Being an entrepreneur is a lonely responsibility. While you might have a network of support, including friends, families, partners, and employees, nobody will be as passionate about your idea or business as you. Very often, if it’s you’re first setting out to start your own business, you may find it liberating and a bit scary to suddenly be out working on your own. With nobody to set goals for you, it suddenly becomes your responsibility to figure out the direction that you want your business to go in and pilot it well. This requires patience and a hefty dose of self-motivation.
There’s a million things worth talking about when it comes to the proper way to start a business, but for this blog, we’re going to focus on the mental state necessary to persist and stay motivated while developing your big idea.
As it turns out, managing your life has a lot of parallels to the business you’re also running. Invariably, you need a strong plan, a routine, and goals. Take time to think about why you became an entrepreneur; it’s certainly not the lifestyle for everybody, and determining your reasons for wanting to start your own business can be critical for discovering what motivates you. Once you’ve discerned your overarching motivations, start thinking of some goals that you’d like to achieve in your business, both short and long term. These goals can be flexible, in the same way that your business should be flexible. Just having several ideas about the direction you want to head in can make a big impact on how you conduct yourself on a day to day basis.
However, make sure your goals are manageable; if you’re achieving them consistently, it creates a positive feedback loop that can motivate you further. That’s not to say that your goals shouldn’t be relevant to your company’s overall vision; just that they’re reachable and beget further progress. Break down your large goals into smaller goals; and organize them to create a larger picture of long-term business management.
That said, your plan can and should also account for the minutiae of daily life; to that end, creating a personal routine is helpful. This routine can include reminders of daily goals and productivity boosters, but can also include personal goals, such as blocking off time for meditation or exercise. And, even with everything you’ve committed to, don’t forget to take regular breaks. It may sound counterproductive, especially given the amount of work necessary to get your business off the ground, but you can’t allow your business to be your entire life; taking time for yourself and your family can rejuvenate you and remind you of what you’re working toward.
And, throughout this entire process, set some time aside to ponder your purpose. This sounds lofty and philosophical, and in many ways it is, but it’s also your chance to step back and reassess your value as a business leader and individual. Compare your expectations to your reality, and if your reality is falling short, examine the ways that you can change your thinking and productivity to stay motivated and positive. Oftentimes, running a business forces entrepreneurs to focus on the day-to-day operations and the question of how to survive in an industry. These sessions give you the opportunity to examine your reasons for starting a business as well.
For instance, say that you’ve recently left a job at a company that stuck to its practices in the most stubborn way possible, refusing to adapt to trends or listen to employee feedback. You must realize that this is now your chance to create a more flexible business that fixes the problems that you saw at your old job. Reflecting on your freedom as an entrepreneur can give you the mindset necessary to be revolutionary and stick out in your field of choice.
Inspiration can come in other forms as well. When you’re not working, seek forms of entertainment that can provide you some sort of benefit for your work. Surround yourself with fellow entrepreneurs. Not only are they a font of great business practices and feedback, but the shared effort of building a business from the ground up promotes camaraderie and makes the entire process a little less lonely. Seek out movies, podcasts, and TV shows that have motivated you in the past. TED Talks by industry leaders are a fascinating way of immersing yourself in the industry and discovering perspectives you may not have considered.
Entrepreneurship is often regarded as a grueling and time-consuming undertaking, which is certainly true to an extent. In order to survive as an entrepreneur, you’ll have to build your entire life around your business; however, your business should not be your sole focus. If you adopt a positive mentality and create some semblance of order amidst the chaos, you’ll be able to stay motivated and maintain your sanity throughout your days of work. The key to managing your life as an entrepreneur is mindfulness and the ability to self-motivate.