You would have thought that being an entrepreneur would be automatically motivating. After all, if you don’t work, then you don’t make any money and, in some situations, lose somebody else’s. But to the surprise of many people who have never travelled down the entrepreneurial road, it can be difficult to sustain interest in what you’re doing. It’s not all about building fast cars and rockets - as Elon Musk might have you believe: for most, entrepreneurs the day to day reality is far more ho-hum.
In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into the ten ways that entrepreneurs can stay motivated while building their businesses. Take a look at these ideas.
1) Be SMART With Goals
Yes, as an entrepreneur, you almost certainly have goals, but are they SMART goals? SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. What SMART goals do is force you to be more precise about what your objectives are. Instead of having some wishy-washy concept in your head like wanting to be your own boss, or expand your company, SMART goals give you something measurable and concrete to work towards. With smart goals, you know exactly where you need to be and by when.
2) Outsource The Boring Stuff
Often, entrepreneurs fall into the trap of doing all the menial work in the hope that it will help them save money. But all it really does it waste time and take away from opportunities to be doing something that offers more value.
Clever entrepreneurs offload many of the menial tasks involved with running a business to a virtual assistant or secretary. These virtual assistants provide administrative services like taking phone calls, writing down messages from clients, transferring calls, and following up customer queries. In short, they do a lot of the things that entrepreneurs themselves would rather avoid.
3) Reward Your Efforts
Although “bootstrapping” might seem like the entrepreneurial ideal - using all the money you make to reinvest in the expansion of your business - bootstrapping is not living. You’re not just an entrepreneur, you’re a human too, with all the attendant needs of that condition. If you reach a major entrepreneurial milestone, do something to reward yourself. Celebrate. Go out with friends. Go on holiday. Do something that says “job well done.”
4) Take Motivation From Friends And Family
Being an entrepreneur is sometimes a lonely business. As a leader, there’s a certain distance that you have to maintain with your colleagues. You have to personally deal with the most challenging issues while remaining detached from those beneath you.
Friends and family can be a great motivator in these circumstances. They can pick you up when you’re feeling low or in a slump. And they can set you challenges that will inspire and motivate you to achieve your stated goals.
5) Prioritise Sleep
Some entrepreneurs like to brag about the fact that they survive on four hours of sleep per night for months on end. But rest is essential for success. Long-term sleep deprivation destroys creativity, hurts motivation, and can lead you to make more errors.
Sleep scientists say that most people need between six and eight hours of sleep per day. Remember, if you sleep for six hours, that still leaves eighteen hours for work: that’s a lot.
6) Do Things Besides Work
Although you may derive a lot of satisfaction from your work as a startup entrepreneur, it should not dominate your life. There should still be a part of you that is separate from your business and from which you can derive motivation. Think about the things that drive you in life. Listen to music. Go out mountain biking. Prepare a meal with friends. Just do something that is entirely separate from your main business activities on a weekly or twice-weekly basis.
7) Don’t Get Sidetracked With Dross
As an entrepreneur, you want to make sure that you’re using all your time in the best way possible. But even for the most focused startup leaders, avoiding the dross of our culture can be a challenge.
How do you avoid time-wasting? First off, it’s a good idea to leave social media alone (that’s what you hired your digital marketer for). Social media drains your time and energy and produces little of value (unless you’re on it for productive business purposes).
Second, look for ways to set reminders for yourself. Instead of floating from one task to another, create a schedule of what you want to achieve and by when. Creating time slots in which you write content or send out emails motivates you to get these tasks done faster so that you can move onto the next.
8) Create A Morning Ritual
Steve Jobs, Mark Wahlberg, and Tim Cook are all famous for their extravagant morning routines. But what it is about the morning routine that seems to be so fundamental to success?
Evidence suggests that people who have good morning routines can get focused and organised. We’re generally far more relaxed and able to concentrate in the morning, and so starting the day off right may help a great deal. Write down your morning routine and execute.
9) Stay Healthy
Needless to say, if you’re eating cookies, cakes and chocolate all day long, washed down with your favourite brand of energy drink, you’re going to feel pretty lousy by the end of the week. Avoid junk food, get regular exercise, and be your best self every day. Eat your greens, boost your mood, and have the energy to work long days to reach your goals.
10) Expand Your Skill Set
Finally, to avoid monotony and burnout, engage in regular activities that expand your skill set. By developing your skill set, you’ll engage with new people, learn new skills, and find out new things about entrepreneurship that you never knew before.
Startup leaders often join entrepreneurial book clubs where they get an opportunity to meet with leaders in other industries and learn about how they do business. These meetings can be inspirational and motivating and can provide great ideas that you can implement when you go back to your company after the event.