5 Ways to Keep Your Eyes on the Prize as an Entrepreneur
When you’re an entrepreneur, it is easy to get distracted and lose motivation as you are building your business. Whenever you switch on your computer or watch the news, you probably see all kinds of success stories about other entrepreneurs, and that may cause you to question your own approach and goals. You may begin to compare yourself to these people and wonder when – if ever – you’ll get to their level.
The media likes to focus on the winners and all of their successes, but failure is a critical part of the entrepreneurial experience. All those entrepreneurs that the media loves? They failed a lot, too. They didn’t shoot to the top of the world overnight.
Don’t let celebrity entrepreneurs make you feel inadequate. Keep a clear mind, focus on your goals, and always remember the following:
1. Failure Is Part of the Experience
Not only will you fail, but you will fail multiple times. Expect it, embrace it, and learn from it. Failures are great learning experiences, and whether it’s public knowledge or not, all successful people have failed before becoming the superstars they are today.
If you accept failure as part of the process, you will find it easier to motivate yourself to keep pushing forward, no matter what happens. Fail and learn, and then rinse and repeat until you perfect your craft.
2. Focus on the Process
Do not be a results-oriented perfectionist. Instead, build a process that is easy to follow preferably one with plenty of small targets and deadlines along the way. Not only will such a process keep you accountable, but it will also give you the motivation you need to continue working toward your end goal. By achieving small milestones over and over again, you will create positive momentum and see clear progress in your business.
A results-oriented goal is something like “I will have 10 clients by the end of this month.” It’s a good idea, but it isn’t grounded in the reality of day-to-day work. It’s just an idea.
Try process-oriented goals instead, like “Every day, I will call five new customers and pitch them my product, email 10 new prospects outside my industry, and write one mini blog post.” A goal like this will keep you accountable, and it will make sure that you take the steps you need to take in order to reach your bigger overall goals.
A finely-tuned process will achieve better and more consistent results in the long run. Break down your big goals into weekly, monthly, and six-month goals. Build a process to meet these goals. There will be a lot of doubts along the road to success, but your process will drive you forward.
3. Don’t Focus on Fame
As an entrepreneur, your goal is to improve yourself and your business. Don’t get caught up in the hype of social media – or even the larger media.
The media, both social and otherwise, focuses on popularity, money, and drama simply because these things have massive public appeal. You will only lose momentum if you focus too much on fame or media recognition. You will make poor short-term decisions in order to catch the media’s eyes, and that will jeopardize the long-term vision for your company.
Don’t chase publicity. Focus instead on maintaining your client and vendor relationships. Not only will you be happier that you did not get involved in the ups and downs of the media, but you will accomplish the goals that you set out to accomplish. This feeling alone will give you more pleasure than all the media recognition in the world ever could.
4. Don’t Chase Material Wealth
Focus on building solid relationships with your family, friends, customers, and business partners. They will be your support network when things are tough, and they will help you propel your business to new heights when times are good.
It is very easy to lose track of your goals and focus on materialistic desires. Tangible objects might provide instant gratification, but you will quickly find yourself on a slippery slope of looking for the next best thing, whether it is a new house, a new car, or a new gadget.
Do not let these desires control you. Invest in yourself and invest in your relationships. Play the long-term game: That’s the only way to build a fulfilling, lasting business.
5. Appreciate the Journey
Remind yourself every day of how far you have come and all that you have accomplished up to now. It is easy to forget your past accomplishments, especially when challenges arise. If you truly want to be happy as an entrepreneur, you need to appreciate the journey. Compare yourself to your past self – not to your current peers or to the entrepreneurial big shots.
Remember that you are not alone in your entrepreneurial journey. There are countless entrepreneurs out there, all of whom are facing the same obstacles as you. Learn from your experiences and grow your network in the process. By building a solid foundation of systems, relationships, and concrete goals, you will be well on your way to a successful career. Stay positive. Always appreciate yourself.