Entrepreneurship Series: Work when others don‘t

The life of an entrepreneur is filled with uncertainty. There is a hardly a day that goes by in which things go according to plan. By plan I actually mean: Timeplan. Thus, I have made a habit of working when others don‘t. Here is how this time strategy can help you get things done. 

How I use my time „wisely“

There is a clear distinction between someone who is self-employed and an entrepreneur with a small team. Both can decided when they want to work and get things done. Yet, the latter needs to be there for the team as well. Startups especially, require a tremendous amount of TLC.

The thing is, flat hierarchies and small teams enable you to move fast and learn from each other. But, as the business owner, you need to make sure that you spend as much time as you can with the team to get them up to speed. I believe that a good leader shows interest in the things that his or her team mates are working on, and gives regular input as well as feedback to how things are done. 

However, this has serious implications for your working times as an entrepreneur. 

Don‘t just work more, work smarter

I have made a habit of doing feedback work early in the morning; most importantly, before anyone else is up. This not only gives me a headstart in the day, it frees my calendar in the morning (before 12:00). 

It is very simple really, when I feedback my teams efforts before they get started, everyone can continue to work without me budding in. 

Thus, I have the mornings pretty much to myself. 

This gives me plenty of time to take care of my chores, call people I want to call and work on my own strategic projects. I have made it very clear to my teammates, that I use this time for my own purposes. Thus, we hardly ever schedule meetings before noon. And if we do, it would be the first thing we do in the morning; this allows everyone to get the most out of their days. 

Lunchbreaks to go out

I use my lunchbreaks to get out of the office. When I can, I like to go for a run, a walk or lunch outdoors. My days start quite early, so by the time it is noon, I can really use a bit of an energy boost. 

This is the perfect time to spend informally with your team, too. Of course we discuss hands-on topics over lunch, but nine times out of ten we focus our conversations on future challenges and opportunities instead of daily work. By doing so, we all clear our minds and use the much needed relaxation time for „creative thinking“. 

The best ideas come to you when you are not stuck behind a screen, right? 

I don‘t consider my lunch breaks work, though. There is no agenda, no action items and nothing we must discuss or do. I want to be able to connect to the people I spend my time with. 

Work together in the afternoon

In an ideal world, I keep my afternoons free to work with the team and our clients. This is the time in which I am just there to support everyone else. It is not about me, it is about empowering those around me. 

It helps to work this way, because it shows your clients and team mates, that you are there for them. I learn a lot in these hours – far more than I can contribute with my own presence. There are days of course, in which there is not much I can actually contribute – and my opinion would be counter productive.

But, I need to be approachable and available at this time. And that is exactly what I try to do. 

My work starts in the late afternoon

Hence, I start to work on my own chores in the late afternoon. It can be a little bit annoying sometimes, but I need to remind myself every day that it is not about me. As an entrepreneur, I need to make sure that I get the most out of those who help me get my vision and mission done. 

Thus, my „me-time“ is the time in which others are not (really) working. 

Within GANDT Ventures, we have a really cool work ethic and a culture of getting things done – together. Thus, we don‘t really track our working times all too much. 

Yet, I need to guard my own precious time, though. If I want to make an impact, I cannot allow myself to be dragged into loads of smaller operational tasks. Time and our health are the most precious things we have got; we need to cherish and nurture them if we want to be successful. 

Hence, I work when others don‘t, I spend most of my work-hours TLCing those around me and make sure that sports as well as great food are part of my daily routine. I can only encourage you to do the same. 

Have a great day, Remco


Also published on Medium.

Remco Livain
I’m a digital entrepreneur, online performance marketeer, founder and CEO of the digital innovation consultancy GANDT Ventures (based in Switzerland). We support organizations (SMBs, corporates and later stage ventures) in their digital efforts. I learned the trades of the (online) business at Venture Stars (MIFLORA), Rocket Internet (Westwing Home and Living) and Insparx (C-Date and be2).

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