How to be a successful entrepreneur? 4 tips to my younger self

Being a successful entrepreneur is rewarding, but it’s hard. You have to wear a lot of hats, create systems (often from scratch!) and learn new skills. And this can sometimes feel overwhelming.

I’ve been a freelance translator since 2014 and I’ve learned a lot about growing my business in the past 7 years.

So I thought I’d share 4 things I wish I did when I started my solopreneur journey.

Don’t spend 100% of your time working IN your business

How to become a successful entrepreneur – work on your business

There’s working IN your business and ON your business. In my case, working IN my business means translating and proofreading documents. Working ON my business is everything else: project management, emails, invoicing, CPD, networking, marketing, social media, blogging, admin tasks, etc.

That’s a lot of things I need to get done to keep my business growing!

To be a successful entrepreneur, working ON your business is just as important as working IN your business. This is something I learned a couple of years ago when I joined the Doer’s group and started interacting with other solopreneurs facing the same struggles I did.

Carving out some time every day to work ON your business will help you grow your business, move in the right direction and work with the customers you love.

As an example, the first hour of my workday is dedicated to marketing tasks. That way, I make sure they are getting done. Because who wants to create content after an 8-hour long workday? Not me!

Track your time on everything you do, and I mean everything

How to be a successful entrepreneur – track your time

Track each and every task, including the tasks related to working ON your business like CPD, invoicing, admin tasks, content creation, etc. It will help you know how productive you are on each task and calculate your rate accordingly.

I personally use Toggl, which is a simple and straightforward time tracking app that’s perfect for me as a solopreneur. But any time tracker will do.

Tracking my time helps me plan how much time I need for each translation project, depending on the type of document. It also gives me some insights about how much time I spend ON my business vs. IN my business, and when I am the most and least productive.

Take care of your mental health

How to be a successul entrepreneur - mental health

When I first started, I worked all day long, translating from 9 am to 8 pm, sometimes in the weekends as well! To me, a successful entrepreneur was someone who worked ALL THE TIME. I was under the impression that I would be letting my clients down if I wasn’t available 24/7.

After a few months, I realized I had to do something to avoid burnout, so I stopped answering emails early in the morning and late at night. I stopped working on the weekends, and when I was fully booked, I kindly explained it to my clients. And guess what? Nothing bad happened. My clients perfectly understood why I wasn’t available and I was able to maintain a great relationship with them.

Your work-life balance is so important, both for your well-being and for your business success. But it’s not that easy to break bad habits. Here’s what I did:

    • I established boundaries by defining working hours and sticking to them. Setting an alarm for the end of your workday might help at first.
    • I started exercising regularly and meditating for a few minutes every night in bed to release the tension.
    • I stopped checking my phone first thing in the morning. Instead, I take time to get ready, make myself a cup of tea and read for 20 to 30 minutes. Then, and only then, I check my phone and start working.

Take care of your physical health

What makes a successful entrepreneur – physical health

While your mental health is essential, don’t forget to take care of your physical health as well.

Here are my top tips, so you can learn from my mistakes:

    • Don’t work on the couch (something many of us working from home are guilty of doing at first).
    • Get a quality office chair and a second monitor — this one has been a game-changer!
    • Stretch your wrists & shoulders every hour.

Your body will thank you!


What about you? What are your top tips to be a successful entrepreneur?