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What I Wish I Knew About Avoiding Burnout As An Entrepreneur

Below are some of the things I should have avoided, in retrospect, and believe should be avoided at all costs as an entrepreneur.

Sechaba Selialia

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Entrepreneurial-burnout

Being your own boss can be a very rewarding experience, but I am of the opinion that burnout is a very real occupational hazard on that pursuit. One can easily find a myriad of thought leadership pieces with advice on avoiding the potential pitfalls of running a small business, and although this is important, little attention is given to the dealing with the reality that is burnout.

This phenomenon became very real to me recently, at which point I had to decide whether or not my hunger to succeed would come at the cost of my health and sanity. Fortunately, nature intervened and when simple bodily functions began failing me, I was forced to take a step back to reflect.

Focus on what is important

With so many things vying for your attention, it is of vital importance to always make the distinction between what is important, and what is urgent.

Related: 5 Burnout Warning Signs (And How To Respond)

With a clearly defined, vivid, image of where I would like to take my business, I use the following guiding questions:

  1. Will this get me closer to achieving my goal?
  2. Do I have to do it now?

Anything that fails on the first question is frankly unnecessary, and a shortcoming on the second question should be delayed. 

Stay organised

Outside of being privileged enough to have a personal assistant, being organised can save you time and unnecessary stress.

I would advise creating or finding a system that works for you in terms of the following:

  • Documenting your thoughts.
  • Managing your schedule.
  • Managing client relationships. 

More important than finding what works for you, is applying it consistently. 

Do things that energise you

Outside of your daily activities related to the business, it’s critical to do more of the things that make you happy. I am alluding to those activities that leave you more energised after doing them, which can range from sporting activities, other hobbies, or just spending time with loved ones.

If time stops for you while doing it, you’re definitely on the right track in this regard! 

Related: Arianna Huffington’s Recipe for Success: Avoid Burnout

We all need an outlet

In my understanding, some of the fundamental needs that people have are to be acknowledged, understood, accepted, and respected; meaning that we need human interaction.

This being said, avoid navigating ‘the road less travelled’ in isolation, and this can be done by surrounding yourself with people on the same mission because they will be able to relate. I meet for breakfast once a week with a group of people also running their own businesses, and besides holding each other accountable, having them as a sounding board has proven to be invaluable.

It’s okay to take time off

I was one of the casualties of the guilt associated with taking downtime. Thinking back, I did so out of some sense of paranoia that while I was relaxing, the competition was working tirelessly on refining their offering.

The truth is that you need to take time out to refresh your mind every single day, because this is when you synthesise and mentally digest information about what has happened, and plan your next moves with a clear mind.

Never forget that the aim is to enjoy the journey, because that is true success!

A financial analyst by training and entrepreneur by calling, Sechaba is founder & Chief Geek at the Scoody Geek Clothing Lab, an eCommerce platform for the Scoody (Scarf Hoody). Sechaba also founded Africa Rebranded, a youth organization that facilitates annual intra-African cultural exchange programs for social entrepreneurs; which led to his selection as a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum. Sechaba has experience in small business development advisory, and was involved in designing an accelerator program for the Allan Gray-Orbis Foundation, which is one of only four of its kind on the African continent. Sechaba holds an honours degree in Financial Analysis & Portfolio Management from UCT; and serves as Vice-President of Ventures at the Association of Allan Gray Fellows.

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Why Your Fleet Management Plays a Pivotal Role In Your Business

Fleet managers and fleet management tools are often associated with large logistics and transportation companies.

TomTom Telematics

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fleet-management

The challenge

Fleet managers and fleet management tools are often associated with large logistics and transportation companies.

But, if your company:

  • Relies on transportation and vehicles to service your clients or deliver a product
  • Is interested in improving efficiencies and productivity, and saving on the bottom line
  • Has transport costs as a line-item on your expense report
  • Then you are a fleet manager — whether the title exists in your business or not.

Related: Fleet Tools Will Help You Get More Done In Less Time

The solution

Why do companies need fleet management?

WEBFLEET lets people work better together to achieve business results. When everyone is connected, people can work better together and this can help make smarter decisions to help businesses achieve their goals. These can include: Improved efficiency, improved productivity, improved accountability, greater focus on service, greater responsibility, and innovation.

WEBFLEET gets you closer to your drivers

When your team is connected, this helps everyone make better decisions — and that facilitates happy customers, great governance and reaching new goals for your business.

Quick to implement and easy to use, WEBFLEET provides immediate vehicle insight, tracking, messaging and controls, totally in sync with your core business processes.

webfleetWhat is WEBFLEET?

Software as a Service (online fleet management software) that provides businesses with immediate information about what is happening with their vehicles, people and orders in the field, designed for any business size and every vehicle type (passenger cars, vans, trucks).

WEBFLEET connects the vehicles and drivers with the staff in the office, bringing them closer together.

WEBFLEET provides vehicle tracking, fleet optimisation, workforce management and the option to integrate business applications.

The right fleet management solution will not only help you save on your bottom line, it can help you improve efficiencies and productivity, and give your customers a better overall experience.

Related: Why Mitigating Your Risk Can Drive Up Your Fleets Profits

TomTom Telematics is assisting its customers through the following solutions and differentiators:

  • A future-proof solution, thanks to continuous innovation. 17 years of experience in processing big data and turning it into actionable insights for TomTom Telematics’ clients means ground-breaking and continuous innovation is par for the course. These innovations include the industry’s first SaaS, first APIs, OptiDrive 360, maximum reliability and security due to an ISO 27001 certification and full reporting.
  • Proof through platform. WEBFLEET offers high standards of confidentiality, integrity and availability. It also offers an API that seamlessly integrates into any business process. TomTom Telematics also has the largest partner ecosystem with hundreds of proven integrations and add-on applications in the world.
  • An optimised user-experience. TomTom Telematics technology and products have been integrated to create an optimised user experience, including maps, traffic services and driver terminals.
  • Workflow efficiency. Help deliver higher standards of customer service and improve productivity through real-time visibility on vehicle location and mileage reporting, and live and historic geo-location data, which enriches dynamic routing and scheduling applications.

 

  • 77% – of workers drive over the speed limit due to work pressure
  • 30% – of your vehicles’ total cost of ownership is influenced by the way the car is driven

Visit telematics.tomtom.com/tellmemore and follow us on Twitter @TomTomWEBFLEET

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How You Can Make Leadership Excellence An Effortless Effort

From my childhood I was literally fascinated by the seemingly effortless performances of individuals whom have mastered their craft.

Dirk Coetsee

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buddha

“Wu-Wei” – From original Chinese, meaning effortless effort

From my childhood I was literally fascinated by the seemingly effortless performances of individuals whom have mastered their craft. Images of Luciano Pavorotti hitting high C notes with simplified grace, Chris Cornell’s raw rock voice hitting gravel and then reaching for the heavens, Lang Langs’ majestic hands creating unimaginable sounds on the ivory whites of a piano, Tony Robbins’ flaming and scorching energy, Churchills’ effortless and eloquent speeches, Bransons’ unrelenting passion for business and people, Jona Lomus’ awesome power, and Bolts’ graceful running leaves me in a state of inspired awe.

When the state of amazement enthused by great individuals dissipate we are left with a burning question:

How does one become a leader in any field and how does one reach a state where optimal performance virtually becomes a natural state?

Related: Servant Leadership – Will You Serve?

A vast amount of experiential learning and volumes of information would empower an individual to attempt an answer to this question. This writing is not an attempt at a solution to this complex question but instead only serves as a guide to those individuals whom has a burning desire to earnestly start on their search to find the truth for themselves.

Are leaders and top performers simply born with a great talent and therefore naturally will outperform others? Not necessarily so. Some modern Leaders such as Gary Vaynerchuck are totally unimpressed by talent yet very impressed by a knack for people skills.

The Legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi used to say: “Talent simply means you have not done it yet.”

The aforesaid implies that talent might be a bonus yet has to be combined with hard and effective work, as well as toughened mental capacity, to be moulded into skills required for performance at the highest level.

winston-churchill

“We shall not melt in the fire but instead be tempered by it” – The great Winston Churchill was alluding to the British nations willingness to endure great hardships and be transformed into one unified front and a patriotic nation during the carnage of the second world war. Most great Leaders ultimately learnt that hardships were not something to resist but rather something to invite in when it knocks at your door as it is the very hardships that teach and shape us, that is if we allow it to.

Those who fear their own inner greatness will run from the hardships and thereby neglect the wonderful yet very uncomfortable opportunity to grow as a leader and a human being. The daring few who would embrace their inner greatness, foster their own commitment and willingly be’ tempered by fire’ have started their journey towards greatness.

When embarking on this journey reflect on the fact that never was a great leader made without help.  A high level of self -awareness which is a basic requirement of effective Leadership dictates that we must get rid of the small voice of the ego that tempts us into daring to think that we could know it all and do all by ourselves. Be open to advice, seek help from the wise, and more importantly act on good advice.

When you earnestly seek mentorship the one that turns you down in general was not the right one in the first place. Alternatively, he or she turned you down because you were not ready to be mentored and must first earnestly seek your own heart for the truth about your intentions.

Your intent is the crucial factor and on the path to greatness everyone would do well to introspectively seek every corner of their hearts and minds and ask:

  • What do I honestly seek?
  • Is it fame or to help others or both?
  • Do I have pure selfish intent, or do I want to give back and coach other Leaders?

Related: Managing Resistance To Change: An Essential Management And Leadership Skill

Without sacrifice, without a burning desire to succeed, without help, and without ethical intent this journey is ‘a bridge too far’. A Leadership journey based on a hunger for power over others and greed for money might take you to great heights initially but the fall from those dizzying heights is far and excruciatingly painful.

What follows is an attempt to answer the very general questions facing most of us when we decide on whether we should embark on a personal Leadership journey or not:

Can anyone Lead?

Yes, it is a matter of intent, effective work, mentorship, sacrifice, people skills and continuous learning amongst other factors.

Does a title such as CEO, shareholder, president, professor imply that I am a leader?

No, a title is merely a name allocated to a position, the behaviours that led me to that title and the behaviours displayed for as long as I am in that position determines whether I was a leader or not, while I had or claimed to have that title. Leadership is not a title it consists out of behaviours that gives a title deep meaning and validity.

Do I have to have a formal qualification to be recognised as a leader?

No. Your behaviour determines whether you are a leader or not.  Continuous learning is a basic Leadership behaviour. Whether that means you obtain a formal qualification or learn through a mentor which learning does not result in a formal qualification has no bearing on your Leadership capacity or capabilities.

Contemplation of the above answers to the general questions that a lot of people consider might lead the reader to think that the state of “Wu-Wei”- “Effortless-effort “can only be achieved through a lot of effort. In thinking that you are correct, yet it is not only a matter of effort. To get to the ultimate state of performance as a leader each one of us must be so committed to a cause higher than ourselves that we are willing to be ‘tempered by fire’. We must cast our egos aside and remain “teachable”, and most importantly give back by coaching other leaders.

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The 8 Best Pieces Of Business Advice I’ve Received In The Past 6 Months

Words of wisdom from business leaders.

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business-advice

My job involves interacting with dozens of business visionaries on a regular basis. I’m constantly meeting with vendors, potential partners, customers and new employees. I take something positive away from every exchange. It’s usually a tidbit on how I could run my department more efficiently, manage talent more smoothly or tackle a business challenge from a fresh perspective.

Here are the eight best pieces of advice I’ve received in the past six months. I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me.

1No one manages your career but you

This sentence – when spoken by Melissa Proctor, chief marketing officer at the Atlanta Hawks – gave me pause. How often do we look for someone else to notice us in our jobs or wait for a specific role to open?

“Everyone should go into his or her career with an entrepreneurial mindset,” she said. “Then, watch amazing things happen.”

Related: Successful SA Entreps Share Their Most Valuable Business Advice Ever Received

2Go slowly

There is often an expectation to hustle, especially in the world of high-growth companies. But this comment, said to me by Brendan Schwartz, cofounder of video hosting company Wistia, really hit home. His point: sometimes it takes time to get something right, and it’s OK to embrace a slower pace.

3Make sure you have emotional support

emotional-support

Ryan Petersen, founder of freight forwarder Flexport, told me this after a long conversation about how he started his business. He said that being a founder is hard and that there will be times when you’ll question why you quit your corporate job.

“Find people who will support you when things get bad and give you practical advice,” he said. I appreciated his candor.

4Don’t do it for the money

This sounds cliché, but I’ve found it to be true in my career, and colleagues have said the same. This advice came from a conversation I had with Lorena Garcia of the online training company Bloguettes. “I try to remember that if you do what you like every single day,” she said, “the money will come.”

Related: 15 Of South Africa’s Business Leaders’ Best Advice For Your Business

5Be patient. Great things take time to happen

As someone who likes to see results yesterday, this was a hard one for me to accept. This advice, given to me by Eric Siu, CEO of Single Grain, a marketing agency in Los Angeles, I found especially applicable when faced with challenges. “Be patient, and be resilient,” he told me. “Most people give up at the first sign of adversity. Don’t be most people.”

6Spend more time recruiting

When Flexport’s Petersen started his business, he spent a lot of time “heads down” on product. “I think if I could go back and give myself advice, I’d say to spend more time on recruiting,” he said.

“Other people are better than certain things than me; I’m always better off spending my time trying to find those people.”

7Be grateful

Be grateful

This one wasn’t advice as much as one of Siu’s productivity hacks. The single biggest thing that helps him stay effective? “Writing for five minutes in a journal every morning,” he said.

“I write down three things I’m grateful for and it helps shape my day. It makes me feel invincible. A lot of people think meditation and gratefulness is ‘rah rah,’ but it actually helps.”

Related: 14 Leaders Share Their Inspirational Advice On Starting A Business

8Don’t listen to advice

I laughed out loud at this one, but then thought about it for a moment. These words came from Daehee Park, cofounder of Tuft & Needle, a fast-growing company in the mail-order mattress space. “Our first advisor told us this,” Park said. “He said to listen to everyone but to ultimately make our own decision because every situation is different, and no one has the absolute truth.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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