When you just get started, your entrepreneurial spirit is a tiny little flame.
One puff of wind and bam! Your flame can be snuffed out.
I experienced this many times during the first eight years of my journey as an entrepreneur. Any setback would cause me to go into a depressive state, resulting in me taking weeks off from my business.
My little entrepreneur flame was very tiny and very weak.
So I had to learn how to keep that flame alive.
I learned how to protect my energy and take action to always stay motivated. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15
As someone that has been in business for more than 8 years, I’ve come far. But I have a long way to go to be in the “safe” zone. (And are you really ever in the safe zone, anyway?)
So the odds are clearly stacked against us.
How can we do our very best to ensure that we will be in business for the long haul when only 25% of small businesses make it to 15 years or more?
We must keep the flame alive.
Motivation isn’t a feeling; it’s a muscle we must intentionally exercise.
I have learned how to handle those ebbs and flows and am proud to announce that in 2023, I will be celebrating being in business for 10 years. (We will be throwing quite the party, I am sure!)
Pro Tip #1: Keep your eyes focused on the long term.
If you are focused on the immediate short term, you probably will struggle with staying motivated.
Only little things here and there move from month to month.
The real change (and the real business success) happens over a period of years, not months.
Get really clear on where you want your business to be in ten years, not in ten weeks. You really can’t expect to see drastic changes from month to month.
If you are expecting that, you will be disappointed, and then you will lose your motivation.
Instead, keep your eyes (and focus) on the long-term vision for what you want to create.
Be patient and be willing to play the long game.
Pro Tip #2: Celebrate the little wins.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the little wins when they do happen. In fact, I strongly encourage it.
Celebrating my little wins gave me these short bursts of motivation to keep going. When you land a client, pop a bottle of champagne.
When you show up on livestream for the first time, celebrate!
The more you can celebrate the little wins (while still keeping your eyes on that long-term vision), the more likely you are to be encouraged enough to keep going.
One of my favorite quotes around why small wins are important:
“Small wins are exactly what they sound like, and are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes.”Charles Duhigg
Pro Tip #3: Set clear metrics that you can achieve.
There is a reason most people don’t seem to hit their goals; they set their metrics based on factors outside of their control.
Let me give you an example:
A new business owner, Rachel, wants to make $10,000 a month.
She currently sells social media packages for $2500 a pop.
So Rachel sets a goal saying, “I’m going to sign up four clients in the next 30 days.”
At first, this would seem like a nice, tangible, specific goal.
But here’s the thing, Rachel can’t literally force a client to sign up and work with her. So that goal is not based on metrics Rachel can control.
Instead, what Rachel should do is assess what actions she will need to take in order to ensure those four clients will sign up.
Let’s say that Rachel knows if she has 10 discovery calls, she will sign up four clients. And she knows it takes 20 Facebook group posts to book those 10 calls.
So Rachel’s goal becomes “Post 20 times to Facebook groups.”
That is a goal entirely within Rachel’s control; it does not rely on anyone but herself. The outcome is the same; she booked four clients.
But she is more likely to succeed because she chose metrics that were 100% within her control.
Pro Tip #4: Be inspired by other people’s journey.
Let me show you something that I think will really inspire you:
This is the actual income someone made in their first few years of business.
Pay attention to how much that image fired you up.
You probably felt relief and probably a little bit of relatability.
Usually, when I share this image, I hear things like:
Be intentional and let yourself be inspired by other people’s journey!
Start reading autobiographies of successful people.
Follow successful entrepreneurs on Instagram and read their content (I’m on Instagram: @maria.wendt.).
If you’re struggling to believe that you personally can have success (maybe because of your background or current obstacles), I highly recommend you find people who look like you or who came from similar circumstances so you can remember that anyone can do it.
The more you allow others to inspire you, the more you will start to believe that you can do it, too.
And this will motivate you to the moon and back!
Pro Tip #5: Remember to serve first.
When you show up to make money, you might be disappointed.
The people who see success the fastest are those who are committed to showing up and solving problems.
It’s a perspective shift (and sometimes a heart shift). I can promise you that you will attract your dream clients to you so quickly…once you’ve made it a habit to show up and serve them first.
People who are too focused on the money actually repel clients. The formula you should mentally follow is “give, give, give, pitch.”
This ensures that you’ve built solid relationships with your potential clients and keeps the focus on the value you provide.
In an ironic turn of events, you will actually make more money once it stops being about the money.
Pro Tip #6: Realize how much progress you’ve already made.
If you feel like you haven’t made any progress at all, you probably are wrong.
You might be measuring “success” by the wrong standards.
Success is showing up consistently. Success is pitting you helpful content. Success is hitting the daily goals you set for yourself.
Eventually, you will start making money as a by-product of all of those other wins.
But if you measure your progress by simply money in the bank, you will miss out on a lot of other wins you’re having in your business right now.
So be sure to properly measure and track the progress you are making.
Pro Tip #7: Intentionally build motivation into your daily practice.
- One of my all-time favorite motivation quotes is this one:
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.”
— Zig Ziglar
You’ve got to intentionally build motivation into your daily practice.
Whether it’s watching videos on Youtube that pump you up, reading content on Instagram from someone you admire, or writing down affirmations that help motivate you, you must be intentionally scheduling in your daily dose of motivation.
In my experience, it’s much better to slowly cultivate that motivation muscle.
If you don’t do that, you run the risk of making the mistake I did where I would fall off the bandwagon and taking whole months off.
It’s much easier to keep on track than to get back on track.
Pro Tip #8: Surround yourself with like-minded people. You are not in this alone.
I recently read a fascinating study that showed just how critical it is to be surrounded by people who want what you want and are going where you’re going. I am linking to it here (I recommend you read it, it’s fascinating.), but here’s an excerpt:
You’re not the average of the FIVE people you surround with. It’s way bigger than that. You’re the average of all the people who surround you. So take a look around and make sure you’re in the right surroundings.
Ask yourself, “Who are my friends?” and just as importantly, “Who are the friends of my friends?”
Iron sharpens iron.
There is no doubt in my mind that one of the biggest factors that allow these women to hit $10k months, pay off debt, and become successful is because they surround themselves with other successful women.
Pro Tip #9: Read books that keep you pumped up.
I try to read at least two books per month, usually more. (I’m a very fast reader. If you prefer to listen to books, that’s awesome, too!)
The average book can be purchased for around $10, and it never ceases to amaze me that we can access so much wisdom for such a little price.
I find that when I put a good business book down, I walk away inspired and motivated to implement the strategies shared.
Pro Tip #10: Remember to have fun.
Here’s something really simple to remember: the more fun you have, the more money you make.
Isn’t that silly? But it’s true.
All the times I got really serious and stressed out and worried, my income plummeted.
But when I relaxed, had fun, enjoyed myself, and refused to take myself seriously, the money just flowed to me.
So, remember to have fun!!
The money will come, I promise.
Just relax, take a deep breath.