Wondering how successful entrepreneurs learn how to stay grounded when the pressure’s on and stress is mounting? We got you covered, easily browse through powerful info-snippets taken from our entrepreneur interviews! Each one’s unique, but you’ll start seeing the common threads after just a few.
One quick note though, pay special attention to the way in which these people choose to view the bustle, obstacles, and distractions. It’s really eye-opening. Cheers!
Momentum. Every no is closer to the yes that will change your life. Every fall flat on your face failure is closer to the next breakthrough. Every bad day gets you closer to the good days that you can’t even believe are actually happening to you. The fast growth entrepreneurial start up journey is a roller coaster.
It has its’ high highs and its’ low lows. You will have helpless times when you don’t have any answers and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Reach out to other fast growth entrepreneurs during these times. We’ve all been there. Then, you’ll have the rush of growth so fast you’ll swear you are soaring like a jet.
To me, unquestionably, the single most important aspect or attitude habit that I have is perseverance. Whether you want to call it ego, competitiveness, drive, will to succeed. Maybe it’s a combination of all those things.
From my perspective, there are a lot of talented people out there that aren’t successful because they’re fucking lazy. There’s a lot of people who are pretty average, in terms of their competency or their ability to do things, but they work their ass off. They out hustle everybody.
No matter what happens to them, no matter how discouraged you get, no matter how high of a mountain it looks like you’ve got to climb, don’t ever give up. I don’t give a shit how bad it gets and you will succeed. Dust yourself off, stand up, and keep getting after it no matter what happens. That will get you where you want to go. That is unquestionably the single most important thing that’s helped me get to where I am.
There are times I wake up in the morning and feel a sense of trepidation about starting the day. In those cases, I go back to what my life coach taught me years ago – and that is to go right back to the core reason that I run my own business.
Everyone will have a different goal. For some it will be the money, for some, the lifestyle, for others it will be the chance to make a difference, or be near their kids during a work day, or to be able to mix work and travel, or to get the approval of family.
The point is that everyone who works for themselves has a driving reason for doing so, and when things get too hard, it is important to go back and revisit those core reasons – even to the extent of imagining where you were and what you were doing when you first made that decision and were filled with excitement and energy.
The other thing I do when I am feeling burned out, as I mentioned earlier, is to turn away from work completely and recharge via my music. I find great joy in picking up a guitar and learning a new piece. Some people don’t understand why when I am tired and brain drained from work problems, that I would exert more mental energy on learning a difficult piece to play, but for me, I find it invigorating to use a different part of my brain to create music rather than code. I find that I come back to work with renewed energy and creativity after an enforced music break.
I think it is important for everyone to have another passion outside of their work. Whether it is your kids, your pet, a hobby or reading a book. Putting down tools and engaging fully with another passion is a great tonic for finding your motivation again.
Often in life you hear, “You won’t be given more than you can handle”. No offense to the person that first uttered those “wise” words but we think that is a complete load of s*it!
In life, you will constantly be given more than you can handle and if you hold on, hold out, one more day, hour, minute – the good will come! We keep each other encouraged. In fact, recently, at a pitch competition that we were a shoe in to win, we didn’t. Ashlee was inconsolable, she is a millennial after all. It was Kerry’s turn to come up with some quick wit and rhetoric to keep the team spirits up.
While we didn’t win and get the instant gratification of the jumbo sized $2500 prize check; immediately following, we were approached by the organizer of the pitch competition who personally invested $10,000 in Mixtroz the following week.
Wait it out (by wait, we mean work your tail off) and you will eventually see the fruits of your labor in success OR a guide of how to pivot fast and keep pushing. And it always helps to work with your mother!
I’m lucky in that my recreation is tech-based (film making, gaming) but I never agreed with the strict delineation between work and play. Especially when the work is so technical – the brain needs a rest! So I intersperse my work and my recreation. While I’m waiting for a plugin update to deploy, I can be trying to increase my survival time in Battlefield 1 to more than a few seconds…
I don’t like the idea of work now, play later – by the time “later” comes (and I also look at this in terms of a working life and retirement), you’re too worn out to enjoy it, and your “work” mindset is too ingrained.
So right now, I’m blending work and play. I’m operating remotely, traveling with my laptop, staying at AirBnBs. I’m in France, and next month, I’ll be in London. I keep in touch by Skype and I work remotely. I enjoy my life as I live it, and this makes the work more fun and productive.
I’ve eliminated many distractions to allow me to focus on the two things that matter the most in this phase of my life – the company and my family. For example: even though I love basketball, I decided to eliminate it completely from my life to avoid injuries that can prevent me from being available for the company.
In the past, I used to “over-work” and spend time on things that didn’t matter. Nowadays, I know when my body needs time off, when I need to go to run and clear my head, and how to balance my commitments.
I want my family – my wife, my son, my relatives – to be proud and to see me succeed. I also don’t want students to go through what I did to get into business school. I want to provide them access to the tools that will help them achieve their educational dreams. It’s amazing that over quarter of a million students use our apps monthly.
As an entrepreneur, it’s common to feel overwhelmed; too many tasks, too little money, not enough time. While it’s important to plan for the future, it’s also important not to let the uncertainty of the future affect your daily productivity.
I learned from reading Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” a technique that leads to a frame of mind which enables me to maintain a positive attitude and minimizes the feelings of anxiety and apprehension.
In a nutshell, it’s about focusing on one day at a time and setting daily goals to focus my energies and expectations. This leads to regular affirmations of progress which stimulates confidence, creativity and productivity.
I made it a habit to practice my pitch. I knew what to say and how to say it. Being comfortable talking to people about what I did at Skai Blue is how I got my clients. It wasn’t social media or email blasts, but being face-to-face with people at events and conferences and knowing my brand inside out so I could market myself. It’s so important to know your brand story and be able to tell it effectively and compellingly. I don’t think that will ever stop being a valuable habit.
Actually, a lot of the habits and attitudes I had in those early days are still so important now. As an example, I have always maintained my authenticity. I never pretended to be anything but myself or that Skai Blue was something it wasn’t. Good businesses are built on a foundation of authenticity. That’s what people relate to. They see through the pretenses really quickly and once a person thinks you’re phony, they’re not going to work with you.
I think I was able to remain authentic because I never let myself doubt that my gifts would make room for me. I never had to compromise on my values or goals for clients because I trusted that what I was doing with Skai Blue was going to attract the clients I wanted.
Once I got those clients, I stayed consistent. As an entrepreneur, I learned really quickly that there’s no room for inconsistency—not in quality, not in customer relationships, and not in your delivery. Customers show up for what you offer. They build their expectations around that, and if they’re not getting it, there isn’t anything stopping them from going elsewhere. You’ve got to bring your A-game every single day.
I would first say, I think balance is an unattainable principle and one that feels like we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Sometimes family will take top priority, and then the pendulum swings and work will be demanding most of your time. And that’s perfectly OK. Don’t beat yourself up over not being perfectly balanced—Manage your mindset and realize guilt is unproductive.
I would reposition your belief in balance and try to simply focus on what is directly in front of you, and give that your full attention. Certainly be mindful when you need to be giving focus and attention to your work or family, but try not to allow your mind to wander to everything else that needs your attention. Simply give 100% to what you are currently working on in that moment.
I get easily distracted with work when I am with my kids, so I try to put my phone in another room during that time I have designated as “family time” to avoid the risk of temptation or getting easily distracted. Sometimes, when I am absentmindedly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram looking at pictures of other people’s children, I will literally think to myself, “Wait, I have real, adorable children who are physically HERE that I could and should be looking at instead of these other kids who aren’t even mine!”
I literally think this when I’m looking at Facebook when I should be with my kids. That certainly kicks me back into reality, and I instantly shut off my phone, put it in a drawer far away and go spend time with my beautiful family. Work will always be there when the kids are sleeping.
I am passionate about the work I choose, confident in my ability to make a real difference, and somehow have a never-ending drive to take calculated risks with my career to become the best I can be as an individual and leader. I’ve made many mistakes, but try my best to never make the same mistake more than once.
I literally came from the poor side of town but decided I could do better. I put myself through a 5 year university degree program becoming the first in our extended family to get any degree.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do and had zero exposure to business until I graduated, moved 2000 miles away, and began my professional career. A few short years later, I decided that I wanted to be a General Manager responsible for managing a multi-functional group and accountable for profit and lost. I was willing to relocate throughout Canada and USA to achieve that vision, which I did.
We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. Along the way, at each stage and at every critical decision point and before every relocation, I was able to seek the advice from my closest friends, who were some of the best business professionals and executives I have the honor to work with.
Every leader, every entrepreneur, every dedicated professional needs to find trusted advisors to help them in each stage of their life. We cannot be successful without the willing help from close colleagues and friends.
Habit(s): Listening to my inner compass paired with acting on my discomfort of “norms” hands down. Call me a multi-potentialite, a productive disruptor, a wanderer; I understand that life is what you make of it, so why spend life defined by someone else? Why not at least try to defy even your own odds and labels, and see if you can provide value and positively impact others the way in which you feel most alive?
My habits have helped me gain more of “me” in the process of figuring out who to create the most effective impact possible for as many people as possible given the skills I have, the value I add, and the # of hours in a day. They’ve helped me build empathy across the board as well.
This would not be possible without listening to my inner compass and acting upon my discomfort of norms. I’m a much better person because of my habits. My careers, teams, clients, and collaborators are better because of my habits.
There are 3 big things that have really helped me:
I routinely go for “creative walks.” I walk the same route every day, so nothing creative about that, but going outside for long walks tends to put me in my flow state. It’s the time when I’m most productive.
I meet with other entrepreneurs on a fairly regular basis. I’m fortunate to have such an extensive network of entrepreneurs – some very seasoned and others struggling to start their first business. Meeting with other entrepreneurs on a regular basis gives me an opportunity to learn from them, but moreover, just a chance to connect with people that deeply understand the peaks and valleys of starting a business.
I spend time with people that I care about. This sounds simple, but it’s very easy to get sucked into working all the time because there’s always SO MUCH to get done. I think I’m a lot more discerning about how I spend my time now, but I try to be very present and make the most of my time with friends and family.
My days start with taking care of me. I find when I don’t do this, I am scattered and my days don’t flow. I do morning meditation and then some kind of movement (yoga, hiking, elliptical, etc.). I also start my day with hot water, lemon and cayenne.
I then spend about 10 minutes clearing my head with journaling. Next is family time with my kids (on the weeks I have them). After I get my kids off to school I make myself a green juice and either get myself ready or go straight into my office. I work in blocks of time. So for example, Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Fridays are for creation in the 1st half of the day and usually admin type tasks and course work (I am always enrolled in something. Continuing to learn, grow and expand is critical) in the second half.
Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, I leave for working with clients and networking. I also break for lunch which usually is around 1:30 and read something I enjoy or talk with a friend while I am eating. When I am done with my work day, I do something that my mentor taught me called Goddess Hour. This helps me get out of the masculine energy of business and into my feminine natural energy state for my family and friends. It also helps me be a happier person because it is taking care of me.
Early evenings are often hectic with kid’s activities however, I absolutely love to cook. At least 4 nights a week, I will turn on some amazing music, dance around my kitchen and make a gourmet meal. I also reserve time to have fun and do things other than work that fuels me. On Friday’s, I do something special… After consistently keeping track of everything, I accomplish throughout the week, I do something for myself as a celebration.
Far too often, I have found that we only celebrate the “big” stuff and we don’t give ourselves enough credit for all the baby steps we take on a daily basis to make the progress we desire. This habit has changed everything for me. It keeps me motivated to continue moving forward in my business, helped quite the mean girl in my head and starts my weekends off with a bang. It also allows me to be creative by coming up with different ways to celebrate and makes me feel fulfilled which helps me be a better person.
Every time I have launched a new venture, I’ve put heart and soul into it. I live, eat and breathe the stuff. What’s nice about EcoPlum Business Gifts, is that everyone knows somebody who orders promotional products for their company, school, non-profit, or even a private event.
So when I’m out socially I’m also making contacts for my business. And people don’t seem to mind as they love the idea of reducing waste in this industry. Also, and I’m sure I am not the only entrepreneur who has said this, I LOVE what I do. My past experience has shown that this kind of passion translates into success.
Founders are often asked: “What keeps you up at night?” I’ve always found that question ridiculous; it suggests that the more anxiety, the more you care.
When I sleep, whether for five hours or eight, I’m usually like a rock, and uninterrupted deep sleep is key for endurance and clarity of intention and action. And when I’m really exhausted, I stop. Sloppy work almost always results in mistakes later.
The key motivator is and always has been our members. Katrina, Siren’s cofounder, and I always put our members first.
I used to study motivation and think a lot about it and how to get myself motivated, but now I don’t think about it at all. I just try to focus on what’s important to me and what my values are.
If there’s work to be done that aligns with my values, I do it. If there’s work I think I should do or could do that doesn’t align with my values, I don’t do it.
If you’re doing work you love and you’re doing it in the right way, with the right method and the right mindset, you will be rewarded with far more than just money. I find my work itself very rewarding, so I find that I don’t need external motivation to keep going.
When you wake up excited to get to work, what good is motivation?
Instead of trying to get motivated, try to find meaning in what you do. If you’re working on something that really matters to you, you don’t need external motivation. You’ll have found internal inspiration, which, in my experience, is infinitely more powerful.
I think we’ve gotten better at this over the years. In the beginning, the line was completely blurred—we were business partners, roommates, and friends. It felt like we were working around the clock, but we loved what we did and we were both single (we dated the business) so it worked!
Now life is a bit more balanced. We both live with significant others and the team is large enough that someone can always be ‘on duty’ while the other teammates disconnect from work and spend time with loved ones.
That said, our families know we’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into Stylisted and it’s a priority. I don’t think that will ever change and it’s important that your loved ones respect that. Which brings me to a bit of advice: Find a significant other who respects the hustle. You have enough on your shoulders and don’t need to feel guilty about working hard towards a dream.
I’m passionate about Artificial Intelligence and I strongly believe what Smart Moderation is doing.
In big companies, you become a part of an already established system. Every role in the company is already assigned and the company has a self-activated system. However, in startups, humans are the engine. If you stop, business stops.
You have to be up-to-date because you have to follow new business trends, keep up with current and potential customer needs. You know that technology is always improving, so you need to find new ways to adapt yourself to these improvements and redefine your contributions accordingly.
Also, we’re working in cooperation with social media tools, so we have to follow their updates and always keep adapting our technology. Naturally, I have always be alert. For me, adapting myself to change is the key daily task. I have to discover novelties in business and develop new strategies.
So, it’s not easy to stay focused and always alert but our ideas become my motivation. Because everyday that I work, I know that people and brands need it. In a way, the fact that we offer protection from profanity, abusive language and spam gives me a hope to create a safe Internet experience for everyone and that hope keeps me focused everyday.
Persistency. Consistency. That’s it! You need to be willing to put in the work, willing to make mistakes, willing to learn from those mistakes, and willing to try again, all without hesitation.
Think of this as working out. It takes the time to develop this and it only gets stronger each and every time you do. This is the attitude, mindset, a habit we have to drive us for success.
I don’t know how to quit. IT is human nature, and even I sometimes get down because something is not going the way I thought it would, but you pick yourself up and figure out another way. You Overcome.
Overcome is a simple word that says, “I will never let adversity defeat me.” Whether you go over it, under it, around it, or directly through it, you never stop until you get to the other side. Getting to the other side and not quitting is what drives me because, I know putting one foot in front of the other regardless of the adversity in my path will separate me from 95% of the population.
Quitting is easy. 95% of the world will quit when it gets too hard or uncomfortable. To keep going in the face of extreme storms is the key.
I tell myself I will have plenty of time to rest after I die and, therefore, I want to die exhausted! When times get tough I take it as a challenge that I almost enjoy tackling. Everything worthwhile is worth fighting for.
Its simple, I love what I do. I recently wrote an article “Managing a team of 25 at 25” in which I described how I went from a regular 9-5 job to managing a team of 25 at 25. I have a vision and I’m doing my best to execute my daily/weekly/monthly plans in order to make it a reality one day.
Also, I think that you need to focus on just 1 thing and do it right. I feel that if you focus on 4 different ideas, companies, you’ll just give 25% but in order to make something great, something that you are proud of, you’ll need your 105%.
Knowing I won’t eat if I don’t work for it is a major motivator! Also, I love my profession. It’s very important to me and I take every job personally. When I see each task as something I have to complete because I’m passionate about it, that helps me keep moving forward.
There are days I hit the snooze button (several times) but I try not to be too hard on myself. No one is perfect and you have to become okay with having bad days occasionally. I really feel it’s about how you bounce back from those bad days.
For me, it’s most important to know that bad days come and go. As long as you stay focused and appreciate the good days, forward movement will happen.
I set deadlines for myself. This project is due by this time, or that blog post is due by then… I schedule blocks of time to create what I need to do, and Fridays are the “clean up and catch up” days – I’ll create content in the morning and take care of anything else in the afternoon. Friday is sacred and only an emergency bumps it.
I also paint myself in a corner. I’ll set a date when something is going to roll out and start promoting it, before it’s finished. It helps me get my act together and get it ready.
When I find the motivation is missing, or my “muse” has left me – I change scenery. I have a corner of my office I call the “Flow Corner” – a recliner where I’ll sit and create. I often will get started and find four hours passes in the blink of an eye. I also created a spot in my backyard when the weather cooperates. And I have access to a co-working place in Fondren, Mississippi that also gives me a change of pace and often kickstarts my focus/motivation.
Problem solving keeps me motivated. Tough times are just new problems to be solved. I go through an exercise to assess the problem and look for existing models for solving the pieces.
I take those models, assess them and adapt them to my challenge. If you think the process of solving problems is fun than tough times are just opportunities to learn and get stronger.
I wasn’t handicapped by knowledge. I didn’t have to think “outside the box” because there was no box! Exit planning was a completely new concept. That allowed me to experiment, fail, revise the experiment, perhaps fail a bit less often, repeat. BEI’s management team still acts this way today: we continue to embrace a willingness to fail.
I have always, even from my early days of being a lawyer, sought to delegate pretty much everything work-related. As a result, BEI is a company led not by me, but by capable leaders and managers. Having worked with thousands of businesses over the years, I know that one of the primary obstacles to rapid growth is the owner’s refusal to change his or her role. Eventually that resistance acts as a drag on the company; it stagnates or even declines.
Set realistic expectations with your loved-ones about your free time, and share openly your goals and your plan to reach them. Sure, sometimes every waking moment must be spent on your business.
But when your people feel like they’re a part of the journey and understand what you’re working for, they’ll support you and respect your dedication rather than feeling resentful. That said, I believe that you have to make time for the people you love to nurture your spirit and keep you going! Be gracious and thankful for their patience.
For me personally, one of the biggest factors is the motivation to prove people wrong. I can’t count how many people have told me that what we were doing was a bad idea, and that it was too big of an industry to go up against. Every time I heard that, it only fired up my will to prove them wrong.
I don’t see that I have a choice. Hitting the snooze button is really not an option if I want to live the life I built for myself. Truthfully when times get tough, I would say it’s actually very invigorating. That’s when you get to see what you are made of and learn about yourself. It’s not such a bad thing actually when times get tough. We need those tough times sometimes.
There has been many nights where I didn’t sleep, just trying to move Shelby Company forward. Just as many times that I felt like I should just give up, and wonder why the fuck did I even start this company? Dark days come, but dark days also go.
My personality doesn’t accept giving up, I have always been competitive so when it gets rough and I hit rock bottom as CEO, I force myself to get back up and just make shit happen. You have to be able to do that to lead a company. You have to be thick skinned and maintain a steady hand. A lot of people don’t like that, but that is just how it is.
Waking up early and forcing myself to get more sleep. I hate sleep because I feel like every time I’m not working, someone else is and I’m falling behind. I realized though that by staying up all night, I was actually slowing myself down because I was totally groggy and cranky the next day.
Get some sleep!!
I take walks, go treat myself, read, and remind myself why I took this path. Sometimes that reminder is from a text I get from a friend or a passage I wrote down on my notebook. Sometimes, its the bad real life experiences that remind me of why I wanted to work hard to pave the way for others.
And sometimes, its just reminding myself what it’s like to be a consumer by going to events, learning, and meeting new people. These experiences enlighten me and remind me to look at things in new ways.
I also enjoy reading biographies of other successful leaders because reading about the struggles they had to go through to build their milestones show that moving mountains requires struggle, time, and patience.
There are definitely times of doubt – are you building something they will use? Will they pay for it? But then I just go back to my customer discovery and see how strong the pain points were and how Odeum will help.
I’m lucky because I am working in an area where my passions lie. It really helps when you are interested and passionate about what you are doing. Finding that pain point in the domain you care about.
Ever since I was thirteen, I’ve wanted to live abroad permanently. More recently, I’ve wanted to travel to so many different places, and I’ve began to do so, but this is always my #1 source of motivation.
I think also just the fact that I love what I do, and I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else in the future. Like, if I was to go back to a 9-5 job like I had before, I just think I’d never feel a true sense of fulfillment.
You can’t get much more motivation than that!
I begin each day praying and giving thanks for all I have in my life. Gratitude reminds me that I have much to be thankful for, no matter what challenges I might happen to be going through at any given time.
It also reminds me that obstacles can be overcome, just as they have been in the past. Prayer also reminds me that ultimately the full weight of whatever challenges I might have in front of me don’t weigh fully on me to overcome. My faith tells me that I’ve got someone in my corner a whole lot more capable than me to help me along my life’s journey.
Most days I wake up and go kayaking with my husband, who is a co-founder of CinchShare (yes, we’re a totally cute husband and wife team!) and then we get busy helping customers. At 5pm, we unplug from computers and phones to have dinner and play with our 4 children.
Once the kids are asleep, we typically continue working for another 3-4 hours before ending the day in our hot tub talking about our day. I love getting to work with my husband!
People. Specifically my husband who has known me since I was a teenager and has an amazing ability to understand human nature and make complex problems simple for me; my mother, who owned an Indie nightclub in Manchester and knew how to generate extraordinary loyalty and memorable experiences; my father, who had his own business and provides me with practical, non-conformist advice; the way my sister has helped her children to grow; and everyone at MESH and beyond. These daily encounters give me enormous strength and focus when things are tough.
I also like the saying, “In disease, find ease. In discomfort, find comfort. And when you do, you are at the growing edge.”
Lately, I have been jumping out of bed, drinking a cup of water, and pumping out an article for my Inc. Magazine column first thing in the morning. Then comes breakfast, meetings, and a coffee break of some sort. I make salad every morning so that when lunchtime comes I don’t feel obligated to dine out or skip a meal.
I generally work until at least 8:30 at night, then head home and continue working, working while cooking dinner and watching Netflix. So glamorous! We’ve grown a lush garden at the office, so I am debating, breaking out the laptop and catching some rays at work.
I’m naturally full of energy so I have that going for me. I also do my best to make sure that every day I’m doing something active, even if it’s just a 30-minute walk. Getting outside and breathing deeply offer so much perspective and allows your mind to process in a way that’s not available when you’re busy working on something. I also make sure to sleep at least 7 hours every night.
When I don’t sleep, it affects everything. My family comes first, and I make sure that everyone I’m working with knows that this is non-negotiable. That said, when I have work that must be finished, I let my family know in no uncertain terms that I am not available to them and they need to figure things out for themselves. My children are teenagers now so that makes it a bit easier. I have a very supportive family and for that I am deeply grateful.
My advice to anyone would be to ask for help from friends, neighbors or colleagues when you need it most. I have found that when you ask for help, there is someone who is willing to pitch in. At the same time, make sure you do your part to help a friend/family member when he/she needs it. What comes around, goes around….
Waking up early is an excellent habit to get into. If you look at the top CEOs – Tim Cook, Jack Dorsey, Richard Branson and more – they wake up early and get twice as much done while the rest of the world sleeps. Also, don’t check your email when you first get up. That’s a rabbit hole you don’t want to go down.
Instead, pick the most important thing you have to do, get it done, and then you can answer silly emails when you’re sleepy in the afternoon. Sometimes they’ll have even answered themselves by then.
Because both of us founders of Winnie are moms, the importance of family is built into our culture. We do not work all hours of the day. We really focus on getting our work done during working hours and then spending time with our families when we’re not working.
The same goes for our employees. Weekends are precious and we don’t fill them with work. For me, that means I’m always going to the playground with my daughter on the weekend or somewhere fun.
There are a few things that I find very important to having balance. First is to unplug every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. I try to use that as quiet time – no phone calls, texts, emails, even no television or radio. Getting rid of all the noise is beneficial emotionally, physically and intellectually.
I’m still working on the “no technology in the bedroom” rule which I think is a crucial one. I put on a sleep mask most nights to block out all the little technology lights and it actually makes me feel more ready for rest.
I tend to use struggle as a motivator, both personal struggle and the struggle of humanity. I know that if I were to not keep up with what I’m doing and push through the challenge, I would feel like crap because I wouldn’t be following the path that is here for me.
And, frankly, the challenges that I’ve already been through in life are so much more extreme than any temporary lack of motivation, so it’s all relative. I guess that’s part of the gift of having gone through everything that I have. No entrepreneurial challenge will ever compare to lying helplessly in a hospital bed for over seven months.
Any entrepreneur who tells you they’ve never thought about giving up is lying, or is a machine! I have felt defeated many times along my path and have thought about what throwing in the towel may look like. But then I quickly remember the victories I have experienced along the way.
Nothing is more satisfying in the business world than achieving and (sometimes) surpassing your goals, closing your first major deal, or seeing your product come to life. Nothing compares to the satisfaction and pride you and your team feel when you know you were responsible for something that can potentially change someone’s life. I reflect on those positive times when things get tough.
With running multiple businesses, the amount of things coming at me each day can put me into a reactive mode, a sort of autopilot. To combat this, I start my day with activities which stimulate creative and unstructured thinking: a 1-2 mile run with my dog, a long shower (prime thinking time), a breakfast with my wife, and I cap it off with a 15 minute planning session during which I outline 3 things I want to accomplish for the day.
One of my favorite aspects of entrepreneurship is that no two days look alike (and I would consider that an understatement). A lot of my time now is dedicated to our expansion and working on business development for future locations both nationally and internationally.
This includes many different speaking engagements, meetings, and building my global tribe. However, I still prioritize splitting my time between each of my three San Diego locations each week, making a point to connect and be there for both our members and the Hera Hub staff.
One thing I make a point to do each and every day is to connect with a new member, find out what they need, and see how I can support their continued success.
My day starts at 4:00 am each morning with a visit to the gym and then a nice brisk long walk with my rescue pups. By 6:00 am, I am at my desk returning emails, handling financial operations, researching new products, and updating our social media accounts and blog.
Other mornings, I am at the kitchen with my staff working to fulfill orders and coordinating local deliveries. My secret vice is to always have lunch scheduled with someone on my advisory board. These brainstorming lunches are productive and helps strengthen our relationship.
This also guarantees that I won’t skip lunch and the bonus is that I get the opportunity to meet smart and talented colleagues who bring fresh new ideas to the table.
I commit to doing some kind of exercise every day, whether it’s running, swimming, walking through the park or going to the gym. Working up a sweat is not only good for my physical health, but boosts my mental state and productivity throughout the day. My founding of AK Kerani is largely related to my own personal struggles with anxiety. I have to be careful about knowing my limits with others and making sure to invest in myself regularly.
Another important consistent element in my life is Twitter. Tweeting provides that same tactile release that knitting does and also has the benefit of being productive. I join Twitter chats regularly to network, read and contribute content, which has increased my knowledge about the world and the startup scene. The weekly Twitter chats are rooted in my schedule and break the day up nicely for me.
Each morning, I do my best to practice gratitude, writing down everything I’m thankful for. I aim to fill out a page of a large notebook. This allows me to get in a positive mindset. When I focus on what I do have, I don’t covet what others have. I put what’s important first, while working toward my vision.
Discipline. We are a remote team, but I still am at my desk by 8:30 every day. My husband says that I have a very tough boss.
Always be selling. I’m always talking to people in my network about our projects, our work and asking for referrals. I never get comfortable with the pipeline we have.
I’m pretty lucky my partner is a composer so we are able to spend at least some portion of our workday in close proximity. I get free music while I’m working on proposals and market strategy or sometimes he becomes a new product tester.
My advice to you is to schedule a regular date night with your significant other and give it the same focus you would a new client meeting. Undivided attention even if it’s for just an hour or two. Also minimize guilt trips, you want more from life and there’s no reason to feel bad when you aren’t as free as some would like you to be because you don’t have a standard 9-5.
When I get up in the morning, I begin my day by reading and checking email. If I’m conducting training or at an event, I review my content quickly so it is fresh in my mind. I always have my day planned out and have a list of things that I need to accomplish. So I’ll review those and mentally prepare of the day.
Then I’ll either write an article, be interviewed, conduct a webinar, film a sales training video, consult for a client or train a sales team for most of the day. Then in the evening, after my kids go to bed, I’ll spend another few hours writing, reading or preparing for an upcoming presentation. In all, I work around 70 hours a week.
My day in and day out is pretty hectic. In addition to my normal day job, I usually start my work day when most people are eating dinner, and so I am pretty used to working by candlelight.
I think the most important habit I have developed is being able to manage my time extremely efficiently, because I have such limited amounts of it I have developed the ability to delegate what I know I cannot handle.
I put my phone on do not disturb from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. That’s my time to be with my family and be fully present. I practice very strong boundary setting (notice I said: “practice” because I haven’t perfected this yet). I’ve also learned to fall in love with the word “No.” Anytime an opportunity is presented to me I meditate on it and if my response to the opportunity is a HELL YES! Then I’ll do it. If not, then it’s a no.
Gandhi said, “a ‘no’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please or worse to avoid trouble.” Because time is finite, if you say yes to something it’s often a no to something else. I’m fiercely protective of my time so I want to make sure the opportunity is well-worth spending my time on.
Balance is always a challenge and always has been for me. I have just recently realized that the lack of balance is taking a physical toll, so I started meditating and currently am committed to 30 minutes a day.
I try to walk my 10,000 steps at least 5 days a week, and I just enrolled in a Qigong class – we will see how that goes. As for family, they are supportive and we do spend quality time together when we’re together. We don’t have human children and my husband has his own interests so he is pretty self-sufficient.
CB (our canine son and ProfHire’s chief happiness officer) loves going to the office when he goes with me, and when he doesn’t he’s happy to see me come home. Mason, the feline son, well, he’s a cat, usually greets me at the door. I take that as his way of showing he missed me.
A very good friend and colleague always tells me, “the best time to make mistake is now” and “we can’t know until we try”. He calls it an adventure. One of my motivation was when He told me “I’m willing to go on this adventure with you”.
When I met my team, they all were interested. Then I realized that if I start this journey with them, a great portion of their future rests with me and for that reason, I cannot fail, we cannot fail. So even when I get scared or worried, I tell myself “I can make it work”.
Growing up, times were always tough so that isn’t anything new to me. In fact, that is one of the primary pressures that has motivated me my entire life. I never want to struggle like we used to. I have an existential angst that presses me forward knowing the hardships my family went through growing up.
Generally, my motivation comes from inside my head; to never be poor again, to achieve impossible things and to live a life of prosperity and happiness.
Most times the people that are closest to you may not understand your ideas or why you’ve even decided to ditch the traditional career route. But I’ve learnt (and still learning) to set priorities, balance my life, and just be happy with the wonderful relationships I’ve been blessed with.
Above all when it comes to relationships, I surround myself with people who support my calling and purpose in life. This has helped to fuel my vision and drive.
Having an overarching goal that motivates me is what keeps me going.
Right now that goal is to sell 1 million lifetime memberships. It keeps me motivated in a number of ways.
There’s the knowledge that we’ll impact at least 1 million people around the world by helping them discover ideas that can transform their businesses and lives. There’s also the knowledge that we’ll donate millions of dollars to good causes around the world which will have impact on the lives of millions more.
Finally, there’s the knowledge that if we succeed in this, we’ll have proven that it’s possible to take a good business idea, grow it mainly through an army of advocates, and by building social good directly into the business model. My hope is that we can inspire some of the next generation of entrepreneurs to do the exact same thing.
Currently, my husband and I divide our time between our homes in NJ and FL. Each offers cultural and recreational activities. I feel I have the best of both worlds.
But I was not always so balanced when I was intensely building my business. It is so easy to self-righteously tell children that you are busy with the business and cannot give them attention, particularly when you work at home. If I could do it over, I would have hired assistants sooner instead of trying to perform all functions myself.
I would have stopped work before dinner and not been lured back to my computer after dinner. When you have small children and people tell you they will be little for a short period, it is easy to ignore that advice. The advice is true.
Both of my sons have entrepreneurial streaks and appreciate what they learned from being the children of two entrepreneurs.
I currently don’t really balance it which is pretty bad. Most of the time, I enjoy being alone and I don’t really have any people that are close to me. If I have work to do, I will not stop working on that no matter what else is happening. I kind of tell myself “Listen man, if you work your ass off right now, you will have more time in life to do what you want to do.”
The other problem is that I would consider myself extra-motivated. For example, if I’m hanging out with my friends and I see a nice car pass I always ask myself “What are they doing that I’m not doing?”. Then the hustle turns on and I get right back on track.
So I wouldn’t recommend something like that, but I won’t give advice that I’m not taking.
I have amazingly successful entrepreneurial friends who give wonderful advice. When I hit a slump, they motivate me to press forward. I make an effort to meet with some of these friends twice a month in a mastermind group and plan my traveling schedule to see others in real life at least once a year.
We are firm believers in the #GiveFirst mantra that has spread across the ecosystem. Simply put, giving first to others in our community with no specific expectations of return. We’ve seen some amazing things happen from this – including Brad’s first meeting with David Cohen that led to creation of Techstars.
I believe one thing that has helped me is that I have always networked with other bloggers. I will help others out, reach out to them on social media, promote their websites, and more. However, many bloggers don’t do this because they see other blogs as competition. This is a very bad way to approach blogging as you can learn a lot by networking with other bloggers, plus, they can help you as well!
Another habit that has helped me is that I like to research things quite extensively, so whenever something website-related has come up, I always have to learn everything about it. This has helped me to manage and run my blog better because I like to be an expert at blogging.
While getting ready in the morning, I begin building mental models for how I expect my day to progress. Since the brain thrives on pattern-recognizing, mental models are a great way to set expectations for your mind. Some higher level thoughts include tasks I want to complete and goals I want to accomplish.
However, this model-making process is also very detailed, even down to specific conversations I expect will take place. I think through different iterations of expected conversations with vendors, clients, and employees, always trying to anticipate the direction of the conversation so I can be prepared with supporting dialog to achieve the planned goal.
This process helps me set expectations and patterns for the upcoming day, which helps me be extremely efficient with my time in the office.
I’m sure every entrepreneur says this but no day looks typical. I wish I had more consistent routines to be honest. But I’m generally up early and get in a few hours of work before I walk about a half mile to my office in downtown Manhattan.
From there, it’s a matter of keeping the team organized, pushing forward our latest and greatest and generally keeping all of the balls in the air. I try to go home at a sane hour, spend some time with my fiancé and then of course, get in a bit more work before I head to bed. If I’m lucky, everything on my burndown list gets done and I don’t cry.
And I mean that in a positive way as seriously I’m such a crier. I tear up at every big accomplishment or milestone we hit. I’m s0 proud of my team and what we get done in a given day and I like to own that part of me. Work hard and let the emotions flow.
Every day is a different day as a business owner but there are definitely some specific habits I maintain to make life easier. First, I always eat the same breakfast. For me it’s oatmeal with almond milk and peanut butter and a Bizzy Coffee protein smoothie. It seems trivial, but not having to think about what I’m going to eat first thing in the morning is one less decision I have to make during the day.
The other really important habit for me is exercising. Every year I sign up for some sort of physical challenge to give me a specific goal to train for. For me, working towards a specific goal with a deadline helps me get in the mindset of putting in the work every day.
Fortunately, now I have a little more stability. I typically wake up at 6:00 have a spiritual study for about 20 min. Then focus on the one single most important thing for the day (something I determined the previous day). Then around 8:30, I’ll check and knock out any important e-mails, and then just get going on the rest of my day focusing on the things that are the most important and being ready for whatever else that day might bring. I usually finish around 5:00, play with kids, have dinner with my family, and then spend time with my wife and get to bed around 10:00.
Oh and I try to work out or do some kind of physical activity at least 4 times a week whether that is just a quick 15 minute crossfit style workout, go for a jog, or surfing with my kids. Most workouts are about midday (when I need a break from work).
I am a pretty typical student getting up at 6:30 AM and attending classes until 3:00 PM. I am a representative for the Link Crew at school, so I usually have activities after school at least one or two days a week. I am also a gymnastic instructor one day a week.
After school or after my activities, I am pretty engaged in my business. I am in charge of my social media platforms and spend time with that every day. I also cook and experiment in the kitchen almost every day.
On the weekends, I also work on my business whether it is packaging my salad dressing at my commercial kitchen or doing research for my blog. I am fortunate school comes easy for me, as it allows me time to focus on my business.
I try to start off each morning with a routine so that no matter what I face that morning there is a ritualistic start to it. I have hot water with lemon each morning while I catch up on the news via outlets like CNN and TheSkimm.
I also love supporting other women-owned businesses, so reading TheSkimm each morning holds a special place in my heart! I also try to listen to a podcast on my walk to the office that way, I am not tempted to start reading my emails or calling my team. It might seem simple but these daily routines provide a fresh start, like a reset button, every day.
Every morning, I wake up thanking God for the opportunity to be an entrepreneur, and for the people in my life that helped me get where I am. I write for about 15 minutes and read my daily meditation.
Then, I list the goals I would like to accomplish that day. When I schedule time for all those activities, I accomplish much more. I try to balance my time between sales, product development, and all the administrative stuff that is required to run a business.
I also set aside time to brainstorm with other entrepreneurs. The mutual sharing of business challenges has been immensely valuable. Even though we are in different industries, we have similar problems that only entrepreneurs understand.
In business, times do get tough and knowing that up front gives me the mindset that it will be tough and to keep moving towards my goal. All business owners need to keep the prize in mind and to fight through the noise and obstacles that are in the way between us and our goals. Starting a business on paper is easy, making the business work and be successful is hard work and dedication.
Stay positive, join groups with other like-minded people who are also positive. Just realize you are not the first person that encountered tough times in starting a business and you will not be the last. The tough times only last for a little while, just work through them and they will end.
This can be challenging sometimes. If your friends work a 9 to 5 job and collect a regular paycheck, they may not understand the struggle and stress of someone who has to earn their living daily. They may not understand the long hours or meetings.
Owning your own business will show you who your true friends really are. Luckily for me, I have very few friends. They understand that sometimes you might not hear from me for weeks or a month but when you do it will be just like old times.
Family relationships can be tough. You want to spend as much time with your family as possible, but the business requires long and different hours all the time. You have to find a balance for both. My wife, Anne, has supported me through every venture. She is also not afraid to tell me when enough is enough. I am a dreamer. Anne is able to bring me back to reality.
I am plugged in. I joke that I speak all languages: twitter, linkedin, facebook, skype, facetime, google hangouts, etc. I schedule playtime for live music and occasional hikes with friends. I LOVE live music and luckily living in Las Vegas makes it easy to nourish my soul with amazing live performances.
I also schedule a lot of lunch meetings. For people I can’t connect with face-to-face… such as my mentee in Morocco or my mom or when I travel for speaking events, I use the phone or video hangouts. I also am lucky enough to have several friends as business collaborators.
For example, some of my best friends and collaborators will do lock-ins with me. We will go to a beautiful resort in the Bahamas or Palm Springs for a week and hunker down to jam out a project. In this way, we can focus on work and at the same time spend quality time together in a beautiful environment.
I read. Every day. I read about other successful entrepreneurs, I read about business information, I read about success, I read great stories, I read every day.
Successful people read! I’m always learning how to better myself, my company, my life. Reading is one of the most important things you can start today in order to be successful in whatever you do. Put it on your schedule every day to read.
I start working at about 9 and my days are busy and segmented. Mondays and Fridays are for follow up. Tuesdays are focused on team meetings and working on internal processes. Wednesdays and Thursdays are coaching days with my private clients as well as days I am interviewed on lots of radio shows, webinars, etc.
I usually work straight through till about 6pm then I work out with my personal trainer 2 to 3 times a week. I make dinner for my family and then watch sitcoms while I check emails :)
I’m always plugged in and getting pinged, so I have to shut down every once in a while. When I’m on vacation, at one of my kids sporting events, or spending family time. I’ll leave my phone somewhere where it’s not easy for me to hear or get to, this way I stay focused and in the moment with whom I’m with.
I usually come to the office about 7:30 and write for an hour or two before work gets busy. I then spend so much time on the telephone—with buyers, sellers, tenants, brokers and the like—that I wear a headset, looking like an old-fashioned receptionist.
I devote a fair bit of my time to a handful of non-profits and charities, and I try to work out—aerobics, weights, yoga—about 5 times a week. I leave for home about 6 and come to the office for half days on Saturday to write.
My day to day fluctuates a good amount and that’s how I intend for it to be. Primarily, I spend Mondays and Wednesdays working and Tuesdays and Thursdays focusing on class. Friday I try and spend mostly doing things for myself: reading, writing, being with people I love, exercising.
This is a habit that has helped me de-stress and be more productive throughout the course of the week when I’m working hard.
Monday through Friday, I’m all hands on deck in my business. I wake up in time to send my daughter off to junior high and head to the gym (most of the time!) and then back to my home office.
My days are filled with team meetings, podcast interviews for my show “The Brave Entrepreneur“, coaching private clients, meeting with prospective clients, speaking, traveling, and creating what’s next for the business. A habit that I was taught by my mindset coach is to create my day in the morning.
I write in my journal, in present tense, what I create and intend. This sets the stage for things to unfold. It’s really powerful.
No day is typical—with work, kids, the retail shop—it is pretty much run all day. I make a point to talk to as many employees as possible. Whether it’s something fun or asking about their families, I like them to know I’m around and interested in what they are doing.
We have one employee that hosts events for the neighborhood kids to get new school supplies in the Fall, or feeding the homeless for Thanksgiving—we try to help wherever we can and support the community to give back. That is the most important of all the things we do around here.
Brett is a problem solver—so every day is a new problem to solve. He also checks on all the lines and makes sure everything is running smoothly and jobs are getting out on time.
When you’re running your own business, it can be difficult to keep your head up at times. For me, I have adopted the mantra, “Something is better than nothing.” If I just do one thing every day to progress towards my goals, then I know I’m on the right track.
And, those little steps definitely add up to great things over time! As far as habits go, my days are pretty routine, I like to know what I’m doing each day and when. I also write my goals daily and keep a prioritized to-do list.
Working at a fast growing startup every day is different! That’s what I love about it. You are constantly shifting gears and attacking new projects and challenges.
For me, I try to workout everyday before I head into the office. My morning workouts help me focus and be more productive at work. After a morning workout, I am energized and ready to attack the day.
It wouldn’t be any one thing in particular. Today I’m in a place where I am surrounded by incredibly inspirational, supportive and honest people. That is a truly powerful force when things are down.
Another crucial pillar would be the habit I’ve gotten into of reading books on philosophy and spirituality. For the most part, I’ve tried to develop a long-term perspective in all areas in my life. So when I wake up late to frantic e-mails on a rainy day, I can look at myself in the mirror and know that this is a challenge that will serve a bigger purpose and a few years from now I’ll never look back and cherish that memory of staying in bed that morning.
Knowing that feelings and emotions are like cars passing on a highway while you are watching them, nothing lasts forever. Startup life is like a roller-coaster that defies gravity.
There are so many intense ups and downs. In the end, you persevere because you deeply care about the problem you are solving and hopefully you surrounded yourself by incredible people that you love.
Many times it was the naysayers; the people who thought I would never be able to make a business out of this; the determination to prove them wrong. Also my husband was so supportive and believed I would be successful even when I didn’t believe in myself.
We live in a great country, and we’ve been given a unique opportunity to test ourselves as entrepreneurs. When the World War II generation came home from war, millions went on to run or own their own businesses. Their leadership both in uniform and in their civilian careers makes us remember them today as the “Greatest Generation.”
My generation of Veterans and our civilian counterparts are walking in their footsteps, and I’m motivated every day at StreetShares to make sure the funding is available for the new great generation of entrepreneurs and business owners. StreetShares gives small business owners an alternative to high-priced online lenders. My team and I feel good about what we accomplish each day.
I still don’t want to go and have to work for someone else! I think for any true entrepreneur, once you’ve had the freedom of being self-employed it is very hard to go back. So even if what you are working on doesn’t pan out, you’ve got three or four more ideas lined up to work on.
And if you are on the fence as to whether something is going to work or not, the idea of having it not work and having to go look for a job is usually enough to get you to put in the extra effort to make sure it does pan out.
When times get tough and I feel like quitting, I think about the story behind Jibbr – my grandmother and aunt. I think about all of the seniors who do not have relationships with their family members, and I think about the impact that a company like Jibbr can have on all of these people. I think about what will happen to these lonely seniors if I stop. It takes a certain amount of tenacity and resilience to stay the course.
In business, you get back what you put in. I truly believe in Jim Rohn’s quote, “If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you.”
Knowing that I am helping people and making a change is what keeps me going. My Mum suffers with diabetes so I know first-hand how detrimental this can be, and I find it rewarding knowing that we are making a huge impact on families’ lives. I have a set goal in my head and I remind myself of this daily so I do not lose track of my mission and stay motivated.
My advice would be to plan your day, methodically, the night before. I always know that my calendar is filled and my ideas are out of my head and put into Evernote so I can refer back to them at a moment’s notice. This helps me clear my mind and focus.
Also, set aside one day where you can actually not do ANY work – completely shut off and go enjoy life with your family in some unplugged location. Treat this like your weekly therapy, because it really is that important. Being an entrepreneur is hard and your mind, body, and soul need some time to recharge and get re-balanced.
Staying focused is very difficult for me in the sense that I’m always strategizing in my head and thinking. I had to really hone in on the task at hand and stick with it. The motivators for me are accomplishments and winning. I love accomplishing goals and there is no better feeling to me than that.
Honestly, what it comes down to is an obsession with solving the problem. If I could spend my life meeting every citizen in the country so that I could improve the way they interact with their local police department, I would. The closest thing that I can do personally, is to build and sell technology that can do that at scale, and that’s what we’re doing.
There are definitely days when I think “What am I doing? How can I go on?” And then I’ll get a phone call or email from someone who came to an event who tells me that they made a terrific connection, found someone interested in investing in their company, or in one case actually hired someone they met. Those are the moments that make it all worth it.
I share on the importance of having good ‘habitudes’. Basically when I started out, I developed a habit of always having a good attitude and then I had a good attitude about developing good and self-serving habits.
One thing I learned from my club promotion years was to get to be known for always under promising and over delivering whatever you do. Do more that what was initially asked for as a staple of BRAND.
Running a startup is hard. When hiring new candidates, we find that people often glorify the startup life. From afar it often sounds cool, and exciting; and don’t get me wrong, it is. But it’s a lot of work, too.
My team and I stay focused on growing the business because we know people are counting on us. We see our members coming in every day, and we need to continue adapting to their needs and their feedback. Cove’s team and community is what keeps me motivated and working hard every day.
My motivation and desire to be the best, control my own destiny, create something cool and impactful in the world, etc. My faith also keeps me going.
I love my work, its my passion and its my craft I’m mastering every day. I’m living my dream every single day. I’m still working on being more available for loved ones, but I realize life is short, so I do make time with them.
Balance is so important. Working out, eating well, and spending time with your loved ones/ friends makes life enjoyable. I recommend scheduling everything you want to do because if it doesn’t get into the schedule, it doesn’t get done. Both my husband and I have very hectic schedules, so we make sure to pencil in time to hang out and relax together. It works!
I think our motivations have changed in a few different ways. Logistically, as we approach our podcast we now don’t always “co-host” the podcast but instead Pete and I will commonly interview our guests individually. In addition, our questions for our guests are always changing!
This can be to simply keep things fresh or more often than not to scratch our own itches about questions we have in the education space our guest is involved with! Especially as we move into Season 4 of The Edupreneur, we are staying mindful to make sure that we cover a lot of different ground in every episode which I think is something that we were missing in the beginning.
I am a creative, committed and compassionate person. I have used the Best Year Yet strategic planning system for myself for over 15 years. The results of my own personal and professional success have attracted ideal clients who want to take their own lives and businesses to the next level.
Wow, if you made it all the way to the conclusion you’ve just learned a TON about using your mind and resources to not only perceive the bustle, but use it and channel it into an indispensable asset.
If you’re hungry for more, use the link below to dig a bit deeper into all 200+ of our entrepreneur interviews. Think of them like your digital mentors sharing what works and what to avoid. Enjoy!