Many people may have a distorted view of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. Sleeping late every day, working in your pajamas, frequent days off, all while watching the money roll in. Do what you love, work very little, and enjoy the good life. Don't we all wish it were like that?
Books like The Four-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss and The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco encourage the notion that ditching your regular job and striking out on your own is a simple path to success. At least that is what the titles suggest. This is a grossly distorted image of entrepreneurship.
The fact is, most entrepreneurs don't make it. It takes hard work to start and maintain any type of business, whether you work from home or a storefront. The challenges are unique and varied, different from those faced in a normal nine-to-five career.
The following 10 suggestions come from my own experience as a successful entrepreneur. I've struggled and failed; learned lessons from failure and moved on. I've fallen and made myself get up again. I know the struggles, pains, failures, temptations and victories of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.
Use these recommendations to keep going. Overcome. Don't quit. Get up one more time and start again. The rewards of entrepreneurship are worth the struggles.
These 10 suggestions will help you bounce back when you feel like quitting.
Establish a Routine
We plan to fail when we fail to plan. This applies to your daily plan of action or routine. Just as if you work a regular job (because you do!) establish a regular routine for your workdays. These should include:
- Your normal work hours. Choose when you work best, mornings, evenings, whenever.
- Morning routines - breakfast, shower, coffee, exercise, etc.
- Personal time - time for taking care of you, physically, mentally and emotionally.
- Diet and Exercise - staying healthy is important for you and your business.
A regular routine keeps you centered, focused, and on task with everything important, personal and business related.
Mornings are Your Friend
As part of your regular routine, spend time each morning getting centered and focused for the day ahead. Even just 10 minutes of meditation can help you settle in and prepare for what lies ahead. Especially on days when you wake up and feel like quitting, pushing that aside and settling down through meditation can help you get started on a productive day.
Identify Your WHY
Knowing your purpose and goals as an entrepreneur can provide necessary motivation when difficulties arise. Most entrepreneurs didn't launch a business just for money. There are always intangible reasons of great value that compel us to do what we do without quitting. Reflect on your WHY often. Keep it posted in a prominent place where you can see it.
Recognize Small Wins
Every positive step forward is a win for you as an entrepreneur. It may be a long time before you reach your financial or other large goals, and you must celebrate every milestone along the way. Celebrating is an important part of motivation, so do it as often as possible. Sometimes, completing your daily routine a few days in a row without quitting is worth celebrating.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
One of my favorite sayings is, "If I don't write it down, it never happened." A gratitude journal is a great way to record small and large wins for later reflection. Be thankful for every small win, every generous person, every lesson learned, and write them down. On those days when you feel like quitting, browsing through this journal can show you why you chose to be an entrepreneur in the first place.
This goes back to establishing good routines and sticking to them. Your body and mind require an adequate amount of rest. Burning the candle at both ends only uses up the candle faster. Allot yourself the necessary hours of sleep, and block out that time as if it were an important appointment. It is.
Written Goals and Milestones
Write out your long and short term goals. Identify milestones along the way so you can measure progress. Planning is the first part of success. Aiming at nothing guarantees a hit every time. Along with your written goals and milestones, write down how you will celebrate each. Something to look forward to is great motivation.
Find a Mentor
No person is an island. And no entrepreneur has all the answers. Establish a relationship with a mentor, or with a few. These should be people familiar with the struggles of entrepreneurship and who can provide insight, encouragement, advice, and a kick in the pants when you feel like quitting.
Hang Out With Your Peeps
Look around for a local entrepreneur meetup group, entrepreneurial mastermind, or book club and become a joiner. Interact with these others and share with them. The fellowship together over a common outlook is great for your mind and soul, and you can learn much from these others.
Have a Recovery Practice
What will you do when you fall down? Put these in place before you need them: affirmations, listen to music that inspires, read testimonials you have received, reflect on your gratitude journal, go see your mentor. Get out of the house, and do something for YOU. Have a plan to help you get back on your feet.
Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the hardest things a person can do. Period. But our world needs more of them. It needs you. Don't quit. If you feel like quitting, go back and read these ideas, choose at least one, and cling to it as you recover.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.