While juggling the seemingly-endless tasks of running a business, staying motivated during the start-up phase can take its toll on even the most resilient of entrepreneurs. Just reading some of the statistics on the failure rate of small businesses is enough for the mildly frustrated to throw in the towel. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/01/16/90-of-startups-will-fail-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-10/). One clear fact about all successful entrepreneurs is that they stayed highly motivated during the tumultuous and uncertain start-up phase to steer their business into more placid waters.
Let’s take a look at the numerous ways to keep the fires of ambition burning:
Rekindling the “Why?”
Keep your eyes on the prize. Sometimes the various demands of the business can obscure the reasons why we became entrepreneurs to begin with. Whether it is attaining vast fortunes, affecting the world in meaningful ways, or as a means to spend more time with your family than 9-to-5 positions, try to make it a habit to constantly remind yourself of your original ambitions. By clearly working towards your goals, you’ll find that you are slowly but surely realising those ambitions and work with a positive outlook.
Be sure to check out our article, “Instagram for Entrepreneurs”, which includes several Instagram feeds of inspiration featuring the likes of the ever-inspiring Richard Branson, Zig Ziglar, and more. And for those who need further inspiring, our article “TED Talks for Entrepreneurs” features a number of inspiring videos that will rekindle your
Goals and Milestones
It’s been mentioned many times before, but your goals don’t exist unless you write them down. How will you know if you’ve achieved success if it has just been a vague notion floating around in your head?
Create a list of your goals and look at them objectively. Try to avoid vague goals, like “get rich” or “spend more time with the family.” Instead, give finite sums and concrete milestones: “earn $50,000 in net profits” and “go on three week-long vacations with my family a year” are more defined. What would it take, in terms of time and effort, to reach those goals? Can you envision the path and a plan to find success? Reverse-engineer the path logically, breaking each part down into small-chunks that lead to the goal. Being able to achieve small successes will keep you in better a mindset and feed your desire to greater heights when frustration rears its ugly head.
If you’re looking for ways to keep your morale up, try to surround yourself with a community that encourages your business. Whether it’s a mentorship, like-minded entrepreneurial groups in your area, online forums and the like, chatting with someone about the hardships of the start-up phase will leave you feeling the warmth of camaraderie and certainly less isolated. Being able to bounce ideas off equally-ambitious entrepreneurs can be inspiring and be just what you need to take your business to the next level. Take a look at our article to see all the ways and benefits that staying connected to communities can offer for your business.
Sometimes, a quick perusal of the competition can help reinvigorate one’s focus and drive. Don’t feel subjugated or inferior to your competition—use them to your motivational advantage. If you see your competition resting on their laurels, imagine this to be an opportunity to pull ahead and succeed. The immediacy of “striking while the iron is hot” is sure to be a motivating factor. Likewise, don’t become complacent by always asking yourself, “what’s next?”
Take Care of Yourself
Personal well-being is better than any business idea, so it’s good to avoid burnout. A key to staying positive in your business is to take care of the most vital part of your business: yourself. Your body needs to be functioning at its best for your business to be running at it’s full potential. There’s been clear links (check out our article “Fitness – Healthy Body = Healthy Mind”) demonstrating the correlation between a robust body and a healthy thinking, so you owe it to your motivation and drive to devote some time for yourself.
Your mind functions like a muscle, so when you’ve sorted out staying healthy, take your mind to “the gym” with mentally-stimulating activity. Read books, attend business conferences, take online courses—by challenging your mind, you are able to assimilate new knowledge faster, expand your vocabulary, reduce stress, improve your memory and so forth; all things that entrepreneurs need to make crucial decisions on a daily basis.
However, being overworked is also a rampant danger of being an entrepreneur. Be sure to make time for personal development so you can return to your endeavors refreshed and re-calibrated.
While it is a cliché, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Dealing with unrealistic expectations and being hounded by ambition can cause unnecessary stress and worry, ultimately curtailing your motivation. While it’s critical to set your sights high, be grateful for progress and adjust your timelines if you fall short. One thing you’ll notice with ALL successful start-ups is the massive amount of time spent during the initial phases. Above all, allow the process of your entrepreneurship to reveal itself and avoid rushing things that are moving at their own pace.
It is always better to give than receive. Spending time to enrich others, whether it is by contributing to online forums (“Stay Connected! Engaging Communities”), participating in mentorship programs, you can enjoy the genuine feelings of helping another, sometimes earning respect, recognition, and building a reputation to motivate others towards their goals, in turn, rubbing off on you.
Celebrate Your Achievements
When you reach your goals and milestones, celebrate! While the goals in and of themselves may bring you joy, allowing yourself time “off” to enjoy the fruits of your success is a healthy plan for maintaining your motivation. Even using achieving goals as a carrot to motivate yourself towards a nice pint at the pub can’t be overlooked for sustaining motivation.