If you’re running a business you’ve undoubtedly faced difficult times. Your plans fall through, launches go less than expected, and clients take more of your time then you’d like. The list goes on, right?

It’s just the nature of creating something – specifically creating something that involves other people. And if you’re selling anything – ad space, products, services, etc – you’re creating something for other people.

So when you find out you’re marketing isn’t working like you thought or that your great idea isn’t seen as such a great idea by the people in your market – what do you do?

When the sales slow down and the bills aren’t getting paid – what do you do?

And on those days that you have no motivation, no real desire to grind away at making your business work – what do you?

In other words, what keeps you going?

For me, personally, it’s my vision. Certainly it’s the goals I want to achieve, that’s part of it. But it’s not all of it.

What keeps me going is wanting to live the lifestyle I want – to have a flexible schedule and to be able to work from the hotel while my family is enjoying the beach. Or the ability to work a 3 day work week (3 long days, mind you). Or the opportunity to work at night in the summer so that I can spend the days with my wife and kids. Or taking 4 day weekends to go camping. Or taking a day off so my wife can rest when she’s sick. And the list goes on. For me, as I said, I want flexibility – having the flexibility in my schedule and my location that allows me to do more of what I want when I want.

But I don’t just want to talk about my lifestyle or dream about it – I want to actually live it. And living it means actually taking the time when it’s available. It means being active and spending gobs of time with my kids. Ultimately it means balancing work with life.

You see, I don’t want a life where I’m bogged down by my work. If I did, I could go out and work for any corporation, put in less effort and allow someone else to dictate my lifestyle. Sure, I want – and do – make a nice living. But I don’t want my pursuit of money to become more important than what’s most important to me – quality time with my family, hiking, my spiritual practice, etc. All these things I put above making money.

BUT, I still focus on making money – as a means to the ends I wish to live by. So I work in my business to make money solely so I can have the lifestyle I want. And that’s what keeps me going on the days when it’s just not so easy or comfortable to work for myself.

So that’s me. How about you, what keeps you going when it’s less than easy?

(note:  image from  Potatojunkie on  Flickr,   some rights reserved)

Reader Interactions


  1. David says

    What keeps me going is thinking about those who depend on me. Then I take it one step at a time. This helps me to complete another project or to translate just one more page.

  2. Amanda Sims says

    the things that keep me going is my family.For them would take risks and do anything to help them.One more thing that really keep me going is my faith with Our Almighty Father.

  3. Ernest @ window box says

    Thanks for this post. I asked myself about this and I am saying that it is my goal that makes me going. We should do our best in everything especially in business. I agree about you having vision that makes you going.

    This is really inspiring. Sharing this on my Twitter and Facebook is the best thing that I can do.

  4. Electric says

    There are many factors that can make your business successful but I think the most important one is to focus on your goals and always trying to find better ways to go on.

  5. Michaela says

    Flexibility is huge for me too. But, I want to actually make a difference as well, by being a model to my kids.

  6. Samuel says

    In my opinion, there should always be some kind of motivation factor behind what you are doing. Anything from your family, to money, to challenge, you should identify the motive and use that to push yourself and/or your business!

  7. Artur Štern says

    For me personally, it’s the will to make a prospective future for my family and kids. Of course there are our personal goals, but my family is the one that drives me on.

  8. Christina says

    Flexible schedule for the most part, I can spend my time any time I want to. And my desire to give the best education and all the best there is in life with me by their side…and it can only be attain if I keep my business grow through, I may not be able to harvest of my labor overnight but at least my kids will.

  9. Jon says

    I continue to set achivable goals in the short, medium and long term. A lot comes from a desire which has been inspired by background and the enjoyment of running a business. Great post and its very enjoyable to see everyone else’s views on this.

  10. Rengøring says

    Thanks for a really nice post. It reminds me of the films “The Secret” and “The Opus”.
    Two films that have changed my life.

  11. Emanuelle says

    Was it Napoleon who said wars are won by those who fight another 15 minutes? Anyway, I always tell myself that the moment I give up things will surely turnaround… but without me. So I push another 15 minutes thinking that a change of luck is just around the corner and that if I have kept at it for 365 days, one more day is one day less to reach that final line. Good post!

  12. Drew says

    Dawud, I agree with you 100% – it’s the vision of creating your own lifestyle that keeps me going as well. On days when I think “this is too hard” I tell myself “if I can keep working and do well, it’s more than worth it.”

    Keep writing – I enjoy reading

  13. Ricky | The X Views says

    When doing business, the up and downs occurs regularly. There are many factors behind this. But to get success keep working is better than looking for unsuccessful reasons.

  14. Shanker Bakshi says

    Well if you ask me, I am running a dot com business, whats keep me going from last three years to achieve my dreams is that i can smell success, i know its very near to me. on my way to be there, just give me good wishes for my quest to glory.

  15. Gartoo says

    Thinking about the future keeps me going. I also find it motivating to look back and see all that I have achieved. It’s all too easy to concentrate on the negatives

  16. Frank Rosenberg says

    I am kept going by a sense of pride. This might seem a bit foolish, but I have always been super proud of having started a company myself, and would see going into the corporate world as a massive step backwards and essentially a failure. Plus all the things you wrote about lifestyle too!

  17. Cosmetics Discounts says

    I have been through a couple of failures and it never stops me from starting a business. I’m starting another dot com business and I have absolutely absorb past failures and is very confident that I can do best this time.
    What keeps me going is that I’m graduating soon and I do wish to have a business to support myself rather than working for someone else. It’s either do or die. very crucial.

    Nice article. very reflective. 😀

  18. Léo @ Référenceur says

    For me it’s not vision but the fact that I love what I do. I love working on website and yes somethimes the odd client is a pain, but generally speaking I work for> with great people.

    Out of interest (if I may) are you able, time-wise, to do all those things that you said you “can do if you want”. I found that since I started in business and despite the fact that “I can do all those things” I probably haven’t had as much strength in stopping working because I enjoy it so much.

  19. business finance says

    I will change the approach of doing business and always be creative in selling.

    I believe that doing a variety of ways to sell, we will get the correct approach in selling to the product.

  20. Kevin Herbert says

    I keep looking at my plan and keep focused. I know that looking at the bright shiny lights will not get me to where I want to be.

  21. Coupon tissu says

    I totally agree with your point of view. That why I started my businness on the internet.
    It’s not easy every day but it ‘s on good way.
    I could say I succed the day I earn enough money for my familly and we could be free as a bird…
    Just one regreat, not having started earlier.

  22. Lord of the Rings Tour says

    What keeps our business going is that when one of us (my husband and I) feels like giving up the other encourages. Also we have lots of people who believe in us and we are good at guiding! It has been almost 10 years, we have made a ton of mistakes but now we know we will get there! We want to suceed so we can provide a great place for our staff who give their all.

  23. Nina Ottosson says

    It is definatly difficult at times to keep your vision going. When you first start a company you have so many dreams and then quickly realize its hard to obtain every vision you have. I definatly think its important to surround yourself with lots of positive enforcement.

  24. free computer tips says

    As Steve Jobs says, “love what you do and do what you love” so I love my job and when I think that there are many others who are still searching for job or those who do not have sufficient money to enjoy their life. This thought keeps me going and working.

  25. ilkyard?m says

    I have been through a couple of failures and it never stops me from starting a business. I’m starting another dot com business and I have absolutely absorb past failures and is very confident that I can do best this time.

  26. Luke says

    For me, what keeps me going is making more money. When I’m having a good month and I’m seeing the payments come in, even if they’re not so big, then my “vision” becomes clearer and closer to me, which further motivates me to put in more time and effort into my projects. But when my businesses aren’t doing so well, that little negative voice in my head creeps in telling me I’m not going to make it to my goals. I think persistence and believing in yourself are also really important.

  27. Erin Kipling says

    Believing that happiness and success is a decision is what keeps me going. No matter how difficult things may appear, I just don’t want to give in. Sometimes the world conspires with you if you would only believe and that’s what I want to believe.

  28. Ysabel Lawrence says

    Hard work pays off. This is what I believe in and what keeps me going in what I do. Sometimes, things appear to be so difficult but giving up for me is never an option for I have made myself believe that at the end of the day, I’ll reap the fruits of my labor.

  29. Used Cars Florence says

    Like you, it was the lifestyle and mainly the freedom that motivated me to be self-employed for 7 years in affiliate marketing; the freedom to not use an alarm clock in the morning, the freedom to set my own schedule and to be able to enjoy a warm day at the beach when I felt like it. Those days are long gone and now I’m working for an agency 9-5. The thing that I did wrong was that when my sales started slipping, I simply continued to do the same thing over and over. I didn’t adapt and I didn’t innovate. When I had the funds I never expanded by getting a small office and hiring help. I got really complacent. Part of the reason why my sales slipped so much was due to the recession but another part is because niche that I was working in online has changed forever due to the saturation of free content available on-line. That’s all I can really say on that subject matter without getting into risky territory. And when I say my income dropped a lot, I mean a lot; by 70 percent. Luckily there are other niches and markets to explore besides the one that I was working in.

    So now it’s a 9-5 while I somehow try to regain the motivation to work on my own sites after work but I have to say that it is hard; it’s hard to find the energy and the time.

  30. shane says

    discipline is a important factor when setting up a auction home based business. The most import factor I feel is research. Research is key as the online business environment can change overnight. Keep and close eye and forums and blogs as they can provide import information, they will also help you stay discipline.

  31. commercial gym equipment says

    Inspiration especially loved ones. Also the skills, knowledge, accuracy in everything that I do for my online business.Read and read for new info and other brilliant ideas that other people share through internet. This keep my business going on.

  32. kpi says

    Cont. I have found having a partner is highly effective in your business. Yes, the profit is shared but there is a system of checks and balances that is immesuarable.

  33. kpi says

    It’s all about staying after it. I am a firm believer of “as within is without” . I think too many times we give up right before we reach our vision. I find that if I keep a postivie attitude and and open mind the answers will come. I’m not sure who said this above, but the statement about doing the same things over and over if they are not working is so true. If something is not working clear your mind let go of the negative and the answer will come in some form if you are aware. I struggled in my business for the better part of a year until I started this practice and then I just seemed to be surrounded by people whom had the knowledge I needed or the support I needed. Yes, there are still days when I think I am in over my head but those moments are getting shorter and less frequent. Don’t get me wrong you can’t sit and dream and think you’ll open your eyes and everything will be there. The work has to be put in. I found that I had no systems in place. No way of measuring myself. So, I set up my own measureable KPI’s or OMTs (outputs, measures, targets) as I have come to call them. Basically I self manage.

  34. Happy Mattress says

    It is all about the positive focus. There are so many things that c an go wrong. The truth is that focusing on any of the negative things will hold you back. They will happen and you just have to keep focsed on your goal. Oh, you should have a goal.

  35. Visit Asia online says

    its all about business relation ships, new tactics, plans and visions. I strongly believe that unique ideas are the best, specially for a person who is going to start a new business or who is just started a business.

  36. Trundle Bed Ikea says

    The idea of work hard is very important but sometimes you need not only work hard but also smart. Apart from that you also need to have a written out plan that you can easily follow to be able to track your work ethics.

  37. matthew mcconaughey workout says

    working hard is an integral part of being successful in what ever we do. your post was indepth. thanks


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