Startup motivation and consistency


I'm working on a part-time unpaid startup now and everyone seems to be full of energy at the start. However as we go along, everyone seems to start losing grip and considering it as one of their ordinary day jobs.

Considering it's part-time and unpaid, folks get burned out and they no longer want to sacrifice their personal lives. I know that such setup is very difficult to work, anyhow, what are your tips for keeping the folks motivated, engaged and consistent in terms of delivery?


asked Jul 26 '11 at 12:24
161 points
  • Do you have any customers yet? They usually keep things interesting. – Jeff O 12 years ago
  • @Jeff Oresik: Yes, we already have a customer, no matter how interesting things get, it has a little effect in terms of motivation – Joset 12 years ago

2 Answers


Been in this situation a few times, here's what I've learned.

  • Meet in person a few times a week to discuss ideas, status, questions, etc
  • Celebrate small victories, if you get continually rewarded every few days it really boosts your spirits
  • Eat/drink together. Bonding is good.
  • Show your co-workers the light at the end of the tunnel. Send out high-fidelity designs, info about customers that are interested in your product, etc. Knowing that people want your product is inspiring.
  • Make your product useable all the time, no weekly builds that crash and are unusable. If you can use it every day you'll be much more excited about it.
answered Jul 26 '11 at 15:29
Ryan Doherty
598 points
  • These are great tips! We're doing 1, 3, 4 of your list (in order). I never realized that 2 and 5 will help. Thanks! – Joset 12 years ago
  • +1 Great points. I'm wondering how you adapt them when you all live in different parts of the world as my team do – Susan Jones 12 years ago
  • @Susan Jones: IRC, a chatroom, any method of 'hanging out' online works. Basically you need a really easy way of communicating low to medium priority information without being as jarring as a phone call. I'd recommend Campfire ( – Ryan Doherty 12 years ago
  • Thanks Ryan. I'll check it out. It's hard when we are all in different time zones and working other jobs as well but we need a way to do this. It's really important to keeping the momentum going – Susan Jones 12 years ago


I agree with Ryan.

I will stress on these two items - all centered around SETTING the right EXPECTATIONS.

  1. REALISTIC PLAN: Create an overall plan and be REALISTIC and TRANSPARENT (as much as you can) with the team. If you think it will take 12-18 months to get funded, tell them that upfront. Explain the risks and rewards so they have enough to make a decision and know that once they make a call to be with you, they will need to stick it out to see it through.
  2. RECOGNITION of INTERNAL SUCCESSES: Create real internal milestones - as with any startup, it will be a long, arduous, winding road to your first customer or win. The team needs to see progress and internal successes or milestones being met/exceeded towards the plan (from #1). They need to be reminded how what you are all doing together is no simple feat and accomplishments even small ones need to be RECOGNIZED in team setting.

This will keep the team going! Other things that Ryan mentions - team gatherings etc are good as well - but may not be possible sometimes or with some members given location and all.

Keep it going! It can be done!


answered Jul 27 '11 at 03:31
381 points
  • You mean Realistic Plan i.e. including the anticipation that some members won't deliver as committed? Thanks Siva – Joset 12 years ago
  • Realistic is tricky - you dont want to show such a long timeline that people think they have all the time in the world... neither should it be so aggressive that it will definitely not be met. So anticipating some "problems" is normal. However the push/drive must be for every member to deliver to their committments with clear recognition if they deliver beyond. – Siva 12 years ago

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics: