Being a founder is often depicted as this incredible journey where you get to live your passion, work hard on your idea, and experience self-fulfillment on the way. The reality looks a little different. By now many people have talked about the set-backs: an assumption that didn’t hold, a team member that didn’t stay, a customer that didn’t want to buy. But what about your own motivation? Is it realistic to wake up every day and feel the same amount of passion and drive to bring your business forward?
Of course it is not. Even as the most self-driven, visionary person you will have days or even weeks where you simply cannot be bothered to open your laptop and keep going. And that’s fine. We all feel like this sometimes, the key is to recognise it as a motivational slump and take action to get yourself out of it. Here are three steps that might help you find your motivation again as an early-stage founder:
- Accept that you are in a motivational slump, and tell your co-founder(s) about it. It is normal to go through productivity phases – sometimes we get more done, sometimes less. If you force yourself too much to constantly perform the risk of burn-out increases exponentially. That’s why you are a team – when one member struggles, the other is there to pick up the slack. Of course that should be balanced. So if you feel yourself struggling, let your co-founder know of the situation and ask for his or her support.
- Take some time off, and do what you need to do. Everyone needs different things when going through a motivational slump. Some need more alone time, some need to reconnect with nature, others just want to let off some steam during a crazy night out. Understand what you are craving, and reward yourself a little. Depending on your situation, a day might be enough, others might need a week. Really tune in with yourself (something every founder should learn to do) and understand what you need to do to feel rejuvenated.
- Analyse your current role and work flow and try to adjust it to play to your strengths again. Especially in the very early stages, you as a founder have to do things you might not enjoy as much, or that don’t play to your strengths. And if you do them for too long, demotivation and frustration will kick-in. So getting back to it after your time off, have a look at your schedule and what motivates or demotivates you. Try speaking to your co-founder(s) and see if you can swap some tasks. If you have some funds, think about outsourcing to someone. If none of these are an option, create a weekly or monthly plan for yourself that helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel of when the phase of not-so-fun-tasks will be over.