The fantasy of entrepreneurial life and the reality can be shocking when you’re unprepared. If you’re like me, you’ve doubted yourself a thousand times, and a lack of results can send you scampering into the relative safety of a nine to five.
Becoming an entrepreneur requires a certain amount of drive and enthusiasm, and no small amount of grit. If you didn’t believe in yourself and your business, you’d still be working for someone else. This is what your self talk may or may not be. But when the going gets tough, it’s easy to lose sight of why we started in the first place. This can create a lack of motivation, and it could be the demise of the business we’ve worked so hard to build if we’re not careful.
Businesses are like relationships: Commitment is an absolute must if they are to succeed. Here are some tips for staying focused and pulling through the hard times.
Write a mission statement if you haven’t done so already
It should concisely detail the purpose of your business and its key philosophies. Many entrepreneurs neglect to do this unless it is required to obtain funding. But a mission statement can help you remember why you wanted to start a business in the first place.
If you don’t have something specific to work toward, it’s motivation is going to be like smoke. Setting challenging yet attainable and measurable goals, increases your chances of success whether you meet them or not. It’s a kind of magic. Aim for the stars, and be happy you got to the moon kinda thing.
Don’t overwork yourself
This is the hardest advice to follow, for me and many others. For me, it’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of endless 16-hour days. Yet, it’s rather ironic that this commitment to your business can result in burnout, which can leave you without the energy you need to keep going. Burnout (and I’ve done it a few times) is not pretty. While it may not be feasible to take a vacation when your business is just getting off the ground, it doesn’t hurt to take a day off every now and then. Taking a breather will give you time to regroup and remember why you chose the path you’re on.
Outsource the tasks that bore or frustrate you
Small business owners often fall into the trap of thinking they must do everything themselves. This is nonsense! You do NOT have to wrangle eighty miles of code, or fight Wix to the death. You don’t have to do your own taxes or stuff that frustrates you. Sometimes budgets are tight and you often don’t feel you can afford to hire help, whilst others might be unwilling to let go of the total control they have. But if you’re suffering from a lack of motivation, outsourcing can get you back on track by allowing you to focus on the things you love about your business.
Evaluate the state of your business
If you’ve hit a rough spot, perhaps a change of plans is in order. You may need to focus your offerings more tightly, rethink your marketing methods, or invest in better equipment, or upgrade your website. By isolating and solving the problem, you can get back to business as usual a lot faster than muddling through in the dark.
Sometimes it’s hard to maintain the level of commitment that we have in the initial phases of a business venture. By doing what it takes to remain focused and remembering why we chose this path in the first place, we can keep ourselves motivated. When we reach our goals, we will realize that it was all worthwhile.
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