Aug 16, 2022

How To Stay Motivated as an Entrepreneur
(and avoid burnout)

By: Lucas Mitchell

Before I was married and had kids, I had a small business I ran as a solopreneur. However, I consider the day I started my actual company when I began my foray into real entrepreneurship. With that, I needed to learn how to navigate the challenges of motivation and burnout many new (and experienced) business owners face. Now, more than a decade in, I’m excited to share how I’ve consistently stay motivated throughout this journey. 

I love two things: Spending time with my family and building businesses. And I always switch between both in terms of where I focus my energy.  

So, the first thing I had to do was have a conversation with my wife and discuss the expectations of working as an entrepreneur. We decided early on the details about how much I would work, especially when it came to putting in more hours in the short term, so we could be far more successful in the long run.  

There are times where I feel conflicted about where I’m placing my efforts. That’s when I refer back to the conversations I had with my family. Then, I am able to relax knowing I’ve already set expectations about which mode I’m in.  

Secondly, when it comes to motivation, it’s critical to understand your personality type and work style. I work best in sprints – I can work super hard, fast, and for long hours over a short period of time (i.e. 30 or 60 days).  

When I’m starting to hit a wall, I take a break. Once I’m recharged, I go back into sprint mode. That is my natural cadence.  

Always following what excites me is the easiest way to fuel my motivation. When I do that, it never feels like work, and I don’t have to force myself to take action. My passion – building and growing businesses – keeps me energized and motivated constantly.  

Third, this may seem ironic (since you’re reading this post), but I also stay motivated and avoid burnout by consuming less content. We get caught up in consuming so often that we never give our brains a chance to think. One way I like to disconnect is by taking walks without headphones, music, or anything to do. It gives me space to have new ideas, visions, and thoughts.  

Speaking of vision, be sure to live your vision as an entrepreneur right now. What kind of life did you see for yourself when you started this journey? Was it to have more time with family? Or maybe working any hours of the day you choose. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to live that vision in your day-to-day now, instead waiting for when you “can finally… [fill in the blank]. “ 

I hinted at this final point earlier: I don’t force things to happen.  

If I don’t feel motivated, I take a break. I listen to myself. I monitor when I’m starting to get into a funk – where nothing is exciting, when I feel drained, and when I feel unmotivated. 

I don’t really believe in sticking to a regimen or routine. But by following a natural cadence and noticing my energy levels, I don’t have to. If it doesn’t feel right, I just don’t do it, or I come back to it later when I’m ready.  

Of course, it’s hard work, but everything I’ve done as an entrepreneur has been natural and unforced.  

So, if you’re in the midst of burnout and lack of motivation, the first thing you should do is take a break. Clear your calendar. Set up an out-of-office message if you have to. Be willing to simply take a step back, even if you’re only having a bad day.  

However, if you start to notice that you’re constantly burnt out and lacking motivation, it’s time to reassess whether this venture is right for you. Nothing will kill your motivation faster than pursuing something you don’t really want to do.  

Do you know where you stand?