Entrepreneurship can be extremely demanding. “You’re going to work 25 hours a day, seven days a week, forever,” ABC’s “Shark Tank” investor Kevin O’Leary previously told CNBC Make It.
“That’s what it takes to be successful.”
While not everyone subscribes to this exact theory, many successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople do report getting up early to get a jump on their busy schedules. Apple CEO Tim Cook, for example, has said he gets up before 4 am to read Apple user comments and get in a workout. And Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, gets up around the same time because “I am never more productive than at 4 am,” she writes on LinkedIn.
To prepare for their high-pressure days, many entrepreneurs map out morning routines that keep them alert, focused, and rejuvenated throughout the day. Here are four morning habits of entrepreneurs who’ve raised millions for their companies.
Bharath Krishnamoorthy, who recently co-founded axle, a fintech platform for the freight and logistics industry, wakes up at 6 am and works out for an hour. He usually runs or lifts weights.
“Working out is huge,” he told CNBC Make It during PR company BAM’s Media Matchmaking Dayadding that, “it’s kind of like drinking. It gives you a little bit of a buzz but it doesn’t have any of the hangover. And it compounds over time. You constantly feel better and more energetic.”
Krishnamoorthy also likes to meditate for 10 minutes and read for 20 to 30 minutes. “It’s hard to make time for anything at night because you never know where the day is going to take you,” he says. But if you check some of your priorities off the list in the morning, they’re already out of the way.
Amy Divaraniya, who co-founded Eggsan app that equips women with easy-to-understand information about their hormone levels using at-home urine samples, wakes up at 4:30 every morning to ensure she has a bit of time for herself before her 4-year-old wakes up up.
She works out for 45 minutes to an hour on her Peloton or at fitness studio Orangetheory, then sits down for her morning beverage. “I must have my cup of chocolate milk” every day, she says.
In part, it’s a ritual she’s had since before college. It’s got a bit of caffeine and it feeds her sweet tooth. But Divaraniya also knows she needs to consume calcium for bone health. “I actually cover it with drinking this chocolate milk every morning,” she says. “It tastes good and it gets me pepped up and ready to go.”
Lisa Marrone co-founded Revela social network for women in their midlife, in 2019.
In terms of a morning routine, “I wake up at 6 am when my toddler cries,” she says, laughing. “And I make him breakfast and take him to the park. And then our nanny comes and I can work.” Marrone finds the duties of motherhood energize her.
“By the time the nanny comes,” she says, “I’m very excited to start working.” Regardless of what your family looks like, psychologists recommend spending time with someone you love ― even a pet ― for at least 10 minutes in the morning.
Anusha Harid-Paoletti founded Liquidly, a fintech company focused on private fund assets, in 2018. Among the company’s investors are VC firm Village Global, which are backed by entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.
She wakes up at 5:30 and, “I check [email] immediately,” she says.
“I have a team that is based in India,” she says. “Whenever people talk about them don’t check their email ― that’s not my life. It’s the first thing I want to know. I want to know everything that I missed while I was sleeping.”
This gives her a sense of what her day will look like. “It’s the phase of the company where you’re always kind of solving things,” she says. “And you’re the one running towards fires.” She looks forward to a future when she can start the day a little bit differently, maybe by drinking her coffee first.
But, for now, “I want to know that I have [my hand on the] pulse.”