Inspiration

28 Entrepreneurs Share Their Tips and Tricks of Staying Motivated

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- Two primary ways

Photo Credit: Patrick B. Martinez

The first is to always remember my why(s); specifically why I started my company in the first place. And its usually a number of things: to have an impact on the world, to provide a better life for my wife and daughters, to give our employees a platform to be their best, to find personal fulfillment, etc. I focus back on my founding why(s). Secondly, all too often, I think we sit around waiting to be motivated.’ And we assume that once we’re motivated, we will then go out into the world and take massive action. I have found the opposite to be true. I have found that when I take massive action first, even when I don’t feel like it, a high level of motivation quickly follows; which I can leverage to take even more action.

Thanks to Patrick B. Martinez, 3/AXIS!


#2 – A team I like and can connect with

Photo Credit: Dan Goldstein

It is easy to stay motivated when you are dealing with challenging and intellectually stimulating issues on a daily basis. One of the best things about working in the digital arena is that the landscape and the challenges are constantly changing. Those challenges keep me motivated and engaged. Unfortunately, even owners of the most cutting-edge businesses have to deal with the day-to-day grind of administration, billing and human resource matters. In my case, my team helps me to stay motivated and engaged. I have made an effort to bring on people that I like and can connect with on multiple levels. We try to block off time for all of us to have fun together. The camaraderie makes it easier for me to look forward to the day even when I know I will be dealing with the day to day administration necessary to any business.

Thanks to Dan Goldstein, Page 1 Solutions, LLC!


#3- Three motivations

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Scott

I have had my business for 2 years and part of my motivation is the passion I have for menswear. I love what I do. I also stay motivated by connecting with successful entrepreneurs and listening to their stories/advice. A common theme I have heard from them is that it takes time, a lot of time, so you must continue to put in the work but be patient. I am recently married with a baby on the way so that is a huge motivator for me as well. The last motivator is money!

Thanks to Jeffrey Scott


#4- Remembering the highs along the way

Photo Credit: Nishant Shah

Every entrepreneur’s journey is a mix of highs and lows. What keeps me motivated is remembering the highs along the way and pausing to take stock of how much I have achieved since the time I started my entrepreneurial journey. It is a good reminder of why I started my business in the first place and how every single hurdle is worth overcoming. This two-minute exercise boosts my motivation and prepares me to hustle every single day. As an entrepreneur, every day brings new opportunities and challenges. Thus, it is important to be positive and to acknowledge every success – big or small – as it’s a milestone towards the overall success of your business.

Thanks to Nishant Shah, BannerBuzz!


#5- Meditation

Photo Credit: Davide Ferrari

In the entertainment industry especially, it can seem like success is entirely dependent on the approval of others. Consequently, it‘s inevitable to experience occasional feelings of defeat when you don’t book a gig. To combat this and stay motivated, take time to meditate. After a few minutes of focusing on nothing at all, gradually integrate thoughts of how far you’ve come since you started. Remembering your progress will reignite your fire to continue making incremental movement each day.

Thanks to Davide Ferrari


#6- Two basics

Photo Credit: Gabriele Ottino

Getting outside and having dinner with my family. I go mountain biking a few times a week in the hills of Zurich. I’ve always been into cycling and love the headspace it provides me with to think alone. Once on top of the hill, the downhill is exhilarating and takes concentration and foresight to navigate the trails, much like in business. Dinner with my family is another way to keep me balanced. I usually get out of the office at 6pm to be home in time for dinner. If I have more work to do on that day (often I do), I don’t pick up my work again until the kids are in bed. Outside of those two practices, it’s important to remember what first inspired you. For me, I still remember that exact moment while I was in University. Although I was studying physics, I would pick up the Financial Times every day and start reading the business section about Silicon Valley. The profiles of all these interesting people who were really changing things inspired me to get into business and eventually, lead the team at Doodle. We’re changing the future of work and productivity and being part of that equation is a huge driver for me.

Thanks to Gabriele Ottino, Doodle!


#7- Reminding myself of my why

Photo Credit: Jay Goyal

Every day, you have to find inspiration in the fact that what you have created is making a real difference. It’s easy to get distracted on the business side, so I take active steps to remind myself daily about the teachers and students that I’m serving and why. Pretty early on as an entrepreneur, I also found myself responsible for a lot of constituents who put their full trust in me to lead. I embraced it, and the responsibility to my team has motivated me to make sure that I do everything I can with the confidence that has been placed in me.

Thanks to Jay Goyal, Actively Learn!


#8- Balance and clarity

Photo Credit: Kevin Heaton

Aside from my beautiful family, first, I believe in the four life pillars of Mental, Physical, Spiritual and Emotional Health. Balance and clarity, both personally and professionally, invite a positive culture – a culture of Inspiration – which in turn inspires new ideas and stronger participation by people around you. I encourage my team to practice these concepts with each other; we ask: Can you be content and what are you doing to be content? We practice a culture of inspiration internally and externally and this helps motivate us. Next, I read a great deal for motivation and inspiration and encourage my team to do so as well. For my team, I’m a fan of The Arbinger Institute, Jack Canfield and The Power of Focus and other publications. The act itself of studying and discussing together as a team is powerful motivation for us and helps us develop as a stronger team. We hold each other accountable and encourage growth. Responsibility to others is a key motivator for me: accountability to my family, my employees, my community, those I do business with and ultimately, my clients; we all rely on each other — our successes are interconnected. Ultimately, service to others through doing my best work is my most powerful motivator.

Thanks to Kevin Heaton, i3, LLC!


#9- Digital detox

Photo Credit: Mike Swigunski

As a business owner nowadays we are often required to be accessible at almost any time which can destroy one’s motivation. Technology advancements mean that we are even more connected and it’s much harder to shut off since you can’t just leave your work at the office. I structure my week to have at least one day dedicated to not working as a good way to start switching off and reboot. I think digital detoxes are a must have in this day and age as it’s quite difficult to go a few minutes without getting notifications from your phone, computer or other devices. I suggest taking regular days off where you completely shut off in order to stay motivated and avoid burnout. Traveling or planning some type of activity you enjoy is going to be essential when taking some time off. Find and do something you love and dedicate adequate time to it (yoga, surfing, running, etc). Having this time to reflect and recoup will help you stay refreshed, avoid burnout and help you run your business productively.

Thanks to Mike Swigunski, Global Career!


#10- Being on a set schedule

Photo Credit: Sheena Newman

At the beginning of each week, I write down short term goals and set a schedule for myself, to stay motivated. By being on a set schedule, I feel like a well-oiled machine, who can accomplish even the most difficult tasks. I believe this strategy is beneficial, as, like most entrepreneurs, I have many responsibilities from finance to social media marketing. By compartmentalizing these tasks into set time blocks throughout the week, I feel motivated, accomplished, and ready to take on the following week, like a champion.

Thanks to Sheena Newman, TALIX Organics!


#11- Genuine love for what I do

Photo Credit: Samantha Milner

For me I am what I would call over motivated and just don’t know when to put the breaks on and calm down. To take a chill pill and think I have worked incredibly hard, I need to take some time off. For me motivation starts with a genuine love for business, love for what you do and love for wanting to grow your business more and more. If you’re lacking motivation is it because your business is not where you want it to be or because you don’t like what you do? If either is the case you need to work on a plan of action to get you back the motivation you had when you started your business.

Thanks to Samantha Milner, Recipe This!


#12- A number of things

Photo Credit: Arto Minasyan

As an entrepreneur, I found myself three components of true motivation: people and their work, customers who give crucial feedback for your dear product and when complicated tasks turn to sophisticated solutions. This isn’t really a secret, but an idea without human resources isn’t worth anything. Knowing that I work every day with a hundred people who solve challenging tasks and turn them into useful products for millions — fills me with so much energy and inspiration, especially when you are having weak spells or are unhappy with results. When it comes to business the customer is everything but more specifically I’d say the customers who are completely invested into your product that they become part of its improvement and growth — that is everything. These people give such ideas that can completely change how you see your product and its purpose. Priceless. The last moment that inspires me, and this is a personal one for me as a tech guy, is seeing how long-lasting complicated tasks shape into new, market fit products.

Thanks to Arto Minasyan,10Web!


#13- Being Realistic and Working Smart

Photo Credit: Zarar Ameen

One of the worst things a person can do for their business and their motivation is biting off more than they can chew. It may be tempting to aim for a hundred different things at once, but it’s always better to do one thing perfectly instead of ten things horribly (especially when you’re a start-up with limited resources). Reaching for more than what you can accomplish will backfire eventually, either in the form of total burnout or in the form of client dissatisfaction… And trust me when I say, you want neither to happen. Having realistic short-term goals backed by a clear strategy and a researched thought-process will help you stay on your path and celebrate each little win. There is nothing worse for your motivation levels than reaching for everything, yet being able to grab nothing. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you even begin.

Thanks to Zarar Ameen, CANZ Marketing!


#14- Keeping goals in sight

Photo Credit: Michele Hall Duncan

Keep your goals in sight, both figuratively and literally. My annual goals are on the wall in my office for everyone to see. As I achieve my goals, I cross them off and set another. I also discuss my goals with my team and update them on my progress. This keeps them top of mind at all times.

Thanks to Michele Hall Duncan, enCourage Kids Foundation!


#15- Helping with customer service and maintaining an active lifestyle

Photo Credit: Andrew Schmid

The first is to help out with customer service on a regular basis and get first hand feedback directly from customers. Getting positive feedback from customers who are genuinely happy with your product is a great feeling, and motivates me to keep improving our product. Getting negative feedback can also be important as it lets you know where you can improve, and motivates you to make things better. It’s also important to surround yourself with people who are passionate about your business and who you enjoy working with. It’s much easier to stay motivated when you have a good team around you. Finally, I find it important to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. A good amount of sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet are important. It won’t matter how much motivation you have if your body can’t keep up.

Thanks to Andrew Schmid, Partial.ly!


#16- Strong habits and processes

Photo Credit: Ed Buckley

The easiest way to stay motivated when you are in the tough uphill climb of entrepreneurship is to have strong habits and processes in place so you don’t have to make decisions on whether you’re going to keep going. When you have systems in place you just have to pour your passion into those habits and processes. Think about things like working out at the same time every day, scheduling recurring meetings on the same time and day. Create those habits so you just focus on the workaround you and continue to set yourself up for success.

Thanks to Ed Buckley, Peerfit!


#17- Being organized

Photo Credit: Andrea Loubier

I find that motivation and organization go hand in hand. When I open up a project management app, such as Asana or Trello, I find that I am instantly ‘geared up’ to really conquer those tasks for the week. I like to keep that task list full, because the more there is to be accomplished, the harder I push to achieve those goals. However, if you don’t have a clear organizational method, then keeping productivity high can be difficult. Which is why I always say, ‘successful outcomes will follow a well-organized approach’.

Thanks to Andrea Loubier, Mailbird!


#18- In my team

Photo Credit: Viola Eva

There’s no better feeling than pulling together on a project and knowing that each and every person is giving 100% to complete the task at hand. This is why finding the right people is imperative. I always suggest that, when you begin to hire, look for people who can think and function as entrepreneurs themselves. The results will blow you away!

Thanks to Viola Eva, Flow SEO!


#19- The Bottom Line has a Heart Beat

Photo Credit: Gail Trauco

Growing up in rural North Carolina’s Piedmont region, I knew hunger, cold, sweat and tears from parental abandonment and poverty. I dreamed of other countries, people and places – knowing that I would live that vision. At 18 I left home to attend college with a full scholarship and never looked back. IF I could survive 18 years of lack, greatness was my destiny. Every morning I wake up with an attitude of gratitude and a heart full of pay it forward. As an Entrepreneur, I make choices and decisions that impact employees, contractors, clients – and my 3 sons. As a single mom, financially providing for 3 sons was my motivation in the early years as an entrepreneur. Today they are all their own success stories: Chef, Coding Engineer and Peace Corps Heatlhcare Educator in Guatemala. A maternal heart and vision spill over into my entrepreneurial philosophies. In healthcare people, places and faces all have immediate needs and as an advocate my role is to fill that unmet need. It’s easy for me to stay motivated because the bottom line has a heartbeat.

Thanks to Gail Trauco, Medical Bill 911!


#20- Celebrating the milestones

Photo Credit: Russell Barbour

I stay motivated by making sure that I have rewards as incentives for reaching goals. I try to celebrate every milestone as a way to remind myself that I am on a journey, and that even small steps forward will add up over time. I like to treat myself when I reach a short-term goal by doing something like taking a short vacation, eating out at a nice restaurant, or buying a new gadget. These motivational rewards really help me to make progress and stay motivated.

Thanks to Russell Barbour, Unconventional Prosperity!


#21- A number of ways

Photo Credit: Dr. Lev Kalika

Since chiropractic and physical therapy work is naturally my passion, it’s easy to stay motivated in that regard. But naturally, life can have hardships sometimes. And to stay motivated through those times, I make sure I do the following consistently: play with my dog, Fedex, for at least 30 minutes every day; take family trips at least four times a year; give myself an hour of me time every morning, where I read the paper and have a cup of tea; practice gratitude by telling myself a few things I’m grateful for every day; setting aside date nights for my wife and me at least once a week; and just reminding myself how far I’ve come, and to not be hard on myself. If I’m always working to maintain work/life balance, and taking those moments to clear my mind, the overall motivation is bound to stay as consistent as possible.

Thanks to Dr. Lev Kalika, NYDNRehab!


#22- Meditation and staying aware of when motivation is dwindling

Photo Credit: Gina DiStefano

As an entrepreneur, I find it’s less about staying motivated, and more about staying aware of when your motivation is dwindling. In order to remain consistent and excited about your business, you have to be in the right mental state. When I find myself veering off course, I go back to my roots of what accelerates my drive. For example, every morning I listen to an inspiring podcast, TED talk, or speech by my greatest mentors. Another technique I use is meditation and visualization. By examining what is lacking in either my personal or professional life, I am able to restructure, or, if necessary, recreate my vision. There are no two separate buckets in life. We do not have a personal life and a professional life. The two go hand-in-hand. If you find yourself losing motivation, go in, not out to find clarity.

Thanks to Gina DiStefano, DiStefano Group!


#23- Getting excited about the little things

Photo Credit: Alex Lacroix

As an entrepreneur and CEO, your role will evolve more than any other as your company grows. It’s essential to stay motivated through the twists and turns of your business and stay inspired as you lead your team through the trenches. I’ve learned to get excited about the little things. Force yourself to enjoy the small wins and lessons learnt. Stay positive through it all while never loosing sight of your desired end result and big picture.

Thanks to Alex Lacroix, Siempre Tequila!


#24- Replay the vision

Photo Credit: Kristen Fulchi

On the days that I feel particularly unmotivated, I replay this vision of the future I created. I take a few minutes, close my eyes, and ask where I see myself in 10 years and it’s almost always the same circumstances. I’m in my office, dressed in nice business attire, chatting on the phone with a client, my office fully decorated, and Im getting ready to leave for the day. I’m fullfilled by the client call I just had, and I’m looking forward to physically closing my office door to head downstairs to my future children. It’s still bright outside, there’s plenty of time to cook a nice meal, and I feel relaxed and balanced to listen to everyone’s day. Doing this periodic check-in and visually replaying this almost memory-like vision of the future, instantly reignites my motivation, as I feel inspired to take the steps now so I can get there even sooner than the 10 years.

Thanks to Kristen Fulchi, Kristen Fulchi Design Studio!


#25- Making my own motivation soup

Photo Credit: Nicole Van Lun

I believe that motivation has a direct correlation to success as an Entrepreneur. It’s the starting point before a single strategy is executed! I’m really intentional about keeping my motivation at a high level on a daily basis. I do this by listening to podcasts, working out 3-4 times a week, eating healthy, reading books, watching entrepreneurial-type documentaries, and connecting to my network of entrepreneurial friends regularly. I think of it as a ‘motivation soup’ because it’s not one single activity that does the trick, but a combination of them. I also think it’s important as an entrepreneur to know what you need to get your head back in the game at any given moment. For example, sometimes I know the only thing that can really clear my head is a hard cardio workout, while other times, I just need to go to the library and read a book. The bottom line is this: Make your own ‘motivation soup’ recipe to your liking so that it works for you!

Thanks to Nicole Van Lun, Bubbles and Butter Artisan Skincare!


#26- Less of the non-fun things

Photo Credit: Becky Kerr

It’s easy to imagine that working in a creative industry means you’re always motivated, but it can be difficult to manage your time between the things you find fun, and the things that are necessary to keep the business moving. I find that the best way to stay motivated is to never let the less fun things pile up. If you can dedicate a couple of hours a week to the things you find hard, it’s much easier to get them out of the way quickly, and for you to get back to the bits of the business you love.

Thanks to Becky Kerr, Becky Kerr Photography!


#27- Remembering the worst failures

Photo Credit: Chris Carter

I stay motivated every day as I once failed and had to put a company into bankruptcy. It was the worst two years of my professional and personal life. Since then I have vowed to never allow to let that happen again. I do everything I can personally and professionally to grow the company, the bottom line, the profitability and the happiness of all the staff.

Thanks to Chris Carter, Approyo!


#28- Being active in accountability groups

Photo Credit: Keesha Johnson

When you’re an entrepreneur, you can quickly find yourself experiencing business owner burnout! One way that I stay motivated is by being an active participant in an accountability group for women entrepreneurs. It’s a small group of women with different business backgrounds. We meet daily to discuss progress with our business goals, provide support and constructive feedback, and hold each other accountable to our commitments. Being in this circle of ambitious entrepreneurs gives me that extra boost of energy that keeps me motivated in my business!

Thanks to Keesha Johnson, My Mission To Escape!


How do you stay motivated as an entrepreneur? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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