Yanni Hufnagel’s Lessons on Working from Home

People around the globe are learning how to work from home as the world adjusts to a new normal in the midst of a pandemic. And without the structure of typical workday routines—morning alarm, gym, coffee shop, commuting, check-ins with colleagues—it can be easy for workers to lose productivity. But when it comes to working from home productively, entrepreneurs are at an advantage. Many entrepreneurs have had to develop skills at managing their time, working from unconventional spaces – including home environments – and staying on track while building their startups. Yanni Hufnagel, CEO of healthy beverage company Lemon Perfect, is one entrepreneur on the rise who uses strategies to stay motivated and keep on task even when working apart from his team.  

One of the most important ways to stay productive while working at home is to create a schedule. While working from home provides flexibility you won’t find in a 9-to-5 office environment, it doesn’t mean you should create daily tasks on the fly. Scheduling your day will keep you focused, help you to prioritize tasks, and ensure that key short-term and long-term goals are met.

Yanni Hufnagel, CEO of Lemon Perfect, knows the importance of setting and meeting goals to make his beverage brand a household name. Having developed a shelf-stable version of the organic, environmentally friendly lemon water drink, which comes in flavors like Just Lemon, Blueberry Acai, Dragon Fruit Mango, and Peach Raspberry, Hufnagel is working on expanding distribution. Currently, Lemon Perfect is in 1,500 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, Target, and Amazon. Through dedicated outreach and growing partnerships, he’s on track to have Lemon Perfect at 5,000 individual retail locations by the end of this summer, and in 10,000 locations by January 2021. 

While it may seem counterintuitive, getting outside and engaging in physical activity is also key to being productive at home. Hufnagel comes from a fitness-focused background, with long-time experience as an assistant basketball coach and top recruiter for leading schools like Harvard University, University of California, and Vanderbilt University. He gets some of his best ideas when he’s away from his desk, taking a fitness break to re-energize and re-charge. You can schedule these breaks for when you’ve completed any number of work tasks throughout the day – finishing a report, making sales calls, sending marketing emails, or participating in meetings. Even 10-minute walks or runs can be very effective in preventing burnout and getting innovative ideas flowing. Case in point? Hufnagel’s latest innovation could prove the next big breakthrough for the beverage company—Lemon Perfect will soon launch a new line of sparkling beverages.

Building a successful startup is a team effort and working from home does not mean working solo. Team check-ins and scheduled group meetings are key to keeping team members motivated, fielding any concerns, emphasizing mission, and setting goals. Lemon Perfect is driven by a clear mission to “democratize drinkable wellness” and its success depends on communicating that message effectively to customers through its branding, website, packaging, and social media. Digital tools like Zoom make it easier than ever to connect daily with team members and provide the advantages of in-person communication – idea sharing, collaborating, updating – while remaining virtual.

Lemon Perfect CEO, Yanni Hufnagel, works with his team to develop creative means to position Lemon Perfect in the marketplace and connect with consumers who care about health and wellness. An important part of that effort is emphasizing the drinks’ healthy attributes and the company’s environmental commitments, both of which go above and beyond that of the average beverage company. In terms of wellness, Lemon Perfect offers a no-sugar, super-low-calorie alternative to sports and energy drinks, that both hydrates and boosts electrolytes and Vitamin C. And the startup’s environmental commitment is far-reaching. The drinks are made from USDA certified organic California lemons using an eco-friendly pasteurization process. The bottles are BPA-free and recyclable, and Lemon Perfect donates one percent of profits to environmental causes.

Entrepreneurs like Lemon Perfect CEO Yanni Hufnagel have found real benefits in working from home, many of which are outlined in a survey from MoneyTips, on The Modern Entrepreneur. Flexibility is a big benefit – the ability to change gears, pursue a lead, and make quick decisions. There’s also the benefit of not having to commute, as well as related cost savings to working from home. Entrepreneurs who work from home also report an improved work-life balance and fewer distractions throughout the day.

To make the home environment as productive as possible, it’s also a good idea to create a space that inspires you to work. Unlike a typical office or co-working space, working from home lets you design a space that best meets your needs, whether that is one that is high on comfort, involves lots of lighting, or perhaps has a standing desk. Pro tip: if you are sharing a home-work environment with noisy pets or kids, a walk-in closet can be a great option for phone calls that require quiet. Also, utilizing a “Ssshhh: important meeting in progress!” sign on an office, bedroom, or closet door can help to alert family members when you are on call and off-limits.

Yanni Hufnagel Lemon Perfect

It’s also important to remember that working from home does not mean you can never log off. While successful entrepreneurs tend to work unusual hours and make themselves available seven days a week, they still need to carve out time for personal pursuits. For Yanni Hufnagel, CEO of Lemon Perfect, that means staying connected to his favorite sports teams and finding time to stay fit. Making time for your passions and interests outside of work can fuel your creativity and contribute to overall mental well-being.

Yanni Hufnagel

Shifting from a traditional work environment to working from home requires adjustment, and part of that adjustment will involve discovering your maximum capacity. It might be 50, 60, or even 70 working hours per week. But there’s a limit for even the most ambitious worker beyond which he or she faces the probability of burnout. Figure out where your limits lie and then work within them to achieve maximum productivity.  The better you know your own work habits and limitations, the more likely you will be to produce quality work, to get your best ideas, and to inspire others.

About Lemon Perfect
Lemon Perfect is a naturally refreshing, zero sugar cold-pressed lemon water with antioxidants and electrolytes. Certified organic and full of flavor, Lemon Perfect is widely considered by industry insiders to be one of the most scalable, exciting, and innovative emerging beverage concepts in the marketplace.

About Yanni Hufnagel

Yanni Hufnagel is the Founder & CEO of Lemon Perfect, a naturally refreshing, zero sugar cold-pressed lemon water with essential antioxidants and hydrating electrolytes. Certified organic and full of flavor, Lemon Perfect – named “Best New Product” at BevNET’s Best of 2019 Awards – is widely considered by industry insiders to be one of the most scalable, exciting and innovative emerging beverage concepts in the marketplace.

Founded in 2017 and backed by an extraordinary team of investors, the company’s mission is to democratize drinkable wellness by making Lemon Perfect accessible for anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Before starting Lemon Perfect, Hufnagel served as an assistant men’s college basketball coach, with stops at Nevada, California, Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Oklahoma. Hufnagel earned the reputation as one of the most dogged recruiters in America, consistently lauded for signing nationally-ranked recruiting classes. In Hufnagel’s 10 years coaching college basketball, his teams reached the NCAA Tournament six times.

Connect with Yanni Hufnagel: Wikiquote | Twitter | Website