Being an entrepreneur is tough. That’s why so few of us do it.
It can be lonely, exhausting, and intimidating. On days when it’s particularly trying—when you’re down in the dumps and feeling discouraged—a pep talk can really help.
We know a thing or two about innovation and entrepreneurship. And we’d love to boost your spirit with some wisdom we’ve gleaned over the years. We’ve all been there. You’re not alone. Here’s our very best advice to make you feel better even on your very worst days.
You’re doing this for a reason.
Yes, branching out on your own is hard. But you’re doing it for a reason. When the going gets tough, remind yourself why you’re doing it in the first place. Maybe you have an idea that’s going to make a positive impact on the world. Maybe you want the freedom that comes with self-employment. Whatever it is, on rough days, remind yourself why you chose this path, dust yourself off, and get back on track.
“This too shall pass.”
There’s a reason this quote has endured through time: it’s true. If you’re going through a particularly rough patch—and all entrepreneurs and small business owners do—you need to tell yourself it’s only temporary. You may have lost funding. Your social media may be flopping. You may be flat broke. Whatever’s happening, it probably feels like it will never end. But it will. And you’ll be stronger for it.
One phone call can change everything.
That rough patch you’re going through? All it takes is one call—or email or text—for everything to completely change for the better. Seriously. Entrepreneurship is like that. You put in the work, get out there, meet the right people, and one day, like a thunderclap, your big break comes and everything changes. (And it usually comes when you least expect it.)
Not everyone’s going to support you—and that’s ok.
The world is full of stories of successful entrepreneurs and innovators who faced repeated rejection and overcame failure but absolutely refused to give up. Those closest to you may doubt you. But don’t pay them any mind. Surround yourself with people that believe in you and stay laser-focused on your goals. When you finally succeed (and you will), hum this famous little ditty and try not to smile.
Rome really wasn’t built in a day.
This concept is especially pertinent when it comes to building a business. And you’re going to have to remind yourself of it again and again. Whether you’re developing an app, taking the leap as a freelancer, or trying to get a small business off the ground, building something solid takes time. People with established businesses make it look easy. But they once were where you are now. Be patient. You’ll get there.
“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”
While we’re talking about how long it can take to really get your business up and running, we’ll throw the above quote (attributed to the ancient, supremely wise philosopher Confucius) in the ring, too. Here’s the thing: Some days you’re going to feel like you’re not making much progress at all. But as long as you’re moving forward—even if it’s slowly, even if it’s just that one email you had to send or that one call you needed to make or a really good thinking session when you’re walking your dog—you’re making progress.
Put your blinders on.
You’ve probably heard this expression a million times. It actually has to do with horses. Blinders keep race horses focused on what’s in front of them instead of what’s beside them. What we’re trying to say is don’t compare yourself to other entrepreneurs and business owners. It sounds a little new-agey but you’re on your own journey. Focus on what’s in front of you instead of what’s beside you. If you want to race, race against yourself.
A short-term loss is a long-term gain.
Being an entrepreneur or small business owner can make you feel like you’re the kid stuck inside doing homework when everyone else is outside playing. You may not be able to take a vacation for a while, either because you don’t have the money or you’re working—or both! And you may often have to work when everyone’s having fun. You may be burning the midnight oil now, but it will eventually pay off. And then you’ll be the one taking photos of your feet at the beach (wait, please don’t do that!) or, at the very least, playing outside on nice days instead of doing your homework inside.
Everyone has a bad day.
Some days are just…bad. And not even the best pep talk can make you feel better. And that’s ok. Go easy on yourself. We’re all human—even the most successful entrepreneurs and innovators on the planet—and sometimes we just feel…lousy. So listen to some sad songs if you need to. Call your mom. Go to your favorite bar—coffee bar, that is—and tell them to “make it a double” (latte). Tomorrow’s a new day. And you’ll feel better. Now go forth and caffeinate. We’re totally rooting for you.