How to develop a strong work ethic for your business

If you’re trying to start a business and you’re already in a full time 9 to 5, you’ll already know that it is not an easy task to endure. Working after work is a must if you want to escape the so-called “Rat race” however if you are not careful you’ll end up deeper in the rat race even if you leave your job. This article explains the importance of having a work ethic and how you can develop it over time, in order to build your business on the side. Then you can decide when you want to leave or not!

Clarity of purpose

Close-Up Photography of a Woman Near Wall

Behind every action there is a sense of purpose, the clearer the purpose, the more intentional that action is. At the foundation of every habit was an original thought that propagated that habit. Why am I saying this? Because you need to be absolutely clear as to what you’re trying to achieve. Think about the business you are trying to start and write down the goals you want to achieve. An example of a goal could be: “In the next 24 months I want to generate an income of £2,000 a month from coaching and consulting services for working millennials who need branding and marketing services.” This is a clear goal as it clearly states your intentions, it has a deadline, a monetary value you’re aiming for per month, and it has a focus I.e. your target customer. Once you have done this break up your goal into 5 objectives such this:

  • Research other companies who provide branding and marketing services to millennials and determine themes and conclusions
  • Determine my ideal customer and test my services with them
  • Build a website that promotes and markets content, products and services to my target audience
  • Develop a core offering and produce a customer journey (funnel) from cold customers to hot customers
  • Learn, master and automate marketing services to attract and keep clients, building my clientele

As you can see these are clear objectives. The next step is to finally break down these objectives into tasks. These could be daily or weekly tasks. I would suggest writing g up your tasks for the week in a calendar and reviewing them daily. Write down no more than 3-5 tasks a day, focusing on those of high priority (the most urgent and important tasks). The aim is to achieve 80-100% of your tasks each day.

This is how you become clear with your business goals, aiding your ability to complete your goals.

Be an avid learner

blur, close-up, focus

Working in the National Health Service as commissioner for London regions Headquarters has taught me something astonishing, nobody likes to read. This poses a problem because a lot of things get lost in translation. If you do not read basic information, you have nothing that guides, validates or supports your understanding, and if you don’t have that, your ambitions have no leg to stand on. You need to get good at reading, watching and listening to content in your industry. I had no rule for doing this myself, but I always found an opportunity to listen to a new audiobook, watch as many YouTube videos on a topic as possible, go and pay for events that enhanced my understanding. I’m not afraid to learn something new if I want too… Learning is a decision and you need to decide you are going to commit to understanding your industry the best you can. As a minimum do the following:

  • Read the top 5 books in your industry
  • Read the top 5 blogs in your industry
  • Join Facebook groups related to your industry
  • Watch as many YouTube videos related to the topic of your industry
  • Go and pay for two major events related to your industry
  • Connect and develop with people from your industry

If you learn, you will grow, and naturally, your work ethic will become unmeasurable.

You can’t beat Personal Development

Woman Wearing Orange Knitted Top

Confidence and self-esteem determine how quickly we move, or in other words how quickly we take action on our desired goals. However, we are shaped by a whole heap of things. I believe that the following determine who you are (in this order):

  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Interactions
  • Information
  • Choices
  • Decisions
  • Actions
  • Results
  • Embedded Beliefs
  • Behaviour
  • Habits
  • Mindset

I’ve laid this out to you to show you how intrinsic our lives are, highlighting our uniqueness. Although this is not an exhaustive list, it can be said that these greatly dominate how we respond to things in our macro and micro environments. Sometimes these factors have induced what are perceived to be negative things in our lives, shaping the way we think and feel. It is important to develop honesty and integrity with yourself first and then develop positive affirmations about yourself. There are a number of ways this can be done and I will highlight some of those examples below:

  • Read, watch and listen to personal development content that teaches you how the principles of human psychology and how you can use it to your advantage
  • Observe other people and how they behave in different situations, and reflect back at how you would respond
  • Find someone who is pretty objective and determined in achieving their goals and make them your accountability buddy, whereby you meet with them weekly or bi-weekly over your goals, progresses, challenges and lessons learned
  • Form a mastermind group and meet monthly going over progress and challenges. This will keep you motivated and inspired to take more action
  • Educate others on your new lessons learned, and share the message with those you are in need of it

Personal development is an ongoing process whether you are cognizant of it or not. You must be consistent in order to see infectious change, otherwise, nothing will happen. It’s not about consuming as much content as possible, rather it is about understanding the messages in content and applying it to situations that would be beneficial to you.

Learn from others and reverse engineer

Group of Friends Hanging Out

For some people in this world, they believe that there are winners and losers. If that’s the case you need to decide which one you are? What defines a loser and what defines a winner? Regardless, I want to win!… And that is in context to my goals. In order for me to win I need to see and learn from others who are winning so that I can do the same. How do you do this? Well, you study these people as thoroughly as possible aiming to understand their upbringing, how they developed their skills, determining how they obtained results and how you can do the same. An observant student can model someone else and make it their own. This is how everyone started, and you should do the same.

In addition, you should get mentorship from someone. For many of us, we can do this virtually and for free via YouTube. However, there are people who have paid for mentorship in order to learn a new skill and solve a particular problem. Don’t be afraid to spend money on things and people who can help solve your problems. Sometimes there is no other way to do it.

Develop a system

Woman Taking Phone Call

Creating a system is just a fancy way of saying develop a rhythm of processes that will position you for success in relation to your goals. The way I do it is writing out what I think the process is from start to finish, and then refining this process as I go along, until it feels natural. This is usually done on a piece of paper, so it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can use programs like Trello, Google Keep or Evernote, however old school paper and pen is just fine. When you get into the habit of writing out the process, doing the action is not as scary. Get used to doing this and follow through.

Also, learn to reflect and review what you have done from time to time. I used to do this until I burned out, which has happened on 2 or 3 major occasions, but now I mitigate this by checking in with my dedicated accountability buddy. Grinding is good but you need to be smart about how you do it, no matter what anyone says. The best way to be smart about it is to understand your limits and how far you can go. Life, experience and time will reveal those answers to you, as well as feedback and close observations from your results.

Have people you can talk to

Three Women Sitting on Bench

This is extremely important! This can be organised via your accountability buddy and/or your mastermind group. However, it is paramount that you talk about your progress, challenges and lessons learned even in general conversation. You don’t need to tell everyone what you are doing, but choose and trust a few select people and tell them what you have done and how it’s all going. There are always these random people darted around in life that we seem to talk to about our side hustles, this may be someone at church, work, the gym or someone you see at the bus stop. This could even be a friend or family member. The point being made is, do not bottle it all up, and leave it to yourself to deal with the pressure. Express yourself and talk about things with other people, it is great for your mental health.

Exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle

Woman in Gray and Black Sports Bra

This may feel like a little crazy, however, there is something about maintaining a healthy balance and lifestyle via diet and exercise that translates into work ethic. It almost sets the tone for it and helps realign your focus and determination. If you have the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle for your height and weight, you’ll feel right, and act right. It is all related to a sense of confidence and discipline, traits required for a strong work ethic. Here are some quick tips:

  • Eat your daily caloric intake for your size
  • Eat more vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes and green beans
  • Meat suggestions involve salmon, Tilapia, Mincemeat, and chicken breast
  • Base foods include quinoa, sweet potato and edamame beans
  • Drink your recommend allowance of water (2 Litres or more)
  • Take the recommended multivitamins and probiotics daily
  • Exercise a minimum of 4 times a week with set workouts including, core training, weight training and HIIT exercises
  • Avoid white foods such as white bread, white sugar etc.


astronomy, dark, dawn

In summary, your work ethic is built on a multitude of different things, but it is for you put in the work where areas could be improved. The aim is not to do everything, but to do things well. You may want to attempt each of these things one-by-one, potentially in the order I have placed them. If you’re doing these already, you may want to think about ways in which you want to improve things. Above all things you need to be able to do two things well:

  1. Believe in yourself and your abilities
  2. Take action in accordance with your goals and learn from your results

When you can develop the single-minded approach of doing this well, your work ethic will improve. At the heart of all things, be a great problem solver, and don’t stop until you get the answers you need. If you would like support, mentoring and guidance to help improve your work ethic and keep you focused on a directed path, click here.

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