What did you resolve to do in 2012?
We know how most resolutions go – so we thought we’d explore a few that you might have wanted to really really follow up on, but couldn’t find the motivation or conviction to.
1. You were wondering whether you should start on your own – and told yourself you would do this year. And are still wondering ?
Like many have said, the best time to start being an entrepreneur is NOW. Don’t worry about your idea not being ready enough. Don’t think of first networking and “getting to know the market”. Don’t assume moonlighting will help you slowly get comfortable with the idea. The best way is to dive right in.
You still have 3 weeks to go and this holiday season might just get you started on the best journey of your life!
2. If you started last year, you promised yourself you’d reach certain goals – operational profitability, a minimum number of customers, funding or even just launching the damn product. And you’re still not there.
Don’t kill yourself. Entrepreneurs are always an optimistic lot and that means we constantly imagine we can do much more than we can. Its a long battle and there’s no point in feeling low about what did not get done when there’s so much left to do. Remember – it usually takes 3 years to get anywhere, and often 5 before it becomes a reliable, viable business. Hopefully, you have a better grip on the variables now, and can plan more sensibly.
Of course, don’t stop having that optimism.
3. You’ve been slogging for ages. You promised the wife a vacation this year. And have been pushing it out for “when things are stable”.
Do it NOW. The family is important [PI of Life : Entrepreneurship & Family] – despite what the pundits say. They are more critical for your succcess (and what you do with it!) more than any co-founder, any investor and even any customer. you owe it to them to take time out for them, and even more so for yourself.
Take that vacation [Disconnect], and also start taking time out for the occasional movie, dinner or even a board-game or two with the kids.
4. You resolved to meet more people.
For many techies, the computer is the world. Its our comfort zone. Programming to start with, and perhaps spreadsheets, emails, CRM, support tools and the like as you become more business inclined.
Yet, its important to be out there and meet people. For your own sanity, for keeping a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the world (no, Facebook is a NOT a decent proxy, and Twitter is worse), and for giving serendipity a chance, its important you start on this one right away.
Some structure an afternoon a week, some create ad-hoc time as the opportunity presents. Keep a tab on who lives where, and give them a call if you have other work in the area to “meet up for coffee”. You’d be surprised how much brand equity you can build by just being a warm voice and person than a cold email or status update.
And don’t always be slave to a specific agenda or a desired outcome from the meeting. Like I heard recently, “Networking is not about hunting, its about farming”.
5. You promised yourself, and maybe even the world, that you’d start blogging or writing.
Add a blog to your site. And create a draft right away. Jot some thoughts in it and revisit. Or maybe create a Facebook note on your page and share.
Don’t wait for something “important enough to say”. Your journey, your opinions, your take on the industry, its people are not just important, they’re fun to read. You and your product/service/brand both have a certain set of attributes and character which emerge as you share your thoughts more. That’s why people ask brands to communicate, and that’s why you signed up for it.
This is really as easy one, and very very impactful. Don’t get stuck [ PI of Life : Writers Block (for geeks)] .
6. You resolved that this year you’d get your finances in shape.
This again is a simple one. [ PI of Life : Personal Finance for Bootstrappers] At least to get started with. Open a spreadsheet online and create a sheet for each month, with annual totals. Just start tracking everyday expenses as a start. Bookmark the sheet’s URL on your browser bar, or keep the tab open.
You could also use any of a wide array of tools, but the important thing is to do it everyday.
Soon as you get comfortable with the numbers, you’ll understand cashflows, be able to plan ahead, and see how much you’re able to save. Once you track and understand your needs, the essential vs the discretionary become obvious, and you’re able to budget not just for the year ahead, but for your future as well.
The day you start on this one, your life becomes less messier. So today’s a very very good day to do it.
7. You desperately wanted to start exercising/quit smoking.
And failed to start.
So did we. Don’t worry. Let’s take a walk. Let’s not aim for the stars and start shooting mangoes? That is, let’s get started somewhere.
When it comes to health, we often wait for an external trigger [read: Health Check for Entrepreneurs - You owe it to your team, family and customers], but one thing that works quite well is the 21-days phenomena. That is, practice a task for 21 days and it’s all yours.
“Brain circuits take engrams (memory traces), and produce neuroconnections and neuropathways only if they are bombarded for 21 days in a row. This means that our brain does not accept new data for a change of habit unless it is repeated each day for 21 days (without missing a day).” [link]
Today is 8th. You STILL have a chance!
Start small. [ Read: PI of Life : Wheels of Entrepreneurship]
Exercise is as important as food and you’re not going to get too far if you just keep abusing that body. And you will not be 25, or 30, and especially 35, forever.
Of course, please don’t attempt instant nirvana and try and start all of the above today. Pick a few battles, and fight them well. And you’ll not only survive the 2012 Mayan scare, but have a great 2013!