How to Stay Motivated During the Start-Up Phase of Entrepreneurship
Even though I’ve been blogging for about three years now, I didn't get really serious about turning my blog into a business until the three year mark. I’ve been blogging relatively consistently the whole time, but now, since I'm making it business, instead of just a hobby, I’m in the "intense work phase," where I’m blogging practically every day and promoting myself as much as possible.
I won’t lie and say it’s easy, but staying motivated is definitely the hardest part of it all. This is because during this time period, things require the most amount of work for few results in return (for now, at least). AND it's usually during this phase that you're probably doing the work all alone as a solopreneur, because you’re not at the point where you can afford to hire a team yet.
I KNOW this struggle all too well, after being in this intense startup phase over the last few months. However, my motivation is still holding on strong, so I have definitely acquired some great tips on staying motivated during the JOURNEY, so I can reap the benefits that will come down the road.
Consume positive content
Consuming positive content is one of the #1 keys to staying motivated. As an entrepreneur, particularly an online entrepreneur, who doesn’t want a “traditional” brick and mortar business, I often feel like the odd one out. It’s hard to find people to relate to because my immediate peers aren't entrepreneurial at all, and of course it’s nothing on them personally, but it can be hard for them to offer real encouragement and support, when they don’t understand what I'm doing.
I push through this is by consuming positive content. By consuming the advice and stories of successful people who have come before me, it’s much easier for me to stay motivated. My favorite way to do this is through podcasts and books (when I have time to read...lol). I recently listened to "Black Privilege" by Charlamagne Tha God on audiobook. By listening to it instead of reading it, I finished it faster than I've ever finished any book before...in a week! I highly recommend it as a REAL motivational read or listen.
Create Manageable To-Do Lists in Advance
With so much on my to-do list, it often feels like I'm doing the jobs of 4 different people, all by myself. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed, but I had to learn how to prioritize and make manageable to-do lists. Typically, my to-do lists include 2 or 3 things that I’ll get done each day, after work and on the weekends. When I create my to-do lists in advance, I'm able to just dive right in and start doing the work, instead of having to waste time thinking about it.
This is crucial because after entering into your start-up phase, you realized how precious every moment of your time is. Wasted time has become one of my biggest pet peeves, so I'm very intentional about where my time is going now.
Focus on the End Goal
When I'm feeling down, like it’s hard for me to keep going, I take a short break to get focused on why I'm doing it all. I think about my values in life and how the work that I'm doing is setting me up for the life and career that I want. I also think about how my life would be if I gave up and I think about how my life would be if kept going. That’s an instant motivator because every time I think about these two scenarios, the vision of my life if gave up isn't anything like the true vision that I really want to come to fruition for myself. Thinking about the possibility of never getting what I want out of life motivates me to quickly get back to work.
That sums up the three things that I do consistently to keep my motivation high. One of the biggest things is having the confidence to know that my work will pay off. It may not pay off tomorrow, but I know it will at some point, as long as I keep going and getting better, as a move along.
There are no overnight successes. I once heard a quote that said that people work for years to become overnight successes. It may look like someone popped up out of nowhere and became suddenly successful, without much effort, especially in this age of social media highlight reels. But TRUST that they were putting in work for years, brick by brick, building their foundation, and now you see their finished product. But they only arrived at that finished product because they KEPT GOING. They didn't get discouraged and quit too soon.
You have to remind yourself of this, too! Know that you’re working for a reason, so don’t give up before you realize your goals and potential.