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 are the various ways entrepreneurs and business owners stay motivated in business.
#1- Establishing high goals
I’m entering the 10th year in my primary business, which to be clear, is a brutal amount of time to my ADD mind. On top of that, I haven’t had to go to work in terms of being dependent on a paycheck in as much time. In order to stay motivated its critical, for me, to establish high goals where I become indebted to others around me that I care deeply about. For example, it’s almost become routine for me (and I’m sure you can think of high profile CEO’s who do this often and on social media) to make big, lofty promises that are meaningful to the success of the business and to my team as individuals. I know that by saying something aloud, in public, I will do anything to avoid failure. I also know that I thrive on challenge and urgency. By knowing my own weaknesses and playing into them, I artificially stimulate, genuine pressure. And that’s what drives me.
Thanks to Justin Gray, LeadMD!
#2- My WHY
To be quite honest, I think motivation is a buzz word. There are many days I'm not motivated. I LOVE what I do, LOVE my clients, and I'd STILL rather sit in bed and watch Netflix all day. We all will experience this, because we're all human. So it's not really a matter of motivation but of my WHY that gets me going on days like this. What's the purpose beyond making the money? What's this all for? And for me, it's truly making a difference in my clients lives, leaving a legacy for my future family, and being able to CHOOSE my day to day that is so important to me. When I think of those things and how these daily activities get me there, my motivation comes to life. Focus on the deeper reason and doing one thing at a time and you'll find yourself way more motivated. I also encourage people to have one really fun thing to do each day, even if that IS watching a Netflix show you love or going for a walk or bike ride or to a movie. Something outside of work to reward yourself for your work.
Thanks to Megan Yelaney
#3- Friends and family
Something that keeps me motivated is friends and family; without them, I would have never thought about going into Entrepreneurship and sticking to it. But, a significant factor in staying motivated is yourself. One trick is to wake up every morning and to tell yourself that you will be successful one day, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Thanks to Weston Almstedt, Goonik
#4- Slip into a perfectly created future reality
Every night when I go to sleep, or when I have downtime in a plane (or bored in a meeting) I am visualizing the life I want in 3 years time. I think this through in minute detail – the experiences I'm going to have with family and friends, what I am cooking on the BBQ and how it looks when I host everyone, the exact furnishings of the house I am living in, the physical condition I am in, what I am wearing (down to the specific watch model), even how I am feeling. That way when I am under pressure I can slip into a perfectly created future reality. That future reality provides a focal point to pull me through hard times and helps me stay motivated.
Thanks to Nick Lissette, Black Pearl Mail!
#5- Experiment, experience and enjoy
Life and business are full of ups and downs. You're constantly going to be thrown off the horse. The question is, how quickly can you get back on? Can you brush yourself off and dig back in or do weeks, months, years go by – and suddenly 10 years are behind you and you're like, ‘Well, I tried that one thing and it totally failed’? When we focus on the problem, we’re not focusing on the solution or the vision and the basic skillsets to get there. We’ve got to… 1) experiment 2) experience 3) enjoy. It’s a cycle. Keep learning about yourself, and commit to moving and evolving versus standing still and ending up in a place that doesn’t reflect your true self.
Thanks to Katy Kvalvik, Southwestern Empowerment!
#6- Three ways
First: it is not healthy to work all the time and not take a break to be with family or friends. Balance is important, whether it is taking a break from work to see your kids or grandkids soccer game, or just taking a vacation. Second: I believe that short vacations are important, as long drawn out vacations put you too far behind and just stress you out while on vacation and when coming back. Third: I have always been one that believes technology has made it easier to go on vacation, and that it is ok to use that technology to do a little bit of work while on vacation. Some say this is the complete opposite of what makes taking a vacation a true vacation, but for me it makes it to take a vacation. Each person has to find his or her sweet spot for staying motivated but taking a vacation from the office is probably one of the most important to do to stay focused and motivated all year long.
Thanks to Frederick W. Penney Esq., Penney and Associates!
#7- Morning routine to get momentum
Staying motivated can be a challenge, I am definitely not always motivated, but I have found that the morning routine is my motivation hack. Look for small victories and build momentum and for me, it is all about my morning routine. I don't look for motivation, I look to use my morning routine as leverage to get momentum first thing and carry me through the day. I find that if I am able to get up, without snooze and run through my ~60 minute morning routine I can then go into the day and accomplish a lot. My morning routine is inspired by the mash-up of two books, Own The Day by Aubrey Marcus and The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I would highly suggest checking out both and experimenting with a morning routine as a way to bypass motivation and build momentum.
Thanks to Brandon Brown, GRIN!
#8- Scheduling in treats
Being an entrepreneur often means there is no clear roadmap laid out as most entrepreneurs are doing something which has never been done before. This also means it can be hard to see if you are making progress and you need to be able to keep yourself motivated in order to stay focused on your goals and not give up which is one of the biggest reasons for failure in the start-up world. One of the ways I stay motivated is to schedule in periods of time on a weekly basis where I can treat myself to something that is not related to work. This can include things like a day trip to the beach, a massage or a trip to the theatre. Sometimes it can be as simple as spending the afternoon in my favourite park. Scheduling in treats like this keeps me motivated as it motivates me to get tasks done knowing that once I have completed something important I can treat myself to something fun and it acts a reward for important tasks done. These ‘mini-rewards’ help to keep my motivation levels high.
Thanks to Sukhi Jutla, MarketOrders.net!
#9- Taking breaks from routine
After many years of giving up when things went south in the business, or blaming industry shifts, the one thing that has helped me boost my motivation as an entrepreneur, is to take a break from the routine sometimes and talk to some of your past customers. Hearing from them on how they're doing, if they need any help at all, bolsters what we did right them, and restablishes their trust and satisfaction in us, that boosts my confidence and makes me want to do more of that for newer customers too.
Thanks to Tara Sundaram, Chennai Dream Homes®!
#10- Sparking creativity and ideas
I stay motivated by filling my brain with new and innovative ideas and meeting with other like-minded entrepreneurs that help spark creativity and imagination in my business-building efforts! This includes monthly reading of at least one business book (my recent favorites are Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber, and Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can Too by Gary Vaynerchuk), daily listening to business podcasts (my current faves are Ed Mylett Show by Ed Mylett, Entrepreneurs on Fire by John Lee Dumas, For the Love of Money by Chris Harder, and The GaryVee Audio Experience by Gary Vaynerchuk), weekly attending events in my local startup ecosystem (these can be found in all major cities: Landmark Worldwide, Toastmasters International, Rotary International, Startup Grind, Entrepreneur’s Organization, Founders Live, TedX, Network After Work).
Thanks to Melisa Celikel, Let's Get You Organized!
#11- Several ways
Positive energy and a growth mindset are essential. Additionally, taking time for yourself. Growing a business entails endless work so taking time to breathe and disconnect is a must. I encourage not only myself but my team to take a break from their phones, computers, work chats, and email notifications to relax and unplug in between long work hours. Lastly, we stay motivated by being solution-oriented and remembering that perfection is the enemy of good.
Thanks to Chelsea Rivera, HonestPaws.com!
#12- Take my downtime very seriously
That means getting 8 hours of sleep every night and resting (not working!) on the weekends. I tried operating on 4 hours of sleep and working through my weekends in the past, but it only took a few months for me to burn out. Plus, I was always lethargic at work. My mental and physical health were suffering. I just wasn’t performing up to my full potential. When I became pregnant, I realized that I had to start resting more. I didn’t have a choice. But, I found that I was far more productive at work, even though I was dealing with all of the issues that come with pregnancy. After my child was born, I decided that I had to make the rest one of my top priorities. Now when I show up to work on Monday mornings, I’m motivated to get to work and get things done!
Thanks to Barbara Nevers, Neolittle.com!
#13- Using the promise of the carrot or the fear of the whip
When it comes to maintaining consistent motivation as an entrepreneur, I sometimes need to use the promise of the carrot or the fear of the whip to get me moving. Working for the promise of the carrot is preferable and what I try to rely on more regularly, but often a little bit of natural, anxious fear can be helpful in getting me off my duff and working the long hours that are required for successful execution of business objectives. In addition, the best antidote for a lack of motivation is building a very motivated team around you. A motivated team can help eliminate the all-to-natural desire to shirk. Such a team can also often do the work for you, which helps to ratchet-up your effectiveness.
Thanks to Nate Nead, SEO.co!
#14- Six tips
I use the Pomodoro technique. I work on a task for 25-minutes and then take a 5-minute break. 2. I work out at home. I set a time when I will work out and get as much done as I can before then. Also, the promise of a quick shower keeps me motivated. So I'll work from 7 to 10, work out, shower and back to work. 3. I try to only use Facebook and Instagram for business-related tasks. I'll check personal Facebook before I start my workday and in the late afternoon. 4. I have a designated place to work: my home office, a co-working space, or a coffee shop. 5. I eat at my desk. 6. What motivates me the most is productivity. I love seeing my words turn into a blog post. And I love setting an example for my kids that you can create your own success by hard work.
Thanks to Michelle Platt, My Purse Strings LLC!
#15- Strict daily regimen
Staying motivated as an entrepreneur can be tricky. At the end of the day, I decided I basically needed to brainwash myself into being motivated. This meant persuading myself to set BHAGS, deliver something meaningful daily, and stay mentally and physically fit. I follow a strict daily regimen that optimizes not only productivity but also wellness. I build an action list of activities to accomplish. Even if I don’t finish the list, I am able to check things off of it, which is my mental gauge of success for that day. Every day has one overarching goal to produce one thing meaningful to me. I spend 1.5 hours each day for lunch and a 5-mile run. Staying physically fit keeps me sharp, mentally and spiritually. Lunch helps me recenter and reset for the afternoon. In this way, I mentally get 2 days of productivity in 1 day. While working, I turn off all distractions, especially desktop notifications. This keeps me focused and productive during the workday.
Thanks to Theron McCollough, fiifi.co!
#16- Keeping a focused and driven mindset
I tend to keep the mindset of everything happens for a reason, be it good or bad. And you can’t change what is meant to be. So instead of beating yourself up over things, move forward with them instead. Another motivation for me is to not see every mistake as a mark of failure, but an opportunity to learn. Learning to not make the same mistake again helps keep me focused on the ultimate goal of building my business. Overall keeping this focused and driven mindset is what keeps me
Thanks to Gareth Smythe, Hilton Smythe!
#17 – Remembering failure is part of success
My best tip for staying motivated as an entrepreneur is to remember that you must fail in order to be successful. Not only that but every startup always needs a few years to start turning profit. So as an entrepreneur, you must stay persistent and focused on your objective, especially during the initial startup phase. Many great companies took years to break-even and even more years to reach their fullest potential. So try to stay committed to your goal, and you will reap the rewards of your venture in the future.
Thanks to Tony Arevalo, Carsurance.net!
#18- Two ways
One of the key ways I stay motivated is having a business partner who shares the same passion and goals as me. Whenever a task, pitch or day is looking tough, the stress and pressure is instantly halved. Another way I stay motivated is alongside having quarterly goals, I have monthly, bi-weekly and weekly goals. Setting achievable mini-goals is a great way to keep your day-to-day interesting and to get a greater sense of accomplishment.
Thanks to Harry Phillips, This Digital!
#19- Maintain personal connections
The best advice I can give to fellow entrepreneurs when it comes to staying motivated is to maintain close connections with your users, customers, or audience. For me, staying in contact with the people who use my company's services allows me to stay up-to-date on their pain points, which in turn reminds me why I do what I do: I want to help solve the real problems that people have. Failing to maintain these personal connections makes it inevitable that entrepreneurs will become out of touch, a kind of isolation that leads to lack of motivation.
Thanks to Artur Meyster, Career Karma Inc.!
#20- Fill your day with tasks your passionate about
There’s a popular misconception that staying motivated means you have to ‘grin and bear it’. No matter how much you push yourself, you’ll struggle to stay motivated if you don’t love the work. The real trick to staying motivated is to fill your days with tasks and end goals you’re passionate about. Delegate, automate, outsource or eliminate everything else. You don’t have to enjoy everything, and you don’t have to be the expert at everything. If it doesn’t call to you, cut it from your workload. The more you do what you love, the easier it will be to stay motivated. In fact, it will seem utterly effortless when you’re in the flow of a steady stream of enjoyable activity. When a task stops being enjoyable, switch to another for a while and you’ll find renewed motivation. This has worked wonders for our business clients.
Thanks to Fidel Monk, Good Life Marketing!
#21- Anchor your goals with emotion
Naturally, we try to make logical goals that'll get us from where we're currently at, to where we want to be. However, human beings are emotional beings, and we make decisions based on emotion and then justify it with logic. A simple hack to achieving your goals, is when you write out your goal; ask
yourself what will this mean when I achieve it? Get to the emotional meaning behind the goal, and you'll have a higher success rate at achieving it.
Thanks to Khabeer Rockley, The 5% Institute!
#22- Setting reminders
In order to stay motivated, you need to plan ahead and set reminders. It can be difficult to stay in a routine even with a plan, so developing a habit to set reminders throughout the day for important tasks is key. Use an alarm to remind yourself to stay focused on a task if you need to. You can also stay on track by setting specific durations of time in your calendar for specific tasks.
Thanks to Jake Hay, PopShorts!
#23- Knocking off the hard tasks early
It can be tempting to get quick wins and knock off all the easy tasks on your TODO list, but I find that doing that can make the end of a project feel extremely daunting. I try to knock off the hardest and most unsure tasks early so that I feel like I'm coasting downhill towards the end of a project.
Thanks to Will Hankinson, IntroCave Intro Maker!
An entrepreneur wears many hats and has many responsibilities. It can be exhausting. The key to staying motivated starts by taking care of yourself as a business owner. Starting your day with prayer, meditation, yoga or quiet time before the busyness of the day to set your mind right and be clear on your goals. During that time of reflection and meditation include listening to others with motivating words of encouragement via podcast, books, scriptures, YouTube, just to name a few. Having clarity helps you
think of innovative ways to keep your business thriving.
Thanks to Bridgette Freeman, Juwai Reality!
For me staying motivated requires delegating the tasks that suck the life out of you. For example, I used to handle finances and billing the first year because I didn't want to spend any money in hiring a financial assistant. Although it helped me save money, I think I ended up losing more because I was less motivated to start my day knowing that I had all types of financial issues waiting for me to handle. Motivation is fragile so make sure you free up your time to work only on the tasks that motivate you and
delegate the others
Thanks to Amine Rahal, IronMonk Solutions!
#26- I remember one instance
When my motivation lags, I think about sitting across the desk from my last boss ever in 1997. I realized that he had different values and priorities in life than I did. In particular, I had three small children at home, and I was missing them growing up due to my work schedule. I realized that, despite his lip service to the contrary, he didn't really care whether I was happy or not–he mostly just wanted me to make him wealthy. Even though our children are now grown, the thought of returning to situations like that keeps me forging ahead, even through the worst of times!
Thanks to Terry Doc Dockery, The Resolve Firm!
#27- Football and reading
My only motivation is playing football 2 hours a day, no matter how much work I've to do. I simply shut down my pc at 6 pm, wear sports clothes take my kit and go to ground and I play football for about 2 hours with my friends and I get refreshed. At 8.30 pm I return home and have a cold bath, wear my nightclothes and take a business-related book and I read for 1 hour. This 2 thing keep me stay motivated all the time.
Thanks to Abdullah Prem, Bloggersneed!
#28- By having that dual mission versus just a business one
While of course our business mission includes goals that lead to profitability, we have a second, equally important social mission to give back to our communities and make a difference in the lives of all our stakeholders. Money alone cannot get me out of bed in the morning. Money alone couldn’t have kept me going after all those sleepless nights and 15-hour workdays, days when I often questioned my own sanity over having started my own business and leaving behind a safe career in the tech sector. I can’t speak for other entrepreneurs, but working just for my own benefit would never have gotten me through the hardships involved in creating a startup.
Thanks to Christopher J. Hughey, Fast Layne Solutions, Inc.!