Pace Yourself While There is Still Time

Entrepreneur 12 Comments

Hare and Cheetah CartoonImagine yourself as a marathon runner. You’re at the starting line and the gun sounds, you sprint as fast as you can for the first half mile of the race. You now have sizable lead on the other runners, but you’re out of breath and your jogging pace has slowed to a crawl. With another 25.5 miles to run, it doesn’t look like you will hold your lead for much more than another mile. What went wrong? Now apply this situation to your business startup. Do you see the connection?

When it comes to starting a business, especially if you are doing most of the work on your own, you need to learn to pace yourself. Sprinting out of the gates will only get you so far before you feel burnt out. Realize that starting a business is more like a marathon than a sprint. You need to conserve your energy, expend it slowly, and keep your head in the game.

I’ve often found myself ready to start a new business idea and I jump right out of the gates in a mad dash to get my idea off the ground and out to the public. At first glance, this may seem like a good idea. You obviously want to get your product out there before anyone else does and the faster you get it to the customers, the faster you have the chance to profit. But those of you that have taken this approach will know that it usually doesn’t work out that way. Instead, like the sprinter, you find yourself burnt out and tired and you’ve lost your motivation to keep up with the project. Sadly, I’ve had this happen to me a number of times.

Alternatively, try to be like the marathon runner and remember the following:

1. keep Your Ambition In Check
What I mean by this is that most, if not all entrepreneurs have plenty of ambition. It’s one of the qualities you need to succeed. What you need to learn is to control that ambition and not let it cloud your judgment of what you are capable of. Often times, you will take on way more than you can handle and run the risk of running out of time to complete them all. Stay focused and clearheaded about what you can actually accomplish.

2. Divide Your Projects
Instead of saying I want to complete Business X (I’m guilty of this), divide Business X into 20-30 smaller tasks and say you want to complete Task 1, 2, & 3 by the end of the month. Focus on those smaller tasks and to some degree forget the overall project. By focusing on the smaller tasks you can still get work done, but not over-extend yourself and run the risk of becoming burnt out.

3. Consider Outsourcing
It’s definitely a good thing to want to get your business off the ground as quickly as possible, but as I said it can be a dangerous trap to fall into if you push too hard and burn yourself out. If getting your business off the ground quickly is crucial to its success then consider outsourcing some of the work to free up time for yourself. Often times outsourcing your work will get you higher quality work than you could have done while freeing up your valuable time to focus on Task 1, 2, & 3!

4. Relax! Relax! Relax!
You might think that taking a day off or even a few hours off to lie in front of the television is just pure laziness, but it isn’t! It’s being smart! By giving yourself time to relax, you are giving your body and mind time to unwind and recharge. Sometimes a break away from all of your worries and work can be just what you need. Give yourself a day or two away from your projects and when you are ready to come back to them you will find that you are more focused than ever before.

Remember that working your fingers to the bone can only work for so long. Eventually you will either become burnt out or you will lose interest in your project. If you are serious about creating a business with longevity, remember to pace yourself!

Good Luck!

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    1. 1 Andy November 21, 2007

      Believe it or not, I was heckled publicly by one of my competitors for outsourcing some programming and other design from time to time. Now they are doing it.

    2. 2 list building November 21, 2007

      This is a very good post that talks about ways you can prevent yourself from burning out when you are a full time internet marketer.

      Burning yourself out is very possible and it is something that I experienced first hand.

      It is all about pacing yourself, and once you learn that, you’ll have the longevity and energy to continue building your business for the long haul.

      This was an outstanding post!

    3. 3 Colin King November 22, 2007

      Very good post Erik… I too have the problem of starting of all guns blazing. I could do it once upon a time, but now I have to plan and schedule everything if I want to get anything done.

    4. 4 Speed Linking : Jamie Harrop | Young Entrepreneur | Video Blog November 25, 2007

      […] Erik talks about entrepreneur burnout when he tells us to pace ourselves while there is still time. […]

    5. 5 Sheronde November 30, 2007

      Hi Erik,
      I happened on your blog while reading another blog. I like what your blog is about — your entrepreneurial journey and the idea of pacing yourself. Entrepreneurship is definitely a journey and we do have to learn how to segment our vision into measurable and attainable steps along the way. I am the author of the book, Sipping Tea and Doing Business: A Holistic Journey to Business Success which focuses on this concept. I also publish a blog, Business & A Cup of Tea at I recently wrote an article on Developing Your 90 Day Action Plan, with a similar analogy of how I was able to run a marathon 3 years ago. Continued success on your journey.

    6. 6 Bob December 2, 2007

      Your tips are right on target. I think many entrepreneurs do nto look at relaxing as a plus, but it is too easy to get involved in a task and forget to look at the big picture. By taking some time off, it is possible to seethings more clearly upon returning to work. Well done!

    7. 7 Yasmine December 12, 2007

      Great post! I especially agree with your last statement – it seems counter-intuitive but sometimes taking a break and coming back helps you get your work done better and faster than before.

    8. 8 Karen Davis October 7, 2008

      This is the best tips I have read about business.

    9. 9 search engine optimizers December 9, 2009

      awesome, that is really good thing , i appreciate this and totally agree with that there is nothing to deny this . thanks for sharing

    10. 10 Karen Cayamanda August 25, 2010

      I like tip no. 4! ;) I know exactly what you mean by getting burnt out. I’m one to jump to things when I get excited and this will eventually tire me until I’m almost dysfunctional. Your post served as an important reminder… and I agree, yours are probably the best business tips I’ve read.

    11. 11 outsourcing tasks India September 17, 2010

      Great post.
      Awesome post.

    12. 12 Best Airbrush tan system August 22, 2011

      Great post. It is so true. I wonder how many entrepreneurs hit the home run directly out of the gate? Does being an entrepreneur “have” to require the prolonged struggle?

      Curious to hear your thoughts.

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