Here's a quick riddle: What do a honey badger, a great white shark, and a successful online business owner all have in common? The answer: Tenacity. And although sharks may not be the cutest comparison, there's no doubt that when building your online business, you're going to have to grab on tight and never let go.
Here are five pointers on staying tenacious when the going gets tough:
1. Set clear goals
It's hard to keep up your intensity and commitment if you don't know what you're working toward. Make it easy on yourself by setting clear, specific goals (special emphasis on the "clear" and "specific" parts). Goals that lack definition also tend to lack power, focus, and the ability to really impact your business numbers.
Here are some tips for setting clear, specific goals:
- Make them measurable. When you can, add numbers and timeframes to your goals, like gaining a certain number of social followers, or receiving a specific number of orders for the month.
- Break goals into sub goals. As humans, we're motivated by progress. When you break goals down into smaller tasks and complete them, you'll get smaller, but more frequent bursts of encouragement that'll carry you in the long run.
- Keep your goals handy. Although lofty goals are great in theory, even the best ones can get slowly buried under the shuffle of day-to-day life. Check your progress against your goals regularly—if you’re not making headway on them, figure out why.
2. Actively compete with others
Whether you like it or not, your business will always have competition. Thankfully, that also means you'll always be able to leverage the motivation boost that comes with it. We tend to perform better when we have a competitor to measure ourselves against—use that to your advantage.
Here are some tips on using your competition as motivation:
- Learn from their mistakes. No brand is perfect. When your competitors make a misstep, take the time to learn not only from the mistake itself, but their handling of the situation and the outcome. How did their customers respond? How would you handle it differently?
- Get weekly updates on how they're doing. Knowing how your competition is faring can help stave off complacency, as well as give you a fresh stream of ideas to work with. Keep tabs on your competition by signing up for their newsletters, following them on social media, or setting up Google Alerts for their brand and product names.
- Don't be a follower. There may be some competitors of yours who you admire, but don't ever let that cloud your judgment. Before grabbing inspiration from them, always question whether it'd be right for your business.
3. Surround yourself with tenacious people
It’s hard to be positive and motivated all the time, but surrounding yourself with motivated people can help. Being around other people who are gritty and determined can keep you on track or reinvigorate you when you're running on fumes.
Here are some tips on surrounding yourself with tenacious people:
- Join relevant meetups and professional groups. Meetups are a great way to find like-minded, passionate people who can help provide guidance and encouragement.
- Identify tenacious friends and family members. Take a look at the people who you are most frequently around. Are there some who always seem motivated or excited about their work? Find out what drives them, how they stay focused, and where they get their inspiration.
- Look around—there are tenacious people everywhere. You don't have to limit yourself to friends, or people in your community, or even people in our century. There are countless ways to find inspiration from tenacious people around the world and throughout history: blogs, websites, historical figures, speeches, and other ways to find inspiration.
4. Embrace fear
Often times, the biggest thing holding us back from our goals is fear. Instead of pretending it doesn't exist or letting it balloon to paralyzing proportions, accept your fear with wide, open arms. Because at best, unaddressed fear will be a huge distraction, and at worst, it can decimate your motivation.
Here are some tips on turning your fear into motivation:
- Name what's eating at you. Find out exactly what's holding you back, and think about whether your fear is justified. Often times, you'll find out it's not.
- Write about your fears. Fewer activities are better for getting clarity than journaling. Take a moment to physically jot down your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, all it takes it expressing yourself to realize that everything's going to be okay.
- Don't ever be afraid to fail. Instead of dreading that you'll make a mistake, accept that your first few attempts may not be very pretty. Give yourself the freedom to fail, and you'll be a lot more productive and a lot more likely to put yourself in a position to grow.
5. Be aware of what you have
It can be tempting to focus on what you'd like to change, or what's working against you. However, doing the opposite can be just as helpful, if not more. Chances are, you’ve come a lot further, done a lot more, and are a lot more successful than you give yourself credit for.
Here are some tips on making the most of what you've got:
- Take stock of all that you have at your disposal. We're not only talking about the technology and products you have on hand, but personal attributes in your favor as well, such as a penchant for solving customers' problems quickly. Look for new ways to take advantage of those things.
- Write thank you notes. Think of all the people who've helped you get to where you are, and take a moment to pen them a note of gratitude. Not only will this exercise get the good feelings flowing, but it'll remind you of how much support you have on your side.
- Do a content audit. Take stock of the content on your website, product descriptions, newsletters, and elsewhere. Not only will it give you a clear idea of what exactly you have on your website, but it can help break it down into manageable chunks.
Thankfully, we all have what it takes to be tenacious. You can always build up your resolve using some of the tips above, but don't forget that it's been there all along. As always, if you have other tips or tricks on persevering, feel free to share them in the comment box below.