When the going gets rough in business, you'll need motivation to keep moving. Motivating yourself can be hard but practicing consistent habits such as reminding yourself of why you started can be a major boost. A network of friends and partners can also serve as a great assurance and reminder that you're not walking.
Here's the various ways entrepreneurs and business owners stay motivated in business.
#1- Celebrating the little wins
As an entrepreneur, you are somewhere along a long hard, uphill climb. I think it's a lot like mountain biking. Sometimes you think you can't make it, but if you dig deep and want it badly enough, you find a way to get through it. That being said, celebrating the little victories along the way is vital. The little wins, the small accomplishments, you have to focus on them and ride the bump they give you. This fuels your hunger, and you learn to want more of the same, and so you search for the next accomplishment, no matter what or how small that might be.
Thanks to Maggie Schott, McKeating Solutions!
#2- Reflect on the journey so far
For me, staying motivated comes a lot from looking back and seeing how much you've already accomplished. It's difficult when first starting out because everything is unknown. You can estimate and project, but you don't know how things will turn out until you start. Once you or your business is working, it's easy to remind yourself that: 1) you know enough to keep going, and 2) the hardest part is already behind you.
Thanks to Shaan Patel, Prep Expert!
#3- Short term goal setting
When it comes to staying motivated, entrepreneurs can benefit not only being goal driven, but also stretching those goals to make sure there’s always a purpose and always something to strive for. For me personally, the goals are a competition with myself to make sure I’m always trying to do better and find the inner motivation for how far I can go. Often, this answer to what motivates is the mission of the business. When you’re doing good work and are trying to change the system, simply knowing the work just isn’t done is enough to drive efforts. Overall, short term goal setting keeps me the most motivated. Being able to check off boxes that are in the near term while knowing its aligned with the long term goal allows me to visually see that we’re getting closer and making progress. This provides for more constant motivation on a daily basis while still requiring long term vision and planning.
Thanks to Brian Rowe, Perceivant!
#4- Created a vision board
I’ve created a vision board so that whenever I feel the pressures of entrepreneurship starting to wear down on me and suck my motivation away, I can look at my board and remind myself why I do this. I created something called a vision board which is essentially just a poster board filled in with all your dreams, aspirations, things that are most important to you and anything else you can think of that will pull you from the depths of defeat. I have things like pictures of vacation spots, my family and friends, business goals for the long term, and anything else I can think to add. So whenever I’m feeling a little unmotivated, I look at that board and remind myself of what I fight for every day.
Thanks to Tim Absalikov, Lasting Trend!
#5- Employees, clients and future of my company
For me, knowing that I have dedicated, hard working employees that rely on me, and amazing clients that trust me with their brands, keeps me going. The future of the company rests on me and it motivates me to work as hard as I can to show them how much it all means to me…and how much they all mean to me.
Thanks to Kimberley Ring, Ring Communications!
#6- Knowing we are changing lives
Being a mom to 10 children is a lot of work. Add to that being the owner of a well established business, as well as leading a massive online community we are growing and you’ve got a recipe for no free time. It would be so easy to let things fall to the wayside, or put them on the backburner. What keeps me motivated is knowing that we are changing lives. In our local cleaning business, we are giving our clients the gift of time, freeing them from chores and allowing them more time with their families or for themselves.. In our online community we are using breakthrough technology to start a revolution to change the face of the cleaning industry. We KNOW we are helping other cleaning professionals with information and tools they need to succeed in this industry, as well as building their confidence. Knowing we are helping to change lives worldwide is the best motivation to keep going!
Thanks to Grace Reynolds, Handmaid Cleaning Community!
#7- The journey and the impact
I'm motivated by the idea that we're building a company that may have a real positive impact. It's awesome that we've fed so many, and the prospect of reaching many more across new markets is so exciting. The sense of journey is palpable for me. At the same time, I think of everything it took to come this far, just to be in a position to have far better opportunities within reach…but you can always blow it! I think that's true no matter who you are. That makes me want to focus a little more. I think a little fear is not necessarily bad. A healthy amount of anxiety behind me pushing me forward can come in handy from time to time.
Thanks to Thomas Asseo, Fresh n’ Lean!
#8- Talk to people alot
Staying motivated can be hard, but one thing as an entrepreneur that I try to do is talk to people a lot. I take meetings even if I'm not sure how it will benefit the work I'm doing. I've found that meeting people, telling them what I do and hearing what they do gives me a lot of inspiration and ideas about my own vision and direction. Sometimes someone will say something or suggest something that I never thought about, or just be so excited about an idea you have that you get reinvigorated about it as well. It can be easy to isolate yourself when you have a product or idea you are trying to bring to reality, but sharing and being honest with other people is a great motivator for me to keep going.
Thanks to Danielle Berman, DB Consulting!
#9- Doing what I do best, and hiring others to do the rest
I stay motivated by doing what I do best, and hiring others to do the rest! When I started my company in 2005, I spent too many years working so much both IN and ON the business that I burned out. I was doing my own admin, sales and marketing while doing operations (delivering what I was selling). It was hard to stay motivated when I couldn't focus on where to start, or couldn't see light at the end of the tunnel since I had so much to do! Having a team of amazing employees, contractors and vendors allows me to work more ON by business, while I have great help from a team who helps work IN it. My team keeps me SO motivated with their energy and expertise and the weight and responsibility is not all on my shoulders. It is the best feeling!
Thanks to Lorrie Thomas Ross, Web Marketing Therapy, Inc.!
#10- Making a plan and sticking to it
Running a small business can feel overwhelming at times, but one of my favorite ways to stay motivated is to turn that anxious energy into something productive. Identify the problem, conduct any internal or external research needed to better understand it, and make a plan with actionable steps toward solving it. Once I take that first step, I always feel better, and that motivates me to follow through with the entire plan.
Thanks to Jane Tower, Tower Books!
#11- My mom
My mom is the reason why I continue to work so hard in my business. She was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, terminal brain cancer, in January 2016 – and I actually started my business right after her diagnosis because it made me realize that life is SHORT and the best time to act is NOW. My mom always knew that I would own a business one day, and she would joke that she would be my secretary because she's so outgoing and talkative. I've worked so hard to make her proud, and although she passed away in June 2018, I have a picture of her on my desk to remind me to keep going when things get tough.
Thanks to Ashley Mason, Dash of Social!
As I lead my organization forward I do it by faith this motivates me to press on to achieve our long term vision and goals. When you allow faith to be the overarching unifying backbone that undergirds your actions you constantly believe in what you are trying to achieve. Faith leads you back to your true north which realigns you with your passion, drive and endure so that you will not give up but rather conquer. To stay motivated then you must find the essence of your faith!
Thanks to Matthew Arnett, PO8 & FORT NFT PROTOCOL!
#13-Adversities and the faith to overcome it
The challenge to turn adversities into successes gives me the ultimate motivation. I firmly believe without struggles, adversities, and failures ensued from chasing success, you can’t be intrinsically motivated and passionate about your dreams. If you are chasing success, failures will be a part of it, and then deriving meaningful learnings from them to incorporate in your next plan for success, makes you infallible. You get to learn what are the ways you are failing, what needs to be done instead, and how a failure can be a disguised opportunity to learn, grow as a human and professional, and succeed.
Thanks to Ketan Kapoor, Mercer – Mettl!
#14- Meditation and physical workout
What helps me get to the other side is regular meditation and physical workout. It helps to take a step back get control of your thinking back and not give in to emotions. That’s when I think about why I am doing what I am doing and that usually gives me a boost of motivation. Writing it down is even better. When that doesn’t work, you definitely need a short vacation. That never fails for me because, again, that gives you even more distance from daily life to reflect on why you are living an entrepreneur’s life – for your grand goals.
Thanks to Sudhanshu Ahuja, Impress.ai!
#15- Remind myself of how venture capitalist operate
I really live my life true to the statement, find three hobbies: one to make you money, one to keep you fit, and one to serve as a creative outlet. For me, that translates into regular group fitness as something that impacts my day-to-day business effectiveness and that I also enjoy, as well as taking time for creative side projects to express myself. When I lose motivation in my entrepreneurial endeavors, I also remind myself that some venture capitalists operate on the 1, 2, 3, 4 factor. That is, 4 out of 10 businesses outright fail, 3 out of ten you may be able to sell off parts for profit when it does fail, 2 out of 10 may go on to be moderately successful, and 1 out of 10 will be a major expansive success. I believe the best quality an entrepreneur can have is perseverance, whether that's in a high-pressure sales environment, or when launching your fifth business venture. Some things in life really are just a numbers game.
#16- Morning routine
I stay motivated through my morning routine. Each morning I spend at least 15 minutes listening and reciting affirmations while working out at home. Then I write an affirmation in my planner. This is a good reminder as I check my planner numerous times during the day. Last, I listen to a video or podcast on leadership while heading in to the office. All of this takes about 45-60 minutes
Thanks to Michelle Ngome, Line 25 Consulting!
#17- I see an opportunity amidst obstacles
It's easy for Founders to become unmotivated by all the problems they face on a daily basis. To stay motivated and keep fear from becoming a chokehold on my business, I rein in my brain to help me see solutions. I ask what, why, where and who questions because they reframe the problem; so instead of seeing an obstacle, I see an opportunity. They free me up to see the possibilities again, and allow the feelings of renewal and hope to return.
Thanks to Ande Lyons, Startup Life with Ande Lyons!
#18- Visualize the future
I like to visualize myself in the future as a success, usually while I am walking, exercising, or falling asleep. Once you have a dream of what you want to be, it's not hard to stay motivated in the fight to get there. Eventually, you become the person you've dreamed of being, and then set new goals for yourself. It also helps to hang around other motivated people, whether that be your own employees or friends in similar situations.
Thanks to Harrison Baum, Daily High Club!
#19- A number of ways
As a global staffing, IT consulting & managed services firm, we are within an industry that's currently in a transition phase to maturity. This makes keeping motivated more challenging than others. As an entrepreneur and business owner a few things I do to stay motivated, including meeting with clients and evaluate success stories. Every success we have at our client project level motivates me to replicate. I also dedicate time to meet with internal employees and evaluate what's working and what's not. There is an amazing number of good (and maybe some not as informed) suggestions that we get from the field that when implemented successfully energizes the whole company, including me. I also commit to attending leadership seminars/courses like Aspen Institute – it is great to take a week off, take a step back and evaluate everything we do as leaders. Additionally, besides seminars and training, I generally spend 2 hrs. a day reading up about new things/market trends and I also feel family time, truly disengaging when I get home, having that downtime plays a big role in keeping me energized and motivated.
Thanks to Mahfuz Ahmed, DISYS!
#20- Remind myself of one thing
I stay motivated by reminding myself that I don’t want to go back to Corporate America. It’s seductive – the pay, the benes, the clearly defined roles, the specialization. It’s easier is so many ways. Then I remember there’s a cap on my income, bureaucracy, very little incremental opportunity for sustainable growth, competitiveness, someone else owns your time and output, and ultimately, you are playing a role to accomplish someone else’s goals. Maybe that’s bleak, but it gets the job done when I’m feeling unfocused or unmotivated by reinforcing the importance of succeeding on my own terms. And days when I need a boost, not a full reset? I squeeze in a really intense workout. It helps me let go of any anxiety or doubt and makes me feel strong and powerful.
Thanks to Kristi Andrus, LUXICoach!
#21- Successful habits and accountability
I find that motivation (and therefore focus) can either be transient or fluctuate. So when it comes to maintaining these in business, I tend to focus on my mindset, developing successful habits and remaining accountable. For example, I try to avoid waiting to be inspired or motivated before attempting to work. Instead, I take the emotion out of it by planning my work and working my plan; then choosing to do the right thing at the right time regardless of how I feel. The idea being, that implementing successful habits everyday will cause a compound effect towards the results that I want. I am also a very strong believer in accountability (via mastermind groups and mentoring) for supporting me in following through on my commitments, sticking to deadlines and remaining inspired to do so.
Thanks to Nina Dafe, The Far Above Rubies Collection!
#22- Thinking about the worst-case scenario
If I am perfectly honest, I keep myself motivated by thinking about the worst-case scenario- working for someone else! When things get tough or the business hits a bump, I quickly remind myself of the realities of working for someone other than myself. As entrepreneurs, we get the luxury of making our own schedules, creating our own routines, setting our own goals, making our own decisions and rewarding ourselves when we feel we did a great job! Those actions are very different for a corporate person reporting to someone who gets to call the shots! Remind yourself of the best parts of being an entrepreneur, chin up and keep moving forward!
Thanks to Christy Cook, Teach My!
#23- A morning ritual
I set aside two hours every morning to go through a routine that prepares my mindset for the day. I complete this process before I look at my phone or check my email. My morning ritual begins with a Gratitude list. I not only review the things I am easily grateful for, but also find gratitude within a positive outlook on things that are frustrating in my career. I follow this by an hour-long exercise routine. I complete my process with 30 minutes of reading and relaxation. After I implemented this routine into my daily life, It become instantly easier to maintain an inspired spirit when faced with the typical motivation killers of the work day.
Thanks to Sean Giovanni, The Record Shop Nashville Recording Studio!
#24- Two things
I have discovered that with a bit of mental stimulation I can amp up my motivation level. By reading an inspiring book or listening to a good podcast, a shift takes place in my subconscious. It's as though a door is unlocked and now I have access to new fuel, knowledge and creativity. If you're looking for a dose of inspiration to trigger unstoppable passion towards your goals, I highly recommend reading the original 1937 version of Napoleon Hill's ‘Think and Grow Rich.'
Thanks to Kira Bursky, All Around Artsy Productions!
#25- Practice 5 minutes of gratitude
Building your dream as an entrepreneur can add a tremendous amount of stress to your life. However, there are ways to combat this, stay motivated and still be on the way to making your dream a reality. One of my daily routines to start off a healthier and less stressful day is practicing gratitude. For a simple 5 minutes, I sit back and remember where I am and the people I have in my life. I remember all of my past work and life experiences that have brought me to where I am today. I remember what I was able to accomplish and what drives me to continue my growth. As an older entrepreneur, it’s important to look back on how far you’ve come and be proud. Taking a moment out of your day to reflect on the experiences have taught you patience, humility, and perseverance is a great way to handle stress and remember why you started your entrepreneurial journey in the first place. It may seem insignificant, but you’ll be amazed at what taking a small moment of your day to reflect can do to your mental health and creative flow.
Thanks to Jake Messier, Olderpreneur Coach!
#26- My family
My biggest source of motivation is my family. Those times when I'm lacking motivation or not feeling inspired, I think about my wife and kids and how I want to provide for them. My kids are still young (6 and 3) so I know I still have many years that I'll need to provide for them, so that gives me plenty of motivation to maintain long-terms success with my business.
Thanks to Marc Andre, Vital Dollar!
#27- Working away from home
I learnt early on in my career that motivation was key to progressing in the business world. I started my career working from home and I found that this in itself was not motivating me. I could not find the motivation to get all my tasks complete therefore I purchased an office early on after starting my company and my motivation levels increased dramatically. As a result, I had a reason to get up and leave the house and I found integrating with other companies in the office building inspired me to progress. Therefore for anyone working from home who is struggling with motivation, make the effort to get out of the house whether it be moving into an office or even working at the local coffee shop.
Thanks to James Dyble, Outsourcer!
#28- Network of cheerleaders
Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, and you might be faced with negativity from people who don't understand what you're doing and why. What I've found to be useful to combat this is having a network of cheerleaders that you can turn to when you need a boost of positivity. It's about mind-over-matter and, of course, being in love in with what you're working on, so having people around you to help cheer you on is extremely helpful. When you surround yourself with positivity and energetic people, it not only boosts you up mentally, but can help reset your motivation.
Thanks to Charlotte Maumus, Memwris!