Entrepreneurs have to face all sorts of different challenges, ups and downs, and hurdles when it comes to making a success of their business ventures.
In today’s world, there are more resources available than ever before to help facilitate virtually anyone to embark on an entrepreneurial path, and things like GDPR training courses can allow you to sidestep many of the stumbling blocks that might otherwise trip you up, while you are endeavouring to turn your start-up into a household name.
But what about the challenges faced by entrepreneurs that are not strictly connected to practical considerations? What about the struggles that entrepreneurs so often experience with simply maintaining their own motivation, and keeping a positive, engaged, and empowered mindset in place while dealing with the ups and downs of their profession?
Ultimately, a huge amount of what contributes to success is, fundamentally, about remaining driven and focused, and just believing in your own abilities and professional vision.
Here are a few tips for staying motivated as an entrepreneur, as opposed to allowing circumstances and bad days to veer you off course.
Do what you find meaningful with your business, rather than simply trying to be strategic
Perhaps the most significant and important thing to do, when it comes to maintaining your motivation as an entrepreneur – and for that matter, maintaining your motivation in any area of life – is to focus first and foremost on doing what you find meaningful, as opposed to simply being strategic.
All entrepreneurs are by definition trying to sell something, whether that be a product or a service – and so it’s obviously necessary to be attentive to customer demand, and to ensure that you are providing people with what they want.
At the same time, however, you can’t afford to simply try to serve the market at the expense of your own sense of meaning and intuition.
For one thing, this leads to a self reinforcing feedback loop where innovation is stifled. Steve Jobs likely never would have created the iPhone if he was just trying to sell people what he already knew they wanted.
For another thing, living and acting in alignment with your own sense of meaning keeps you driven and motivated to get out of bed each morning, and get to work. It helps you to stay true to yourself and to feel pride in what you do, and it lets you express your own creativity in the right ways.
By contrast, when you veer from the path of doing what you find meaningful, you can expect your business to quickly become a mundane job rather than endeavour that you feel truly invested in.
A major reason why people become jaded and disillusioned is precisely because they have stopped doing what they find to be meaningful, and have instead got too carried away with trying to be strategic at all costs.
Refine and regularly revisit your professional vision and goals
Everyone needs certain goals and targets in life in order to ensure that they can structure their efforts effectively, and maintain their motivation and a healthy sense of direction both in everyday life, and with regards to professional and entrepreneurial projects.
The thing is, your priorities and goals can end up changing over time, and, particularly, goals that you first set for your business when you started can become redundant, as you accumulate more on-the-ground experience and insight.
In order to prevent disillusionment and a lack of motivation from developing as a result of sticking with goals that you no longer feel passionate about, make a point of regularly revisiting and refining your professional vision and goals as time goes on.
It might even be a good idea to have regular periods scheduled throughout the year where you aim to do just this – quarterly “vision and goal reviews,” for example.
While it’s certainly important to have some tenacity, and to not just constantly abandon and reformulate your goals as the going gets tough, you need to make sure that the vision you have for your company is one that you actually believe in and find innately motivating, as opposed to just grinding through in the pursuit of a goal that has long since ceased to inspire you.
Set goals and targets that help to serve a higher purpose
In addition to setting yourself goals and targets that you find meaningful and motivating, and revising them regularly, it can be a very good idea to set yourself goals and targets that help to serve a higher purpose than just raw profit, or your own desire to buy a shiny sports car.
People are typically more motivated – and are more consistently motivated over time – by things that they feel serve a purpose beyond their own immediate self-interest.
If you can set your business goals that align with a charitable purpose, or that can genuinely help to improve the lives of your customers in a significant way, your motivation may be far more robust – as you will be working for yourself, your family and friends, and a greater good encompassing society at large, or even the whole world.
While the specifics of just what a “higher purpose” looks like in this sense will inevitably vary from business to business, industry to industry, and individual to individual, it’s important that you have motivating factors to keep you moving forward, other than ones that you can justify shaking off, on a personal level.
Regularly look for ways to adjust, innovate and push the envelope
Lack of motivation tends to go hand-in-hand with stagnation and a lack of innovation more generally – although it’s difficult to figure out which comes first in this particular “chicken and egg” scenario.
Regardless, if you find yourself seriously losing motivation for your business, making a renewed push to innovate and push the envelope, and really keep things interesting for yourself, can often go a long way in helping to alleviate feelings of boredom and stagnation.
Among other things, you could hold regular brainstorming meetings with your colleagues or employees – or just have weekly brainstorming sessions solo. You could also think of ways to introduce new elements to your business to make it more dynamic and competitive, and you could look for ways to actively reconfigure and reshape things that you are already doing, to make them more unique and streamlined.
Actively work on side projects alongside your main business
Although it may seem paradoxical, there is a good argument to be made that actively working on side projects alongside your main business can actually significantly contribute to your baseline levels of motivation and enthusiasm for your work in general, and for your business in particular.
One reason for this is that side projects can help to give you a bit of a mental break and “reset” from what’s going on with your main business venture, and this can help you to continually refresh your perspective on what it is you’re doing with your main business, so that it remains dynamic and novel.
For another thing, working on side projects can often yield insight and inspiration which you can then leverage and apply to your main business venture, and which can reinvigorate you in that manner.
Side projects also offer a way for you to explore different ideas, and keep things interesting by introducing a degree of novelty to your routine, which can then not only have a positive spillover effect with regards to your main business venture, but can also boost your enthusiasm and energy levels across the board.
Take steps to keep yourself energised and balanced in your everyday life
Keeping yourself motivated in your entrepreneurial life isn’t just a matter of fine tuning elements of your business plan, or looking for new directions to go in. It also has a lot to do with effectively managing to maintain balance in your day-to-day life as a whole.
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of drastically burning themselves out through constant grinding, inadequate rest, and the kind of disjointed personal dynamics that make it difficult to maintain a high level of productivity over time.
But taking steps to keep yourself energised and balanced in your everyday life – including maintaining a healthy diet, getting the right level of daily physical activity, and getting adequate sleep – you can help to give yourself the best possible chances of avoiding frustration, burnout, and a lack of motivation.
Maintain positive daily systems and habits that keep you on track
Motivation isn’t just a matter of bursts of inspiration that come to you from the blue – although those certainly play a part.
Keeping yourself consistently motivated in relation to your entrepreneurial business projects also has a lot to do with maintaining good daily systems and habits that can help to keep you on track, even on the days when you don’t feel like it.
The more you can consistently keep pushing things forward and can weather the momentary bouts of frustration that are bound to arise, the better the odds are that you will be able to maintain – and renew – your sense of motivation over the long term.
Of course, identifying the right daily systems and habits will require some fine tuning and trial and error – but if you are able to fall back on good and reliable daily systems, you’re off to a very good start.