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Published on October 17, 2018

Feel like Giving Up? 16 Way to Help Entrepreneurs Stay Motivated

Feel like Giving Up? 16 Way to Help Entrepreneurs Stay Motivated

When you’re dreaming about becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business, motivation never seems to be a problem. Once you launch that business and get your hands dirty, well, those long days of burning the midnight oil can really take their toll and suck your motivational reserves dry.

Staying motivated as an entrepreneur is easier said than done, but it’s without a doubt, essential for the success of your business. From its earliest beginnings and into the prosperous years of your business, staying motivated is what will continue to guide your business to success.

Finding motivation will not only help to fuel your own fire, but those who work with you as well. You’ll find that staying motivated as an entrepreneur will benefit you at work and in other areas of your life.

If you’re looking for a motivation boost, here are 16 ways to fuel the fire of your entrepreneurial spirit.

1. Recognize the small victories

Choosing to leave the corporate grind of working for somebody else and embark on a path as your own boss is in itself, a victory. It’s critical to your success that you learn to recognize and celebrate each of the little victories on your journey of entrepreneurship at every step.

Of course those big wins where trumpets seem to emerge out of nowhere and the clouds part just for you are awesome, but they don’t come often. It’s the small victories that drive success and ultimately lead to those huge champagne bottle-popping wins.

Maybe it’s simply getting the contact information of a potential new client or getting the internet set up at your office space. Taking time to not only recognize, but celebrate the small victories will help you to enjoy life as an entrepreneur that much more.

2. Bring your loved ones into your challenges

Former justice of the United States Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor famously said that we don’t accomplish anything in this life alone, that everything is a tapestry of our relationships with others. Some of the best motivation you’ll get as an entrepreneur is going to come from your friends and family. Share with them your goals and the challenges you’re facing.

They’ll not only be there to share in each of your victories, but will be the ones to pick you up after suffering a defeat. Depending on their own background, they may even be able to offer some practical advice. Bring them into your life as an entrepreneur and allow them to help motivate and strengthen you.

3. Take advantage of the morning

What do Richard Branson and Elon Musk have in common? Besides being ridiculously innovative and wealthy, they make the most of their mornings.[1]

Numerous studies have shown that the first few hours after we wake up are the most productive for our brains. Rather than using that hour before heading to work to scroll your social media feeds, you could be harnessing your re-energized brain power to set you up for knocking out the day’s most important tasks.

Stephanie Kersta , co-founder of Hoame, a studio offering meditation classes, recommends using your morning to get in some mediation:

“Studies have shown that meditating for as little as 10 minutes per day can have profound impacts on the way our brain processes information, which leads to increased productivity. We know that habits we implement first thing in the morning tend to stick a little easier due to the sheer fact that there are naturally less interruptions.”

By taking advantage of the morning hours, you’ll be more motivated with the realization that you’ve done more before noon than many people do in a full day.

These 10 Morning Habits of Successful People are something you should start to learn.

4. Get a good night’s sleep

In order to take advantage of your brain’s morning boost, it’s necessary that you get a good night’s sleep. Waking up at 6am doesn’t do a lot of good if you need seven hours of sleep and didn’t roll into bed until 2am.

Everyone’s body is different, but most researchers tend to agree that eight hours of sleep is ideal. Not getting enough sleep will of course affect your mood, ability to focus, and overall health. It’s difficult to stay motivated on growing your business and reaching your entrepreneurial goals when you’re feeling groggy.

Get some shuteye, your business will thank you.

5. Establish a routine

After discussing the importance of sleep and taking advantage of the morning in regards to staying motivated, you can probably guess the overall theme — routine!

Establishing a solid routine will make all the difference in the world when it comes to your success as an entrepreneur. It will not only cut down on stress, but help to maximize your time and efficiency.

Consider developing a routine that hits these points:

  • Diet and exercise.
  • How to start and end your work day.
  • Carving out time for relaxation and reflection.

Here’s a good example of a morning routine:

Want to Feel More Energized Throughout the Day? Start With This

You’ll probably be surprised at how quickly after you settle into a productive daily routine that you start to chip away at any obstacles which may have been holding you back.

6. Track the money

If you want to have some real visual reminders to keep you motivated — and stay in business — then keep track of all the money going in and out of your company.

Set up those spreadsheets and track everything that you’re spending from the very first day.

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Not only will this help you to better manage money and ensure that it’s there when you need it for expenses, but you’ll be able to see how close you are to hitting different financial goals.

Earned financial success never just creeps up on somebody, it’s carefully planned out each and every single time.

7. Remind yourself of the WHY

Just like your little league coach told you, “keep your eye on the ball.” There was a reason why you decided to start down the road of entrepreneurship and launch a business and it’s important that you remind yourself that from time to time.

Call it whatever you want, the big picture or grand idea, looking back at how far you’ve come and where you’re going is a fantastic motivator.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison.

8. Give yourself a personal reward

There are few things more gratifying and motivating than enjoying the spoils of victory that come with a job well done. It’s in our nature to react to incentives and taking time to reward our accomplishments is a healthy thing.

Maybe it’s hitting a new financial goal or reaching a breakthrough in a new technology you’re developing, but work without reward is a killer of motivation.

How do you celebrate? Buy a round of drinks for friends or coworkers? Hit up a sporting event or concert?

You don’t have to spend a lot of money, or any money at all if you don’t want to. The key is acknowledging an accomplishment with an incentive to keep you motivated to push onward.

9. Map your goals

Goals without a plan are just ideas. You know what your goal as an entrepreneur is, but you’ll need a mapped out business plan to make that goal a reality.

Every entrepreneur has goals they want to accomplish, the problem is that if we fail to put them down they’re more likely not to happen.

Mapping out your goals and writing them down with the steps of what and when you want to accomplish certain tasks, raises your chances for success by as much as 42 percent.

Whether it’s on your phone or a giant whiteboard in your office, you can look at those written goals whenever you need a motivational kick.

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10. Seek out inspiration

Everyone finds inspiration to help them stay focused, excited, and motivated from sources outside themselves.

For example, Olympic swimming gold medalist Michael Phelps would listen to Eminem to pump himself up before a race. For you, it might be watching Rocky Balboa’s jog through Philadelphia once a week or reading every piece of business and entrepreneurial literature you can get your hands on.

The point is that seeking out inspiration puts us in a positive mindset and having a good attitude is a key for staying motivated and pushing through the tough times.

11. Surround yourself with like-minded people

There are going to be haters and those with doubts about what you want to accomplish. Nobody ever did anything great though by surrounding themselves with short-sighted and negative people.

Surround yourself with likeminded people who also have a desire and drive for success. Find others who share your drive, for example:

  • Join an entrepreneurs book club.
  • Find a local meetup for people in your industry.
  • Seek out entrepreneurs and those in your field online.

In order to see your vision from an idea to a reality, you’re going to need cheerleaders who will root for you, celebrate your wins, and possibly even teach you. Go find them!

12. Create a mission statement

Developing a mission statement can be a fantastic way to stay motivated on what you’re doing and provide direction. It’s important to differentiate that while it certainly incorporates your WHY, it’s not the same as mapping out your goals.

The mission statement is more of a declaration about the impact you want to make.

A good mission statement should summarize your overall goals and values and whom you’re doing it all for. Once you’ve written your mission statement, you may want to consider framing it and putting it somewhere you’ll regularly see it for extra motivation.

Take these steps to write your own mission statement and help yourself stay motivated!

13. Learn from your heroes

The very first entrepreneur on the planet definitely had it rough because they didn’t have anybody else’s stories of success to leverage in their favor.

Fortunately for you, there are countless success stories out there that you can pull both motivation and wisdom from.

Read the biographies of your heroes and the people you look up to. Read the books they read. Watch online interviews with them. Do whatever you can to absorb their knowledge and the wisdom of those who taught them.

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Whatever challenge you might be facing, you’re probably not the first person to experience it. Look to what others before you have done.

14. Give yourself some personal time

Remember how the character of Jack Torrance in Stephen King’s novel The Shining went berserk and kept typing “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? Well, as crazy as that character was, there’s some truth to that:

It’s important that you take at least a little bit of time to yourself each day to just stop and chill out.

Find something that you enjoy doing that allows you to decompress and not think about everything you plan to accomplish tomorrow. Whether it’s strumming a guitar, going to the batting cages, or just watching a movie, allow yourself some personal time outside of work.

15. Focus on the positive

There are certainly going to be days when things are not going right and it’s one thing after another. Being a successful entrepreneur is never easy, but it is incredibly rewarding.

Not everyone gets to try and do what they love for a living, but if you give it your all, then you can accomplish your goals.

Even when it seems like nothing is working, try to stop and find at least one thing that day or week that did go right. Channeling your energy towards the positive, rather than the negative will help motivate you to keep climbing that mountain.

16. Remember to have fun

Yes, have fun! That’s one of the reasons you started down this road of being an entrepreneur in the first place. You wanted to do something different than what you were doing and carve something out that was your vision and not somebody else’s.

It’s easy to start your business with excitement and have it become a point of stress, but don’t become that entrepreneur. Remind yourself why you started this journey and don’t be afraid to alter directions from time to time if needed.

Entrepreneurship is a lot like that old saying about life, it’s not about the destination, but the journey. So enjoy it!

Final thoughts

Remember that every entrepreneur is going to find different ways of staying motivated. It’s finding that motivation and focus, however, that every successful entrepreneur has in common.

If you want your business venture to thrive, then it’s important that you not only develop a clear vision of what that looks like, but seek out ways to stay positive and motivated in making it happen.

There may be moments of self-doubt, but remember that the key to success is within you. All you have to do is keep the fires of determination burning.

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Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

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Chris Porteous

The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

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