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Updated 16 Jan 2021

Tips to help you keep up your entrepreneurial energy 

Start-up founders will know that late nights and long days come with the territory. Here’s how you can keep yourself motivated to succeed – even when you feel drained.

Paul Keursten , 13 May 2018  Share  0 comments  Print

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It's hard graft in the early days and in order to avoid burn-out, it's important that entrepreneurs maintain good mental, emotional and physical health. Your environment, the people in it and some key thought processes can play a crucial role in maintaining some form of balance.  

Connect with the right people 

Think carefully about the people in your network who are your greatest supporters. They are more than likely those individuals who believe in you and whether they realise it or not, they build you up.

Related: Entrepreneurship lessons from Stephen Hawking

This could be a contact from a previous job, your old boss, a mentor or a previous client. If it’s someone you have a connection and a great working experience with, they will be a supportive and valuable sounding board along your entrepreneurial journey. We all need to connect with people who are a positive source of moral support, especially during those times when you’ve hit a brick wall and are needing positive reinforcement to get back on track.

Accept that mistakes and failures will happen

Success stories of start-ups who beat the odds to become thriving businesses are inspiring and can provide the impetus for others to follow suit. But, we don’t get to hear about the bad business decisions and failed start-ups quite as much. As any entrepreneur will attest to, a multitude of questionable ideas and plans have often preceded the great idea. So, what does this mean for you?

Well, hearing honest accounts of some of these mistakes can be immensely encouraging in that it’s a reality check that we all make them.

Unplug to recharge your entrepreneurial batteries 

Entrepreneurs are renowned for pulling all-nighters especially during the start-up phase of a business. While there are times when long hours are par for the course, it’s also vital todisconnectin order to recharge. 

And we’re not talking about your mobile phone. Disconnect from your immediate surroundings – and your desk – and seek out a completely different environment. So, whether it’s stepping out of the workplace for much needed exercise or even hosting a meeting in an unlikely place, changing things up can provide much-needed inspiration for your next big push.

Igsaan Salie, owner of app development start-up Appy Apps believes that merely sitting in a different space every day can awaken a sense of awareness. “I never sit in the same place every day. And I am strongly encouraging my new team members to do the same. I believe distributed or remote work is a skill that needs to be refined, worked on and practiced.” 

Make decisions based on a desired future not a feared one

When we have a goal, it’s easy to sometimes feel the fear of failure to reach that goal. This can set in motion a spiral of negative thinking that places the focus on what we might not achieve and how bad this would make us feel.

Related: How to adapt and thrive like Arnoux Maré of innovative solutions group

Instead, try to visualisese what success would mean to you. This means different things for different people but by setting your sights on the end-goal and how you would experience that, you’re perpetuating the feeling of a desired outcome. Every time you do this, it re-ignites the inspiration you need to overcome hurdles and makes you focus on what you want to create instead of what you want to prevent.

For Salie and his decision to leave corporate employment and start his own app business, having time in the morning to dedicate to his son and baby daughter has been what it’s all about. The other key driver has been selecting projects that he is passionate about and (more importantly) being able to decline work that he knows would make him miserable. “I never had that choice in corporate and am celebrating that freedom now. If you aren’t enjoying what you do, you probably shouldn’t be doing it,” he says.

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About the author

Paul Keursten

Paul Keursten is co-founder of OPEN Workspaces. OPEN currently has three co-working locations: Workshop17 at the V&A Waterfront, OPEN Sandton and OPEN Maboneng. Four more are scheduled to launch in in the next 12 months. OPEN also supports three township locations through its partner Rhiza. Keursten's focus areas are entrepreneurship, innovation and learning.

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