How do you get to Eye of the Tiger mode?
June 7, 2012 6:30 AM   Subscribe

How do you cultivate discipline as an entrepreneur, or even just in general?

I'm seriously thinking about starting my own business -- so much so that I've actually resigned and I haven't even started looking for a job. I know what I want to do re the business -- I had a chat about it with a friend and she told me, "I'm sorry but you don't have the discipline."
This is a chance to prove her (and myself) wrong. But, what are your discipline hacks?
I know entrepreneurship is really about putting a lot of work into it in the beginning, but how do you motivate yourself?
I know I can do it. It's not that I've never known hard work before. I've spent multiple nights in the office. I've worked into the weekends. But how do you do it when you're your own boss? How do you keep on trucking during the times that the ground seems to fall from under you? How do you not look back?
posted by drea to Work & Money (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I found this kind of helpful.

And, in general, if you're a thoughtful type, I think it's good not to think too much about it and focus more on action.
posted by Jon44 at 6:33 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

The terror of being homeless. I'm too pretty for the streets. No matter what is going on in my life, if I don't do the work, I won't get paid, and I like getting paid.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:17 AM on June 7, 2012

If you had no problem working your job then get to where your company is just as much a default. Immerse yourself in it and get to where people depend on you.
posted by michaelh at 7:26 AM on June 7, 2012

The need to eat should be a pretty good motivator. The drive is going to be different for each person. Some people really are driven by the lower order stuff on Maslow's Hierarchy, food, shelter, etc. Some people, especially the serial entrepreneur type, are turned on by the thrill of the chase, building products, sales, hiring people, etc. Some people have to be in charge, all the time.

If you can't identify what might drive you, it might be time to find a job before you go broke figuring it out.
posted by COD at 8:22 AM on June 7, 2012

An important lesson: all those stories about overnight success are just stories. Overnight success takes years and years.

perhaps most importantly, there is this fantastic steve jobs quote: "The single characteristic that distinguishes successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones: the successful ones didn't quit."

A very relevant essay from paul graham on just that subject: How Not to Die.
posted by Freen at 8:26 AM on June 7, 2012

When I'm feeling unmotivated I read positive reviews of my past work. Sometimes I also like to visit the work of competitors whose product is, I feel, lacking compared to mine. It helps me get over the chronic feeling of "nobody cares about my stupid work except for me, there is no need for my work to exist, why should I even bother" feeling I get from self-employment.
posted by milk white peacock at 9:15 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm surprised someone told you that you don't have the discipline.

Have you ever had a child? If you have, I'm sure you suddenly found the discipline to take care of said child (and it takes a lot), and if you haven't- I'm sure you can imagine that you'd find the discipline.

Discipline can be born of need and passion- if you want to do this, just do it!

When I was anxious at the beginning of one of my jobs, I kept a weekly journal, writing down things in three categories: things I did well, things I could have done better, and ideas for improvement. Also every week I would read all previous entries. This could go a long way for you in helping yourself be more disciplined- what I liked about it is that it gives you room to make mistakes without feeling bad, you just commit to trying to change in the future (and if it takes a few more weeks of writing down the same thing, eventually you can take steps to crack through)

hope you find this idea helpful. also do you have any personal practices from which to draw inspiration for discipline? I know that I've learned a lot about discipline from fasting.

best of luck! When I start my own business please give me advice on how to be successful like you will have learned to be!
posted by saraindc at 9:19 AM on June 7, 2012

Goals, goals, goals. SMART goals that are important to you. Goals that will get you moving in the direction you are seeking. Have your big goal in mind e.g. 'to be an entrepreneur', the think about what are the key steps to the big goal? Then break it down further to smaller goals e.g. 'to identify a business idea", 'to work out finance options' etc. Then what are the daily steps to get there. e.g "today I will call 4 banks and ask about finance", or "by the end of this week I will have spoken to 3 contacts working in the area I am interested in working in".
Sometimes it helps to tell someone else about your goals, this can create a sense of accountability.
posted by MT at 4:01 AM on June 8, 2012

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