Sunday, April 5, 2009
How To Stay Motivated as a Startup Entrepreneur
Motivation is a huge issue with starting a company. It's actually a huge issue anywhere. When I used to work as a developer and I'd be given crappy tasks, I'd lose motivation quickly. With this startup, I find that I have days and even weeks were my motivation seems to dry up like the Sahara.
So what are you to do when this happens? There are actually a few options.
1) Use your co-workers, co-founders, whatever. If you have them. Feed off their passion and excitement. This is the one reason why I'd never do a startup without passionate people. Even if they're the best programmer in the world, if they're not bought into your idea, they'll hurt more than they help. Everyone has their ups and downs. And with passionate partners, you can feed of their ups and they can feed off yours when either party is feeling down. Otherwise you'll run the very possible risk of both feeding off the negatives instead of the other way around.
2) Set timelines. This is the hardest thing in the world for me to do. I'm typically very scattered. I'll work on something...get distracted and begin working on something else, often leaving the first task. If you create timelines, it gives you something to work towards and allows you to complete your tasks sequentially. I have a feeling most engineers have this distraction/procrastination thing going on - so try try try to create to-do lists and timelines consistently!.
Last week I was feeling overwhelmed. Our beta testing is far behind schedule. We have a lot of bugs and functionality to add before you can see our work. I was so overwhelmed that I felt I couldn't get anything done. So I pulled my mom in and asked her to help me setup some tasks so I'd be accountable to her. Not ideal. But it worked. Use the resources you can to help you hit your milestones.
3) Use your friends/support. I met with a classmate at the end of last week - and realized that everyone has these ups and downs, especially when you're working by yourself most of the time. Or have a distributed team. We decided we'd meet weekly to keep each other motivated in our respective endeavors even if we're working on different things. This is where finding other entrepreneurs is great for your own moral.