Myth-Busting: A Day in the Life of an Entrepreneur
Being recognised as a business owner can portray you in many ways. But what is being an entrepreneur really like? Gareth Smyth, founder and CEO of Hilton Smythe Business Advisors, has put together his day in the life, debunking some common myths about the 'glamourous' lifestyle of an entrepreneur.
The morning is a crucial part of the day. Often, your day will comprise of an early start to enable you to get to where you need to be. A good breakfast is essential in order to fuel your morning, after you have hopefully had a well-earned sleep to recharge.
Before even starting work, usually the first thing to do is grab your phone to check for any missed calls, messages or urgent emails that may have come through since you logged off last night.
Once you have replied to anything particularly urgent, many business leaders choose to visit the gym, go for a swim or go jogging in order to clear the mind ahead of a long day at the coalface.
It’s time to get ready for the day, making sure you look the part for any client-facing calls or meetings, as well as getting in the frame of mind for the working day.
Once the working day begins, communication is key. Talking regularly to clients to attract, or retain business, as well as communicating with employees and stakeholders of the business are all ways to make things run smoothly and effectively.
It is important to make time for lunch - whether this be half an hour, an hour or a working lunch. The most hard-working entrepreneurs will prioritise work over enjoying time away from the desk, and lunch will be eating out of necessity rather than lifestyle. For many, lunchtime may consist of checking and catching up with messages and calls, or this could be used as a chance to engage and spend some time with employees or clients.
An occasional team lunch has many benefits including building morale amongst team members, making employees feel valued and appreciated, and it can also allow employees to open up, in a non-intrusive setting.
Of course, working lunches with clients can be beneficial for new and existing business, as well as strengthening the relationship between the business and the client.
It’s time for more meetings – these of course may be internal or external client-facing meetings and are likely to make up the bulk of an afternoon.
While a typical day may be meeting-heavy, it is important for entrepreneurs to block out some time in the diary to prepare. Going straight from meeting to meeting can be intense, and naturally some meetings may overrun.
Many consider taking a walk to get away from the office and the screen. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs famously enjoyed taking walking meetings. The executive would use this as an opportunity to catch up with employees, in a more informal setting, and generally as something that is good for the mind.
A break from the desk can help remove a stress trigger point, which in the busy and often unpredictable typical day for an entrepreneur is crucial. The benefits of interacting and socialising with one another, even if over a quick coffee or during a walk, after long periods of being unable to do so during the Covid-19 pandemic should not be overlooked.
At the end of the “working day”, entrepreneurs will ideally catch up with any outstanding tasks or issues awaiting reply. Be mindful that the typical day for an entrepreneur is not a standard 9-5.
Out of the standard office hours they may be planning travel for client meetings, preparing for staff 121’s, catching up with unfinished work, or may even be working with clients or employees in different time zones.
For an entrepreneur, work-life balance is not in the vocabulary. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, however, works hard to keep a balance between being the supremo of the world’s biggest social media platform and also being a dad, and a husband.
While the working day is different to the ‘norm’, entrepreneurs recognise the importance of switching off in the evening. It’s vital to recognise your personal space, what is work and what is home.
Many entrepreneurs take evening time for a workout, a meal or simply some time with the family. The nature of life as an entrepreneur means that every working day, and every evening, can vary significantly. From the business starting up, until the day you retire or decide to sell your business, the entrepreneur life is full-on and unpredictable.
Catching up with your favourite series, reading, or taking in a football match; whatever it is, after this in the evening, it’s time to head to bed for a good night’s sleep, ready to tackle it again tomorrow.
Main image: Gareth Smyth, founder and CEO, Hilton Smythe Business Advisors