyday when it’s most convenient or when you feel like it.

As an entrepreneur just starting out, many successful business owners will advise you to wake up as early as possible. This is very good advice. When you begin your day early, you feel a sense of accomplishment because you’re able to complete many tasks before the rest of the world has even had their first cup of coffee.

As you build your business though, you might find that your personal style is better suited to a different schedule. At the end of the day, there's nothing wrong with waking up at 8 am instead of 5 am if it works for you.

Pick a time that you want to wake up and make sure you go to sleep at a reasonable hour to get an adequate amount of rest. After some time, you will be able to get into a routine. The most important thing is being consistent in your wake-up time. 

2. Not Having Enough Structure

Now that you are building your own business, you play the role of both your boss and an employee. Back when you worked for someone else, the day was probably planned out and scheduled for you. You were likely told exactly what needs to be done at what time, with an outline of responsibilities for the day. Now that you’re the boss, it’s up to you to determine what needs to be done.

Without a plan in place, you run the risk of operating with a lack of direction. Instead, create a plan for your day and week, set reminders, and prioritize your tasks. Use tools such as Google calendar, post-it notes, or even a physical calendar to outline your day and try your best to stick to it.

Wearing two hats can get confusing at times. As the boss, you want to make sure to allocate time mapping out long-term goals and how to grow your business, while as an employee most of your time will be spent focusing on more time-sensitive matters and administrative work.

Try this; Have a "boss meeting" with yourself at the beginning of the week and to start each day. This way you can outline what you, as your own employee, will accomplish for the day. Now, throughout the workday, you aren't making decisions about what you're doing, but instead referring to the plan you built when you were in boss mode. 

3. Procrastinating

As an entrepreneur, building a business is probably one of the fastest ways to learn what personality traits hinder you from reaching your full potential. We all have things that seem like insurmountable obstacles to us. However, your success as an entrepreneur will be determined by your ability to overcome those hurdles and meet your goals no matter what.

One of the most common ways to deal with undesirable tasks is to simply put them off. We’ve all experienced that one phone call you need to make, email you have to send or project that has to be worked on. While it might be the last thing in the world you want to do, you have to come up with methods to avoid this type of procrastination. Just because you put off doing the task doesn’t mean it will go away. Instead, make it the first thing you work on to start your day or keep a note by your computer as a constant reminder that it has to be done. Focus on completing tasks - even if it’s not perfect. The most important thing is that you get it done.

As a business owner, you'll quickly learn that the buck always stops with you. That means that everything you put off, everything you avoid, and everything you procrastinate will eventually come back to bite you. Taking control over this type of bad work habit is what will make or break your business.

4. Not Managing Your Time

Whether you work at an office setting or from home, there are days where you struggle to manage your time to maximize your productivity. Maybe you get easily distracted or tend to take long lunch breaks. The problem with this is that you’ll find yourself spending more time working on projects that could have been completed sooner if you had only used your time properly.

Remember, with freedom also comes great responsibility. It's now up to you to manage your time. You may have a million different tasks that you have to juggle while you're trying to grow your business. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, you will need to figure out how to manage your time efficiently and effectively.

Try to compartmentalize your work hours from your leisure time during the day. Identify the amount of time you want to spend on your business and which tasks you plan to work on. Make it a part of your job to find apps and other resources that will help you manage your time. Again, you can notate in your Google or Outlook calendar the time you want to dedicate to specific tasks or projects and don’t sway from that agenda.

Additionally, if you have employees, you'll want to master the art of delegating certain administrative projects right away to allow you to focus on things that makes you money and/or grows your business. 

5. Trying to Multitask

When you're an entrepreneur, you'll find it's a common experience to feel like you're being pulled in several different directions at once. You might be processing a payment when you get an email back from a potential client. A totally natural instinct is to completely drop what you're doing and turn your attention to the pressing email.

Though, this type of reaction is going to reduce your productivity dramatically. In fact, one study found that up to 40% of your productive time can get eaten up by mental blocks created by task switching. Instead, you need to learn to create a plan for the actionable tasks you will do and then do them in order, one at a time.

For example, as the owner of your own web design business, you may decide that at the hours of 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm you plan to focus on checking and responding to emails. During the hours in between, you dedicate your time to building websites, making sales calls, and working on marketing your business. In this scenario, rather than checking your emails every time you hear the notification chime that you’ve received a message, you demonstrate self-control in keeping your focus on the task at hand.

6. Being Negative

When you're starting out, you may experience mixed feelings of excitement and fear. You’ve made the decision to follow your dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and your own boss but, in the back of your head you are second guessing every decision. So much so, that you start to have a negative mindset about your ability to run your own business.

Perhaps nothing is more important when starting a business than believing in yourself.

Think about it. You’ve done your due diligence in researching the business you wanted to start, spoke with people you trust about the opportunity, and committed the capital to get it off the ground. Although you’ve made all the right moves, every entrepreneur experiences highs and lows in their business venture. Instead of taking a negative perspective, learn from your experiences and how you can improve the next time.

Maybe you made a few calls to small business owners hoping to get a new web design client and didn’t get the response you hoped for. Keep going, don’t give up! All it takes is for one person to be interested. Schedule a follow up, put together a free demo of their website, and you are on your way to gaining a new client.

Also, be careful to let other people's negativity get you down. Whether they are coming from a caring mindset or a malicious place, people have a bad habit of trying to pull others down. Oftentimes, this comes from a place of jealousy. Believe that you are capable of greatness and the world is your oyster.

7. Getting Burnt Out

This last one is a big one. While some entrepreneurs might be guilty of waking up late, procrastinating, and ultimately not getting the ball rolling, others might fall prey to the opposite issue.

If every single moment of your waking life is consumed with starting your business, or if you're running at 150 mph at all hours of the day, the question isn't IF you're going to burn out. The answer is WHEN.

If you take anything away from this list of tips for entrepreneurs, this is the one to remember. You absolutely have to learn how to balance your health and mental well-being with the growth of your business. If you don't manage this, you'll find that your personal life, your health, and your business will suffer.

Everyone needs time to unwind and relax. If you don't schedule time to chill out, your body will demand it from you later at the worst possible time. Learn to be self aware of the way that your body and mind feel to avoid burnout.

Take a walk, snuggle up in a blanket with your favorite book, or exercise. Whatever puts you at ease, make time to do it. Recharge your batteries and take time for yourself. You will be much happier and be more productive when it comes time to focus on your business. 

Breaking Bad Work Habits is Essential to Success as an Entrepreneur

As you can see, when you start a business you are also embarking on a journey of personal growth. You'll find that if you can overcome the bad personal habits you have, the sky's the limit when it comes to the success of your business.

Are you interested in being your own boss? Are you tired of working for someone else?

One way that you can earn a significant income from home is starting your own web design business. Sign up here for a free demo to learn more.

We'd love to hear from you!

Share your comments or questions using the form below.