By Tiffany Pham, Founder & CEO, Mogul
As the Founder & CEO of Mogul, my typical day is always different, jetsetting from city to city. And while I don’t get much sleep because there is always that “one more thing” I want to stay up to do in order to help the 18 million women we reach through our platform each week, the hours I do get are very restful.
After all, I’ve tried everything to figure out what leads to the best night’s sleep — sleeping masks, ear plugs, teas. Everything. But only one thing made a true difference.
Several months ago, I ordered a mattress from Casper, completely at my own volition. Ever since, I’ve no longer woken up with backaches and headaches (something college dorm mattresses had conditioned me to think was just a fact of life).
The mattress was not only way more affordable than others on the market, but it’s personally the best investment I’ve made in terms of sleep. I always start dreaming as soon as my head hits the pillow, and the hours of shut-eye I get are truly optimal. Each morning I feel refreshed, like I’ve slept on a cloud, and am ready to take on the day.
With a solid night’s sleep, it makes it that much easier to thrive as a CEO. Along with the 14 must-know tips below, you’ll be on your way to succeeding as an entrepreneur:
#1. Do everything but snooze.
As much as you want to squeeze in five more minutes of sleep, resist the urge when you hear your alarm and get up immediately. I wake up at 6:30am each morning, along with the sunrise. And while there are some days I just want to hit the snooze button — I never do. The way that CEOs of successful startups like Casper were able to build their business ideas into hugely respected brands was by springing from bed and feeling inspired for the day ahead.
#2: Try repetition in your morning routine.
It’s important to maximize every minute of your day, as much as that pillow may be calling your name. In order to provide yourself with as much headspace as possible to think about the day ahead and what you must accomplish, try establishing the same routine each morning, so you don’t have to expend extra energy on what you need to do to get ready. For example, I select an outfit the night before to ensure that I have the perfect look ready for that TV segment we’re taping as soon as the morning hits.
#3. Prioritize which emails to respond to first.
After I am dressed for the day and have made my bed, I check my inbox. And believe me, it grows by the minute! In any given hour, I can receive hundreds of messages, ranging from questions from Mogul executives to special requests from users. This triggers me to focus on the places where I most need to optimize. What is most likely to move the needle for Mogul in this moment?
#4: Onboard the right advisors to create momentum.
When it comes to landing great advisors, reach out to those at the very top that you admire. Try leveraging warm connections as much as possible by seeing whom you have as a common connection on Facebook or LinkedIn. For example, the first person I ever pitched was the Founder of Match.com, and I did not know what I was doing, in hindsight. But because I had confidence, largely bolstered by the fact that Mogul had launched to a million users, and he had experienced that level of traction at Match.com and therefore understood our potential, he agreed to come onboard as an Advisor & Investor.
Once you successfully onboard an Advisor who believes in you and your mission, leverage their brand equity to land other Advisors and build up momentum until you’ve built a strong Advisory Board that helps strengthen the current weak points in the business — whether it be in Sales & Marketing, Content & Community, or Product & Technology.
#5: Exude confidence with investors.
When you speak with investors, it’s key to have confidence and make the ask for funds by the end of your meeting. Be bold and get to the point; remember that if you don’t ask, you won’t get. When I first started Mogul, I would invite select investors into the round based on genuine connection (keyword genuine) and expertise. Your gut instinct will more than likely oftentimes be mutual.
Kind of like dating.
In the beginning, nonetheless, you will encounter a lot of doubts and no’s. But just know that those “no’s” are actually “not right now’s.” You will get to a “yes.” Just keep moving forward and strengthening your organization further through data. There will come a day when those who initially said “no” to you will come chasing after you, in disbelief at your success.
#6: Focus on authentically building your brand with press.
You are a natural extension of your company’s brand, so everything you say or do throughout the day has the opportunity to build greater awareness for your company. Press is an important part of such marketing efforts, especially organic press. Try to build strong, authentic relationships with journalists, and offer your help when they need quotes from a knowledgeable source. Hone in on key themes that you talk about on-air or for digital.
#7: Find productive ways to re-energize throughout your day.
Just as it’s incredibly important to get a good night’s sleep, it’s equally important to make sure you take the time to eat lunch — no matter how busy the day gets. At Mogul, I love catering lunch for the whole company, and it’s a great way to lift team morale.
After lunch, it’s hard not to feel the onset of a “food coma” and dream of falling into your Casper at home. Try taking a walk afterwards to refocus your energy. This is also a great time to meet with fellow entrepreneurs. Make it a goal to have at least 1 meeting per day in which you’re meeting someone new — someone who’s innovating in their own space, someone who might jolt an idea in you that will help move the business forward.
#8: Stay engaged with how others are viewing your product.
Once you have a core set of super-users, those who showcase their love for your product day in and day out, communicate with them to hear their feedback. What would they like to see more of? Is there anything more you could do to help them that would also reinforce your main goals for the organization?
I love to visit Mogul throughout the day in order to see what’s on top of our users’ minds worldwide and provide guidance, where possible, to such amazing young women. Oftentimes, users’ questions and discussions revolve around body positivity, health, and wellness. Reading these posts made me realize how much our users care about such topics, and thus what drove me to form partnerships with innovators in the health and wellness space like Casper.
#9: Make sure you hire the right employees, by taking time with the hiring process.
As the CEO of a hot startup, it’s crucial that you onboard a strong team who is passionate about the mission but also has the right skillsets for the current stage that you are in. When you are first starting out, you may want to hire those who are all-around all-stars; who are not only flexible in what they will be doing for the organization, but also enjoy that flexibility.
Many of my afternoons at Mogul involve meeting with potential hires once they have passed the first stages of interviews, and I take each one of these meetings very seriously. One wrong hire could setback a company’s progress. Therefore, you want to make sure you take the time you need to properly vet each applicant.
Here at Mogul, many of our now team members were actually super-users of the platform itself; we had therefore come to know them well:
#10: Constantly touch base with “the why.”
When in the midst of building a company from the ground up, it can be easy to lose sight of why you started in the first place. That’s why it’s crucial to continuously remind yourself of why you are doing this for the world, why it is important to others’ lives and to you. Having external motivation as well as internal motivation will prevent burnout and increase your chances of success as an entrepreneur.
For example, I am often at the UN Women offices, finalizing additional ways in which our Mogul Mentorship & Courses can accelerate girls’ education worldwide. Collaborating with others such as the United Nations, in order to advance gender equality and quality education, continues our momentum externally as well as internally, further fueling our team’s passion.
#11: Share regular updates with your team and network, keeping them invested and inspired.
When people believe in what you are doing, it is wonderful to keep them in the know regarding developments within your company. These sort of updates only deepen their support and belief in your mission, due to the passion evoked by your correspondence.
One of the best things throughout the day is being able to share behind-the-scenes updates with our super-users, also known as our Mogul Influencers and Global Ambassadors. These leaders on the platform have been with us since the start of Mogul, and their support drives us and our platform forward every day.
#12: Balance work and play, and incorporate downtime for maximum creativity.
When you’re first starting your company, you will be working 24/7 to build out your team and grow your userbase and eventually your revenue. And realistically, it may be that way for the next 2-4 years following your launch. However, there will come a time when you will find yourself able to delegate more to other teammates and entrust them with what were once your main responsibilities. When that moment comes, spend more time with family and friends, and take some time to yourself to recenter if needed.
At Mogul, we are like family, and our team spends significant time together on a personal and professional level. Yet, I also take time to support my fellow entrepreneurs at their speeches, shows, and major events.
#13: Assess your day, and align your goals for tomorrow each night.
As your day comes to an end, it’s important to assess your day and reflect on what you should accomplish tomorrow to push things forward for your business. If you must, make adjustments accordingly. As a startup, you need to maintain such real-time flexibility, reacting quickly to external context as well as to the internal situation at your startup. As I hop into bed at night, that is when I think about the big picture and arrive at the most creative ideas for Mogul’s future.
#14: Optimize sleeping conditions for a solid night’s rest.
Once you are set for the day ahead, it’s important to prepare for a quality night’s sleep. With the few hours per night you rest as an entrepreneur, you must maximize your bedroom surroundings to the best of your ability.
Disconnect from your electronic devices. The bright screen on your phone or laptop can badly affect your ability to get a solid night’s rest. Ensure blinds or curtains are fully closed to create the best sleeping environment. Try listening to calm music or an audio book. Personally, I turn my phone on “Do Not Disturb.” Continue to get much needed sleep and rest, no matter where you are in the world.
Remember, you want to feel like this at bedtime:
I hope these tips make a difference in your entrepreneurial journey. Know that I am here to support you every step of the way; and feel free to leave me any questions below if I can help in any way.
This article originally appeared on Mogul.com.