How to Stay Motivated as an Entrepreneur.
Staying motivated as an entrepreneur can be tough. When I worked in the corporate world, I knew that I had to be at a certain place at a certain time. I had my responsibilities and daily tasks that needed to be completed in order for my team to meet their deadlines. I knew what my goals were every month and it was always clear when I’d be clocking out and heading out of the office that day. Working for yourself is pretty much the opposite of that for me. While I still have goals and responsibilities (as much as I love pizza, I’m not down to live that $1 pizza life and would like to be able to afford vegetables in there every once in a while), staying motivated can be hard especially if you’re working between deadlines. If you normally work from home like I do, it can be so easy to just cozy up on the couch and throw on another episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt while you plug away on your computer. Four hours (and about eight episodes later), you’re still on the couch though and the only thing you’ve gotten done is a half-baked attempt at a pitch. Yikes. I’m not the only one who’s done that, right?
After working for myself for almost a year, I’ve learned a lot. Like, way more than I initially bargained for. I’ll admit that most of what I learned was primarily about what not to do (there was so much trial and error it actually was funny). But, hey - that’s just as important sometimes!
Read on for my top five tips on how to stay motivated as an entrepreneur:
1. Establish a routine.
The best way to stay motivated is to keep an everyday routine. One of the most game-changing parts of my routine is writing down my tasks for the next day. At the end of each work day, I record all of my tasks into a list and then sort them by priority, so I can approach each item with a sense of clarity and focus the next day. This also helps to keep me from feeling overwhelmed the next morning when I sit down at my computer. Before implementing this part of my routine, I would let my inbox dictate the majority of my day. Let’s just say that that was a disaster (understatement). I get anywhere from 30 to 100 emails every day and answering each of them while simultaneously attacking projects (this is legitimately what it feels like a times) as they came during the day is anything but productive.
By setting timely deadlines for yourself and establishing a routine for yourself, you’ll also help defeat that dreaded post-lunch sense of overwhelm when you realize that you’ve barely done anything over the course of the past few hours.
2. Surround yourself with positivity.
This is by far one of the best things you will ever do for yourself as an entrepreneur. I once heard that you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with and I couldn’t agree more. Surrounding yourself with positivity will change the way you look at the world and your work. It really is that powerful. Just think: we all have a group of friends who is negative and catty. They get together for happy hour or hop on a group text and just bash others. It’s one mean thing after another. At first, it can feel like fun. I’m guilty of a little ranting now and then. But then it just starts to get heavy and you feel your spirits drop every time you see them or see a text notification light up on your phone. That’s just not healthy. Sure, we all need a little moment to vent, but all the time? No, thank you. That negative mindset could not be more toxic for entrepreneurs. One of the keys to success as a work-for-yourself girl boss is to surround yourself with people who want to lift you up.
For example, my dear friend, Lisa Nicole Rosado, is one of the most positive and supportive women I know. Is everything sunshine and rainbows for her every moment of the day? Of course not. But, is she dedicated to seeing the best in people and helping to raise women up? Absolutely. Lisa believes so much in positivity and supporting others that she even founded, We Are Women Owned, an honest-to-goodness amazing sisterhood where women business owners in the retail space and beyond can come to feel seen, heard, and unconditionally supported by an army of brilliant, powerful women just like them. Trust me, when you find your tribe and start surrounding yourself with people who are more positive, your work and your life will be infinitely more exciting and you will feel more motivated than ever.
3. Set Personal Goals.
A goal without a deadline is just a dream. I really do believe that. That’s why I’m such a proponent of setting personal goals. Whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly or yearly, setting tangible goals to strive for is a must for staying motivated as an entrepreneur. Without personal goals, you’re like a ship floating in the sea without a destination. Sure, you could eventually reach a shore, but you could also end up humming along in the ocean without the sight of land for months. Imagine floating along without a set destination and then realizing that you haven’t prepared properly and don’t have enough fuel, fresh water, or food. Thanks, but no thanks. That personally sounds like my own version of h-e-double hockey sticks for this Virgo. And well, why would you even want to merrily row along for months on end without the proper means when you could get to Bermuda or the Caribbean in just a few days? Am I right or am I right?
I like to set personal goals every six months and then break those goals down into monthly (and sometimes weekly if I’m feeling extra inspired) moments. Some people say to aim for five years, but let’s be real - a lot can happen in five years. By breaking our goals down into what we’re looking to accomplish in six months, we work harder, are more motivated, and are more likely to dive in immediately instead of waiting for next month or next year to finally start.
4. be in a mindset of always learning.
One of the best ways to learn and grow as an entrepreneur is to consistently be in a mindset of learning. I’m reading and researching constantly! With thousands of websites and platforms to choose from, there is always more to learn. As an entrepreneur, it’s especially essential to stay up to date on your industry and be informed of new opportunities as they present themselves, while also keeping a close eye on your competition. If you’re up to date with your competitors and know what’s happening in your industry, you’ll be able to continue evolving and growing your own business, while being one step ahead of the game.
I especially love reading about successful entrepreneurs (Sara Blakely, the inventor of Spanx has such an amazing story - read about it here) when I’m feeling in need of inspiration. Surrounding yourself with the stories of those who are self-made will keep you motivated as an entrepreneur and will remind you that everyone has to start somewhere.
One of the most inspiring stories I’ve heard is that of Pandora, the internet’s radio station. Now, I don’t know about you but I’ve been listening to Pandora obsessively for years. It’s one of my favorite ways to listen to music and find new musicians and songs. I would definitely say it’s a mainstay in my daily routine. But, did you know that Pandora has had more than its fair share of successes and failures? Did you know that within two years of being founded by Tim Westergren, that the platform had 50 employees and no money? What about the fact that Westergren would hold meetings every two weeks for two years begging people to work unpaid? Or how about the fact that it was only on his 348th pitch to backers that he finally had an investor take real notice and take a chance on backing the platform? Pandora’s story is pretty phenomenal and is definitely one worth reading here.
5. Network, network, network.
This has single-handedly been one of the best ways to stay motivated as an entrepreneur for me, in addition to one of the most important aspects to my business. As someone who moved to New York over five years ago with no money, no connections and no clear job path, networking has really changed the game for me. It’s helped me grow so much as an entrepreneur simply because hearing the stories of others inspired me to find my own story. Hearing experiences first-hand from others in my industry always motivates me to push harder, do things differently and keep growing. I read somewhere, “Don’t build your business on an island” and I couldn’t agree more.
Are you an entrepreneur? What are your favorite tips for staying motivated while working for yourself? Send me your best tips and tricks through social media or shoot me an email!