218: 11 Tools for Entrepreneurs


“How we feel, move, and be in life directly affects our business.”
Nick Onken

Hey guys, welcome back to ONKEN RADIO (previously NION Radio), the podcast where we explore the creative entrepreneur’s body, mind, and soul. It’s my goal to help you take your creativity, business, and life to the next level. I’m so glad you’re joining me on this journey!

Today, instead of interviewing someone, I have decided to share 11 tools that I use as a creative entrepreneur to scale my business — and look after my mental health, too, as I’m my own boss! You might not have your own business yet, but what I’m sharing can help you start your journey and figure out how you can become an entrepreneur. 

So wherever you are on your journey with entrepreneurship, I hope my 11 tools for entrepreneurs resonate and help you.

Let’s get started!

1. Personal Development

I find personal development essential in the journey of entrepreneurship because how we feel and move in life directly affects our business. I’ve interviewed successful people like Scooter Braun, Usher, Donna Karan, AJ Vaden, and Gary Zukav to name a few — and the biggest thing for them is a growth mindset. 

Personal development makes you a better human being and positively affects your business. That growth helps you weather storms — all the ups and downs and challenges that come with being your own boss as a creative entrepreneur. 

Personal development can come in different ways from books to courses. Some examples of courses I’ve done are MITT, which is Mastery In Transformational Training, a a course geared explicitly toward emotional intelligence and leadership training. I was able to apply what I learned to my business and how I run it now. 

I’ve also attended the ALA (Ascension Leadership Academy), run by my friends Brad and Jenna, which helped me develop a better and bigger space of possibility for my business and life. 

Personal Development is one of the biggest keys, and the tools that I’ve acquired over the last few years while building my own business have helped me weather all the ups and downs.

2. Morning Routine

This tool is crucial to creating the best platform for personal development and productive days. Developing a healthy morning routine has been essential for me, especially as I’ve learned to create discipline to get the morning started right and to build healthy habits for my mental health.

Creating a consistent morning practice or routine helps get the train on track for the rest of the day. 

My morning routine starts as soon as I wake up, and I don’t check my phone (no messages, emails, or anything). I meditate for 20 minutes, followed by a gratitude practice for a couple of minutes before I move into my movement practice of working out. That usually takes about an hour, at least. 

Some people like to journal as part of their morning practice, and there is no right or wrong way to do that — so try different things to find the right routine that works for you. 

3. Meditation

I practice Ziva meditation, taught by Emily Fletcher. Meditation teaches you to stay centered and keep inner peace for moments when chaos unfolds. I find it useful as a way to look after my mental health.

It’s a mantra-based meditation to de-stress the mind and remove the monkey chatter to balance me out. I can wake up with my mind starting to chatter constantly, and Ziva meditation helps me align myself, get the stress out of my body, and clear my mind. 

I include the gratitude practice as part of the meditation practice. Gratitude shifts your emotional makeup and way of being, and we all have something to be grateful for — especially because we’re alive! Gratitude sets a wonderful vibration for the day ahead to ground me in what I have instead of focusing on what I don’t have. 

Getting my mind centered and focused with these two practices in the morning allows me to drop into the following tool.

4. Movement & Exercise

I’ve decided to make moving my body part of my morning routine. My 20-minute workout routine starts with a five-minute yoga stretch. Then I do a 15-minute HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), which is five sets of five different exercises like pushups, kettlebells, shoulder lifts, various types of push-ups, and burpees. I pick five variations and do three sets of 45 seconds on with 15-second rest intervals. 

I find it boosts my metabolism earlier in the day, so my body burns more. I don’t love working out, so getting my movement practice out of the way in the morning was crucial to build consistency. Still, it took years of trying new things to find my current routine that works for me.

Moving on from what I believe is best to start your day, my following tool is about continuing your learning. 

5. Read Books

I suggest that you read, read, read. I wasn’t always a big reader, especially when I was younger. If I had one piece of advice to give my younger self — it would be to read books more often

Thank goodness for audiobooks, too, because they have been a game changer for me. Educating my mind and spending time learning new things is one of the keys to the personal development process. Whether in my personal life or for business, learning new ways or approaches to challenges has helped tremendously. 

While expanding your knowledge with reading can be based on anything you’re passionate about, my following tool is more specific to your field of expertise.

6. Hire Consultants 

I’ve always believed in hiring consultants to teach me how to do things faster than I can learn them on my own.

It’s worth the investment. Early in my photography career, I hired consultants to teach me to understand the industry. They helped me learn how it works, what I need to do about marketing and advertising, and even what I could do to get to my goals faster. 

Embracing your journey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn faster by hiring consultants to teach you how to do it better and faster — it’s about being more efficient.

7. Outsourcing

Part of efficiency is making sure you spend as much time focusing on what you are best at doing. I’ve seen this on my photography sets, where I hire people that are great at what they do. We all have our own unique gifts, strengths, and zones of genius. Hire people to do what you can’t do yourself or things that would steal your time.

Your business will grow faster when you learn to hire a good assistant. For example, when I’ve been on big photography sets, I hire lighting tech assistants who know more about lighting than I do. Why? There’s never consistent lighting on a photo shoot, and you’ll always need to figure something out. Hiring a fantastic assistant who knows more about lighting than I do saves me time and allows me to focus on being the photographer of the vision we’re trying to create. 

Map out all the jobs needed to ensure you hire people in those areas. For a photography shoot, that’s technical assistants and makeup. Behind the scenes, I need people like my accountants. Outsourcing jobs I know little about saves me frustration and gives me more time to spend in my zone of genius as a creative entrepreneur. 

When you hire out as much as you can to people that are best at what they do, you’ll accelerate your business and give yourself time to focus on the following important tool.

8. Building Relationships & Your Network

It sounds simple, but few utilize their existing relationships to expand their business. Always make sure that no matter who you meet, you add value to the relationship. 

How can you add value? Get to know people and ensure you know what they do and what they need. Even if you can’t help them, knowing what helps them enables you to connect them to someone else in your network who can help them. When you start adding value to people, they will want to add value to you, and that grows your business as an entrepreneur. 

Making connections can create opportunities to do collaborations too. Expanding my network has been one of my most significant assets. I’ve learned from my friend Lewis Howes that one of the most significant ways of building his success is all down to building and maintaining relationships. 

For more detailed information on how to build your network effectively, I recommend checking out Jordan Harbinger and his podcast, The Jordan Harbinger Show. Having started his career as a lawyer, he learned that most business was brought into the firm more by networking, meeting, and building relationships than sitting behind a desk. Check out the podcast on building and maintaining relationships we did together. 

Jordan became a master because he obsessed over body language and non-verbal communication that develops persuasion and influence. His work is supported by social psychology and can help you become excellent at networking. 

But networking isn’t just in person anymore — we can reach people outside our physical sphere of influence, which brings me to my following tool …

9. Social Media

Whether you love it or hate it, social media has become a necessary part of growing your business as a creative entrepreneur. I have a love-hate relationship with social media, but it’s helped me build my business.

It’s a tool. I just had to find the right balance of adding and creating value for people, just like I’m doing here with this article, by sharing what’s worked for me.

Not only has social media helped me bring in business, but it’s also given me a different perception about building my personal brand, which supports my business. I’m not ignoring the negatives of social media, I think there’s just a balance to using it. I try to use it in spurts, then turn it off and be in the present moment. 

It doesn’t mean becoming someone who’s filming everything. Be present with people! But if there’s a great picture for your social media to share, take a couple pictures and save them for later. Nothing has to be immediate these days, but tell the story.

10. Psychedelics

I realize this may not be for everybody, and it’s a personal choice. My experience with psychedelics has helped me on my journey. I’ve utilized mushrooms to uncover blocks in my psyche. 

It used to take me two hours to do a 10-minute solo podcast. Now, I’m able to do a 40-minute podcast. 

In the past, I constantly had to go back, delete, and start over. Then I used psychedelics, and the different things that plagued my confidence when it comes to putting out content no longer held me back and the psychedelics helped me work through challenges, helped me heal, and ultimately to transcend my internal blockages. 

Psychedelics have accelerated my personal growth, which ties directly to my first tool: personal development.

11. Giving Back

The previous ten tools have all been about what you can do for yourself, but this last tool  focuses on others in a way that nourishes you. We exist in communities, and understanding our part within communities enables us to understand important elements about life and demonstrate gratitude with service. 

Giving back isn’t just an ethos. The vibration of giving is about nourishing the universe. Think about the saying, “The more you give, the more you get.” I truly believe that every time you give, it comes back to you. It might not necessarily come back to you from that person you helped. However, building a bigger space of giving brings more into your life. 

The most significant place I’ve given back is Pencils of Promise, a non-profit that believes every child should have access to quality education. They create schools, programs, and global communities around the common goal of education for all. I’ve been helping them build their imagery and donating my time and energy to building their brand. I’ve made so many different connections through Pencils of Promise, which has opened up a whole new world that’s given back to me differently. 

It’s even accelerated my business by connecting me with celebrities to do their photo shoots.

Remember — giving isn’t just about money. You can donate your time and skills to support an organization that resonates with you to amplify its reach. 

The Formula for Identity Alchemy

There you have it, guys, my 11 tools for creative entrepreneurs to give you the greatest chance for success while looking after your mental health in the process. There are loads of other tools I have — I’ll do another podcast episode in the future and share what has helped me. 

These 11 form part of the elements of the formula for Identity Alchemy. I have been on a journey to explore identity, and it’s why I love sharing the tools that have helped shape the formula for creating Identity Alchemy. 

Alchemy is defined as the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.

With that being said, I define Identity Alchemy as the process of deconstructing who you don’t want to be in order to realize who you want to become. 

Through it, you’ll be able to identify your shadows or the things you don’t want to be true about you and shed them slowly. I believe that the deconstruction process of life and your inner world is such a huge piece of understanding who you are so that you can curate who you want to become. In general, I noticed for myself that the more inner work that I do — the deeper shadow work that I do to understand myself — the better life becomes on the path of wholeness. I believe these 11 tools will empower you on your journey to becoming a creative entrepreneur. 

If you loved this episode, check out my website too, where you can find a quick ten-question quiz designed to find your creative identity and get some of my best free content to help you out on your creative journey.

Thank you so much for joining me today, guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode — if you did, please screenshot it and tag me @nickonken. And if you’ve got time, leave me a review on Apple Podcasts — I’d love to hear your feedback.

I’ll catch you guys next time — now go live the creative lives you were meant for.

Nick Onken

You can Subscribe and Listen to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts. And please leave me a Rating and Review!


“When you dive into yourself to develop and evolve as a human your business will grow with that.”
Nick Onken

Some things we learn in this podcast:

  • Nick tools for entrepreneurs [0:01]
  • How does mindset affect business [1:07]
  • Personal development tips for business [1:25]
  • Nick’s morning routine [2:39]
  • Moving your body to clear your mind [4:17]
  • Should you hire a consultant for your business [9:13]
  • When to outsource [9:52]
  • Tips to optimize business networking [11:09]
  • Finding your social media sweet spot [11:59]
  • Helping yourself by giving back [14:03]

11 Tools I use as an Entrepreneur:

  1. Personal Development
  2. Morning Practice
  3. Meditation
  4. Movement/Exercise
  5. Books/Education
  6. Consultants
  7. Outsourcing to other professionals
  8. My Network building & Relationships
  9. Social Media
  10. Psychedelics
  11. Giving Back

Links Mentioned:

A FREE email series to create a personal visual brand authentic to who you are.

  • Accelerate your personal brand growth through the Identity Alchemy Method
  • Discover the authentic stories you want to share with your audience
  • Build your personal brand vision and crystallize it with a photoshoot
  • Learn how to ideate and create storytelling visual assets to enhance and up-level your personal brand
  • .. PLUS! You’ll get access my brand building book recs and favorite resources

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