This is the quick list of 10 things every polyentrepreneur needs to thrive. In the coming weeks I’ll be expound on each point with a dedicated post.
There are only 24 hours in a day, and at least a few of them (hopefully around 8-9) need to be spent sleeping. So get it through your head now: you cannot do this alone. This might mean hiring employees, it might mean outsourcing some of your business functions, or it might simply mean that your siblings, friends, or significant other will pitch in every now and then. It should also definitely mean hanging out with your fellow polyentrepreneurs. : )
9. Access to multiple and diverse opinions.
Even with a regular business, short of one-on-one coaching there is no way that anyone has all the answers for you. As a polyentrepreneur this is even worse – the chances of someone else having the exact same blend of passions and businesses as you is pretty much zero. So instead embrace a wide variety of opinions and learn how to pick out what you can apply to your own situation. Just be wary of casting the net too far – you don’t want to spend more time reading advice than you do applying it!
8. Trust in yourself.
Even the best support will do nothing if you don’t believe in yourself and what you’re doing. Some days this is easy, and other days it’s harder (I have a mood disorder, so I know ALL ABOUT it being hard) but just keep reminding yourself that you are awesome.
Also, learn to trust your gut when it comes to advice. I’ve had more than one person express misgivings about my current path (including a freaking MENTOR who suggested I just drop my business pursuits entirely to focus on school instead) but they’re not the ones walking it. I am. And my gut, my soul, my whole person feels incredibly excited and motivated when contemplating the challenging road ahead. Anything that gets you up in the morning is good, no matter what others think.
7. A challenging schedule.
When I started going back to school, instead of falling off my productivity with my business shot up; once university was out for the summer my productivity slowly dropped off again. There’s nothing worse for a polyentrepreneur’s motivation than having all the time in the world – that’s probably why most of us start up multiple businesses in the first place! Make sure you have many (within reason) and varied things to do, whether it’s a hobby, classes, going to the gym, a full-time or part-time job, or even just making sure you do a little bit for every business every day instead of focusing on one business a day. In fact, when I’m really having trouble focusing, I’ll even set my timer to go off every 5 minutes and switch my activity every time it does.
6. Your own space.
You’re going to be amassing quite a few things and you’ll need somewhere to put them all. Whether it’s as small as a cupboard or closet or as large as a whole room, make sure you have a place you can call your own. Make sure you keep it clean and organized so you don’t have to waste precious time trying to find things!
5. Motivation, not jealousy.
Nothing will halt your progress faster than looking at what someone else has and getting grumpy. Instead of steaming, learn from them. Instead of feeling small, think to yourself “I can do that.” Use everyone else’s success and good ideas as a springboard for yourself. And anyway, isn’t that how a lot of our talents get discovered – by looking at someone else’s work and thinking “I can do that”?
I’m not going to promote a specific form of planning because different things work for different people, but you’d better find out what does work for you and stick with it. To-do lists, calender reminders, planning your day hour by hour; whatever will ensure that you’re getting done what you need to when you need to. I use a combination of HabitRPG, lists written in my notebook throughout the day, and the occasional self-imposed deadline plastered anywhere I’ll see it to keep me on task.
3. Deliberate relaxation.
It’s even easier for polyentrepreneurs to burn out than regular ones – we have so much more on our plates! In all the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget to take time for yourself. Alternately, you may find yourself trying to take relaxation time, but feeling so much guilt about it that you cut it short and don’t let it do any good.
Repeat after me: you cannot succeed unless you take care of yourself. Repeat that now, and repeat that whenever you want to work through another lunch break, put off a nap, or lose an hour of sleep to get just one more project finished. And then head off to your bath, put down the phone and pick up the novel during lunch, or do whatever else it is that makes you feel like a refreshed and ready you.
I’ll admit it – being a polyentrepreneur is kinda crazy (if not outright stupid). The only reason to put yourself through this special cross between heaven and hell is because you have no choice. You’re passionate about too many things for them to line up and take turns in the coming years – you have to do all of them now. If you don’t have passion for it any more then get rid of it. You have too few hours in the day as it is.
1. Big fat dreams (that are written down to become goals).
It’s difficult to get anywhere without a goal to work toward, and the dreams of polyentrepreneurs are especially large – you have to have room for all your passions! And with a life so large, full of so many things, it’s necessary to have at least a basic road map to make sure you don’t lose sight of where you want to end up. Dream big, dream long, then make some goals and work toward them a little bit every day.