Entrepreneurs Must Read
This is required. I can’t think of a single blockbuster business offhand that was an original. Google was a better Archie (yeah, look that one up), Facebook was a better MySpace, Digg was a better Delicious (okay, maybe not), iPod was a better Walkman, and we could go on forever. This all goes to the importance of keeping up, which means reading.
I believe it goes beyond the obvious, which would be my daily RSS reader habit. Sure that keeps me tuned into the latest on TechCrunch and Mashable, but creativity needs more. I would also encourage a daily habit of reading that spans business, pop fiction, classics, spiritual, maybe even a little dose of comics.
Writing Creates Clarity
I am shocked at how many people can’t write. I run into business folks everyday that simply can’t engage and convince with the written word.
You might, and many do, get away with this in the corporate world, but it won’t work in the startup world. It’s not as easy to hide behind short email bursts and sneak attacks via voicemail. It’s harder to put the monkey on someone else’s back.
As an entrepreneur, you need to build and articulate concepts in far more detail. Resources are often much more scarce so you’re continually pitching and persuading, which requires a good pen.
For me daily writing clears my mind, frames my thinking, and tightens up my verbal messaging.
Maybe it’s because I’m over forty, but my mind isn’t a steel trap. Great ideas float away almost as quickly as they occur. Consequently, I try to be very diligently about capturing as many ideas as possible.
My system isn’t perfect, but it is pretty complete. It consists of a simple notebook for my pocket, a tablet on my desk, and Evernote on all my digital devices. Ultimately, I like to try to get everything into Evernote, even the paper, so that I have a central database of my ideas.
The big benefit is that I can flip through that database of ideas at anytime for inspiration or reference. A database of ideas is so important for sustaining an entrepreneur’s creative process.
Virtual is great, but at some point you need to shake a hand, slap a back, or share a laugh to really build a community that will help your idea grow. My experiences, have shown me over and over that nothing propels your ideas like surrounding yourself with people who like, care, and are genuinely interested in what you’re up to. That take physical connection, IMHO.
Therefore, I think physically connecting as consistently as possible is another important habit to build. If you have folks near you or you are traveling, try to make those casual meetings happen.
Travel for Experience
I can’t think of any one activity that generates more interesting experiences and stories than travel. Entrepreneurs need new experiences to keep them on top of their creative game. That why I make a habit of traveling for business and pleasure at least once month.
That has been as exotic as Italy for a month and as simple as checking out the grandeur of the Northern regions of my home state Michigan.
Taking a little time to change the scenery, experiencing new things, and connecting with different people is invigorating.
Pick a conference in a fun place and start a few habits at once–travel, connect, capture, and write it up. What are you waiting for?