The entrepreneur who’s up at the crack of dawn to drink something green and practice mindfulness might sound familiar. But it seems the young entrepreneurs – in their early 20s – favour a late start. We spoke to three…
The internet is awash with articles listing the benefits of being an early riser, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. But not everyone likes being up early and going to bed early. For example, Paul Lindley, founder of multi-million pound baby food empire Ella’s Kitchen, says: “I usually get up at quarter to eight; I’m more of a night person – I stay up until past midnight. Times are changing, we don’t work 9 to 5 anymore, most people with smart phones see texts or emails outside of these hours and continue working.”
Running your own business gives you the flexibility to choose your working hours, as emails can be answered at any time – late at night, as well as early in the morning – and this is spurring young people to set up businesses that give them flexibility. After all, before kids come on the scene, waking you up at the crack of dawn – and before the insomnia that can accompany old age sets in – why not make the most of your opportunity to sleep longer?
Of course, there are young people who hop out of bed bright and early and dive into the day. But we were interested to speak to young people – in their early 20s – who run their own businesses and choose to get up late and work late. Here’s what they said about their less conventional morning habits…
Meet the young entrepreneurs
Lucy Arnold, 25, lives in Sheffield and recently sold her ‘paint your own pottery’ shop. She is a health and fitness blogger and training to be a personal trainer, alongside running her own PR company
“When I was running the shop, I’d be up at 9.30am. However, since being free it’s been between 10am and 11am. And at the weekend – this is disgraceful – but on Sunday we didn’t get up until 1.30pm. Generally it’s around lunchtime, I enjoy reading and chilling in bed at the weekend.
I don’t like getting up early. I had to leave the house at 8am yesterday and it made me realise why caffeine was invented. And I don’t feel guilty about sleeping late – I’ve created a career for myself that is flexible; I work for myself and can switch productivity on and off. I quite often work late and sleep in, some people will rise early and go to bed early. Bedtime is often around midnight and never before 11pm.
My working hours are whenever I want them to be; I just do things as and when. I am a hardworking, driven person and have lots of to-do lists so plough through them fitting everything else in too. I feel productive whenever I am working, I am a big believer in: if you want something done; do it yourself – therefore I work hard.
I had my own business aged 21. I have just sold that for a nice profit and am setting up two new businesses. Getting up later than others doesn’t affect business at all, emails are replied to at all hours of the day nowadays so I never feel out of sync with other people.
Although I get up late, I’m never late for anything, that’s just not me. I hate people who rock up late, I find it bad manners unless of course it’s unavoidable.
For the next four weeks I am going away to do a course that requires me to be up at 7am – six days a week! I am worried about this and would therefore love to know how to be a morning person.”
Young entrepreneur #2
Nyko Godwin, 22, lives in Birmingham and is the creative director of JussFresh Design Co
“I’m up at 7.00-7.30am on weekdays and between 9.00–11.30am at the weekends. I don’t enjoy getting up early at all. And as long as I’ve had a productive night working, I don’t feel guilty about getting up a bit later.
My set working hours are from 9.00am–5.00pm but I work overtime constantly. And I find I’m most productive from 2am onwards. I believe I’m very driven; I’ve had a vision of what I’ve wanted to achieve since I was seven years old.
Having a later start to the day doesn’t tend to affect my relationships with clients, as long as I’m well rested – that’s the most important thing. But in my experience, the life of an entrepreneur requires you to work long hours so it’s sometimes hard to feel well rested! I still get the work done, though.
My preference for late starts has never impacted on my punctuality or professionalism. I’m always on time for meetings and treat deadlines with respect. As long as I’ve been productive the night before, it doesn’t matter what time I meet a client: the work will be done ahead of deadline and I will be at our meeting on time.
Wednesday is the longest day of the week for me. I use it as my networking day with clients – both potential and existing – and also with other businesses in Birmingham. Throughout the day, I’ll bounce around coffee shops working on my laptop. During the evening I teach a hip hop dance class in Smith’s Wood, as dance is my other passion. That class finishes late and then I have to make my way across town to get back home so my whole day is from 8.00am-22.30ish pm.
After getting home from that, I usually finish off some work if I have the energy, but I then allow myself to have an extra hour and a half in bed on Thursday to make sure my mind and body are refreshed… unless I have an early meeting, that is.
A few colleagues of mine have shunned my idea of having a later start one day a week but I think it all depends on your personal approach to your workload and productivity.
If someone said they could train me to be a morning person, I would be open to it as long as I didn’t have to drink more caffeine in order for it to happen. But with regards to running my own business, I wouldn’t change it for the world; it has helped me develop as a young man and allowed me to turn my dreams into reality.”
Young entrepreneur #3
Bridget Hamilton, 24, lives in Newcastle upon Tyne and is a freelance writer and radio producer. She runs her own media production company Verbal Remedy and they produce a regular blog and podcast
“My boyfriend goes to work really early and I must turn over and sleep until at least 9.30am. Even when I’m awake, I’ll often check my first round of emails still in bed with a cup of tea. On weekends I can sleep in easily until 11am and not get up until midday.
If I have a meeting or appointment I find I do get lots done in the mornings and feel super productive! If I have to do it I don’t complain too much, but if left to my own devices I feel like I could sleep forever…
My boyfriend runs his own business as well and has an office in the city centre, and he’s the type of person that will go to the gym at 6.30am and then be in the office by 8. I do sometimes feel a bit lazy or that I’m still clinging on to my student days by sleeping in. I think people can brand you as a bit of a layabout if you’re still snoozing at 10am on a weekday!
Once I’ve got myself up, I’ll generally work from 10am til 2pm, break for lunch, and then 3pm til 8pm or similar. Because of the nature of media production, though, I’ll sometimes work into the evening on a particular blog that needs to go out, or I’ll be speaking at a conference on a Saturday afternoon, or even producing a breakfast show and I’ll be up and out by 5:30am. I suppose frantic and flexible hours like that means when I want to sleep in, I’ll sleep in.
I’m definitely most productive in the evenings. Most of my creative inspiration comes in the evenings and I can power through something that would have taken me all afternoon.
I would definitely describe myself as driven and self-motivated – I’ve been running Verbal Remedy for three years now and it definitely wouldn’t have survived otherwise! But whilst I can always make a newspaper deadline without fail, I might not put a bra on until the afternoon. That’s the beauty of working from home, right??…
Flexibility is key in the modern world, and people don’t switch ‘on’ and ‘off’ in the same way they used to. Shift patterns are different for everyone and it’s getting increasingly rare that someone would have a 9-5 working day and then be uncontactable after that. That said, if I need to be up early, I’ll be up.
If someone said they could train you to be a morning person? I’d definitely give it a try!
Can you empathise with these young entrepreneurs? Do you favour a late start, too? Let us know in the comment section below…
Main image credit: both images are from Designspiration