The ultimate guide to the entrepreneurial mindset

With the right tools, technology and skillset, anything’s possible, right? 

Well, not all the time. According to our own research, it’s not uncommon for the right mindset to be a challenge when running a business venture.

It’s why we created this guide — to share what we’ve learned about how mindset shifts can help a business owner down the right path. 

Through our educational content, original research surveying aspiring entrepreneurs, and insights from customers who started their own businesses, we’ll take a look at some of the most common mindset tendencies of successful entrepreneurs and explore strategies for integrating them.

Disclaimer: This list is provided for informational purposes only and does not imply any endorsement, sponsorship, or association with the third parties included. Terms may apply.

If you just get started, that's half the battle. You'll never start if you wait until you have everything. When we started, we never would have envisioned being this size. But we just show up every day. We're consistent. We do things the right way.

— Kristen Bailey, Owner, Sweets + Meats

Think of this guide as a menu of options for building the mindset of a successful entrepreneur. Just like at a buffet, you can pick and choose what works best for you and leave the rest behind.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to winning at entrepreneurship. This journey is yours alone.

Definition & importance of an entrepreneurial mindset

The entrepreneurial mindset isn't just about getting a business off the ground or running it successfully. It’s an approach to life that draws together fortitude, determination, and resilience.

The lesson I'm in right now is to be the leader that I want to be and the force that I want to be. I have to really humble myself more than I ever recognized before, because to have that kind of influence and power requires being able to still hear and listen, and pause, and slow, and include, and not disconnect, and not push away.

— Thea Monyeé, Owner, MarleyAyo

The right attitude can help set you up for success as you inevitably face business challenges and opportunities. This is all just a part of running a business – welcome to the club! 

Cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset

Beyond skills and resources, the mindset of a business owner can help trace the path from idea to open for business.

  • Embracing mistakes: See failure not as a setback, but as feedback. It's a lesson, a teacher, a guide to a better approach.
  • Continuous learning: The world changes daily. Stay updated, stay hungry, and always be curious.
  • Enthusiasm, attitude, and outlook: We can always control our perspective and the energy we bring when we show up. 
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Characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset

It’s not just about crunching numbers and whizzing through spreadsheets. The mindset of a business owner is identifiable by distinct characteristics.

  • Opportunity recognition: Seeing potential where others see problems.
  • Tolerance for risk: Willingness to take calculated risks.
  • Creativity and innovation: Thinking outside the box and finding novel solutions.
  • Determination: The grit to keep pushing through, irrespective of challenges.
  • Flexibility: Ability to adapt when faced with changing circumstances.
  • Decisiveness: Making decisions confidently, even with incomplete information.
  • Visionary thinking: Focusing on the bigger picture and long-term goals.
  • Emotional intelligence: Understanding and managing emotions effectively in oneself and others. 
  • Continuous learning: Being open to new knowledge and skills to stay ahead in a rapidly changing environment.

Building confidence

Running a business can be incredibly rewarding, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. It’s common for business owners to experience fear,  which can sometimes feel overwhelming. 

Maintaining confidence in yourself and the value you bring to the world is a key part of the entrepreneur mindset.

According to our May 2024 survey of more than 800 aspiring entrepreneurs across the United States, more than 50% of respondents indicated that having the confidence to get started had an effect on their ability to start a business. Just over 11% said it had no effect.

Understanding confidence as a business owner

If fear is holding you back, take heart knowing you aren’t alone. Countless people, just like you, have faced down these fears and now enjoy the success that comes with it.

If you manifest it into your life, it will happen. You just have to put yourself in spaces and speak about your dreams. Most entrepreneurs hold back because they're afraid that they'll be judged, or they're afraid that nobody will believe in them, but at the end of the day, you should believe in yourself.

Samuelle Dilla, Independent Hair & Makeup Artist

Addressing challenges

Like rust eroding a mighty battleship, breakdowns in your confidence can start small. But, left unaddressed, they might present enormous challenges to maintaining progress — sinking the entire ship.

These challenges can vary depending on an individual’s unique circumstances, but from a high level, these are some of the most common challenges facing business owners — and how to get past them.

Overcoming imposter syndrome

Impostor syndrome is marked by a sense of inadequacy and hesitancy.

Those affected are often unable to recognize the part their own capabilities have in their successes, instead attributing it mostly to luck or external factors. There’s an overall sense of phoniness about one’s abilities.

The good news is that there are ways to cope with impostor syndrome and build self-confidence. 

Strategies to overcome impostor syndrome

It’s important to recognize that you are not alone in feeling this way, and it does not reflect your true capabilities or achievements. The following strategies may help you to manage and overcome impostor syndrome:

  • Acknowledge your feelings. It’s important to recognize that these feelings are real and valid, even if they don’t reflect reality.
  • Develop self-compassion. Talk to yourself with kindness and understanding rather than criticism.
  • Practice positive self-talk. Remind yourself of your accomplishments and strengths rather than focusing on your failures or weaknesses.
  • Set realistic goals. Break down large tasks into smaller, achievable steps and focus on your long-term well-being, not just the short-term ability to push yourself to the brink.
  • Celebrate small successes. Recognize and reward yourself for even the smallest accomplishments.
  • Reach out for help. Seek feedback and support from those around you. Speaking with your mentors, in particular, can be helpful for recognizing your own personal growth, according to the American Psychological Association. Opting for therapeutic intervention and speaking with a healthcare professional can be helpful as well.
  • Prioritize self-care. Make time to relax, recharge, and take care of yourself.

By recognizing your feelings and taking steps to manage them, you can build confidence in yourself and achieve success without feeling fraudulent or inadequate. With the right strategies, anyone can overcome impostor syndrome and reach their full potential in a healthy way.

Be patient with your journey, don’t compare yourself to others, focus on being a better you everyday one step at a time.

— Rahiem Thompson, Owner, Roletape

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Facing competitors

Every business owner faces competition in some form, and it's natural to worry about how your business will stack up against others in your industry.

I compare myself to a lot of different brands. But I’ll look back and be like, ‘Angel, you're a small business. You're comparing yourself to multibillion-dollar companies. They have a lot more resources than you have.’

— Angel Retonda, Owner, It’s Barking Good

The competitive landscape can be especially intimidating for small business owners, who may feel they lack the resources or experience to compete with larger, more established companies.

Getting past the fear of competition

Here are a few things you can do to help you worry less about what competitors are doing and focus more on reaching your full potential:

  • Differentiate your business: Focus on what sets your business apart from the competition, whether it's a unique product, exceptional customer service, or a strong brand identity.
  • Stay curious about your competitors: Regularly research your competitors to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and look for opportunities to gain a competitive edge.
  • Avoid an adversarial perspective: Don’t look at competitors as “the enemy.” Instead, realize they, too, are at different stages in their journeys and could be a source of inspiration and support.
  • Continuously innovate and improve: Keep refining your products, services, and processes to stay ahead of the curve and maintain your unique advantage.
  • Leverage partnerships and collaborations: Work with other businesses, suppliers, or influencers to expand your reach, share resources, and create mutually beneficial opportunities.

Competition can be a driving force for growth and innovation. Embrace it as an opportunity to improve your business and better serve your customers.

Tackling fear of failure

Fear of failure is a common concern for many business owners. No one wants to invest time, money, and energy into a venture only to see it fail. 

But, as they say, sometimes we have nothing to fear but fear itself? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

If somebody invites me to something that's business related, I make a point of going now. Before, I’d be like, ‘I don't know if I want to go to that. I don't know if I want to do that. Now, I'm making a point of getting out, because when I talk to other people, I see that I'm not alone in this.

— Susan Clayton, Owner, WhitePaws RunMitts

Fortunately, there are a few common-sense strategies to help you get past the fear of failure.

Overcoming the fear of failure
  • Accept that failure is a possibility: Recognize that every business owner faces the risk of failure. In fact, it’s almost certain that you’ll make mistakes and learn from them along the way. Accepting this reality can help you manage your fears and develop contingency plans.
  • Focus on the journey, not just the outcome: Instead of solely fixating on the end result, appreciate the growth that comes from facing challenges. Embracing learning opportunities will help you  view failure as a stepping stone towards success.
  • Visualize success: Imagine yourself overcoming obstacles and achieving your goals. Visualization can help boost your confidence and alleviate fears of failure by creating a positive mindset.
  • Learn from past mistakes: When looking at past failures, give yourself grace and identify the lessons learned. That way, you get a better chance to avoid making the same mistakes. It can also build your confidence if the same stuff comes up again.
  • Set realistic goals: To stay motivated, divide your long-term goals into smaller, attainable milestones and celebrate each small win along the way. Baby steps are key! This will keep the dopamine rewards flowing as you check off each milestone.
  • Surround yourself with a support network: Connect with other business owners, mentors, or coaches who can offer guidance and encouragement. You can find support through local networking events, online forums, or organizations like SCORE.

Failure is a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey. It's important to learn from your mistakes and use them as stepping stones toward success.

Managing fear of financial instability

One of the major business owner fears tends to revolve around concerns for finances. Unlike a regular job, owning a business often means fluctuating income, which can be unpredictable.

Taking on the fear of financial instability

Once you’re confident in the financial stability of your business, it might feel like a weight has been removed. Here are a few actionable ideas to help you get there.

  • Have a plan: Start by creating a detailed budget and financial plan for your business. Knowing where your money is going and coming from can help alleviate some of the fear of the unknown.
  • Diversify revenue streams: This could mean expanding your product or service offerings, reaching out to new markets, or exploring different sales channels.
  • Build up an emergency fund: Having a safety net of savings can provide peace of mind in case of unexpected expenses or downturns in the market.
  • Stay informed: What financial trends and economic indicators could impact your business? Knowledge is power, and being aware of potential risks can help you better prepare for them.
  • Don’t feel alone: Remember that financial instability is a common concern for many business owners, and you are not alone in facing these challenges. Surround yourself with a supportive cast, like trusted business accountants, payroll and tax professionals who can offer advice and encouragement.

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Developing resilience & perseverance

With a resilient mindset, you can develop the emotional and mental fortitude to bounce back from setbacks and achieve your business goals.

Remember, setbacks and challenges are a natural part of the learning process — and a guaranteed part of running a business. 

According to our survey, more than 53% of aspiring entrepreneurs indicated that being able to bounce back from setbacks had an effect on their ability to start a business. Just under 9% said it had no effect.

Importance of resilience in getting a business off the ground

Even when everything seems to be going right, one small setback can produce — ahem! — less-than-desired results (cue sad trombone). 

That’s why building resilience is so important — to develop the skills and strategies necessary to bounce back from adversity and setbacks quickly and effectively.

Whether it’s dealing with financial hardship, employee turnover or customer dissatisfaction, having a resilient mindset is essential to moving forward after being knocked down. Remember, as they say, this, too, shall pass.

If you're trying to do too many things or all of the things, you're going to be using your time less efficiently to make money. Your life will be simpler if you narrow your focus.

— Sigourney Morrison, Owner, Dressed New Orleans

Addressing barriers to resilience

Building resilience is a journey, not a destination. It requires hard work and dedication, but the rewards are worth it. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Dealing with frustration with progress

Instead of getting discouraged or giving up, you can learn from setbacks and failure and use them as an opportunity to grow and improve.

When you encounter issues, take a step back and reflect on what you can learn from the experience. This may involve analyzing what went wrong, seeking feedback from others, or experimenting with new approaches. 

By learning from setbacks and failure, you can develop new skills and strategies that will help you overcome future challenges -- and possibly prevent similar issues.

Mastering time management

For someone launching their own venture, there's always a never-ending to-do list to tackle. When you’re staring at the top of the mountain, it can feel overwhelming to take the first step.

There are only 24 hours in a day. Look at where you spend your time, and maybe sacrifice binge-watching that show, putting that time towards certain things, or cutting it up, and maybe doing half an hour, and a half an hour working on your business.

— April Harper, Co-owner, Harp Vision

Procrastination also happens to the best of us. You might be all set up, ready to get work done, and suddenly find yourself scrolling through social media or taking an extra-long coffee break instead of checking off the most important tasks on your to-do list.

According to our survey, more than 52% of aspiring entrepreneurs indicated that having enough time to get things done had an effect on their ability to start a business. Just under 11% said it had no effect.

Importance of time management for business owners

Time is a precious resource for business owners.From managing daily operations to developing long-term strategies, juggling multiple responsibilities is a skill that takes practice and – you guessed it – the right mindset!

Set realistic goals and make sure you communicate timing with your customer. Always be upfront and honest. It is ok to take breaks or ask for help.

— Jennifer Woodruff, Owner, Naturally Made with Love

Addressing challenges

Getting a better handle on time management can help ease any uncertainty about the future, and make it easier to stay focused on important tasks.

Overcoming time anxiety

Time anxiety is a feeling of stress or worry related to the passage of time, often characterized by a fear of not having enough time to accomplish tasks or meet deadlines.

I’ve had quite a few days when I really couldn't get myself out of bed. I’d just keep thinking about all the things due. It's quite difficult to manage time. And I do get that anxiety.

— Angel Retonda, Owner, It’s Barking Good

However, overcoming time anxiety becomes more manageable if you employ strategies that feel natural given your individual situation:

  • Prioritize tasks: Identify the most important tasks and focus on completing them first to alleviate feelings of overwhelm. Remember, you put big rocks in the jar first — leaving the sand for last.
  • Baby steps: Break down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps to make them less daunting and facilitate progress. You can use AI to help break down tasks, or find ways to celebrate the atomic habits that get you started.
  • Timeboxing: Add important tasks to your calendar and be sure to keep these commitments to yourself. Keep the timelines realistic and develop a structure that works for you. 
  • Set boundaries: Establish boundaries to protect your time and energy, and avoid overcommitting yourself. This looks different for everyone, but remember that rest and play are important so you can be fully charged for work.
  • Practice mindfulness and self-care: Engage in mindfulness practices and self-care activities to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Visualization and meditation can go a long way to helping improve your mindset and make the most of the present moment. 
  • Develop time management skills: Learn and implement time management strategies, such as goal setting, organization, and effective communication, to improve productivity and reduce anxiety related to time.
  • Seek support: Reach out to friends, family, or professionals for support, guidance, and encouragement in managing time anxiety. 

Balancing business and personal priorities

A healthy work-life integration varies from person to person, but remains crucial for entrepreneurs. It’s far too easy to dive into your stack of business priorities, only to emerge exhausted and unprepared to rally for the next round of business at hand.

For me, what’s worked the best is giving myself that 30-minute block a day, where I quite literally do not talk to anyone. I'm not on my phone. I'm not texting anybody. There's no noise. It's just me, myself and my thoughts, because that's where I can kind of gather and center myself.

— Angel Retonda, Owner, It’s Barking Good

But prioritizing self-care, such as getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly, can offer mental and physical benefits. In turn, this can lead to increased focus, productivity, and a reduced likelihood of procrastination.

Implementing aspects of self-care into your life can be a challenge, however. Here's a quick game plan:

  • Make an achievable self-care plan that fits into your lifestyle and daily routine.
  • Set yourself goals around the plan and track your progress.
  • Be conscious of how your work may be affecting your well-being, and make adjustments when necessary.
  • Take regular breaks and vacations to recharge and avoid burnout.

Set boundaries between work and personal life

Establish clear boundaries between your work and personal life by setting specific work hours, creating a dedicated workspace, and communicating your boundaries to friends and family. 

By doing so, you can better focus on work-related tasks during designated times and minimize distractions.

Better planning through better estimates

Planning fallacy refers to our tendency to underestimate the time, costs, and risks involved in completing a project or task. But once you get the hang of planning, this bugaboo will show up less often.

This cognitive bias can lead to unrealistic expectations and poor decision-making. To avoid falling prey to the planning fallacy, consider implementing the following strategies:

Strategies for avoiding planning fallacy

  • Track and reflect on project timelines: Instead of relying solely on your own judgment and past experiences, gather data from similar projects or tasks to make more accurate predictions about timelines and resources needed. Emerging AI technology can also be a big help here, too.
  • Break down the project into smaller tasks: By breaking down a project into smaller, more manageable tasks, you can more accurately estimate the time and resources needed for each component, leading to a more realistic overall timeline.
  • Incorporate buffer time: Build in extra time and resources into your project timeline to account for unexpected delays or setbacks that may arise. This will help mitigate the impact of unforeseen challenges and prevent you from falling behind schedule.
  • Consider multiple perspectives: Seek input from colleagues, mentors, or experts in the field to gain different perspectives on the project and identify potential blind spots or optimistic biases in your planning.
  • Track progress and adjust as needed: Regularly monitor your progress against the project timeline and adjust your plan as necessary to stay on track. By staying flexible and adaptable, you can avoid the pitfalls of the planning fallacy and increase the likelihood of project success.

Making decisions with confidence

Along with freedom comes responsibility — lots of it! It's understandable that being the one in charge can get tiresome. Here's some ways to get back into boss mode

In order to stay sharp, it is important to implement strategies that help simplify our decision-making process. Willpower and decision-making take energy, so it’s important to conserve these efforts in other areas of your life, not just at work.

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Strategies to simplify decision-making

  • Prioritize and delegate: Focus on the most important decisions and delegate less critical ones to others. This can help reduce the number of choices you have to make and conserve your mental energy for more impactful decisions.
  • Set limits on choices: This can help prevent overwhelm and make the decision-making process more manageable. For example, when hunting for a new website theme, narrow down your choices to three options instead of duly considering every one.
  • Establish routines: Create daily routines and habits that eliminate the need for decision-making. This can include planning your meals in advance, setting a regular work schedule, or establishing a consistent morning routine. 
  • Take breaks and recharge: Give yourself time to rest and recharge throughout the day. Taking short breaks can help prevent decision fatigue and improve your cognitive function. Whether it's going for a walk, meditating, or simply taking a few deep breaths, find activities that help clear your mind and rejuvenate your energy.
  • Simplify your environment: Reduce the number of distractions and clutter in your surroundings to promote clearer thinking and reduce decision fatigue. Organize your workspace, declutter your home, and eliminate unnecessary choices from your daily routine. 

Cultivating a growth mindset

Cultivating a growth mindset means embracing challenges and seeing them as opportunities to learn and grow.

I want everybody else to succeed as much as I do, because there's a seat at the table for everybody. I didn't really know how to manage my time as a mom and as a business owner, but I take pride in learning from that. I think the biggest thing as an entrepreneur is that recognizing that every or any mistake that you can pivot from is truly a gift.

Samuelle Dilla, Independent Hair & Makeup Artist

People with a growth mindset believe that success comes through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. On the other hand, people with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are set in stone and cannot be changed.

According to our survey, more than 42% of aspiring entrepreneurs indicated that being able to learn new things had an effect on their ability to start a business. Just under 19% said it had no effect.

Understanding & cultivating the growth mindset

To cultivate a growth mindset, you have to reframe the way you think about challenges. Instead of seeing them as threats, you must see them as opportunities for growth.

Enjoying a growth mindset is within your control. Let’s take a quick look at how a growth mindset can keep things framed in a positive light.

  • Stay informed and keep learning: Make a conscious effort to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, news, and developments. Attend conferences, webinars, and workshops, and regularly read relevant publications and blogs.
  • Listen to your customers: Regularly solicit feedback from your customers to identify their needs, preferences, and pain points. Use this information to improve your products, services, and overall customer experience.
  • Embrace change and be adaptable: Being open to change and adapting your business model as needed can help you stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge. Don't be afraid to pivot or explore new opportunities if it makes sense for your business.
  • Invest in innovation: Allocate resources to research and development, and encourage a culture of creativity and experimentation within your team. This can help you stay at the forefront of your industry and continue to offer value to your customers.
  • Network with industry professionals: Build relationships with peers, competitors, and other professionals in your industry. Networking can provide valuable insights, opportunities, and connections that can help your business stay relevant and grow.

By staying informed, listening to your customers, and embracing change, you can overcome stagnation and ensure that your business remains relevant and successful in an ever-evolving market.

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Learning to use new tools

When you’re using tools and technology, understanding how to get the most out of them can help you effectively run a business and achieve your goals. Here are five strategies to help you become a pro user of your business tools:

  • Invest in ongoing training and education: This can go a long way in helping you stay current with emerging technology and the latest advancements.
  • Have tech support on standby: This might mean a buddy or relative, or even hiring a tech expert to assist with troubleshooting and problem-solving.
  • Take regular breaks: Give yourself a sec to breathe and clear your mind when dealing with technology challenges. Give yourself some grace.
  • Utilize online resources: Do a web search for tutorials and forums to learn new skills and find solutions to tech issues.
  • Implement time management techniques: These can include setting specific tech-related tasks and deadlines, to stay organized and focused on addressing technology frustrations.

Progress over perfectionism

Why worry about the desire to make sure every last detail is perfect? Well, perfectionism is strongly linked to procrastination in business owners and others who would generally be considered “go-getters.”

I'm still working on not being perfect, because when you try to have things be perfect, you could make the situation worse. It can start trickling into procrastination. Sometimes, you're waiting for it to look a certain way, and then time has passed. The idea is gone, or the moment is gone, and you could still be in your head. 

—April Harper, Co-owner, Harp Vision

Accepting things aren’t always perfect

If you’ve managed to get a venture off the ground, it makes sense you’d want everything just right. However, this can quickly lead to what is often called “perfectionistic over-functioning,” where a business owner can’t prevent themself from executing every role in the operation.

According to our survey, nearly 41% of aspiring entrepreneurs indicated that accepting that things may not be perfect had an effect on their ability to start a business. More than 14% said it had no effect.

If there’s a short track to burnout, this is it. Nobody can maintain maximum effort over the long haul. The wise entrepreneur understands their limits and seeks help where it makes sense.

Setting realistic goals and expectations

Maintain realistic goals (read: baby steps) and expectations in order to avoid falling into the trap of perfectionism. Setting achievable and measurable goals allows for a clearer path towards success and prevents feelings of inadequacy or failure.

By understanding that perfection is unattainable and there needs to be room to grow, you can focus on progress and growth rather than constantly striving for an unattainable standard. 

Embracing mistakes and learning from failures is an essential part of the journey. And defining intentions and expectations can help in maintaining a healthy mindset and avoiding burnout. 

By staying flexible and open to adjustments, you can more easily adapt to challenges and setbacks without being consumed by the need for perfection.

Building a support network

We’re wired for connection and community. And we may need different communities – or support systems – for different parts of our life.

It’s just being able to talk to a network of people who are dealing with the same issues that we're dealing with and knowing that is normal, and that we're gonna have good days and bad days.

—Tyron Harper, Co-owner, Harp Vision

Importance of a support network

For entrepreneurs, building a business might feel lonely, but if you develop a support system of like-minded individuals, you can count on people having your back. It turns out that a good support system will benefit your mindset, too.

Whether it's emotional, social, or professional support, having a network of people who believe in you and support you can make all the difference.

According to our survey, nearly 48% of aspiring entrepreneurs indicated that getting support from other people had an effect on their ability to start a business. Just under 11% said it had no effect.

Identifying and engaging with mentors

Your mentor should ideally be someone whose career you admire and who has similar personal and professional values as your own. 

When you set out finding a mentor, there are a few key qualities you should look for.

  • Find someone with a successful career in the field that you’re pursuing rather than someone who is just starting out. They, like you, won’t have the necessary experience to understand how the industry works nor can they advise you on how to move up in the ranks.
  • Your mentor should be friendly, have the ability to listen, and have a positive attitude necessary to encourage you.
  • Choose a mentor that has passion for their field/work that translates into desire to teach and help those who are just starting out.
  • Look for someone who has availability for meetings on a regular basis. The last thing you want is a mentor who can never be around when you need guidance.
  • Your mentor should treat you as an equal, provide you with the support when you need it but also challenge you to continue developing yourself as well as help you make tough decisions when you need to.
  • Look for someone who has been mentored in the past because chances are they will have a better understanding of the value mentorship can provide.

Building relationships with like-minded individuals

Your support system can include family members, friends, coworkers, and mentors. You may even develop a team of professionals as a separate support system — for example, therapists and support groups.

In business, your support system might even be an online community. For instance, it’s common to find groups who chat on LinkedIn —  including our own!

I'm networking with other businesses that are at the same level, if not higher than mine. I meet with these people on a monthly basis. They're my accountability circle. I'm vulnerable with them. It's all about personal and professional development.

— Kristen Bailey, Owner, Sweets + Meats

Even with a group of online friends who’ve never met in real life can go a long way in developing your mindset — and, in turn, your business. Other online support systems can be found in Facebook groups, Slack, Discord, and more.

Utilizing professional organizations, conferences & online communities

Professional organizations and online communities can be powerful resources for individuals looking to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. 

By joining these groups, aspiring business owners can connect with like-minded individuals, share ideas, and gain valuable insights from experienced professionals in their field. 

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These communities provide a platform for networking, mentorship, and access to resources that can help individuals navigate the challenges of starting and growing a business. 

By actively engaging with these organizations, it can be easier to gain knowledge, build skills, and stay up-to-date on industry trends, ultimately helping to cultivate the mindset and skills needed to succeed in the competitive world of independent business. 

Maintaining motivation & focus

Once you get your idea up and running, you still might encounter a familiar issue: maintaining the motivation and focus to continue enjoying success day in and day out.

Importance of motivation & focus

Motivation and focus are crucial for individuals who must  navigate the challenges and uncertainties of starting and running a business. 

Without motivation, it can be difficult to stay committed to achieving long-term goals and overcoming obstacles along the way.

There's just something so gratifying about crossing things off, when it comes to pen and paper. There's so much clutter in my brain that I just need to blur them all out. Blurring it out, to me, is writing it on a piece of paper. It's one less thing my brain is now loading, and it's on a piece of paper that I can look back on later.

—Angel Retonda, Owner, It’s Barking Good

Focus is equally important as it helps prioritize tasks, make informed decisions, and maintain momentum towards success. 

By staying motivated and focused, individuals can effectively manage their time, resources, and energy, ultimately increasing their chances of turning their vision into a successful venture.

Techniques to stay motivated & focused

Now that we’ve established why motivation and focus are so important, how do you maintain them? Let’s dive in.

I always felt like I was chasing flow instead of in flow. I always felt like everything, and everyone, needed my attention all the time, which is impossible.

— Thea Monyeé, Owner, MarleyAyo

Setting clear objectives & milestones

If you’re feeling stressed about work, one of the best things you can do is create a sense of certainty for the day ahead.

Mapping out your day or week will help you clear your mental load while giving a decent level of balance throughout the day. As a result, you’ll be able to keep a lid on your stress while focusing when it counts most.

To map out your day effectively, you should write a list of everything on your mind. Next, organize this into a priority list of your must-dos, then a secondary list of your need-to-dos or nice-to-dos. You should also allocate a certain amount of time for lunch, a walk, and screen breaks.

Using your notes, calendar or project management system of choice, you should slot the activities from your various lists into time slots according to when you’re most productive (don’t forget to add those all-important breaks into the mix).

If you’re more of a go-getter in the morning, for instance, add your two biggest must-dos into your day’s plan early. That way, you’ll be able to get the tough stuff done out of the way, reducing your stress and improving your focus in the process.

Creating a conducive work environment

Another essential way to focus under stress is dialing down any unnecessary distractions.

When we’re stressed, it’s only natural to want a hit of dopamine from social media, endlessly scroll the web for random content, chat to friends — basically do anything to procrastinate. Doing these things isn’t entirely bad, particularly if they make you happy. 

But, when you’re trying to get the job done, these distractions can become unhealthy or even add to the stress.

Here are some tips on how to dial down the distractions when you’re stressed at work:

  • Mute notifications on your mobile phone and laptop during certain periods
  • Distance yourself from your mobile phone when you’re working on something important
  • Set up your desk with minimal visual distractions and calming photos or imagery
  • If you’re in the office, wear headphones to signal that you don’t want to be distracted. They will essentially act as a “do not disturb” sign for your ears!
  • Enjoy these distractions when you’re on your breaks to get them out of your system. That way, you can return to your desk or work station refreshed and ready to focus

Practicing effective time management

Effective time management is crucial for maintaining motivation and focus in all aspects of life. By prioritizing tasks and allocating time to each, individuals can ensure that they are making progress towards their goals. 

Without proper time management, it is easy to become overwhelmed and lose sight of what needs to be accomplished. Here are a few ideas to get you started with better time management:

  • The Pomodoro Technique: This method involves working in short bursts of focused time (typically 25 minutes) followed by a short break. This helps to maintain focus and productivity.
  • Eisenhower Matrix: This technique involves categorizing tasks into four quadrants based on urgency and importance, allowing individuals to prioritize tasks accordingly.
  • Time Blocking: This method involves scheduling specific blocks of time for different tasks or activities, ensuring that each task is given the necessary attention and focus.
  • Getting Things Done (GTD): This productivity method involves capturing all tasks and ideas in an organized system, breaking them down into actionable steps, and regularly reviewing and updating progress.
  • The 2-Minute Rule: This rule states that if a task can be completed in two minutes or less, it should be done immediately. This helps to prevent tasks from piling up and becoming overwhelming. 
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There you have it, what we’ve learned about cultivating and maintaining a strong entrepreneurial mindset. If you ever find yourself facing doubts and frustration, we encourage you to revisit this guide to help get your thinking back on track.

I've worked for it. I wanted to be meaningful and not just doing it for the sake of doing it. I didn't want to just start a business. I wanted to solve the problem. And now that I've solved it, I want to continue to solve problems. I've gotta brag more. I need to start talking like, ‘Yes, this is what I've done. This is why I do it.’

— Susan Clayton, Owner, WhitePaws RunMitts

Keep pushing toward your goals. The journey can be tough and filled with challenges, but remember that every successful business owners has faced setbacks along the way. 

Stay focused, stay motivated, and continue working with determination and resilience. You have what it takes to achieve great things.