3 Tricks To Stay Motivated As A Startup Founder
We’ve all had that moment of divine inspiration – an idea that just clicks, that makes you feel a sense of limitless motivation to realize it.
Unfortunately, the reality is that this emotional state doesn’t last indefinitely. In order to take a startup from an idea to a successful exit, you’ll have to stay focused and committed for a considerable amount of time. More importantly, you’ll have to persist even when things seem hopeless, which is much easier said than done.
So, here are a couple of tricks that will help you stay focused through the slog towards startup success.
1. Share Your Goals With Your Colleagues, Friends, And Family
If you are serious about your vision, you should share it with the people you are close with.
Naval Ravikant, one of the founders of AgelList and a prominent startup investor, says: “I was literally embarrassed into starting my own company.”
Before he became an entrepreneur, he told his coworkers at the company in which he worked that he is employed there temporarily – until he starts his own business. As a result, as time passed, his colleagues often asked him why he hasn’t quit yet. Eventually, this gave him the motivation to take the leap.
As Robert Cialdini explores in his book Influence, people have a strong desire to stay consistent with their past words and actions in a social context. This means that actively telling people what you intend to do serves as a powerful motivating factor because not following up with your commitments incurs a social cost.
In other words, quitting becomes the more painful option compared to working through the hard times. This is not always the case if you are the only one you made a promise to.
2. Write Down Your Goals
That said, the same desire – to stay consistent with your past commitments, can be used as an internal source of motivation.
Robert Cialdini shares that door-to-door salespeople made the discovery that they can dramatically reduce their refunds by simply having the customer fill out the sales agreement instead of the sales rep. In other words, personally committing to the sale reduces buyer’s remorse.
You can use the same psychological trick on yourself – write down your commitments and put them somewhere visible (i.e. on your work desk). This simple piece of paper will hold you accountable to yourself.
3. Make Sure You Leave Some Time For The Tasks You Like
Once your startup transitions from a shiny new idea into a real business, you often have to spend a lot of time in activities that aren’t very inspiring. You have to figure out legal and accounting questions, you have to do repetitive operational tasks, etc.
All of this is inevitable. Nonetheless, if you want to be disciplined and persistent, which is an important trait of successful entrepreneurs, you need to make sure you don’t hate your actual job as a founder.
A trick to combat this effect is to leave some time daily or at least weakly that you can invest in something that you enjoy doing. This could be anything you enjoy – strategic planning, design work, writing content for the website of your startup, etc. Even if it is not objectively the best investment of your time as a founder (there are always more pressing issues), it would more than pay for itself if it helps you stay motivated and looking forward to your workdays.
In sum, working on your startup is easy when you are inspired, but inspiration doesn’t last indefinitely. Yet, staying persistent through sheer discipline and strength of will is easier said than done. You can make things much easier by employing some of the above tricks which can help you stay motivated when the going gets tough.