How do you motivate yourself as an entrepreneur?
I spent most of my career in the corporate world going into an office with fixed hours. I am finding it challenging motivating myself without that structure. What are some ways others have created structure and found motivation as an entrepreneur?
I live in Glendale, CA which is part of the massive sea of people that is L.A. so perhaps it's easier for me, but I do come across others here with the same issue. One way they deal with this is to seek out entrepreneur groups of which there are many on meetup.com. If there isn't one in your area, start one!
The best of these meet as often as weekly, and have guest speakers who provide valuable content for entrepreneurs. A great example of this is Innovate Pasadena, which gets 70-80 or so attendees every Friday morning.
However, what you experience is also a symptom of having chosen a business that isn't aligned with your purpose, which is the unique role you can play that makes a meaningful difference in the world and which supports you while doing so.
Most people start businesses because they believe they can make money in that business, but there's no real passion driving that decision. When your business model is based on making meaningful positive change (and what's meaningful to you is the key), the passion that accompanies that purpose will drive you through any obstacle and to reach out to find those others who complement your offering and who are excited about what you're doing.
Once again, the solution is community, either finding and/or creating it.
It helps to keep a calendar and stick to a schedule giving yourself breaks throughout the day that are also limited.
At the beginning of the day, look at your list of what needs to be worked on so you have that focus and goal. At the end of the day, review and celebrate what you accomplished. If you felt disappointed, then look at what distracted you. If you can remove it from your immediate area, then it is important to do that. Unfortunately, my distraction is email. I can get very distracted by massive emails. I try to remove myself from lists and use rules to filter emails. But, ultimately, I simply have to delete without reviewing much of what I get and I have to time myself or half the day is gone.
If it is a task that needs done before you can feel focused, then do it so you can get back to working.
Another suggestion is to have an accountability partner - another business owner/ solopreneur that you share a list of what you want to accomplish at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week, share your progress.
Have a ritual to get you in the mood to work. Maybe it is playing a type of music that gets you ready to work or makes it more enjoyable while you are.
If you have kids, that adds another level of complexity. It can be done. But it's important to have a sitter during important meetings/phone calls if they are young enough that they will disturb your meeting.
Keep in mind your long-term goals. You will get there.
Do everything you did as an employee, except your doing it now for your OWN company(which is much better and that in itself is a HUGE motivator!).
Set your working hours AND adhere to them. For example, 8am (at your computer) 12pm (1 hour break for lunch) 5pm ( log off and shut your office door). Now the 5pm will often last longer as you continue to grow your business and you will be working more around the clock. But this example is to help you set the structure that you need and should keep when as you transition, but we as entrepreneurs tend to work longer, especially in the beginning.
2. Set your company goals for the week in writing and check them off as you go. Then add them to your monthly goals and so on. For example ( by the end of this week I will have my company email set up, my business phone line set up, new cards ordered , the marketing portion of my business plan will be completed, twitter or Facebook set up, and or contact a Web developer/Social Media expert etc..
The goal is not to short your business, I am sure you did not short your employer or your boss. If you were a model employee there...then become a model employee (for your own) business!
Entrepreneur's often forget that they ARE an employee as well!
Best of luck and feel free to contact us for more ideas.
Ask yourself this first
1. Who are you, truly
What is your Divine design on this world
This is a deep self reflection exercise
It will take time but if you examine yourself with brutal honesty. Then the answer is the most obvious one you ignored
2 . how important is being an entrepreneur to you
To be on your own, to walk a lonely path at times
3.How important is the illusion of stability in life is too you
When you just answer these free questions, the motivation will fuel you when you know clearer of your design and your sense of direction to where you want to go in life
Thoughts are powerful, and negative thoughts can prevent you from achieving your goals. The flip side is that positive thoughts can be just as powerful. The next time you feel unmotivated, use any of these 50 positive thoughts to reenergize yourself. Really: They work!
1. I can do anything. It’s a simple phrase, but it helps to remind yourself -- you really can do anything you set your mind to.
2. This is why I can. Instead of giving yourself reasons why you can’t do something, give yourself reasons why you can.
3. I deserve more. You deserve a better life -- whether that means a better job, a healthier body or more money. Work for it.
4. It’s never too late. No matter how old you are or how many opportunities you’ve passed up before, it’s never too late to make a decision and get a fresh start.
5. There will always be challenges. No matter what you do in life, there will always be challenges -- don’t let one set get the better of you.
6. There’s no "perfect" time. If you’re waiting for the perfect moment, forget about it -- there’s no such thing.
7. There’s no perfect plan. There are some definite flaws in your plan -- but there are in every plan.
8. Everybody starts somewhere. Nobody is born successful. Everyone starts somewhere, and usually from the bottom.
9. One step at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Reduce it to baby steps.
10. It can only get better. If it’s hard at first, it can only get easier.
11. Failure is temporary. If you fail, you’re in good company -- most successes come only after several rounds of failure.
12. Mistakes are learning opportunities. If you mess up, you can only become better for it.
13. Today is all I can control. Forget about what you did yesterday. Today is what matters.
14. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Nothing worth doing is easy.
15. “Someday” is today. If you’re like most people, you use the word “someday” to describe your goals and desires. Make today that someday.
16. Negative thoughts can’t stop me. Your negative thoughts are just thoughts -- nothing more.
17. I’ve done harder things. Think back to a time when you succeeded against the odds.
18. Everything has to be earned. You can’t get anything in this life unless you work hard for it.
19. Action is a better regret than inaction. Making the wrong decision is always preferable to regretting never having done anything at all.
20. I don’t need anyone’s permission. If people think you’re crazy, so be it.
21. I’m in control of my own destiny. You can decide whom you want to become.
22. There is no pass or fail. Nobody is grading you. You can’t objectively “fail” at life unless you never try anything.
23. Boring decisions get boring results. Make an exciting decision.
24. The risk is worth it. Know that risks are real, but the potential benefits are worth them.
Related: The 10 Biggest Motivation Killers and How to Fix Them
25. Discipline feels better than regret. Discipline is hard, but it’s easier to deal with than regret.
26. Many good ideas seem crazy or impossible at first. Yours is no different.
27. I’ve got support. Friends, family, colleagues -- even if they think you’re crazy, you can always find support in networking groups, support groups and other community resources.
28. Experience is always valuable. Even if your mission doesn’t turn out the way you'd expected, you’ll walk away with experience.
29. Hard work is its own reward. You’ll feel good just for making the attempt.
30. Every day counts. Today, tomorrow and the next day are all steps toward your end goal.
31. What I see matters more than what others see. Forget about what others think -- prioritize what you think.
32. There is no problem that can’t be overcome. Everything can be solved or worked around.
33. Ordinary actions make an ordinary life. Nobody wants to be ordinary. Don’t let yourself be.
34. Everything can be improved. Even if you start out rough, you can always make improvements to your approach.
35. I can learn whatever I need to know. Free resources are plentiful.
36. I can master whatever I need to do. Practice can make you good at anything.
37. Willpower is all in my head. You can have all the willpower you want -- you just have to want it.
38. I know what I want. Know what your end goals are, and visualize them.
39. Feelings are the product of thoughts. If you’re scared or unsure, know that these are feelings generated by your thoughts; then you can control them.
40. Trying and failing is better than doing nothing. This is universally true.
41. I am whomever I want to be. There’s nothing stopping you from being whom you want to be.
42. I can’t win unless I try. Effort is the only way to get results.
43. My life is a product of my decisions. Make the ones that matter.
44. I’m better than I was yesterday. You’re older, wiser and more experienced than you’ve ever been before.
45. Nothing great happens overnight. Work and patience are your friends.
46. Once I get started, it will be easier. You’ll feel more motivated once you get rolling.
47. I’ll reward myself when I’m done. Even small rewards can be great motivators.
48. I’m doing this for more than just me. Maybe it’s for your family or community -- whatever "it" is, external motivation can be powerful.
49. There are always more chances. If you screw up, you can always try again.
50. If nothing else, this will make for a good story. You’ll walk away with great memories and interesting anecdotes.
Visualise what your goal is and where you will be when you achieve the same. That should be your biggest motivation. The real motivation is from within. And the feeling of achieving your goals should work as the motivation.
And if you miss your corporate job setup, ask yourself again and remind yourself, what it is and what it is that made you take the plunge? With limited funds, it may not be practical to have that structure and setup in place when you start. But you can start step by step. Make a list and prioritize what you need to get done that will directly impact the results.
You answered your own question. Structure is easy to design but habits come from practice but don't let your structure allow procrastination to avoid the hard stuff. Figure out for every day what you must do, should do and could do for success. Put the must do's on your calendar with a time and do them. Get away from internet browsing and email distractions until a prescribed, small window, that you honor. No matter how hard people try and create habits they ultimately do what they want...you need to be sure what you really want to do, maybe you need a job, maybe you just need a plan. Other people's tricks and suggestions may work but only if it is what you honestly want, do you know what that is?
I have a few thoughts and a challenge. First, you can easily create the same structure you had in the corporate world by working the same fixed hours, if that's what suits you and your business. A home office or dedicated works space may get you in your groove and allow you to get more done. Second, start your work day with something you enjoy doing - that enjoyment can drive you through the more menial tasks that must be done. You can repeat this throughout the day, as well, if you get stuck. Thirdly, organize your work in such a way that you have firm deadlines, even if they're not needed. A deadline is often the driving force that helps us to accomplish more. And finally, my challenge. Have you considered that maybe being an entrepreneur is not what's best for you? Every entrepreneur I have ever known has been self-motivated and had an intrinsic drive that pushed them forward. Being your own boss sounds great and wonderful, but in reality it's not for everyone. For starters, it often takes a lot more work than a normal office job, as you are wearing several hats that used to be taken care of for you. I suggest taking a hard look in the mirror and seeing if the entrepreneur life is really what's best for you. There would be little worse than spitting and sputtering as an entrepreneur to the point where your business fails and you've been away from the workforce too long to go back.
As a design build team, our work has changed and evolved over the years. Working at different sites and locations has kept the work exciting and fresh. For the last 11 years, my company focus has been highly sustainable design/build work. The work I am doing designing and building Net Positive Energy Microgrid structures is very challenging and engaging. My primary motivation for this work is to do what I can within my areas of expertise to mitigate and help reverse climate change.
Secondly, but equally as important. is to develop this as a replicable positive ROI system and model for development, for ourselves and other real estate developers to follow. We are trying to encourage other developers to follow this path, by proving that one can get equal or greater ROI by building highly sustainable structures, as this historically has been one major obstruction to "sustainable development".
One suggestion I don't see in the other answers (which are all very good, by the way!) is to re-create the work environment which motivated you in the corporate world. For example, I need to be around people and feel part of a team, so I work as a sub-contractor to other marketing agencies. This gives me a team to share ideas with, brainstorm and problem-solve with and be accountable to. Sometimes I actually I need the motivation of having others physically around me so I will reach out to a fellow consultant and schedule a co-working session at a local coffee shop for a few hours. Learn what you need to keep motivated and then re-create it yourself!
The "do what you love" thing gets pretty old if you don't have structure. Firstly, congratulations on working for yourself---most people never make it and it's just a pipe dream!
1) Get a mentor to hold you accountable. You'll respect them actually, not like a boss who normally orders you around. You will value their input and they keep you on track.
2) Be of service to the world. When you are working on your business, you often forget that people will love your work a lot. Focus on that.
3) Always remember---most people are content with being fed meat in cycles of 30 days inside their little cage instead of hunting for themselves.
Welcome to the hunt.
Jane * I am in the same 'boat' as you. Spent a number of years in the corporate world only to go through a few downsizings. After much deliberation I have decided to forego corporate positions and start my own company. It is exciting and scary at the same time.
One must force oneself to change the way we thought in the past. We now are the CEO's of our career and companies. We do have Board of Directors....but they are our loved ones and close friends who provide us with guidance.
In my start up endeavor I try to attend as many business functions as I can - Chamber of Commerce, BNI's, Business Networking Groups, Conventions and Conferences, etc...It is a completely different 'ballgame'. We are selling ourselves to any potential buyer as opposed to having a ready made product from the corporate world.. People will buy from someone they know first and have built up some form of relationship. Trust yourself and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Set Deadlines and Track Your Time! It's important to hold yourself accountable to those deadlines. Part of the structure you are eluding to is the fact you part of a system in which you are tied to others. When you are starting out and working for yourself, it's easy to not have that same pressure, where others are expecting you to pull your weight.
Also, part of the reasons for many to become entrepreneur is to have that flexible schedule to do other things to balance out life. If so, part of that structure could be 30 minutes of reading at set intervals throughout the week, or have an exercise routine in the morning.
Lastly, you really should know what you are going to do for the day, the week, and for the month prior. Especially if it's a start-up. There's never a shortage of things to do. So it's a balance of planning, prioritizing, and executing. Without a schedule, people waste an enormous amount of time wondering what they should do next. If you track your time of when you are truly working, you would realize that it's actually not as much time as you think and that you are letting life and potential of a better life pass you by.
Ka Pang / Principal & Creative Director / volumesquared.com
These two things have helped me stay motivated as an entrepreneur.
1) The most important question you need to answer is WHY?
The WHY is the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do.
Why are you choosing to be an entrepreneur?
Why are you in the industry you choose?
Why do you sell what you sell?
If you've never heard of Simon Sinek, check out this video. "People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it" It's great at showing you the power of understanding your specific WHY.
2) SMART Goals
Once you know your WHY, use SMART goals to accomplish your purpose. Create stretch goals and then short terms goals to support the stretch goals. I created a simple template to help you through the process and learn more about setting SMART goals.
Hope this helps :)
You can follow the same structure, if it works well for you: reserve 5-6 hours per day during the time you know your productivity is the highest and commit to do only activities related to your business. Some people find useful to work with a coach for the time management part (and not only). Remind yourself everyday why you do what you do and what are the values behind that.
I hope this helps :).
I made the transition a couple years ago to running my own business, and I've found it important to make a plan for my time each day and create my own structure with a pretty rigorous to-do list and goals for the week. Working from home I also find it important to have a dedicated office space but also move around, go to a cafe for a couple hours or whatever it takes to help me be more productive. But I've also structured in rewards for myself and have found that the bonus of flexibility and being able to own my schedule and set aside more time for things that add meaning to my life help me to be more motivated.
Three simple suggestions :
a) Get up and get dressed, simple but have it in mind that you are still going to work. It's easy get into slack habits.
b) Create a great plan, and then work out the night before what your intention for the next day is; not a task list and 'intention list' so if tasks go astray your intention is still there.
c) And one I was reminded of today from the first 'Karate Kid' 'focus on your focus', remember where you're going and what excites you
1. Have a clear vision of what you want and remind yourself why did you started your business in the first place.
2. Talk to other like minded people
3. Take care of yourself. What inspires you? Do more of what you love.
4. Have fun
5. Work SMART not hard :)
There are a lot of good answers here, so I shan't aim for a comprehensive 'academic' response (tempted though I am, as I write about productivity and personal effectiveness).
I will say two things, from a very personal perspective:
1. I motivate myself because I love what I do. As an entrepreneur, you need to be chasing a dream you believe in and choosing a career/work that you enjoy.
2. Yet sometimes, that is all bunk. You know you enjoy your life and are chasing a dream, but this next task, or today's early start seem just to unappealing. I recently got asked about how I created the habit of getting up at 5am every day to start work on my current venture. Does it take 14 days, 21, or 35 to create a habit. My answer was simple...
I don't get up every morning at 5am because it's a habit. I wish it were. That would be easy. I do it because it's a discipline. I ceate the routines that will get me what I want and I stick to them through sheer force of will.
I sometimes feel too many people want it easy these days. They want to be motivated. If you want something, that's your motivation. But don't think it will be easy. It often won't. But if your entrepreneurial idea is important enough to you, then knuckle down and JFDI (like JDI but less polite). Discipline and routine aren't motivating, but they get the job done and bring the rewards.
Sorry to say this, but I need to. There's no short cut to hard work.
One of the biggest motivators is simply loving what you do. As an entrepreneur, your motivation should come from the desire to get up each morning and get right to living the dream. If you are the worker bee and this business of yours is a J O B, then motivation will always be a challenge. Look for ways to delegate and delete the things you don't like to do or are not good at and find direct hire or contract specialists to fill in those areas of your business. Now you are back to doing what you love, you can reopen your zone of genius and reach for the goals in front of you. That makes getting to work a whole lot easier.