How to Stay Motivated as an Entrepreneur
So, you’re a lone wolf, working solo. You might be an entrepreneur of a completely awesome company of you, you, and you. Or maybe you’re in a company where you’re in Department You, just you. You may even just be going at a project alone because you want to!
Whichever the reason is, you’ve probably run into an obstacle. All this freedom in your project and yet you’re feeling stuck. Isn’t it always the truth when you’re working on someone else’s project, you feel like if it was your project it could have gone 100% smoother? But when we finally do get that chance to shine, were left with that “what now…?” type of feeling.
Let’s face it, working solo and going at a project by yourself can intimidating to start. But it’s also so easy to get lost without someone else helping along the way.
Most people come from checks and balances type of work or projects. This is where it’s you and another person watching over each other or working together to finish it. When you’re an entrepreneur, a sole department chair, or just someone looking to accomplish something, it’s just you checking up on you. And that’s a huge lifestyle change!
Whether you’ve been working solo for a while, or looking to start, you’ll learn some fantastic tools to learn how to stay motivated for working solo on a project! These tools can help you be more successful by encouraging a execution to start, solid goal defining, and a follow-through that your amazing project deserves!
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Before we begin, let’s schedule some brainstorm time with your awesome team to go over what your project is and lay some solid ground work. After this meeting, maybe schedule lunch in the break room! Grab your pens and journals or open that new document, let’s go!
What exactly is your project?
Simple enough, right? I want you to pour your heart into this question. Go deep with your passion! Throw out all of those inhibitions that are holding you back from telling others and just go into detail.
Don’t leave any detail spared! But before you go off into your novel, let’s put these thoughts and details into categories, okay?
When you’re diving into a new project, it’s important to give your details three categories. This worked well for me whenever I’m working on a long term or short term project. Under this question, write out three categories:
Ideas/Inception – what the project is now, the conception, the idea. Write out all of these here!
Beginning – you’re past just starting, but not full blown into the true project yet. Write down what the project looks like just past the idea and conception.
Future – go into what your project will look like once all of the kinks are worked out and everything went accordingly! (My favorite part!)
What are three goals that have for your project?
Dive into those details from Question 1 and get three goals in paper! When you’re making your goals, look at your work style. Are you a heavy pusher in the beginning of the project? Or is your workload evenly spread out?
When you focus your goals around you, they become more realistic and much more likely to achieve them.
If you’re having trouble finding three goals, you may have to go back to Question One. Sometimes a project can turn into a bunch of tasks with no clear cut path or goal insight. In times like these, hashing out some of the details in Question One can help clarify.
What’s the timeline from start to follow up?
It’s pretty rare to have a project that completely ends, no matter what endeavors you have your hands in! For this question, develop a timeline for when you begin until the first follow up. What do you want to accomplish? What are your metrics and markers for completion?
Studies have shown that a huge work load is less likely to get done if you don’t check in and follow up frequently. Do you know how much more likely that happens when it’s just Team You?
Now that you have your three questions mapped out, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by your project still. That’s okay!
There’s so much to do and you’re only one person, but you’re an amazing person with so much potential and capability to take on this project. No one can hold a candle to your passion (or skill!) for this!
Maybe this project is a piece of an even bigger dream or vision that you have.
Plan, plan, but most of all, just do it
It’s so easy to try to work out every problem from the drawing board, and you’ll cover a lot of them this way! but there are so many more things that need to be experienced in order to get the full grasp of where you need to put your attention.
A perfectionism mindset can be a major culprit, where you don’t even start because of it. If you’re struggling with this, I went into detail breaking free of that mindset in How to Overcome Perfectionism.
When your motivation when working alone is subjected to perfectionism, breaking free of this mindset will help alleviate
Stay curious & Keep learning
When you’re in the depths of a project, it’s easy to charge through to get to that finish line as quickly as possible. Most of the time when working alone, these projects offer so much more value to us and enrich other aspects of our work.
Let’s reflect on this: on your last project, what was something personal that you learned? For example, if you were working for a client who needed marketing done, how did you have to think outside of the box? What did you have to research and learn to satisfy your projects goals?
Shifting your mindset to a curious one can make a project to so much smoother. When you look at tasks look at them through a learning eye. What skill will this teach you? What do you need to research for a successful result?
Flexibility is my middle name and something that I always encourage to others when working solo. This has a dual meaning on this subject. Not only does it mean to, you know, be flexible and not be rigid with tasks, goals, and mindsets, but it also takes on a kind mindset.
When you’re flexible with your expectations, goals, and outcomes, you tend to be kinder to yourself. Your personal expectations are set to a sliding scale rather than a pass/fail.
If something comes up or there’s something that’s out of your control, being flexible will give you the freedom to not sweat it or feel devastated.
My personal flexibility comes with setting up flexible timelines. instead of setting a rigid goal date of November 1, I set my goal date of the week of November 1. That way I don’t have to rush, I have planned for obstacles and I can feel good about my completion.
Give yourself realistic goals
Following the momentum from above, give yourself realistic goals and expectations. When you’re kind to yourself with flexibility, follow it up with realism and insight.
When working alone, you’re the driving force behind rewarding and critiquing. It's so much easier that you know yourself and have insights into how you work. What hurdles will set you back? What drives you in your project?
Allow yourself to achieve goals that align with who you are and where your strengths are.
Too many times we try to push the square into the circle and, to our frustration, it just doesn’t work. Working solo allows you to access your limitless possibilities and nurture what your true strengths are. Giving yourself realistic goals is the first step in tapping into that limitless potential and working with it.
If you’re looking for more growth and development in your personal and work life, check out the Personal Development hub. This page contains everything you need to nurture and grow into the person I know you can be!
In the comments below, tell me about what obstacle you overcame that you’re most proud of. Let’s start the discussion to help other’s who are going through the same!
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