When Your Passion Becomes Work: How Young Entrepreneurs Can Stay Motivated
Entrepreneurship for young people often means starting with something you’re passionate about. You can create a business out of something you’re already good at, like tutoring kids in math or pet sitting. You can also create a business out of a personal interest you’ve always had, like podcasting or clothing recycling. Wherever you start from, chances are you’ll be doing something you already love.
But what happens when the thing you love feels more like work? When the business you’ve put your heart and soul into feels like a burden? Perhaps you already launched a year ago and have yet to make a single dime of profit. Why bother? Why keep going?
Once you no longer experience the joy and excitement you had at the start, it’s easy to lose your motivation. You might even feel like quitting. Before you do, consider these tips.
KEEP CHALLENGING YOURSELF
Yes, we know that founding a business is already a challenge. Consider, though, what you’ve done since your launch to challenge yourself and grow your business. Is there a new product you can offer? A new market you can tap into? Partnerships to make and relationships to nurture?
Don’t let your business run on autopilot. Do a serious assessment of ways you can challenge yourself as a young entrepreneur now that you’re a little more familiar with the journey.
TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT YOU’RE OFFERING – AND WHERE
It’s a hard, sad fact that 50-95% of startups fail in their first year, and 42% of those fail because they weren’t marketing the right product to the right audience at the right time. Even the best ideas in the world will fall flat on their (founders’) faces if they are marketed to people who neither need nor want them. Would you offer your services as a pet sitter to a family with no pets? Of course not. If your business is stagnating, maybe it’s a marketing problem.
If you haven’t already, create a marketing plan. This will keep you from spinning your wheels so you get some actual customers.
RECOGNIZE THAT THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS
No one can be excited about something all the time. It’s totally normal that your initial rush of excitement at starting something new will wear off. There’s not necessarily anything going wrong. You’re just no longer in “something new and shiny!” mode.
ADMIT THAT YOU MIGHT FAIL
Fear of failure can hold you back from giving your all to your enterprise. Have an honest conversation with yourself and ask: are you so afraid of failing that you’ve lost interest in your startup?
Nearly every successful entrepreneur in history has had to grapple with failure at some point in their life. You’re certainly not alone! There are ways to crush your fear of failure so you can make room for motivation.
ADMIT THAT YOU MIGHT SUCCEED
The opposite of the fear of failure is imposter syndrome. And while most high-achieving, college-bound young entrepreneurs like you aim to succeed in school, you may be afraid of business success. Hey, it happens! Face your imposter syndrome so you can move on. Yes, YOU deserve success!
REMEMBER YOUR ‘WHY’
Many young entrepreneurs these days are deeply invested in social change. And we love that! On days when working on your business feels hopeless, remember why you started it in the first place. What kind of change are you looking to make? Who are you trying to help? What was your “call to action,” so to speak? Spend some time remembering why you got into this business in the first place. Look around and see if you can find anyone who’s already benefited from your work. This will help reignite your passion for what you do.
CELEBRATE YOUR WINS
Following directly from remembering your “why” comes celebrating your wins. Look back to when you started with little more than a dream. Remember that business plan you definitely made? When was the last time you looked at it?
Sometimes it takes seeing how far you’ve come to help you keep going. Look at all those milestones you hit. Count all the mini-goals you’ve achieved. Are you ahead of your timeline? And hey, just the fact that you started this business is impressive! You’ve already done something few people dare to try. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and acknowledge that you are crushing this!
REMEMBER THE LONG GAME
Some common reasons why young entrepreneurs start businesses:
- It looks good to colleges and scholarship foundations
- It’s a way to make your own money
- You enjoy helping others in your community
- You’re following in someone’s footsteps
- You truly love animals, kids, the outdoors, or whatever else
- You want to get a head start on your chosen career or field of study
- That old-fashioned competitive spirit!
That goal, that reason why you took the steps to start a business instead of just talking about it, is probably still there. And if not, is there something else you can aspire to accomplish?
TAKE A STEP BACK
We all need breaks every once in a while. The reason for your lack of motivation may be that you simply need to take a step back from your enterprise. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” as they say. Don’t think of this as quitting. Step away from your business with the intention that you will return. And that it will still be there when you do.
Ultimately, motivation is entirely personal. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to why you do what you do. Some people quit anything that shows the slightest sign of being hard. Others lack the stamina for long-term projects. Sometimes people get into a profession or activity for the wrong reasons, like being pressured into it. At the end of the day, only you can be honest with yourself about why you no longer feel good when you work on your startup. Once you acknowledge that, you can start refreshing your motivation.
Find out more about the Kantner Foundation, including our college scholarships for young entrepreneurs in Florida, by clicking here. We look forward to your application!