Maintaining your motivation, inspiration, and to be honest, your sanity, are among the hardest parts of starting a new business. Once the grind sets in, day-to-day challenges will become the new norm, but for now sustainable inspiration might seem unattainable.
In this 3-step guide we’ll provide some helpful tips for getting through this exciting, scary and unpredictable period of your life! By the time you’re through with this quick read, you’ll be better-armed with some tried and true strategies for staying motivated and inspired, even when you’re in the thick of it. Enjoy!
Step 1: Start for the Right Reasons
“So, what motivates you?” As an entrepreneur you’ll be asked this question time and time again. Your motivation is the foundation of your entrepreneurial journey.
If your motivation is cashing in on the end rewards, void of any inspiration or commitment to what will lead to the riches, the foundation of your venture will be structurally unsound. Shifting markets and tough economic times will cause your business to crumble under the weight of external problems.
If, on the other hand, you’re motivated by a principled commitment to your trade and a willingness to undertake a demanding journey, you’ll have a strong foundation. You’ll be able to better withstand the hardship and the turbulence of today’s brutal marketplace. You’ll accept the cost of success and embrace the risk, which will drive you beyond failure and rejection.
Harnessing the Right Enthusiasm
Commitment and enthusiasm must come along as counterparts to your motivation. Commitment will manifest as a perpetual drive regardless of the trials and tribulations you face, and enthusiasm as continued passion for your work. Together, motivation, commitment and enthusiasm create a state of mind that will say:
“I welcome the struggle so that I may become stronger and more capable of enduring the difficult times that lay ahead. I trust that a wave of forward motion will propel my business toward success. I will share the joy of accomplishment with everyone who contributes to my cause.”
It helps if you try to focus on the main benefit of entrepreneurship – the personal satisfaction that comes from doing what you love. Try to recognize the journey, however turbulent it may be, as its own reward. Embrace the paradox of entrepreneurial success!
To illustrate the importance of motivation, commitment and enthusiasm to entrepreneurial success, take the businesses that collapsed after the early-2000s DotCom boom for example. All of them had the same goal: to get to the IPO so that founders and initial investors could cash out. Billions of dollars were wasted on frivolous spending, mismanagement of resources, and poorly developed business models— all because the foundational principles were weak.
This is common for 2nd generation businesses, too. 70% of them fail, and if by miracle they survive, only 10% are successful in their 3rd generation. Why? Because the original founders are gone, and so are their foundational principles. If you’re only working for an end-reward, your business is doomed from the start. Without motivation, commitment and enthusiasm, your business’ foundation will be too week to endure these turbulent economic times and a quickly changing marketplace.
Step 2: Seek Out Sources of Inspiration
Inspiration can be difficult to come by when you’re starting a new business, especially when you’re in the thick of it. If you’re struggling to believe in what you’re doing, or your creative side is feeling stifled, here are some great sources of inspiration!
Hearing about the trials and tribulations other people have faced on their road to success can be a great source of inspiration for new entrepreneurs. Just knowing that someone else has gone through what you’re going through at this moment in time—taken the same risks and seen the same setbacks—and seen success on the other side can make it much easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Look at what other folks have gone through and what’s been possible for them. This will also help you be WAY easier on yourself when things aren’t going as expected. Why shouldn’t you get to have an inspiring success story, too?
The best entrepreneurs in the world are driven by passion. If you feel like this is an area where you’re lacking, think about what your personal, non-business passions and consider using them to fuel your new business. Art, sports, fashion, writing—you name it. How can you introduce passion into your new business? Any passion you have can easily be turned into a business opportunity!
Whether you’re seeking inspiration for your business, your physical health, or everyday life, there are tons of inspirational videos on YouTube you can use to add fuel to your fire. These can be mini-documentaries, compilations of powerful speeches, or even a famous entrepreneur in front of their webcam offering some stellar advice. Whatever their form, as long as they get you amped up and ready to change the world, you’re on the right path.
Your own past experiences can be a huge source of inspiration in themselves, as long as you look at them the right way. What have you learned, or how can you learn, from your past successes and failures? What do you feel inspired to do better, or more often? The ability to learn from your own experiences is a powerful (and necessary) skill for entrepreneurs.
Motivational speakers can help you change your perspective and get a fresh outlook on certain aspects of your life. This is crucial for entrepreneurial inspiration! A fresh perspective has the potential to unlock new ideas and sources of creativity you never knew existed.
Exposing yourself to new places, people, and lifestyles is an incredible way to get inspired. If you’re talking to the same people in the same places every single day, it’s easy to start feeling stuck and void of inspiration. Simply going somewhere you wouldn’t normally go can you help refresh your perspective!
Everyone has the potential for great ideas. Pay attention to the people around you. Seek out conversation with colleagues when you’re stuck in your own head. You never know when someone’s going to say something that’ll blow your creative blockage to smithereens!
Step 3: Take Small Opportunities
Many people think an ‘opportunity’ has to be a huge, in-your-face, life-changing thing. But the truth is, you’re faced with thousands of opportunities every day—you just won’t see them if you’re too busy looking for game changers.
Most opportunities start out small but have the potential to snowball into something bigger—no single one is going to change your life. Here are some ways you can start taking advantage of more small opportunities!
Adding Strangers on Social Media
We realize this sounds kind of stalker-ish, but hear us out. If you strategically add like-minded individuals on your social networks, it’s possible that you’ll make an amazing connection or encounter some incredible content you wouldn’t have otherwise. There’s no guarantee anything will come of this, but you never know when or where your snowball-opportunities may arise!
According to Pew Research, the average Facebook-user has 338 friends. But what percentage of those people do they actually talk to? Maybe 10%?
By talk, we mean actually having a proper conversation—not just commenting on one of their updates. If you make an effort to stay in touch with more of the people you’re connected to, you might find that your goals sync up with more folks than you knew.
Simply initiating conversations with people you’re already connected to can present tons of opportunities. The only thing is, you can’t just wait for someone to contact you. You have to initiate.
If people aren’t as receptive as you hoped, that’s okay. Don’t take it personally and give up on reaching out to people altogether!
Reading online articles is one of the most efficient ways to stay up-to-date on opportunities in your field. Articles and blog posts provide helpful, easily digestible knowledge in only 500 to 5000 words. That’s why blogs are so popular—they’re able to distill information a way that works with our busy day-to-day lives.
You can learn so much without having to try things for yourself just by seeking out blogs and other online resources. Just remember not to blind yourself to the small opportunities! The more you take, the more likely you’ll be presented with larger ones down the line.
Meet The Authors
Meet The Authors: This 3-step guide for staying motivated and inspired while starting a business was a collaboration between Dan Western (founder of Wealthy Gorilla) and Tom Panaggio (author of The Risk Advantage: Embracing the Entrepreneur's Unexpected Edge).