Do One Thing For Yourself Every Day

If you are interested in learning about Venture Deals, my partner Jason Mendelson and I created a course with the Kauffman Fellows Academy on NovoEd which is running for the first time from 3/31/14 – 5/19/14. The course will demystify venture capital deals and startup financings and give both first-time and experienced entrepreneurs a definitive guide to secure funding.  Both Jason and I will be participating in the course. If you want to sign up for the course, use the discount code of “ventureds” to get 20% off the price.

Mid-day yesterday I did a 30 minute fly by for the new Techstars NY class. Alex Iskold, the new Techstars New York Managing Director asked me to talk about “Top Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make.” It morphed into a fun 30 minute rant about a bunch of things that I thought Techstars founders should make sure they pay attention to during the program, and in life in general.

Reflecting on the talk, the most important thing I said was “Do One Thing For Yourself Every Day.” It can be 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour. If you like chocolate ice cream, find an ice cream place and go get a scoop every day. If you do yoga, do it every day. If you like to go to the gym, go to the gym. If you are a reader, spend 30 minutes a day with a book. If you are a BSG fan, start at the beginning and watch all four seasons one episode per day (they each last about 45 minutes.) But be selfish and do one thing for yourself each day during the program.

Afterwards, Alex sent me an graphic that one of the founders at Hullabalu did. I thought it was awesome and captured some of the highlights, including “don’t believe your own bullshit”, something a lot of people are forgetting right now. And I described my favorite long distance relationship trick – the magic post card a day maneuver.

  • Jo T.

    Great idea!

  • A small, but very important, thing to remember. When days spin out of control and I forget to do this, I often feel as if that day was wasted. Even if I’ve made money or contributed to something!

    I should go for a run right now…

  • RBC

    “computer just died #awesome” HA! important to have a sense of humor, although if founders don’t have have it by now I guess it is too late.

  • Great advice, as usual! Alas I don’t have enough fingers & toes to count the number of people I know right now who are downright mesmerized by their own bullshit.

  • JT

    I just enrolled yesterday..Ooops I missed the discount code..I am super excited ..soo looking forward to this course:).

  • That particular founder at Hullabalu is creative — it’s great when people do stuff like that. It’s a bummer that I have too many commitments for the next several month to be able to do the course. Tomorrow will be my last day of the “easy” part of my year. Now the heavy duty part starts. And if I did your course, I know I would need to commit more than 6 hours a week to it in order to dig deep enough. I’m actually 2/3 of the way through your book “Venture Deals”, and based on that, I can say that your students are in for the hell of a treat. I guess it’s Karma once again, as I was thinking just this morning that it would be nice to have an opportunity to thank you so very much for writing this book … and this post provided the perfect opportunity to fit that in 🙂

  • Alex

    Is this class in person or virtual?

  • Reminded me of this Marissa Mayer advice: “So find your rhythm, understand what makes you resentful, and protect it. You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. And thinking that way empowers you to work really hard for a really long period of time.”

  • JennifesGBracy

    I also love travel apps – Tripit helps organize all of my travel, World Clock allows me to track time zones & Currency+ answers all of my conversion questions.

  • Tracy McMillan

    As always, great advice. Harsh reality of trying to gain traction woke me up from a launch-induced bullshit glow several months ago. That reality makes me forget about the ‘do something for myself’ part sometimes, but trying.

  • Balance and cadence as a startup – probably one of the toughest nuts that we have to address on a daily basis. Taking just an hour for yourself can come across as selfish or demotivating to your hardworking companions, especially if your schedules aren’t synced up. I might play flash games for half an hour, and my co-founder Carly might play a sit & go tournament, and if it happens at the same time we’re golden. If the other person is stressed and working hard while you’re in a recovery mode, watch out for some really irrational arguments (the kind that you’ll both regret the next day).

    Then, there’s the team members who take too much liberty in the flexibility of a startup’s schedule. These guys might tout balance, but when taken in excess are creating drag for the rest of the team (especially psychologically). I find it tough to correct on this, outside of the hiring / firing macro level (and I’m interested in any techniques that have worked for others).

    Overall, over the past 6 months in particular, I’ve become more acutely aware of how inefficient we can get when we really go at 110% for more than a week at a time. After an hour nap, or meditation, it’s amazing how you can melt through emails that might have otherwise lingered for days.

    When you’re starting out, “Do More Faster” fundamentally means “get actual shit done” rather than just talking about your startup. Later, once you’re in the thick of it, it’s easy to get heads-down cranking the flywheel without paying attention to the weekly and monthly cadence. Keep getting the important stuff done (big rocks) but at some point you can do more faster with balance. I think there’s also something to be said for temporarily changing locations.