Getting a start-up going can be stressful at any age – there’s a lot to do, and the checklist keeps growing. Yet you don’t have to let stress accumulate. As a fifty-something entrepreneur, it’s possible to start your own business without turning gray in the process. Even if you’re gray already, the following tips will still work.
Get help when you need it
Many entrepreneurs are stressed out because they try to do everything themselves. They work on the website, they do the marketing, they meet with partners, they send emails to clients, they may even answer customer support questions. Honestly, that’s just more than one person can handle.
Fortunately, the Internet helps fifty-something entrepreneurs get the best value for every dollar they spend on website design, customer support, marketing, search engine optimization, or accounting services. Yes, you do have to pay for these, but the time you save and the professional quality you get for your money make them a worthwhile investment.
Focus on processes, not goals
You can’t neglect goals, nor should you. But you can get more out of your time, and reduce stress, if you focus on processes. Essentially, this means working on achieving consistency in all your processes, whether it’s sales, customer support, or marketing.
Seek to improve the way you do things, recognize errors, and learn from them. By constantly correcting and adjusting your business processes, you can keep your start-up running like a well-oiled machine. That’s crucial for reaching your targets. As John Maxwell stated, ‘Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward’.
Automate as much as you can
Automation in this context means using technology to your advantage. Even if you’re a sixty-something entrepreneur that feels a little uncomfortable when “technology” gets mentioned, the sheer range of tools and platforms available today and their cost-effectiveness and ease of use means they can help you.
Marketing tools help you automate your marketing, including emails and social updates. Cloud storage services automate file backups. Inventory management tools automate a host of routine inventory chores. Social media tools automate content publishing. Automation can do all this and more.
I have a tendency to get on my soapbox when it comes to automation tools, but I’ll save that for another blog.
Brisk walking, cycling, running, hiking — you name it. Anything that keeps you moving for at least half an hour every day and makes your heart work can not only relieve stress, but increase your health, both physical and mental. Your business venture doesn’t have to tie you to a chair. In fact, many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs are active, waking up early to train or run.
For best results, create a training routine and implement it in your daily schedule. This way you won’t have to force yourself to stay active. And remember that consistency is key. It’s better to train lightly but do it regularly, than train hard only now and then.
Don’t worry too much about small decisions
Cognitive research shows that small decisions sap our brain power. In other words, if you have to decide every morning how you will dress, what you will have for breakfast, and then spend an hour browsing through your emails, deciding which to answer and what answers to give, all these choices will exhaust you brain.
Later in the day, when an important decision will come up, like choosing whether or not to work with a supplier or making up your mind about what product to market first, you may not make the best decision. Indecision is in fact one of the major factors that induce stress, and it’s something that entrepreneurs simply cannot indulge in.
Minimize the number of small decisions you must make so you can focus on the important ones.
Finally, you may also want to consider working less. A start-up can generate a lot of enthusiasm, but the best fifty-something entrepreneurs are good at containing their enthusiasm. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.