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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

63 Entrepreneurs Share the First Thing They Do Each Morning

63 Entrepreneurs Share the First Thing They Do Each Morning
Credit: Seija/Shutterstock

How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, so your a.m. routine is important, especially when you're in charge of an entire company. Wondering what a morning in the life of a successful entrepreneur is like? Business News Daily asked business owners to share the first thing they do in the morning. From hitting snooze and drinking coffee to exercising and planning out their to-do lists, here's what 63 different entrepreneurs said they do when they wake up.

No. 1: "'Feared thing first' has been one of my entrepreneurial go-tos. Whatever I dread the most on my to-do list is the first thing I want to cross off in the morning. The adrenalin rush of conquering this intimidating task drives me through the rest of the day." – Nancy Cleary, publisher and owner, Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

No. 2: "Typically, I'm already up by 6 a.m. I usually just refresh and do my transcendental meditation before I look at my email and social media — although it's tempting! Then I do yoga for at least half an hour. This quiet time alone supports me throughout my day. I'm calmer, more present and ready to make better decisions than yesterday." – Kate Spasic, founder, Bikes & Humans Co-Op

No. 3: "As a founder of a global investment-management firm, I wake up a few times through the night to check in on markets. The final time of waking up, at 5:30, I spend time with my family — [they're] early risers — and dogs. Early morning, before the office starts, is a great time to collect thoughts and plan the goals for the day." – Joseph Hosler, managing principal, Auour Advisory

No. 4: "Every morning, I start my day first by checking emails to see if there is a new order or [if a customer] has a question. Then I proceed by checking our social media accounts and website performance data to see if we have any comments by our visitors and if everything works fine." – Santare Slavinskiene, founder, Dizaind

No. 5: "I go for a morning run. No set distance, no set time — I just set my alarm for 5:30 a.m., jump out of bed, put on my running gear and run until I'm tired or bored, then walk back. Rain or shine, it doesn't matter." – Neil Andrew, account director and founder, Piccana

No. 6: "[My] first job in the morning — which is 6 [a.m.] for me — armed with a large cup of tea, is to organize my social media posts and replies, [including] LinkedIn Pulse, Twitter, blog posts, replies to followers and connection requests. I find that if I allow this activity to sneak anywhere else into my day, it can hijack four times more space in my schedule than if I simply look after them all in that hour. Then it's the daily, uphill struggle of getting two teenagers out of bed for school, and 15 minutes of breakfast chat with my wife." – Chris Murray, founder and managing director, Varda Kreuz Training

No. 7: "After reading the book 'The Miracle Morning' [Hal Elrod, 2012], I've started waking up an hour early to start my morning ritual. Within that hour, I spend 10 minutes [each] doing six personal development activities. These activities include meditation, writing affirmations, visualization, reading, journaling and working out. It equips me physically, mentally and spiritually for whatever the day throws at me." – Talaya Waller, personal branding consultant and founder, Waller & Company

No. 8: "As soon as my computer is ready to go, I check the HARO [Help A Reporter Out] feed. I check it again as soon after [the HARO email] arrives as possible in the afternoon and evening. HARO — and similar services — not only get me mentioned in top-tier publications like The New York Times and Entrepreneur, but also allow me to build relationships with reporters, including freelancers who write for many publications, [and] be seen as a valued source." – Shel Horowitz, marketing consultant, speaker and author

No. 9: "I once took a creative writing class, and the teacher told me that your most creative time of day is right when you open your eyes, before you even reach for your alarm clock. This is why every day, the first thing I do before the distractions and stress of daily life creep into my head, before I even glance at my emails on my phone or scroll through Instagram, is just write. I fill up a whole page in a composition notebook — yes, a real notebook with paper and a pen! — with whatever comes to my mind that morning." –Erica Feld, CEO and founder, Wagdrobe

No. 10: "The first thing I do every morning is read over my schedule for the day and then go for a long, brisk walk. While I walk, I think about the clients I'm going to meet [that day]. My best insights come to me while I'm on the move. This practice has made me a much more effective coach." – Tim Wolski, owner, Wolski Success Partners

No. 11: "[The] first thing I do when I wake up is turn on NPR so I can catch up on the news while I shower and get ready for my day. Then I check email and get going." – Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO, Mavens & Moguls

No. 12: "I wake up at 5 a.m. every day, drink a glass of water to get my metabolism going — it's also important to help fuel your brain. Without enough water, your brain does not function at its optimal level. Next, I'm on the elliptical for 30 minutes. [Then I] take a shower, grab some coffee, and I'm ready to start my day!" – Mike LaTour, owner, Soundwave Art

No. 13: "The first thing I do when waking up in the morning is to turn to my wife and tell her, 'ti adoro' — 'I adore you,' in Italian. Doing so immediately puts my day in perspective. I know that if everything starts well with my top priority — our relationship — then the rest of the day will fall into place better." – John Rasiej, CEO and founder, Speak Louder Than Words

No. 14: "The first thing I do in the morning is swim. I do it because all the challenges of the day are played out in my head. I focus on my breathing between strokes — it creates an almost meditative, totally chilled-out feeling." – Nat Wasserstein, managing director, Lindenwood Associates

No. 15: "My 18-month-old wakes us up, and I go downstairs with him while giving my wife an extra hour or so of sleep. I change my son, play with him. We read some books, and then we make breakfast together. He usually stands in a learning tower and helps me crack the eggs. We then eat breakfast together. After that, we wake up my wife. I get ready for work and head out." – Gennady Borukhovich, co-founder and CTO, FarFaria

No. 16: "While having my coffee, I log into four sites: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google News. I have my Google News feed tailored, so I review stories for my industry, divorce. Once I find an interesting one, I share it on our social media platforms. This routine allows me to start my day up-to-date on the applicable news and allows me to focus on the business of my business, rather than just the tasks that need to be completed during the day for clients." – Andrew Vaughn, CEO, NuVorce

No. 17: "I usually take the first 10-15 minutes in bed to check and respond to my emails. I answer the more important ones I know will [be] on my mind so I can enjoy my coffee and have a little time in the a.m. to relax and clear my mind!" – Heather Grabin, founder and publicist, AichG

No. 18: "I get up at 5:30 every day, and head straight to the office. I start working as soon as possible. That's the first thing I do whenever possible: I work. The momentum takes over, and sometimes the next thing I know it's 12 hours later and that's a pretty damn good workday." –Dan Shure, owner, Evolving SEO

No. 19: "I'm by no means a morning person, so I prefer to listen to my body's rhythm. I set my sleeping around a sleep clock, and I don't drink coffee. I find I'm much more productive if I'm not forcing myself awake. It makes for a slow morning, but I use that time to catch up on news and email digests, with the exception of any immediate work priorities that may come in overnight." – Dimitri Zakharov, founder and CEO, Impact Enterprises

No. 20: "I work in PR, so when I wake up I obviously check all my social media accounts while watching our local morning show. Depending what's happening on the show — even before I get out of bed — I'm tweeting on behalf of my clients and interacting with the newscasters. Morning news equals great social media!" – Kate Marlys, owner, Philly PR Girl

No. 21: "I have two sons, and I unfortunately don't get to spend too much time with them in the evening because of sports schedules, work commitments, etc. So my morning routine consists of spending that time with my boys, whether it's taking them to school or just having breakfast with them. Even a little quality time counts." – Gary Green, founder, Green Technology Services

No. 22: "[The] first thing I do is take care of myself and get a win. I get up at 4:23 a.m. for a 5 a.m. CrossFit workout. It's tough, but I feel like I've accomplished something I wasn't sure I could, so to start the day I have a feeling of accomplishment and well-being, and I'm ready for anything!" – Mike Stratta, founder and CEO, Arcalea

No. 23: "I wake up, lift the blinds to see daylight. I get back on the bed, reach over to my nightstand, grab my iPhone and check my emails for anything new to respond to or delete." – Lisa Cocuzza, founder, It's a Glam Thing

No. 24: "The first thing I do in the a.m. is grab my iced tea, note pad, pen and phone and start making my list of to-dos. Some come from emails that I've received during the night from abroad suppliers or customers, and the rest from [a] list I've emailed myself the day before. I always pick 1-2 big accomplishments for the day and generally list the least liked but [most] important at the top. I like to have my to-do list on paper, so I can physically cross them off as I complete." – Jill Bigelow, founder, Pelv-Ice

No. 25: "The first thing I do every morning is take a shower. I've found that the hot water washes off the fog of sleep and gets my body ready for whatever comes next — even if that is a workout! The next thing I normally do is meditate and do some light stretching before I head off to meet with clients, teach a yoga class or take my dog for a long walk in Central Park." – Dana Campbell, yoga instructor and career strategy and burnout coach

No. 26: "The first thing I do each morning, before I even put my feet on the floor, is to think of at least one thing for which I'm thankful. Ever since I started doing it a few years ago, I have seen what a difference it makes in my attitude for the day." – Michael Zwick, president, Assets International

No. 27: "The first thing I do in the morning is grab my 14-year-old spaniel mix and bring her up onto the bed. Then I name 10 things I'm grateful for — in my head — while giving her a big cuddle. Of course, she's always first on the list!" – Susan Wildes, founder, Miss Violetta

No. 28: "The first thing I do in the morning is get a cup of coffee ready. Then I sit down and read for about an hour. I usually have a book that I'm reading. I subscribe to a couple of weekly newspapers, so when those come I read those. I'll also catch up on stories that I save in Pocket." – Dayne Shuda, founder, Ghost Blog Writers

No. 29: "The first thing I do in the morning is shower and grab coffee on the way to work. I walk from Gramercy Park to SoHo, where our office is located, while talking to my parents who live in London. I try not to check email until I get to work — this bit of personal quiet time I have every day helps me take on the day with a sense of calm." – Mareza Larizadeh, founder, pulsd

No. 30: "The first thing that I do in the morning is walk over to a cafe and write at least one page in a notebook about what I learned about running a business the previous day. I reflect on things such as the importance of persistence, infrastructure and grit. This morning ritual is simple, but it does absolute wonders for me in igniting my brain and kick-starting my creativity for the day ahead." – Alex Kehr, founder and head of creativity and technology, Wander

No. 31: "The first thing I do when I wake up, before I get out of bed, is check my store stats to see how my traffic was when I was asleep, and to see if any orders were made. Then I check and respond to my emails." – Kristie Glenn, owner, Blue Labels Boutique

No. 32: "[I] wake up between 6:30-7, dip in the hot tub for 30 minutes and listen to 'Mike & Mike' on ESPN Radio, followed by a nice walk with my dogs. No email. No work stuff. Just try to relax and get my head right for the usually busy day." –Adam Greenbaum, CEO, Greenbaum Digital

No. 33: "First thing I do is check the news with the Haystack app. As a business owner, I spend my entire day focused on my business. If I don't check the news as soon as I wake up, I would probably go all day without knowing what's going on in the world." – Sam Colvin, president, IDCreator

No. 34: "Since I get to work at home, the first thing I do in the morning is treat my morning like I'm 'going to work.' I shower, get dressed in comfy casual, including shoes, and put my full makeup on. I make the bed, straighten the kitchen a bit so that I don't get distracted later in the day by my messy house, and grab my cup of coffee. I feel that this routine starts my day most productively." – Stacy Parkelj, co-owner and education consultant, Tutor Doctor

No. 35: "The first thing that I do is nothing. Seriously, it's so important that I have time to be still and think about my day before I get up. It's truly a meditative time for me, and it's when I get my best and most successful ideas. I set my alarm clock 15 minutes ahead so that I can just think. While I'm there, I can see my vision board as well." – Janice Celeste, founder, Encore Entrepreneur Institute

No. 36: "Before bed, I organize myself for the following day so I can take the time to have a healthy breakfast smoothie in the morning and catch up on the latest news while taking the train into the city." – Gurminder Kandola, co-founder, CTO Boost

No. 37: "The first thing that I do in the morning is take a moment and consciously decide that it is going to be a great day." – Rachel Charlupski, founder, The Babysitting Company

No. 38: "When I wake up in the morning, I say, 'It's a beautiful day,' and I thank God/nature/whatever-you-believe-in that I am alive. I also do a mental exercise. I look at a few items and say their name. For example: Chair. Shoes. Gloves. This helps me be in the present moment for the entire day." – Jesse Harrison, Zeus Lawsuit Funding

No. 39: "The first thing I do in the morning is stay in bed. There is a magic time in the haziness between sleep and [being] awake that gives me clarity. I first think about how I'm going to make today a productive day, and then drift into thoughts about issues I am going to tackle. No hard thinking, just slowly moving from item to item and approaching each one from different angles." – Wayne Gathright, president, Tenant File

No. 40: "I live in Canmore, Alberta, a beautiful mountain community. The first thing I do in the morning is make a smoothie — blackberries, bananas, flax, chia, goji berries, kale and organic almond milk — and go and stand on my deck to breathe in some cold, crisp mountain air and take in the views. It is the perfect way to start the morning feeling calm, but energized and motivated." – Mike Liverton, CEO and founder, Leavetown

No. 41: "The first thing I do every morning is brew a cup of tea, and while I wait for it to steep, I meditate to clear my mind for the day. When the tea timer goes off, I then start on my most important task for the day — that I decided upon and wrote out the previous night — while I'm fresh, to make sure I spend my working [hours] on things that will move the needle before diving into the more mundane administrative stuff that needs to be done but won't be high impact." – Han Chang, co-founder, InvestmentZen.com

No. 42: "If it's a Monday, I make out my to-do list for the week. Then, each morning I review those items that [are] the most time-sensitive and go from there!" – Lori Hirons, CEO, Island Contessa

No. 43: "The ride into the office can be stressful. Living in the third largest city in the country, traffic can be quite a nightmare and can get you started on the wrong foot if it's really bad. So I created a playlist on Spotify of my favorite motivational music that keeps my mood upbeat and gets me ready to take on the day's challenges." – Leonard Ledford, owner, WG Storage & Delivery

No. 44: "I make art and maps using vintage license plates. The first things I do in the morning are check email for sales reports on new originals, [check] sales reports for reproduction prints through multiple vendors and then run out to the studio to do an early morning paint coat on whatever piece I am working on that particular day. That allows me to have several hours for the paint to dry in preparation for the next coat in the distressing process." – Dave Bowman, owner and artist, Design Turnpike

No. 45: "The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is pray and watch an inspirational program. I need to get my mind right before I start my day. I never know what's going to happen, and this prepares me to handle whatever is thrown my way." – Zondra Wilson, owner, Blu Skin Care

No. 46: "The first thing I do is kiss my wife. My family is my foundation and core. I then meditate for about 15 minutes to draw in positivity and set the tone for the rest of my day. If I am positive, I will attract positivity and success." – Ken Collis, CEO and owner, TLK Fusion

No. 47: "[I] stretch, and while I do this, I have a little mantra that I say: 'Today will be the day of my amazing good fortune' — this gets me thinking positively." – Margie Floris, president, Savvy Travelers

No. 48: "The entire reason I started my own business is so I could have time to spend with my daughter, so every morning, whether I've been up all night working or whether I've got a deadline in the morning, I plan everything around making a large breakfast for my tiny girl, making her lunch to bring to school and talking about the day." –Sally Murdoch, owner, Sally Murdoch Media Relations

No. 50: "I make the bed. It helps me start every day off with knowing something is already accomplished." – Brad Cummins, founder, Local Life Agents

No. 51: "The first thing I do in the morning is stretch while I listen to some music. The music helps to put me in a good mood, and the stretching gets me feeling more awake and ready for the day." – Kate Delossantos, owner, Pandy Apparel

No. 52: "What I do first thing in the morning is play piano. Playing an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory and motor cortices, so it gets my mental capacity going. It's like a mental full-body workout." – Gene Caballero, co-founder, GreenPal

No. 53: "My morning habit is to review my vision board. This serves as a reminder of where I see my leadership institute headed in the future. My vision also sets the course of my day by outlining the practical steps on how to reach my goals. It also reminds me to be grateful for the many milestones — growth in my business, development of new skills, furthering my vision — that we have achieved." –Artika Tyner, attorney, author and educator

No. 55: "I don't set an alarm clock. I don't set a time to wake up. My dog — every morning — knows somehow that it is 5 a.m. and that it is time to get started. Ashebrooke, a 10.5-year-old-beagle, politely nudges me and lets me know that it's time to wake up, feed him and let him out." – Zack Miller, founder, Hatch

No. 56: "I have a spreadsheet that I fill in for people I need to contact, people who I am expecting to hear from, and the three most important projects I'm working on along with what needs to be done next for them. This helps my day be productive." – Dustin Colthorp, owner and co-founder, iCare Phone Repair

No. 57: "I begin the day by picking up my dad, who is a part of the third-generation ownership of Graeter's Ice Cream, to spend some quality with him as we drive into work together. I feel fortunate to still be able to see and work with him every day." – Chip Graeter, chief of retail operations, Graeter's Ice Cream

No. 58: "I always sleep with one of my bedroom window shades halfway up because I love watching the sunrise — it makes me happy!" – Sofia Crokos, founder and CEO, Sofia Crokos Events

No. 59: "The first thing I do in the morning is listen to my environment. I pay attention to see if my son or my husband is up. It relaxes me to hear their conversations sometimes in the kitchen. It gives me motivation to get up and participate in the conversation. It is inevitable to look at my phone and check my schedule for the day, but as long as I have those most lovable voices in the kitchen talking about what their day is going to look like, then everything makes sense." – Debora Balardini, co-founder, Punto

No. 60: "The first thing I do in the morning is drink warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice inside. I drink this while I go through my emails, and it's a relaxing way to start my busy morning. Drinking lemon water is great for my health, and I like to feel refreshed before diving into my morning cup of coffee." – Alex Pierson, founder, springpop

No. 61: "I have a digital voice recorder and through the day speak into it my to-dos, important thoughts for writing and inspirations. Each morning, I sit at my computer, listen to the previous day's notes and take action, sending the emails, writing what I spoke and creating reminders so things don't slip through the cracks." – Richard Shane, founder, Sleep Easily

No. 62: "The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself that my efforts today will determine whether or not I reach my ultimate goal." –Joseph Forton, owner and developer, InventionIntention.com

No. 63: "The first thing I do in the morning is go straight for two glasses of water to hydrate my body, and if I'm feeling tired, I add a caffeine pill, too. It always improves my productivity!" – Mariah Vitoria, owner, Sweet Cheeks Fair Treats

Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.