10 Ways to Stay Motivated as an Entrepreneur
Whether you’re new to this crazy world of entrepreneurship or if you’ve been at it for a while, you’ve probably felt “bleh” at some point or another in your business. Everyone goes through it and it’s bound to pop up from time to time. After all, being an entrepreneur definitely has its ups and downs.
When the downs outnumber the ups, it can be difficult to stay motivated. And in all reality, sometimes it can just be hard to get (or stay) motivated no matter the circumstance. Being an entrepreneur comes with some amazing benefits and some phenomenal perks, but sometimes the freedom of being your own boss is a bit of a double-edged sword. To put it simply: too much freedom can be a bad thing if it becomes a recipe for procrastination, lack of discipline or absence of consistency.
So how do you stay motivated as an entrepreneur?
These 10 tips have helped to keep me motivated and also helped to boost my productivity as well as avoid the trap of hustling 24/7. I know they’re bound to help you, too!
I’m not going to sugar coat it. Structure is hard for me. I thrive being busy and I work well under pressure. However, that’s typically been on a structure that was dictated for me. Between work and school, I knew exactly where I had to be and when. I also knew what I needed to prepare for, and by when, which helped me maximise my time and fill in the gaps in my schedule.
But being my own boss? While I love the freedom and flexibility, it became more of an albatross for me. I would wake up whenever, didn’t really have anything specific planned for the day and was exasperated when I hadn’t accomplished when the evening rolled around. I finally realised that even though I was busy, I wasn’t being productive. Creating a structure changed all of that.
If you’re going through that right now, start setting up a structure. Think of your perfect day, what makes you happy and how you’d like your workday to look. Then set up your structure from there. Are you an early bird who doesn’t like to work past 4 pm? Or are you a night owl who prefers being up until the wee hours of the night getting things done? No matter what you are, you can design your schedule and create a structure that works for you to keep you going and keep you progressing in your business.
Plus, creating habits helps with structure.
Have a great work environment.
Do you get your best work done in a home office or coworking space? Or are you more productive in a cute, eclectic coffee shop?
There is no comparison for me, I am ten times as productive at a coffee shop versus working at home. I move a lot and usually only have a one-bedroom apartment, which means I don’t have dedicated space to work at home. This meant I would spend half of my time at home doing laundry, dishes, or anything other than work. It was also hard to draw a line between work and home.
Likewise, I had a coworking space in downtown Singapore. But between coworkers conversing amongst themselves, heating up food or taking telephone calls next to me, I would usually dart to the nearest coffee shop and work there. I finally realised that coffee shops are the best for me. When I’m at a coffee shop, I am completely focused on my work. Plus, I love a good mocha, so it’s a win getting to have a nice coffee and get work done.
That’s the beauty of working for yourself though. You get to find what works best for you and tailor to your schedule and your preferences. You can shake it up too, if you like. No matter where you work best, having a great work environment can definitely help to keep you motivated.
Do the mindset work.
It took me about three years in business to discover mindset work. Before that I actually had no idea what it was and I certainly didn’t know why it was so important. But your mindset is actually at the foundation of your business. It can be difficult to see the positive things that happen in your business if you constantly have a negative mindset. If you have a scarcity mindset and are coming from a place of lack, it’s likely going to be a continuous circle of lack before you can create abundance and motivation in your business.
If you find you’re not getting anything done and just can’t stay motivated, a perfectionism mindset may be the culprit. Constantly feeling like you’re not good enough may have a root cause of imposter syndrome. Working on your mindset will be a huge boost for your motivation and to see results in your business.
Being an entrepreneur is a constant emotional battle. There are so many fears that can pop up, and this can be particularly true if you’re a one-woman show. If you’re struggling with a mindset that doesn’t benefit you, it’s not going to benefit your business or your clients, either. But you’ll constantly be working on your mindset as you grow; it’s just part of the business.
If you’re struggling with figuring out how to shift your mindset, reading motivational books is a great start. Additionally, there are great coaches who can also help you tackle this. Just remember that you’re not alone in this (we all go through mindset stuff) and you’re doing awesome.
Focus on your why.
At the end of the day, you started your business for a reason. There’s most likely some driving force that helps propel you when things aren’t going so great. Remember it and use it.
Did you start your business to be able to spend more time with your kids and see them grow? Use that as fuel when you’re hitting a slump.
Did you start your business to help make an impact and change the world? Focus on that when you’re feeling down.
No matter what reason you started your business, your why will help to motivated and inspire you when you’re feeling like doing anything other than working.
Different types of people stay accountable in different ways. Some are self-motivated and others thrive with having external accountability. If you have a hard time getting things done and staying motivated, get an accountability buddy. You can chat once or twice per week or per month and share what your goals are and what steps you’re going to take to achieve them. You then have external accountability to help keep you on track and a solid deadline for getting things done.
Additionally, coaching programs or masterminds can be great for accountability because your coach and mastermind group is going to help push you along to get results and achieve your goals.
I know, I know, your to-do list is a mile long and some [most?] days it probably feels like there’s not enough time. But if you’re trudging along for 8, 10 or even 12-hour stretches, staring at a computer screen allll day, that’s going to catch up to you. Additionally, just because you’re working for long stretches at a time doesn’t mean you’re doing your best work because you’re doing it as fast as possible.
To avoid this, instead, take a break to get your blood flowing and to clear your mind. You can set these breaks as a type of reward for finishing a tough task or even set certain times throughout the day to just take a step back and breathe. No matter which system is best for you, taking a break will boost your productivity, help you mentally and keep you focused once you come back.
Have a supportive community.
Have you ever heard the phrase that we “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” by Jim Rohn? While some people may disagree with that quote, for me it has rung true. If you’re surrounding yourself with a supportive community, particularly one that also understands the entrepreneurial struggles, it can be a big motivator.
For me, it’s a bit help to know that I am not alone on this journey, even when I hit some bumps in the road. Plus, having a supportive community that has my back and that I can reach out to when I’m feeling a bit down can instantly shift my mood from upset to uplifted. Having a community that inspires and supports me has been an absolute game-changer.
If you’re in need of an amazing community and don’t know where to start, see if there’s a Rising Tide Society chapter near you. While it can be especially difficult to find a community if you’re working online or a digital nomad, it’s not impossible. If you’re having trouble and need someone to have your back or just be in your corner, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Give yourself realistic goals.
You need goals, of course. And I’m all for reaching for the stars and pushing yourself. But if you’re in your first month of business, it may not be very realistic to set a goal to clear a million in the next 12 months. Should you stretch yourself? Definitely! But if you’re setting goals that aren’t very attainable, it’s easy to get burnt out, discouraged and lose your motivation.
Instead, focus on realistic goals that you will have to reach to attain. Then create a plan for how to achieve your goals and take consistent action to get there.
Enjoy the process.
This is something I didn’t understand for a long time. I constantly would set big goals and work my tail off to achieve them. But when I reached my goal, I wasn’t really happy and I was constantly on to the next big goal. This left me feeling unfulfilled and unmotivated and it wasn’t a very good space to be in.
Combined with a bit of mindset work, I started shifting my thinking and ultimately honed down on doing the things that lit me up. Instead of focusing only on goals and things that would propel my business forward, I started working on things that I enjoyed and focusing on providing value. During this shift, I started to actually enjoy the process of what I was doing instead of creating a rat race for myself to get to the end.
While focusing on your goals and taking steps to achieve them is obviously incredibly important to business, it’s equally important to focus on your actions. Focus on your action instead of the outcome. Focus on your process instead of your end-goal. If you’re enjoying the process, you’ll find joy in the tasks and steps that are necessary to achieve your goal and make progress happen.
This is beneficial in many ways. You’ll stay motivated for one, but oftentimes you’ll also find that you reach more people. Additionally, you may actually have more income than when you’re unhappily trudging along just trying to reach your end-goal.
Celebrate your wins.
Being an entrepreneur is hard work. Don’t forget to celebrate your wins and achievements. But celebrating doesn’t have to be for some monumental thing. It can be because you consistently completed a task you don’t really like to do. Or that you landed a new client. Or that you took a big step towards completing one of your quarterly or yearly goals. When you work for yourself, you don’t have someone else there to recognise your work and when you’ve done something well.
Therefore, you need to celebrate for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a big production to celebrate though. Even doing something small like buying your favourite bottle of wine, meeting a friend for coffee, watching one of your favourite shows or taking a stroll through the park can all be rewards (so to speak) for doing a job well-done. Celebrating your wins helps give you a positive boost and helps give reinforcement to your actions. This will help you repeat them until they become habits.
Being an entrepreneur is full of amazing rewards and has so many benefits. But sometimes it can be difficult to just keep going when you’re feeling like doing anything other than work. With these tips, I hope you’re able to stay motivated and continue working towards your dreams. At the end of the day, the best piece of advice I have is to just keep going. You’ll get there. You’ve got this. Just keep going.
Motivating yourself can be difficult even in the best of times. Throw in being an entrepreneur and trying to maintain your motivation… that takes things to a whole new level. Instead of procrastinating or doing anything other than working, I’ve found 3 simple ways that help motivate me through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. One thing that helps to get me out of a slump is to focus on my why and the reasons I started my business to begin with. I’ve also found that surrounding myself with a great community that inspires and supports me helps when I feel down. But perhaps the biggest key for me to stay motivated is by staying positive, no matter what happens. And to remember to just keep going, one step at a time.