10 Tips to Stay Motivated: Updates from the Hatcheries
Through the Butler Launch Pad, the Blank Center awards graduate and undergraduate student entrepreneurs access to professional and semiprivate workspace to grow their businesses. Known as the hatcheries, these spaces encourage ideation and collaboration. In a series of blog posts, this semester’s hatchery teams will go beyond the four walls of their offices and share their experiences, advice for other entrepreneurs, and industry expertise with us.
The following post is written by Juliette Schwimann MSEL ’19, founder of Birdy, a dating app based on MBTI 16 personalities.
10 tips to stay motivated in your life as an entrepreneur
I have been working on my project Birdy since February 2018. The longest period I have been demotivated was maybe 24 hours, when I lost my initial partner or when I left my life in Paris to move to the US alone. So here are the tips I apply daily that allow me to last and always keep moving forward:
1. Don’t get emotionally attached
The first thing one should avoid is getting too emotionally attached: to an idea, to a partner, to an expectation, the hope of getting a certain deal, etc. I approach these matters with a rather pessimistic approach, reminding myself that everything could change, be replaced, or not work the way I want it to, in particular in the near future. This mentality allows me to keep a steady emotional line that saves me from the “very high/very low” problem that many entrepreneurs face.
2. Speak about your idea to people
It is very important to go out and talk to people and potential customers about your idea. First, it gives you an authentic feedback that prevents you from going in the wrong direction. Your time is precious, and knowing that you are allocating your work capacities to the “good problem” is a great source of motivation. And second, it builds an “aura” around your venture: Everybody knows you are working on this, and more people than you think are willing to help you and to contribute in one way or another. There are two teams: the ones that don’t want to speak about their idea because they think someone is going to steal it and the ones that speak about it to everybody and believe that the idea is inspiring enough to gather people with the same interest. I am definitely part of the latter.
3. Live day by day
I have a rule to not think about the future. I believe that questions like “Is it going to work?,” “When will I earn money?,” and “What will be my life if I am successful?” are extremely counterproductive, at least for me, because they are very stressful! I prefer to work on a day-to-day basis, focusing on the steps I have to accomplish in the week. Of course, you have to set ambitious goals for the company, but you should not project these onto your personal life.
4. Stay true yourself
This is a very important one: do not get lost in the process. As an entrepreneur, you will be meeting a lot of people, more intelligent, more ambitious, bolder, better public speakers, etc., than you. You need to keep in mind the reason that you are launching your venture is unique, just as you are, and to not compare yourself to others. Remember that there is not one way to be successful, even if society usually promotes the masculine “tough way.” I am a woman and I am sensitive and kind (I think), and I count on running my business that way and being successful that way.
5. Stay organized
I can only encourage you to make lists and to stop using your brain for this energy-consuming activity that it is to remember. I find it stressful to know that I had to do something but I can’t remember what it is. Use tools that are available to you like Google Calendar where you can add notes, or simply a good old fashioned agenda.
A lot of opportunities will be available for your company to grow. Either good or bad, you may find some interesting things in all of them, but you won’t have the time to try them all. Sometimes you will want to read a whole book about a subject that interests you for your venture, you can’t! So get the main idea and move on. Sometimes you will want to attend all these networking and entrepreneurship events; go to the main one and harness it 100% but don’t go to the others. The goal is to grow something out of the ground, not to know everything and everyone on earth.
Like the to-do-lists, I encourage you to automatize the maximum amount of processes you can. We are not all computer specialists, least of all me, but one can find user-friendly tools that can substantially simplify your life. Your brain has more important things to do! I heard about these (but haven’t tested them yet): Spendesk (control expenditures), Dashlane (centralize all passwords), Pocket (keep an article to read it later), Smartshot (film one’s screen), etc.
8. Don’t spend money
Spending money is stressful, especially if it is not yours. I try to spend money only on the most necessary things. For now, I have invested in my brand’s trademark, my domain name and hosting, a Balsamiq account (wireframing software.), some Harvard Business Cases and books, a Canva account (graphic design creator), and my logo + graphic chart (made by super talented students). I regret having invested in a super expensive attorney that didn’t come up with much information on what I wanted. My advice: ask a friend.
To be motivated is good, and you don’t want to be stopped by your body. We often forget it in the process, because it maybe worked until now. But you want to last long, entrepreneur one day, entrepreneur always! It is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle that allows your body to be at its best. Take the time to eat well and sleep well; this will only make you more productive.
Last but not least, your only enemy is yourself. Take care of yourself as if you were your best friend. When you are sad or stressed, do a relaxing activity like meditation, yoga, or going out to dinner with your friends. When you are preoccupied, don’t keep it to yourself. Call your parents or a close one and speak to them. Accept that you are not perfect and that you make errors. Learn from them, go outside, travel, read, laugh, and stay inspired.