Startups and anxiety: how do solo founders motivate themselves when things don't go according to plan?


Almost no one gets to realize their metrics of success when they launch their startup. It's a long, arduous journey which no one anticipates until they launch their product, only to find that getting traction is going to be a painfully slow process.

Even the best, veteran entrepreneurs face anxiety and depression of sorts in the early stages of a startup. It's especially hard on solo entrepreneurs who don't have a co-founder or employees.

How do you stay motivated and on track? How do you jump out of bed everyday and move forward, instead of hanging the hat and abandoning your dream?

Motivation Solo Entrepreneur Founders Startups Execution

asked Jul 9 '14 at 15:58
Robert Pankratz
11 points
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1 Answer


This is an awesome question. For me vision is the most important thing. Though instead of looking five years into the future at the multi-million dollar acquisition, I like to think 6-12 months into the future. You might make a goal for number of users, turnover, profit, anything. Writing this on a bit of paper and sticking it in front of your desk helps me to continue working towards it.

However on occasion the inevitable happens when you can't get out of bed, and this is fine! Entrepreneurs are known to have short attention spans, and be quite manic in mood swings etc. When I feel like this, I don't work that day. Why? Because any work that I do would be unproductive, and tainted by my underlying feelings of just wanting to hang up the hat. Instead, I spend the day watching videos, going for walks/runs, catching up with friends, or more often then not, go and volunteer for a day.

If you spend your down days (which will always happen) doing something enjoyable, then when you wake up the next day you are refreshed and ready to hit it again. And maybe it will last a week, maybe longer, but it doesn't matter. You are your own boss now, you are creating your own destiny, so whilst the movies tell us to work 20 hour days, 7 days a week. Don't. Let your body go through all the emotions of building a startup and enjoy it!

answered Jul 9 '14 at 22:19
251 points
  • Very well said! – Garysvpa 9 years ago

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