I am an early riser. I’ve always been able to just jump out of bed and get going when the alarm goes off. No snooze. No grace period. Once I’m up, I’m up. You can get so much done before the rest of the world gets up. It’s truly amazing what you can accomplish when no one else is bothering you—I mean when you have total focus and some quiet.
Being able to get up early with a clear mind has definitely been an asset since I own 2 fitness studios and those 6:00 AM classes are always busy with our most dedicated clients. Gotta be “on” to teach class that early in the morning.
But…at some point I started developing some really bad early morning habits that started to impact my business in a negative way. What was I doing that was so bad? When my alarm went off, the first thing I did was reach for my phone and check my email. Uh, that’s not so bad, you might think. You’re just checking your email. You’d check it when you got into work. I check my email all the time, no big deal. What’s the problem with checking email when you get up?
Many of you in the service industry can probably relate to what I’m about to write. Clients wait until the evening to complain over email. They sit down and write out their complaints or sometimes just questions, but mostly complaints, in the evening. Since I try not to check my email past 9:00 PM, I get all these messages first thing in the morning. The first thing I see in the morning by checking my email are complaints. And while I love my clients and work really hard to make sure they are getting superior customer service, reading about all the things you and your employees are doing wrong, incorrectly or inefficiently doesn’t make for a great mood in the morning when you’re trying to get ready for the day. In fact, I started snoozing and needing a lot more coffee to be my peppy self. I also started complaining more, being more resentful and just not having the best time at work.
As a successful business owner, you need to start each day as if it’s the most important day of your life. Your energy needs to be high. Your focus and dedication rock solid. Why? Because anything less will negatively impact your employees. Yep. Your employees.
Your Team looks to you to set the tone at your business. If your tone is mopey and slightly on edge because you wake up and read negative emails first thing, it shouldn’t be surprising that your Team is mopey and slightly on edge as well. They take their cues from you.
So, luckily I stopped looking at my email when I got up. And started spending at least an hour reading business books or anything uplifting. Sometimes I listen to business podcasts. It was amazing. My mood improved. I didn’t feel so rushed in the morning. And because I was operating with an improved outlook and mood—you guessed it—my Team started working harder as well.
If you are interested in furthering your success or even just getting on the right path to becoming more successful, I recommend the following:
The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy: This book literally changed my life. My business coach, Mary Ann, gave me a copy to read before one of our first meetings. Since reading the book, I cancelled my cable, started reading every day, enacted a strict budget both for my personal spending and business spending, and stopped going to Starbucks every day for coffee (I still drink coffee. And sometimes go to Starbucks. Seriously, that would be terrible to have to give that up. But I learned how to make a latte at home—that tastes just like Starbucks. Bonus post tomorrow on that. It’s really easy and I only had to spend $40 to get the right tools.) Anyways, back to The Compound Effect…this book is all about making small changes that “compound” to effect bigger more amazing changes. And it really works. If you are in the fitness industry you can attest, like I can, that just making one change to work out on a regular basis leads to making other smarter choices about food and drinking. Then all of a sudden you’ve lost weight and people are commenting about how good you look. Anyways, get this book immediately, if not sooner. Read it. Implement just one suggestion—after all it’s called The Compound Effect. See what happens. (Oh, if you are reading this and you are one of my employees, don’t buy the book. You’re getting a copy at our holiday party. #spoileralert)
Success Principles, Jack Canfield: If you’re going to read a book after The Compound Effect, read this one. Jack Canfield was the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for The Soul series. In Success Principles, you will literally learn what the world’s most successful people do and how to apply those principles to your own life. I need to read this book again. There was so much information. It’s the kind of book that you could re-read many times and always pick up something new.
Think & Grow Rich, Napolean Hill: First published in 1937, this book is still applicable to today’s modern business world. A must read.
#GirlBoss, Sophia Amoruso: When you get tired of reading about how to be successful from old, white, dudes, read this. Ok, it’s true Amoruso’s company, Nasty Gal, just filed for bankruptcy, but the message of the book is on point.
The Little Red Book of Selling: Jeffrey Gittomer: Love, love, love this book. I learned two things from this book. 1) The workday starts the night before. In other words, you need to look at what you have planned for the next day to start mentally mapping out how your day will go. It works—if you have a plan and are mentally prepared, you win every time. 2) If you can’t get in front of the decision maker to make the sale, you suck. Some of you might think this is harsh, but it’s so true, it’s not funny. If you are having trouble selling, either your product isn’t what people want (aka. “it sucks”) or you do. So get better!
The Edge: The Guide to Fulfilling Dreams, Maximizing Success and Enjoying a Lifetime of Achievement, Howard E. Ferguson: I first read this book in high school because my dad got a copy. And it really helped me stay focused to get up every morning for swim team (I lettered all four years and went on to swim in college). I don’t even think this book is in print anymore, but you can buy used copies on Amazon. If you need a cliff notes of any of the books above, this is the book for you. This book is about getting “the edge” in life and it is comprised of quotes from anyone who was successful in sports, business, or politics. Disclaimer: this book was published in 1990, so there are quotes from OJ Simpson and Joe Paterno. Just pretend someone else said them.
This is a pretty good reading list to get you going.
When you’re operating your own business, it’s pretty easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day. Setting some time up to learn is critical so that you can have the confidence to grow your business and develop your team. I am convinced that 90% of successful business ownership is all between-the-ears. The other 10% is just planning and hard work. Meaning, if you’re struggling, you’ve got to change your perspective and outlook on life. Get positive to have a positive impact on your sales. If you don’t, your team will stagnate and you’ll just lag behind your competition.
So, bonus post tomorrow which will give details on how to make a great latte at home, without spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy espresso machine. I’ll also post another cute pic of my dog, Harper. And next week, I’ll discuss motivation. How to stay motivated as well as how to keep your team motivated. This can be tough when you have to motivate yourself day-in and day-out. But it’s not impossible!
Until then, stay on your toes!