Inspiration is the life blood of small business.
Remember the day you had your first business idea? Remember that exciting, inspired feeling you had where you could barely contain yourself at the thought of it? Remember scribbling notes profusely and practically jumping out of your skin when you told your friends and family about it? Yeah, me too.
If you're anything like me, and I suspect most entrepreneurs out there, that level of intense inspiration is really difficult to maintain. In fact, once you start getting bogged down in cash flow projections, LLC formations, returning phone calls and providing good customer service, that inspiration is all but gone. And you lay awake at night thinking about all you need to get done tomorrow.
Never underestimate the importance of being inspired!
Busyness in business with no time for creativity is a recipe for disaster. Its hard to work tirelessly and be the CRE of your business (unlike a CEO, a CRE is Constantly Responsible for Everything – H/T to Chris Guillebeau) without that occasional euphoric feeling that causes you to create, inspire and take your business to the next level. So how do you get back that loving inspirational feeling? Connecting with fellow entrepreneurs in a meaningful way is the key. Here are a few ways to do it:
1. Join a Mastermind Group. One way that has really worked for me (and others I've talked to) is having an inspirational group of people to connect with. Your inspirational people can come in the form of a Mastermind group. A mastermind group is simply a couple of like-minded entrepreneurs that get together in person or over the phone at regular intervals (I recommend weekly or bi-weekly) to talk out their entrepreneurial struggles, ask for help and inspire one another. I have an amazing mastermind group that I talk with every two weeks. If you don't know of a mastermind group you can join, form your own. Send out invitations to some inspirational people you know and ask them to join! If you don't know any inspirational people (which is quite sad, actually) then find some through social media.
2. Attend a Conference or Retreat. Another way to get really inspired is to attend a business conference or retreat. I attended the Lift Off Retreat back in February. It was not only inspirational but I received tons of fantastic, practical business advice that has seriously helped me grow my business. Not coincidentally, my mastermind group was borne out of Lift Off attendees. Connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs is the true value of a retreat or conference.
3. Pay Someone to Inspire You. Yes, I'm serious. If you're having trouble finding a group of entrepreneurs to connect with and be inspired by, consider hiring a life/business coach or consultant that can fill that void. I have both utilized coaches/consultants and been a coach/consultant to others. In both scenarios, both parties always walked away inspired and with clear direction for next steps. If individual coaching/consulting is too pricey, find someone who offers group coaching or take a cost-effective e-course.
These three methods have worked wonders for me and I owe a lot of my business success to the deeply inspirational connections I've made with other entrepreneurs. If these methods aren't within your reach at the moment try reading an inspiring book (there is a list of them in the right hand column but my fav inspirational book is The Alchemist), or watching an inspirational movie (I highly, highly recommend the documentary film, I Am) or attending an inspirational event (like one of the Ignites, for example). Make being inspired an essential priority and get your inspiration wherever you can find it!
What other methods are there for getting back that inspirational feeling? What inspires you?
Photo: Justin W. Moore (www.outdorphoto.com)