“If you want to be successful, you need to make sacrifices.”
This ideology never sat well with serial-entrepreneur, Martin Bjergegaard. In fact, it bugged him so much that he wanted to prove it wrong—which is exactly what he did. Now, major companies, such as Google, are asking Martin to share his knowledge with their employees so that they can become successful entrepreneurs—without sacrificing their own humanity.
It can be difficult to navigate the intensity of start-up life. Martin knew this, and decided to ask others for help in the matter. Through a globe trotting adventure, Martin—together with similar minded Canadian entrepreneur, Jordan Milne, tracked down 25 entrepreneurs that had achieved exactly what Martin wanted: successful careers, without personal sacrifice.
Compiling all of what they had learned, Martin and Jordan formulated their best selling book Winning Without Losing—which outlines 66 strategies on how to approach starting a successful business, while keeping your humanity in tact.
Check out the video below where Martin offers Google employees six tips towards becoming a balanced and successful entrepreneur.
(The speech is in Danish, but is subtitled in English for our international audience)[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5gFj7LfU0w&list=UUHDPGBXnSMTAm8UcZugh4rw]
For those taking notes at home, below are the 6 tips for succeeding as an entrepreneur that Martin shared with Google:
1. Find Your Co-Founders
It’s incredibly difficult to start a successful business on your own—so get help. It’s crucial to find the right person to go on such an adventure with you, but make sure to find someone who compliments you both in competencies and personality. Martin calls his search for co-founders “Finding Future Friends”. One of the first things Martin asks himself whenever he considers working with someone is “Would I want to take a cross-Atlantic flight with this person?” If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t start a business with them.
2. The “Today List”
A “to-do” list in a start-up setting is, by definition, always growing. Therefore, it becomes more of a distraction than an efficiency tool. Instead, make a short Today List that includes three prioritised tasks. All of these tasks should strictly be oriented at driving your company’s mission forward. Get them done, and take the next day as it comes
3. Reinvent the Meeting
Particularly if your company has a hierarchical structure, the conference room can immediately become a trigger of fear and nerves, thereby stifling creativity and productivity. Martin encourages everyone to change the meeting setting—especially if the topics are more complex. Being outdoors, or on the move, allows individuals to connect as people and move beyond office ranks and roles.
4. Tell Everybody About Your Idea
There is a tendency to believe that if we think we have a million dollar idea, we shouldn’t talk openly because someone will try to steal it. However, as Martin says, not talking about the idea can only halter its development. If you open up to others, you may find valuable feedback that can enhance your plans. You may perhaps even find potential co-founders, investors, and customers.
5. Follow Your Energy
There are times when we just feel like we are on fire. We crush through our emails and tasks with a feeling of invincibility in the workplace. These work periods all occur when we are aligned with our Flow. The key to productivity is being in tune with our individual flow. If you are just staring at your flagged emails, and feel that you can’t formulate any words—let alone the right ones—then don’t do it right now. Ask yourself what you would be best at doing at that specific time—then do that instead. It doesn’t even have to be work related. Do the tasks that you know you can complete with quality given your flow at that time. Then return to the other tasks when the time is right for you
6. Make Sure to Get Many Attempts
As the famous quote by Thomas Edison goes, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” The same concept applies for entrepreneurship. There are so many variables occurring when creating a start-up that, sometimes, it just boils down to luck. The important thing is to not give up. Learn something from each experience, and move along. Failure can be intimidating, but it should never be a deterrent.
Martin’s book Winning Without Losing highlights 60 additional strategies to achieve entrepreneurial success. If you would like to read some more insights from Martin, check out his free chapter samples in the Winning Without Losing Blog Series.
Like Pine Tribe on Facebook for more insights on Nordic Leadership