Jan 2 2014, 8:38am CST | by Forbes
When we first started started our company to help other people learn how to cook, I thought to myself, “If this doesn’t work out, at least I’ll learn how to cook.”
Fast forward to about a year later, and I’m cooking three meals a day. If you asked me back then if I’d be able to cook this much, I’d laugh. Would I have cooked this much if I didn’t start a company? Probably not. But bootstrapping my company forced me to find ways to save money and cooking just became a part of my life.
As a result, not only am I saving money, but the things I’m cooking are actually good! (My roommates can vouch for me.) I get much more out of cooking than just delicious meals, though. It’s brought me more value as an entrepreneur than I could have imagined.
Here’s why cooking has helped me as an entrepreneur — and can help you too:
Get Your Frugal On
I can make substantial meals for three days with less than 20 dollars. When I need to, I can whip up a dinner on the spot that takes 20 minutes and costs me less than five dollars. I eat out less. I order in less.
I’m bootstrapping my startup. Every penny counts. Cooking saves a whole lot of pennies.
Control What You Eat, Control How You Feel
When you cook, you have complete control over what you eat.
What I eat affects how much energy I have throughout the day. I feel better, which improves my ability to perform throughout the work day. When I cook, I can adapt how I prepare meals to optimize for my own personal needs. I cook the same thing most mornings and now I know exactly how much oil I should pour in the pan in order to get the right taste without making me feel any worse. I know if I add or subtract an egg every morning, how that affects me.
If you order in or eat out, you’re giving up the control and you can no longer customize for exactly what your body needs.
Take Your Mind Off Work
If you’re like me, it’s nearly impossible to take your mind off of your startup.
When I’m cooking, I’m focused on cooking. I’m cutting, managing, mixing, maneuvering, tasting, smelling, innovating. Throw in a little french cafe pandora station and I’m in the zone. All the while I feel relaxed and my mind feels clear. I find my flow and come out refreshed and ready to get back to work.
Work Out Your Creative Muscles
There isn’t a great deal of time for creative endeavors while building a startup. Sure, building a company requires a lot of creativity, but I don’t get to paint, draw, play music, etc. as much as I’d like to. I do have to eat every day, though — there’s no getting around that. So it’s cool to look at it as a time to be artistic: exploring different combinations and designing the plate. I love that little bit of art every day.
Step Away From Your Desk
Are you a robot? No? Okay, then you need to take breaks in order to perform at a high level over long periods of time. Even though we know that, we still can’t get ourselves off of the computer. Cooking is a good forcing function. You can order pizza or a burrito and just keep working. But if you cook, you’ll need to take at least a short break.
Feel Capable and Independent
As an entrepreneur, there may be times when your confidence reaches a low point. When things aren’t going so well, it’s easy to get in your own head and start feeling a little helpless.
But the good news is, you can always cook. It’s a fundamental survival skill that every human is equipped with — and a good reminder that you can create, innovate and survive.
Form a Good Habit
I believe in the power of habits, and cooking is one of the most important ones out there. Here’s why: A keystone habit is a core habit that when accomplished, can have a ripple affect and impact other areas of your life. If you cook breakfast every day, what other habits might that create?
Maybe you start reading the newspaper in the morning instead of checking email (I did). Maybe you’ll have more energy, making that your productive time. Maybe it clears your mind and provides you with perspective to make decisions about the rest of your day.
Your turn: Are you an entrepreneur who knows how to cook? What has it done for you?
David Spinks is the CEO of Feast, the home of the Feast Bootcamp: a 30-day online program that goes beyond just teaching you how to cook and actually helps you build a habit of cooking into your daily life. He’s also the cofounder of TheCommunityManager.com, CMXSummit.com and writes about building startups at WhatSpinksThinks.com.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Source: Forbes Business
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