You’ve enjoyed the thrill of brainstorming an innovative business idea. Not to mention, you’ve spent long days and sleepless nights channeling your boundless energy into creating a new product. Depending on the development phase you’re in, you’re either waiting on funding, or you already have investors but haven’t yet launched your new product. If you’re further along, you might be dealing with the post-launch phase. Here’s the real issue: after their first burst of inspiration, a lot of entrepreneurs tend to lose momentum. Make it a goal to stay inspired while your new business transitions into reality.
Inspiration can become cyclical. When you’ve got it, product ideas run rampant through your head and keep your adrenaline pumping. When inspiration wanes, you end up in a rut, uninspired by what you see—forced to deal with the same old ideas and models day in and day out. When this happens, slow down and re-imagine that initial spark of inspiration that first fueled your passions, and see if you can’t find that life-changing momentum that energized your business idea in the first place.
Start by Changing Your Routine
In a July 2012 article from Entrepreneur, psychology professor and author Samuel R. Sommers shared some advice on the art of breaking routines saying “The smallest of changes in context make a big difference in motivation levels. In fact, research tells us that changing our environment can lead to a burst of fresh thinking and increased drive.” If you feel stuck in a rut, work from a café, hold a meeting outside, disconnect from social media for an hour, or take a mid-morning walk. The inspirational payoff can be huge.
Connect with Your Peers
Starting a business can leave you feeling disconnected. If a new endeavor becomes a full-time job, chances are you’re spending large amounts of time alone in order to accomplish your goals efficiently. Add the fact that your friends with steady desk jobs are spending weekends at the lake with their families, and you’ll start feeling sick of it.
But consider this, entrepreneurs who seclude themselves from meeting new people and keeping in touch with old friends, will lose what sparks their inspiration in the first place. Humans need people to become inspired to create things that other people need. It seems simple, but when work becomes your life, you forget what’s important. Get out there and talk to your fellow entrepreneurs. Meet for coffee, discuss frustrations, successes, and new ideas. Track down business leaders who are where you want to be, and let their stories serve as inspiration, especially when moments of doubt prevail. Even if you can’t physically meet with other people, find an interesting podcast, or listen to TED talks that focus on issues faced by people like you.
Reconnect with Yourself
As you become consumed with the day-to-day realities of running a business, it’s easy to forget why you started your business in the first place. Post your mission in a spot where you can view it daily. Be grateful for the fact that you’ve been given a chance to live your life’s passion. As mentioned in Under 30 CEO’s article titled “40 Pieces of Inspiration for Entrepreneurs,” conjure the precociousness and in-the-moment attitude you held as a child, electronically file compliments given to you by others so you can read them when needed, and continue to evolve into the person you’d like to be. Most importantly, remember the times in which inspiration has helped you overcome challenges of the past.
Being uninspired can lead to self-doubt—which may be daunting if your initial burst landed you recognition or some token of success. How will you continue to help your business grow at that pace? Inspiration is a special thing, but it doesn’t always come together magically. Rather than using your lack of inspiration to fuel anxiety, here’s an idea: show up for work anyway.
In her TED Talk titled “Your Elusive Creative Genius,” bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the mystery of creative inspiration, especially in reference to the doubts she faced while writing the follow-up to her popular novel Eat, Pray, Love. Her advice: keep going for it, even when grand, transcendent inspiration fails to make an appearance. As Gilbert says, “Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be.”
As you continue on your entrepreneurial journey, don’t forget to look for inspiration in unexpected places. When inspiration is there, be thankful for it and revel in the moment. And remember those moments when you’re going through a dry spell, they might be exactly what you need to get your creative gears turning again.