Taking the leap into entrepreneurship isn't for the faint-hearted. However, even the bravest and toughest of entrepreneurs still struggles with motivation. After all, there will be days when frustration, anger, and heartache zap every ounce of motivation you posses.
This is especially true when you're finally ready to launch your startup. Even though you played by the rules and were well-prepared, the unexpected is always lurking around the corner.
When you feel like this is happening, then use these tips to find your motivation again.
Find your WHY.
Why did you become an entrepreneur in the first place? Was it because of personal satisfaction, creative independence, a favorable work-life balance, or desire to change the world? Finding your "why" is key for entrepreneurs who want to remain motivated.
If you're stuck, then think about what drives you to get out of bed and hustle on a daily basis.
Is it because you have a burning passion? Is it because you want to share your skills with the world? Or is because you want to lead a meaningful?
Simply put, finding your "why" is really just remembering the reasons why you decided to start your business in the first place. Once you remember this, you can use your "why" to guide you and push your forward when motivation is running on fumes.
Set a personal mission statement.
You've hopefully created a mission or vision statement for your business. This is what describes the goals, culture, and core values of your business. But, have you also set a personal mission statement?
This is just your own purpose for becoming an entrepreneur, which is based off of your why. After you've set your personal mission statement jot it down. Then take that note and place it in a location where it can be seen - like on your monitor, fridge, or bathroom mirror.
Develop a routine.
Creating and sticking to a routine gives you consistency. That may not sound like a biggie, but when you have a routine you aren't aimlessly wandering around. More importantly, it helps you achieve goals.
For example, let's say you want to get your business's website up and running. Your schedule for the week might look something like this;
That's extremely bare-bones and simplistic. But, hopefully you get the point.
Each day you have something to-do for your startup. If those to-do's are in your schedule, then you can cross them off. This means that you're completing a daily goal.
Never underestimate those small victories.
Make time for some fun.
I'm sure you're familiar with the line, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
Even though you have deadlines and routine, don't forget to schedule time for fun. This could be leaving work early on a Friday so you can have dinner with friends. It could be hiking of going to the beach on a Wednesday afternoon.
Doing something that you enjoy doing, that's not work related, it energizes you. It helps you gain new perspectives. And it reminds why you became an entrepreneur in the first place.
In my schedule, I always incorporate a couple of hours of "me" time each week. This could fluctuate based on factors like meetings or deadlines. But, I always block time for something that I enjoy - even if it's just reading a book for 30 minutes.
While having a routine is important, you also need to change things up occasionally. After all, doing the same thing day-in and day-out is one of the surefire ways to drain your motivation.
For example, if you want to have five blog posts written by Friday, then why not bump that deadline up to Wednesday? Instead of working from your main workplace, work in a different location. Take your free time and use it to enhance your strengths, skills, and talents.
Research has found that rewards are responsible for three-quarters of why you do things.
Via The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People:
"Researchers find that perceived self-interest, the rewards one believes are at stake, is the most significant factor in predicting dedication and satisfaction toward work. It accounts for about 75 percent of personal motivation toward accomplishment. - Dickinson 1999"
Go back to that to-do-list you created and reward yourself whenever something gets crossed-off. It could be anything from going on a weekend trip to an afternoon snack. The point is that these incentives will help you in achieving your long-term goals.
Surround yourself with inspiration.
Inspiration is all around. I've found it in biographies, motivational quotes, TedTalk videos, and having conversations with my support system. Whenever I felt my motivation dropping, I would turn to these sources for advice and inspiration.
For instance, if your product launch wasn't as successful as you thought, then read about the struggles of successful entrepreneurs. You may learn a thing or two on how to cope with this minor setback.
Create a future file.
I got this advice from Sean, aka the Location Rebel.
A future file is "a file of what my life is going to look like 5 years in the future.
Are there exotic places you want to travel? Put images of them in the file."
As Sean further explains;
"Do you have a house or car you want to own in the future? Put em' in the file.
Do you know exactly what you want your business to look like in the future? Write about it, then drop it in the file.
What you'll end up with is a huge folder on your computer of things that motivate you. Anytime you're feeling down, return to the file and spend time looking at everything in there.
I bet you don't waste much more time slacking off."
Get a good night's sleep.
I'm sure at some point you heard that Elon Musk works some insane amount of hours, like 80 hours a week. While putting in a ton of hours in your startup is bound to happen, you also can't sacrifice your sleep just to launch your startup.
Research shows that sleep deprivation "impairs attention and working memory." It "also affects other functions, such as long-term memory and decision-making."
Of course, that's easier said than done when you have a million ideas and problems swirling around your mind. To combat this, create and stick to a regular sleep schedule. Additionally, make sure that you exercise during the day and stay away from electronics directly before bed.
Learn how to bounce back.
What happens if you experience some setbacks along the way?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there's a good chance that's going to happen.
Instead of letting these bumps in the road consume you, learn how to recover.
As explained in this Due post, if you had a lackluster product launch, take these steps to bounce back;