Being an entrepreneur is hard, especially when it comes to maintaining your motivation. There is so much uncertainty when you are carving a new path. Your idea is unique. You’re the only one who really understands your vision. Yet every day you have to make decisions to move forward and that’s hard to do when you have no reference for what to do next. Questions swirl:
- What the heck am I even doing?
- Why am I working this hard? My friends get weekends and I don’t. What’s up with that?
- Could I make more money if I’d just stuck to a traditional career?
- Why is this taking so LONG? I thought I’d have this sorted out within the year… it’s been five.
- Is this actually going to work or am I just a puffed-up wannabe?
First, take a breath: big breath in, and release. You’ve got this. I believe in you. I know you have the courage to believe in yourself too. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have started this venture in the first place.
So keep going. Keep going and going. No matter how many times you get knocked down.
Now I don’t think it’s enough to just say that. I also want you to have practical tools you can use to get yourself back up again. When the going gets tough, try some of these.
Reconnect with your purpose
This will help silence the “what the heck am I even doing?” train of thought.
You have come to this point in your life as a result of the choices, big and small, that you made because of your personal beliefs, values, background and experiences. Understanding what drives and motivates you is key to unlocking your full potential. It’s your capital “P” purpose.
Chances are if you are asking “why am I doing this?” you have lost sight of your purpose.
Find a quiet, comfortable space with no distractions where you can focus. Write down words that best describe who you are.
What do you need more of to support your authentic self? With this understanding in mind, think about what you could build into your company to keep you motivated and inspired. Align who you are with what you do.
Prioritize strategic work
Now, what about this internal dialogue, “Why is this taking so long?”
Chances are, like many entrepreneurs, you are caught up in tactical work most days. This causes a lack of motivation for any entrepreneur!
If you can dedicate 5 hours of strategic work to your business, you will see your business grow faster.
By focusing on strategic work, you figure out how to do tactical jobs more effectively. Which will free up your time to focus on important tasks or take time off. If you have a team, you’ll realize what jobs you can delegate to them.
Be patient and kind
Remember that some of the hurdles you will have to overcome have nothing to do with your business. There could be the loss of a loved one, an extra challenging week with your kids, or an unforeseen disaster (pandemic, anyone?). When these things happen, I ask that you be patient and kind to yourself.
- You aren’t a bad person if you take a little time off to heal.
- You are still dedicated to your business if you can only give 40% this week.
- You are still building your dream if you take a Saturday afternoon to drink an extra cup of coffee when you could be using that time to be “doing something”.
You’re an entrepreneur AND you are a human being with a full, vibrant life. Your business is just one part of it. So if it takes a little longer than expected to reach your dreams, that’s okay because you need that time to live your life!
Track your money and make informed decisions
Let’s address this question, “Could I be making more money if I just stuck to a traditional career?”
Maybe. Although I think by adjusting a few systems, you may realize that you a) have more money than you realize and b) have more avenues to make money than you thought.
A) Chances are the money is there. It’s just being spent on other things that, at the time, feel more important. Where are the leaks in your finances? Are you paying for any subscriptions you don’t use? Have you tried to renegotiate with your suppliers recently? There are lots of subtle ways to cut expenses.
B) Want to make more money? Have you tried any of these strategies
- Have you reviewed your products? Which ones have the highest profit margin? Could you add new marketing strategies to sell more of those? Or could you produce your best-selling products at a lower cost while keeping the quality?
- Have your raised your prices?
- Tried bundling products?
- Shift your focus to existing or recurring customers you are currently too busy to pay attention to.
Seeing an increase in your earnings as an entrepreneur is great for motivation. It could be the extra boost you need to get back up again and go for it!
Invest in your skills.
“Is this actually going to work or am I just a puffed-up wannabe?”
I think there is potential for every business to thrive. You have the drive. Do you have the skills?
You may be the only one with your particular vision, but there are many other people who have built and run successful businesses. That’s because no matter what type of business you have there are essential building blocks behind every company.
By investing in your skills, you reduce the stress of your workload. Systems that seem challenging like bookkeeping, management, and hiring have proven processes that can be replicated in any business. You don’t have to figure out everything on your own!
By investing in yourself, you cultivate confidence in your abilities and increase your motivation as an entrepreneur.
Plus when you take a course or work with a coach, you have other people there who are also saying you can do it. Sometimes outside validation goes a long way.
Whether you work with SBC or not, I hope you choose to invest in yourself to make the load lighter.
Practice appreciative inquiry.
“Why am I working this hard?” you ask yourself.
Often this question comes up because we are putting in a ton of effort and not seeing the results we wanted. These thoughts can create an implosive disaster in our brains and blow our positive outlook to smithereens.
What if there was a tool to help you focus on the positive and the process?
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is that tool. Appreciative inquiry can be described as an affirmative approach to solving problems and generating positive change. AI is based on the premise that you can’t solve problems by looking at the problem. Instead, you look only at what is good about what you already have and what is possible to create in the future.
It takes the focus away from results and redirects your focus to the process. It’s all a cycle.
Our brain cannot be both negative and positive at the same time, so choose positive and the answers will come. Don’t waste valuable time and energy looking backwards, look forward to new possibilities.
Ignite your motivation as an entrepreneur
It’s true, you will get knocked down again and again. You will doubt yourself. You will struggle with certain aspects of your business. And that’s okay. Because you will also move forward, have breakthroughs, and feel fulfilled. It’s worth it to get up every time. You can do it!
Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!
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