How to stay motivated as an entrepreneur

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As with any job, being your own boss brings with it good days and bad days. On the good days you can feel on top of the world, like you can conquer anything. But on the bad days, sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated, you wonder what the point is, and is it really worth it?

There are three basic human needs which can help or hinder our motivation: autonomy; relatedness; competence. Below are some tips for how to apply it to entrepreneurial life.

Autonomy means having a choice in what you do and how you do it. One of the beauties of working for yourself is that you get to decide what you do, how you do it, and who you work with. While this brings with it many benefits, it can be overwhelming for some. Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing! Remember you always have a choice. If you find you are overwhelmed, there are some steps you can take:

  • Remember your why! (always start with why you are doing this – Who are you helping? What’s the impact of your work? How are you helping yourself have the best life for you?)
  • What is your vision for your business? What direction are you going in and what work will help you get there?
  • Plan. Your day, your week, your year, your next 5 years. Just take some time out to plan.

Relatedness means connecting with other people, as well as relating what you are doing to an overall goal. This is one of the biggest struggles for people setting up on their own. You miss the team, the office chat, social activities, the camaraderie. Working on your own can be a lonely venture, but it doesn’t have to be!

  • Expand your network; join a local networking group, attend local events for entrepreneurs, find other likeminded people in your area
  • Get out of the house! Arrange to meet for coffee or lunch, go work in a café or library for the morning or afternoon
  • Most importantly, reach out! You are not alone!
  • Connect to your purpose, find your why, what is your mission in life? How does your work relate to the bigger goal?

Competence is the third basic need which drives motivation. As a new entrepreneur you quickly realise just how much there is to running a business – doing the books, looking after the social media and marketing, selling to customers, never mind actually delivering your service or product. It can all get very overwhelming!

  • Outsource what you can
  • If you’re not at that stage or feel you need to save your money, upskill in the areas you feel most comfortable in
  • Take it one step at a time, you don’t need to be on top of everything from the get go, focus on one area and master that, then move on to the next
  • As your business grows and develops, you might find that you can outsource some of the day to day running of the business; the bookkeeping, social media planning and posting, admin etc.
  • Celebrate the wins, whether it’s learning a new skill or getting a new client

The important thing to note is that these are universal needs – everyone has these needs. There is no order in which they need to be satisfied, but all of them need to be satisfied in order to feel job satisfaction and motivation.


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