A roundup of the best tips of the week from Entrepreneur.com.
Aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those trapped in humdrum corporate jobs, often imagine that building their own company would mean round-the-clock passion for their job. But that isn't so, says Heidi Grant Halvorson, a psychologist and author of Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence (Hudson Street Press, 2013). "The reality is that you aren't going to enjoy every single aspect of what you do," she says.
So how can you learn to love what you do even in the midst of the daily grind? One strategy is to set artificial challenges for yourself. Timing yourself is a common one, or you could break the boring task into its component parts and reward yourself when you complete each one. The reward could be a funny YouTube video, exercise, a snack or something else, depending on your inclination. "Challenge yourself to work more efficiently, or more quickly," Halvorson says. "Make a game out of it."
Envision a solid three-year picture for your business.
In the early stages of a business, it is easy to keep your eye on the ball, but as the business grows, distractions pop up and complexities develop that put you at risk of losing focus, says Gino Wickman, founder of the leadership consulting firm EOS Worldwide and author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business (BenBella Books, 2011). For this reason, it's important to create a three-year picture that will help you meet your 10-year goals. Write down what you want the company to look like in three years, or create a vision board to represent it. "When your mind's eye can see something, it's more likely to happen," Wickman says. "It's a simplified approach to strategic planning and will help an entrepreneur get ideas out of their head and onto paper."
Do a trial period with a prospective co-founder.
Compatibility is of paramount importance when looking for a co-founder, says John Frankel, founding partner of New York City-based seed investment firm ff Venture Capital. Imagine marrying someone before dating and you will have a picture of how foolish it is to give up part of your company before doing a trial period with a prospective partner. "Some companies last longer than marriages, so you do not want to be joined at the hip with someone you can't get along with or [who] won't pull her own weight," Frankel says. "Before signing away equity, see how well you both work together on projects and day-to-day tasks."
Emulate the connectors.
When Aj Agrawal, the co-founder of Greekpull, a platform that helps fraternities and sororities fund their projects, moved his company to Indiana from California earlier this year, he needed to rebuild his network in a new part of the country. Fortunately, he met venture capitalist Elizabeth Rounsavall, "one of the most well connected people in the Midwest," he says. By watching how she always found ways to grow her network, Agrawal learned how to approach the process of making contacts. "Go to every networking event you can, chat with as many people as possible and never get lazy about following up," he says. "It's the entrepreneurs that go to events and are open to new things who find success."
Try turning your salary into a bonus.
Determining your own salary as a founder and chief executive can be difficult. There are a number of ways to go about it, but some business owners simply pay themselves as if their entire salary were a bonus check. "I pay all of the business-related expenses each month, set aside funds for taxes, and then the rest is salary," says Debbie Dragon, co-owner of Valley View, Pa.-based Trifecta Online. "It's different every month because the earnings are different every month." More: 3 Ways to Determine Your Own Salary