19 Ways I Surf the Rough Waves of Entrepreneurship

Updated: Mar 13

My recent adventure as an entrepreneur has been exhilarating and … tiring.

A little recap if you’re new here:

Hi! My name is Jyoti Sohal-David and I live in Oslo, Norway. I recently Founded – Skillfugees – a Norwegian recruitment agency helping companies increase innovation and ethnic diversity by matching them with highly-skilled migrant and refugee candidates.

For entrepreneurs of impact startups, their entire universe slowly revolves around responsibilities and results.

I’ve definitely experienced the weight of responsibilities and the joy of success stories at Skillfugees.

But is this entrepreneurial journey really all that glamourous as it looks on social media? Far from it.

If you’re considering testing the waters of entrepreneurship then the 19 things that help me, will help you.

1. Not all entrepreneurs have it all served on a plate

Firstly, most of us start from scratch. We probably have a little saved, but this is the truth.

I gave up my comfortable full-time job recently to commit 100% to pursuing my entrepreneurial goals.

I have a professional, passionate, and driven team working for me pro-bono.

Still looks like a delightful path? Probably not, but that depends on your goals.

2. Take advantage of the morning

I’m a morning person. I feel absolutely energised and effective once I’m up around 7:00 AM.

I get my ideas anywhere. While running, reading, or having good conversations.

But these ideas evolve into the best ideas during the mornings. I’m also definitely able to get more done throughout the day.

Give it a go!

3. Get a good night’s sleep

Just because I like to wake up early, doesn’t mean I sleep less. I need at least 7-8 hours of sleep to keep me happy and relaxed.

My thought processing abilities aren’t disrupted by feeling drowsy or yawning a hundred times.

Apart from enabling me to make good decisions, I’m able to give my 110% to the company and my colleagues.

4. Establish a routine

I know, it might sound boring. But, ensuring stable hours of sleep and rest is a good place to start.

You can then create a routine for your everyday activities or goals.

I can guarantee you will be more productive if you plan your hours and stick to that plan.

No more rushing to a meeting straight from bed, guys!

5. Map your company’s goals

I’d like to make one thing clear: I’m still learning.

And, I need to get better at mapping my goals. Why?

Simply thinking about how to grow your business is a dangerous cycle I sometimes get stuck in.

But, creating goals that pair with the mission and vision of my company has taken the business down some kickass directions.

6. Plan ahead and set reminders

This is always a positive – power to you if you’re able to do this.

Also, I like to keep little windows open for those last minute tasks that creep up on us from nowhere.

7. Small victories are still victories

Celebrating everyday wins is so satisfying! It doesn’t have to be a full-blown party.

I always message my team members if our candidate’s been selected for a company interview.

Recognising even the smallest of achievements of your company, or your team members, helps us feel like we’ve accomplished our goals and keep the morale high.

I wish we recorded our little virtual team jig on “Uptown Funk”. 

8. Remind yourself of the WHY

If you’re overwhelmed, doubtful, unsure, demotivated, or just not willing to power through, go back to the drawing board and ask yourself – WHY.

Like in any relationship, going back to why you fell in love in the first place helps push through problems.

Well, you’re in a relationship with your company. Keep the passion alive and the cause front and centre by reminding yourself why you started in the first place.

TIP: Create a personal mission statement!

9. Give yourself a personal reward

I’m mindful of the money I spend so I prefer rewarding myself with experiences than things.

I spend time with family, go for a short or long vacation, and really disconnect.

Trust me. These would be your biggest rewards and would honestly replenish all your drained energy.

10. Track the money

Like I mentioned, I am trying my best to be mindful of the money I spend personally or in the business. As a solo-preneur, initially you and the company are the same.

There are many free softwares which help you plan your budget and track your expenses.

Focussing on the company’s priorities has helped me efficiently use funds in the areas that need them the most.

For example, our priority right now is Business Development and Operations. So, guess where the bigger chunk of our finances is heading?

11. Find your guardian angel (investor!)

While not all startups rely on funding, many social impact startups like ours do need funding.

What has really given us hope is the possibility to collaborate, accelerator programs, or applying for grants.

Keep an eye out for all the possibilities of getting funded (if you need it), there are plenty!

12. Bring loved ones into the challenges?

There are many decisions I need to take as a solo-preneur which eventually affect my personal life.

The decision to quit my job was one I took with my husband, Tavis. His support and love through this journey have been paramount.

I was able to lay the foundation of Skillfugees with his expertise.

Then there are my siblings, relatives, and friends. I know I can talk to any of them about my challenges.

But, I am very careful about how much to involve them. They all have their own lives and challenges.

13. Seek out inspiration

Nobody knows everything! I love to learn and I make sure I do that even during work hours.

Attending webinars, workshops, reading, and surrounding myself with knowledge is a part of my job too.

There is so much free information out there. It’s now possible to learn from global thought leaders you will probably never meet.

I listen very carefully and take onboard values or ideas that help me and my company thrive. 

14. Network with people having the same values/motivations:

This is probably one of the valuable aspects of being an entrepreneur.

So, even if they do different things, I’ve consciously chosen to surround myself with people that have the same values as me.

Their positive energy is infectious and helps my company progress.

Because, the moment you have lost hope you’ll need these types of people who can push you to go on.

I’m a strong believer in avoiding toxic people. This could be a difficult trait to recognise at first, but once you do – avoid them as they only bring negativity and drain your energy.

15. Don’t carry the decision-making burden alone

I have my husband, my team, my mentors, or even my well-wishers sometimes involved in my decision-making processes.

Best part is, some of them don’t even realise it! :)

16. Your company tribe is the backbone

Build a strong team.

Chalk out the terms of your collaboration in writing. Respect their time if they’re working for you as volunteers or for far less than their worth.

Let them know what’s going on because you need to be able to have a 100% transparent relationship.

Nobody can run a company alone and I definitely wouldn’t have gotten this far without my tribe.

So, build and nurture your tribe. 

17. Give yourself some personal time

Meditation and reading books on wellness and mental health are a big part of my me-time.

It helps my perspective when I reflect on my decisions or moments in life, through the words I read by other brilliant minds.

I thoroughly enjoy traveling.

Spending time with my family is as important for me as spending time with my friends.

18. There will be bad days

On these days you have to remind yourself why you started this.
 I read motivational quotes and listen to podcasts to keep me going even when things aren’t going my way.

I do make mistakes but I know that there is a ton of growth and learning attached to each mistake.

19. Inspiring future entrepreneurs

I want to inspire future entrepreneurs to take the plunge into this journey.

Each entrepreneur has their own unique journey to take but no path is less inspirational than the other.

Norway has a huge support system for entrepreneurs, look into that even if you have just an idea but don’t know how to start.

BONUS: Remember to have fun

Very often we’re so caught up to make sure our company is doing okay, our team is doing okay, our clients are doing okay, that we forget to ask ourselves if we’re doing okay.

Doing okay is more than just floating. It’s about surfing the waves.

Even if your company fails , make sure to enjoy the journey.

Make sure your family and friends don’t take a backseat, they matter the most.

I sometimes ache to disconnect and being in Norway gives me the fantastic opportunity to do that when I travel to explore nature.

This entrepreneurial life isn’t for everyone, but it sure is fun!

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