35 Entrepreneurs Share How They Stay Motivated in Business

We asked 35 successful entrepreneurs to share what keeps them going and here's what they had to say.

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16. “Thinking about the future freedom and time it will allow me to spend with my family. Entrepreneurship is hard work and requires sacrifice, sometimes putting off things you’d rather be doing in the moment. But if you build your business right now, it will provide freedom and wealth for years to come. Traditional employment, while it may be easier and safer in the moment, will never provide this kind of future value for you.”

– Justin Palmer, Founder & CEO of MedSaverCard


17. “Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. My business is a non-profit, and knowing that we’re making a difference gives us a ton of motivation. I get through small tasks by focusing on how they help us advance our mission.”

– Chris Rovin, Co-Founder and Executive Director of WeSearch Foundation


18. “Keep a small text file on your computer desktop where you keep a list of inspiring quotes you run across, and then read this list once per week to really stay energized. Even during tough times, by reading the list of quotes I have collected, I’m reminded why I started my own business and that I’m not alone in business or challenges I face.”

– Nick Herinckx, CEO of Obility Consulting


19. “Instead of only acknowledging achievement of the final goal, breaking down projects into smaller milestones and finding ways to celebrate their completion along the way is important for building morale and motivation. It gives me and my team a sense of accomplishment and keeps us charging hard towards the ultimate goal.”

– J.P. Bauman, Executive Vice President of AudioGlove


20. “Do one thing everyday that excites you – we are often bombarded with routines and tasks that we forgot what excited us in the first place to start our businesses. Find things that excite you and do them every day reminds you why you started the business and helps keeping the motivation up. ”

– Brandon Wu, Founder of Studio Pepwuper

21. “Really love the idea you are working on. It is the passion for your project that gets you through the ups and downs of business.”

– Brian Bauer, Founder and President of Kurfuffl


22. “Connect with your customers. They are the reason you started your business, and they are the reason you’re successful. When I’m feeling burned out, I spend an afternoon in a Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom that sells our beauty products, and I talk to customers directly. By simply connecting with our customers, I feel inspired and motivated. In a world that is dominated by smart phones and social networking, a little face time goes a long way.”

– Megan Allen, Co-Founder of Georgie Beauty


23. “Knowing that nothing great or worth having has ever happened easily, fast, and without hard work. For sustained success, you must put in continuous hard work. If I ever decided to quit, it could be just one opportunity away from breakthrough and all the labor done up until then would have been wasted.”

Mike Calloway, Founder of Trinity Digital Marketing


24. “Working side by side with other co-founders. We get each other excited to work, and seeing other people work hard makes me work even harder! Also, being self-funded, money is a big motivator … If I don’t work, I can’t do all the fun things I want to do.”

– Lindsay Saewitz, Founder of CitySwarm


25. “You can get a huge boost of energy by going out to happy hour or dinner with other entrepreneurs or startups. A great new site for this is GrubWithUs. I met some really awesome people that gave me tons of ideas for marketing my app, and some key introductions to others that could help me too.”

– Andrew Woo, Founder and CEO of ProspectSnap


26. “Nothing is more motivating the considering the alternative of being self-employed. Building value for someone else’s company, being controlled by a boss, only being able to influence your success rather than being in full control of it. Picturing this scenario is enough to turn the worst day into an empowering one.”

– Ross Johnson, CEO of 3.7 DESIGNS


27. “Knowing what could be and knowing how badly you want to achieve it. If you want something bad enough, you’ll work harder for it. For me it means getting up and knowing I’ll be fighting the good fight with my friends and fellow teammates.”

– Matt Beckham, CEO of QuiBids


28. “Thinking back to the look on my former bosses faces when I told them I wanted to start my own company. I envision them slaving away at the job they hate, chained to their desks. It puts a smile on my face to know that I’ll never have to report to them again.”

– Jill Nadorlik, President, Marketing Consultant of Nadorlik & Co.


29. “I am motivated by the fact that I have total control over my career. I’m not at the mercy of an employer or owner with poor judgement who makes flawed decisions. It’s up to me how many clients I take on, the hours I work, and the company’s culture and style. If I’m ever upset or frustrated about my job, I always remind myself of this control and it motivates me to keep growing my business.”

– Dana Kaye, Owner/Publicist of Kaye Publicity


30.”Starting a small business at a young age presents many obstacles and skeptics just looking to see how successful you can really be. That said, it’s my biggest motivational tool — wanting to prove those people wrong. Why not be able to establish a business at 21 and be more successful than others doing the same in their 30’s, 40’s, and up?”

– Bisera Urdarevik, Founder of Lush Gourmet Foods, LLC


31. “Keep setting higher and higher goals for yourself. Any time you reach a goal you have set, rather than pat yourself on the back and become complacent, immediately set a next, even more ambitious goal for yourself, so you always have something you are working towards.”

– Stephanie Kaplan, Co-Founder and CEO (Editor-in-Chief) of Her Campus Media


32. “Set goals – At the beginning of every year establish at least one goal you’d like to work towards. Try to stretch yourself professionally to meet that goal, and ensure you don’t make it unrealistic or too easily achievable.”

– Maise Knowles, Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer of FreeShipping.org


33. “Share victories with everyone on your team – from the top, down. Employees want to be a part of a winning organization and are excited by growth, which can feed ownership’s own level of engagement and willingness to press forward.”

– Mario Ochoa, Co-Owner of Sammis & Ochoa


34. “In order to stay motivated, you have to keep your eyes on the prize and understand that starting a business is going to be a roller coaster no matter what. When it’s bad, just remember that it’s going to be really awesome soon if you push through.”

– Chuck Gordon, CEO of SpareFoot, Inc.


35. “Having a goal that is more perpetual than final. Watching the industry, watching for ways to improve, and implementing them in innovative ways. There is always more to learn, always new approaches, and always more work to be done. Boredom is never a problem if you stay involved.”

– Jason Haeger, Founder of AJ Coffee Company


How do you stay motivated? Let us know in the comments section below.

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