Solopreneur: You Are Your Business!

Part III: The Solopreneur’s Self-care Framework

Prioritize self-care. Adopt the mindset that you are your business — the most crucial, important, and indispensable part of your business. This is the way to be “fine” or even “thriving” in the long period.

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels.

How to do this? Through everyday small habits, which will take care of all areas of your life.
Humans are holistic beings. It’s not enough to have great relationships, great health, or a great intellect.
In fact, usually a deficiency in one area often creeps into other areas of your life. You need to prevent that. You need habits in each and every area: finances, health, spirituality, relationships, personal growth, and professional growth.

It doesn’t have to take you a lot of time. Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning formula starts from six minutes, and it covers most of the above-mentioned areas. Especially, when you don’t have any good habits, even the smallest habit can make a lot of difference.

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5 Easiest Things to Do If You Struggle with Developing a New Habit

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In my practice, I’ve seen what people struggled with the most and what enabled them the most.

Creating new habits doesn’t have to be a slog. Here are five easy tips to eliminate the struggle from developing good habits:

1. Make It Tiny.

By far, the #1 struggle with developing habits comes from inflated ambition. Our minds are bombarded by media with incredible transformation stories, so we want impressive results and we want them NOW. Or, better yet, yesterday. Thus, when people develop a new habit, the #1 mistake is trying to do too much too quickly.

You try to lose weight by pumping iron for 3 hours a day.

You try to write a book by writing for 5 hours a day.

You try to learn a new language by learning 199 new words every day.

It is too much. Your subconscious will quickly rebel against such overcommitment.

The solution? Make your habit tiny; a tiny habit is an activity that:

-you do at least once a day,
-takes you less than 30 seconds,
-requires little effort.

Additional hack: design a tiny habit, which you can do multiple times a day, preferably dozens of times a day. Developing a habit takes 66 repetitions on average. With a tiny habit, you can compress this process into a few days.

Take the free Tiny Habits course. It starts every Monday, takes less than an hour for the whole week, and in the process you will develop three new habits.

2. Celebrate Your Habit.

Bad habits easily stick to us because they go hand in hand with our body’s reward system. You eat something sweet, and dopamine hits immediately. You yell at others, and you immediately feel powerful. You gulp alcohol, and you feel the boost of self-confidence in mere seconds.

However, good habits rarely can tap into this reward system so easily, if at all. For example, in the moment, working out or fasting is more of a punishment for the body, than a reward. Even purely intellectual habits, like reading or writing are, at best, neutral for our bodies.

Thus, in order to connote your good habit with a reward, you need to celebrate. That’s the fastest way to activate your body’s reward system, and the easiest way to make your habit pleasurable.

Here is what BJ Fogg, the inventor of the Tiny Habits framework, recommends for celebration:

3. Get Educated about Habits.

Knowing the habit science is not obligatory – I developed dozens of habits being clueless about it – but helpful. The Tiny Habits course gives an excellent pill of habit knowledge: small, but practical and digestible. I can also recommend my blog post series about habits:

Infallible Framework for Habit Development: Endpoint

Get to know what a habit loop is, how to pick the right triggers, etc.

4. Get Someone Onboard.

We are VERY social animals. Don’t try to develop your habit by your own power. Leverage the help from others.

Photo by cottonbro studio from

Ideally, muster some support from someone who “has been there and done that” – had similar struggles, but overcame them and now has a habit you want to develop. Human beings learn by mimicry, this is how kids learn life. Just being around people who possess your desirable habit will “magically” rub off the habit from them.

But any support is much better than no support. Declare your goal. Talk with a friend. Find an accountability partner who wants to develop the same habit. Join a group focused on this habit. Get a coach.

Just involve minimum one other person in your personal quest.

5. Become Your Habit.

Make it part of your identity: “I am a person who…”

If that rings false in your ears, you can always use the variation: “I am becoming a person who…”

When I got the idea to become a writer, I put in my personal mission statement a sentence, “I’m becoming a writer.” I couldn’t truthfully tell myself I was a writer, so I used this trick.

Back then, I had been so clueless that I didn’t even know what it meant to be a writer. It took me the whole month to figure out that writers write! Yet, repeating that sentence from my personal mission statement put my mind on the right track. Nowadays, part of my personal identity is “I am a person who writes every day.”

Identity is a powerful motivator. No excuse can get in its way. If you are clueless, you will figure it out. If you are exhausted, you will persevere. If you are discouraged, you will do your habit anyway.

Because this is who you are.

Start small.

Be mindful about generating a dopamine boost for your new habit.

Get familiar with the habit science.

Get some social support.

Adopt this new habit as a part of your identity.

This is how you make developing a good habit less of a struggle and more of an adventure.

Originally Published in Quora.

Principle #9 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business

9. Habits.

It is not enough to just know all the above principles. You need to implement them to reap their benefits.

So what good is it to know you need to take care of your nutrition, sleep schedule, and exercises, if you do nothing about it?

So what, if you intellectually get that you need to pause and stop thinking to generate new ideas, if you are constantly busy?

So what good is it to have your assistant put all your meetings in your Google calendar if you never actually check your calendar?

So what, if you have a great vision, mission and values for your business, if you never tell anybody (including your own team!) what they are?

And you can – and should! – build relevant habits for every universal principle that works. Here are some examples:

-exercise for 15 minutes a day
-meditate for 5 minutes a day
-reach out to at least one person a day to talk about your business (accountability partnership is the best example)
-consult your calendar multiple times a day, make it a central hub of your schedule
-on a daily basis, track your incoming and outgoing money
-prospect for new clients every day
-every time you are doing something for the second time in your business, record it and create a standard operating procedure out of it (if you do it for the 10th time it makes 10 times more sense to create the SOP)
-go over your business’ core values in a weekly team meeting

Of course, there are zillions of other possible habits relevant to your business. The point is that even the most brilliant business principle – which works! – will not work without putting it into action.

And there is no better way to implement something than by making a habit of it. Sooner than later, you will develop neural loops in your brain that will make putting those principles into action a no-brainer.
And I mean it literally; the subconscious routines will take care of the biggest chunks of those tasks, and the investment of your conscious attention will be minimal.

Do you know the dictionary definition of a habit?
a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.

Relevant habits will solidify the universal principles that work in your business. Which means your business will work. In fact, it will thrive.

Nine Universal Business Principles
Principle #1 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principle #2 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principles #3&4 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principles #5&6 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principles #7&8 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principle #9 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business

Originally published in Medium.

Does Creating Habits Get Harder as You Get Older?

Nope, creating habits doesn’t get harder as you get older… everything gets harder.

I heard on The Brian Buffini Show a story of a golfer who won whatever golfers win (golf is totally NOT my thing) after 50.

This golfer said he realized he just needed to put more effort than previously into his practices when he got older. He still could be an excellent golfer; he just needed to try harder.

Good News

But it only goes as far as your physical limitations. You try to exercise more and your body is more prone to injury. You are trying to develop a new habit, but your memory cheats you and you forget about starting the habit in the first place.
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Where Do We Get Bad Habits?

What kind of obnoxious question is this? Of course, I have no bad habits! I’m perfect!

Gotcha! 😀

There are no perfect people on this world. Our habits make us who we are, so lack of perfection suggests at least some bad habits.

My Bad Habits

I don’t go to sleep early enough to have a truly productive morning.

I don’t praise my children often enough (read: I almost never praise them).

I binge-eat on sweets all too often.

Stop! Enough of this embarrassing list! I hope you got the point. I have “some” bad habits.
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Three Specific Ways to Maintain a Habit for a Long Time

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The key to maintaining your habits for a long time is an intention to do so. If you aren’t mindful about your habits, sooner or later, you will slip. Then, you will either go back on track, or you will just let it slip further. If you don’t care about your habits, not continuing them doesn’t seem to be a big deal, right?

So, how to care about your habits?

You need to realize their utmost importance. You cannot be indifferent about your habits.

Maybe the message from James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, will do that for you:
How long does it take to build a habit?
21 days? 30 days? 66 days?
The honest answer is: forever. Because once you stop doing it, it is no longer a habit.
A habit is a lifestyle to be lived, not a finish line to be crossed. Make small, sustainable changes you can stick with.

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Resisting the Siren Song of Social Media

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Recently, I had an unproductive week and I spent a way too much time on YouTube watching “Pitch Meetings” – a hilarious series of videos where a YouTuber pretends to be a screenwriter and a producer at the same time and is “pitching” existing movie ideas revealing weaknesses in plots, acting, and everything between.

“Way too much” in my case is about two hours that week. But it was still more than my second weakness in order – news websites.

I confessed my struggles to my mastermind buddies, and we talked it over for some time.

During our conversation, I realized I didn’t have such problems with other platforms and media I have been using on a daily basis. I’m at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium and Quora every day, yet I didn’t waste my time there. How come?


After a moment of reflection, I discovered the crucial element which makes a big difference in using or wasting my time at online platforms: intentionality.
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Turn your Dumbphone into a Smartphone Again: One simple habit to protect your mind – and sanity!

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There is no greater misnomer than a “smartphone.” The device in itself is not smart at all; it’s just a thing. It is as smart as a vacuum cleaner or a hammer. And smartphones make 99.99% of their users dumber, not smarter.

Yes, there is an incredible computing ability. Yes, you can access with your smartphone the Internet – the biggest knowledge database ever created in human history. Yes, you can leverage incredible applications to track your habits or finances, to do your daily tasks more effectively, to manage your calendar or a to-do list.

So what?!!

This device also bombards you with a zillion notifications beeping in the least desirable moments. When you pick it up and check one thing, you are mysteriously drawn into opening another app, then scrolling through its feed, watching funny videos, then reading another thing. Now, you are not only distracted, you actually wasted several minutes of your precious time on this planet.

That’s not smart at all. That’s dumb. Thus, this device deserves a more apt name – a dumbphone.
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Getting Bored with Habits vs. Living More Spontaneously

Getting Bored with Habits

Hi. Meet reality. It looks like this:(The Slight Edge chart)

Only what you do consistently over a long period matters.
The consequences of your spontaneous actions are irrelevant in the long run. Today you spontaneously decide to sit on a couch and binge-watch a series on Netflix. Tomorrow you spontaneously decide to go for a bike ride. In the long run, those one-time actions mean nothing.
But develop a habit of binge-watching on a couch or biking, and you will relatively quickly (in weeks, I suppose) see the difference.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.” ― Gandhi

So, Mr. or Mrs. Bored, the only long-term effect of your spontaneity, in the long run, will be a more spontaneous lifestyle. We always get more of what we practice. BTW, it’s been proved at the neural level, not just the philosophical one. That’s why Gandhi’s quote is true.

You Lie to Yourself

We are habitual creatures TO THE CORE. We share the parts of our brain where habits are formed and stored with reptiles and birds. Habits are as primal as an adrenaline rush or pangs of hunger.
Scientists determined that about 40% of our daily actions are habitual, completely automatic. Whether you decide to be more spontaneous or not, almost half of your actions are automatic. But if you decide to not develop good habits, guess what kind of habits will stick?
The bad ones. They are easier to sneak into your life because they use the immediate reward system of your body. You scroll through the social media feed and your brain is bombarded with dopamine. You inhale cigarette smoke and you immediately feel how your system is soothed.
Thus, you don’t notice you formed a habit before it is solidified and starts weighing you down.
But for 99.9999% of people who choose the ‘spontaneous’ route, end up at the downward curve.

The Game Is Rigged

You cannot change your biophysical structure by the decision you are going to be more spontaneous. Bad habits will glue to you along the way. You will feel free like a bird and spontaneous like a leaf moved by wind. But you will finish at the destination of the downward curve: failure.

(The Slight Edge chart – the downward curve)
“More spontaneous” is a nice narration for your lazy brain to not use your willpower and energy.
Another quirk of the subconscious mind is that it always tries to save your energy and BS stories you tell yourself are the cheapest way to avoid any effort.
Be a human. Smartly exercise conscious control over your actions.
Decide what habits you want to have and put your attention, time, and energy into building them.
Without direct access to your bodily reward system, you need to supervise the process with a plan, determination, and giving yourself rewards of your choice.
Or be spontaneous and slide down. Your choice.

Three Effective Ways to Kick a Bad Habit

Deconstructing a few success stories from my life.

Image by Mohamed Nuzrath from Pixabay

The difficulty level depends on the habit very much. I’ll give you a few examples.

1. Gaming Habit

Success in Kicking Bad Habits

The trigger for my gaming was a pang of escapism. Whenever I felt bored, tired, and most importantly — purposeless, with no meaning in my life — I played. Getting new levels and killing artificial opponents was a substitute for achieving something in my life.

(Hacking the habit loop — created by author)

2. Tougher Cases — Installing Boundaries

(… or a giant pancake)

3. Reading Fiction — Avoiding the Trigger

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