leadership

The five ways highly successful entrepreneurs start their day

Yolanda Redrup /

Beep, beep, beep – the alarm sounds and the chances are you do one of two things: (a) leap out of bed with a spring in your step, or (b) roll over grumbling and pretend it’s not yet morning.

Successful entrepreneurs almost always fall into group ‘a’. Whether it’s throwing a few punches, jogging or fist pumping to some tunes, one thing is certain – for Australian entrepreneurs, sleeping in isn’t on the agenda.

Healthy body, healthy mind is a motto embodied by many in the entrepreneurial community, who put the rest to shame.

Early morning interviews, coffees and daily prioritising also feature heavily among the morning activities of the business-minded.

SmartCompany spoke to 10 of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs, ranging from restaurateurs, fitness franchise owners, crowdsourcing platform creators and retail experts, to discover how they begin their day.

Early starts

While the average worker can get away with sleeping until 7.30am, entrepreneurs are typically up at the crack of dawn (if not before).

Board of Directors 12 founder Stefan Kazakis kicks off his day at 5.30am, while five:am yoghurt, founded by David Prior, isn’t called five:am for no reason.

“That’s when we milk our cows, but it is a personal thing for me too – I get up every day at 5am,” Prior says.

Wealth Enhancer co-founder Sarah Riegelhuth is also no stranger to early mornings.

“I wake up every day at 5.30am at the latest and workout,” she says.

“I usually go straight to the office from there and shower and have my breakfast.”

Exercise

Exercise gets the blood pumping and is thought to improve brain function and general productivity, so it’s no surprise entrepreneurs generally start the day with a workout.

“I run every day and usually I meet my friends at the Tan [the track around the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne] for a run or do yoga,” Riegelhuth says.

“I usually go straight to the office from there and shower and have my breakfast.”

KeepCup co-founder Abigail Forsyth starts her day with a morning ride, but unlike some it’s not primarily for fitness.

“I always cycle; it’s part of our sustainability plan. My brother Jamie (the other co-founder) also cycles to work and he lives 10 minutes in the other direction,” she says.

The founder of iconic Melbourne restaurants David’s and Oriental Teahouse, David Zhou, exercises in a more unconventional way.

“I have a quick wash and then I go into the office early and do some exercises on the punching bag, a wooden dummy and speed bag I have set up in different locations around the office. Then I’ll leave again before everyone else arrives and get a bite to eat – it always looks like I’m the last person to arrive,” he says.

Stefan Kazakis hits the gym as soon as he gets up, three times a week: “Whether it’s personal training or a cycle class, something to get the blood running.”

Jetts Fitness founder Brendon Levenson goes for a more peaceful approach.

“I start the day with 10 minutes of stretching and breathing exercises, which is great for getting me focused on the present and setting me up for the day,” he says.

Routine

While the daily life of entrepreneurs is often unpredictable, their morning routine is an exception. Whether it’s eating the same cereal, running the same route or getting up at precisely 6.02am, a little bit of routine allows entrepreneurs to waste no time thinking about mundane issues like whether peanut butter or Vegemite is better.

This article continues on page 2.

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