Social entrepreneurship is the practice of creating, running, and developing a sustainable company that has social or environmental aims. In many ways, social entrepreneurs are the driving force for societal change and business innovation.
As you could probably tell, starting a social enterprise is not always easy. There will be days when you’ll find it hard to stay motivated and create the change you want to see in the world. Waking up to find you have new issues with scaling up, finding funding, or even building your team can take a toll on anyone, no matter how passionate you are about what you do.
Here are some ways you can stay motivated as a social entrepreneur:
1 – Plan Your Day
The best-selling author of Atomic Habits, James Clear, says this best: “Stop waiting for motivation or inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits”.
Motivation is a fickle thing. You may wake up one morning feeling completely energized and ready to take on the world. Fast forward 24 hours though, and there’s a chance you may wake up feeling dazed and lethargic instead. Like a box of chocolates, there’s no real way to tell what you’ll be getting. Instead of leaving it to chance and waiting for the right motivation to strike, you can take control of the outcome by making it a habit to plan out your day.
The more you plan your day, the more you’ll be able to achieve, the more motivated you’ll be, and so on. By setting up a daily planning routine, you’ll create a feedback loop that will help you stay motivated as you check things off your to-do list and excitedly add new tasks to it. This could be done in the morning while you’re having your first coffee of the day. Or, towards the end of the day as you’re wrapping up work at the office and setting your sights on tomorrow. It works differently for every individual, so experiment and find the time that works best for you.
It’s been shown that by taking 10-12 minutes to plan out your day, you’ll save up to 2 hours of time that would have otherwise gone to waste. To put that into the perspective of an 8-hour workday, planning your day will save 25% of your time – every single day. With a commodity as valuable as time, this is a no-brainer. Building a routine of planning your day will help you keep your targets on track and increase productivity. This will allow you to start your day focused and end it feeling accomplished and motivated to take on the next one.
2 – Identify Your Personal Drivers
Find, or remind yourself of your “why”. Every social entrepreneur has their reasons for running a social enterprise – what’s yours?
Did you start your social enterprise to elevate the status of the migrant community? Perhaps you were passionate about building a community to support the integration of newcomers in your city? It could even be something as straightforward as proving that you have the ability and drive to move the needle and create a positive social impact.
Remind yourself what your “why” is. It will help you when you need to push through when things get tough.
Stay in touch with your dreamer self while you’re at it. As a social entrepreneur, you might have to take several risks that will be difficult or uncomfortable for you. Nonetheless, remember that it’s all leading up to a big picture goal of building a business that solves social issues.
Find your inner drive and optimize for success.
3 – Find Co-founders or Mentors
“You can’t change the world alone – you will need some help – and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the goodwill of strangers, and a strong coxswain to guide them.” – William H. McRaven
You don’t have to go it alone. Mentors can provide you with valuable insight, support, and encouragement. In a survey of 45 CEOs, 84% reported that mentorship relationships helped them avoid mistakes and develop their career more quickly. Knowing you have someone/central team to advise you on sidestepping potential pitfalls on your path to social change is essential. This helps keep your motivation levels high.
The same applies to finding co-founders to be part of your journey and lead the change with you. It’s really beneficial to have a co-founder who is just as invested in your social enterprise’s success as you are. Co-founders can help you stay focused, improve your mood on bad days, and keep you motivated when you feel like all the chips are down. Instead of feeling alone as a social entrepreneur, you get to put yourself in a situation to share the goals and challenges of your venture with someone that you’re in contact with every day. You’ll be driving towards success together, it’s like working with your own personal motivation coach.
Having a co-founder will also give you the opportunity to take a rest when you really need it. You’ll feel at ease knowing that the machine will keep running while you’re recharging your batteries. A short break may be just what you need to come back refreshed and motivated. Having a co-founder will allow you the room to do that.
4 – Replicate Systems for Success
Starting a social enterprise may be particularly challenging if you don’t have any entrepreneurial or social work experience. Being prepared for what’s ahead of you is one of the key steps towards achieving success. Instead of starting your journey from scratch, you can adopt a social franchising model to scale your social impact faster.
There are a number of benefits when it comes to social franchising. You’re now starting out with a proven model that you can replicate and scale – wherever you are. SPEAK has a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on social franchising that you can take advantage of to learn what social franchising is all about, and why it may be the best solution for you to create and scale positive social impact. It’s easier to stay motivated when you know the solution you’re implementing has been road-tested in multiple markets.
Let’s wrap it up…
It’s important to stay positive when the going gets tough. By carefully planning your day, identifying your personal drivers, finding co-founders or mentors, and replicating systems for success, you will give yourself a sense of control by taking proactive measures to guide your motivation levels to where you want them to be.
Remember, you are the driving force for societal change. It may not be easy, but then again, aren’t all the best things in life like that? Keep up the amazing work you’re doing to create a positive social impact in the world.
Find out how you can become a social entrepreneur with Take SPEAK to Your City. We’ll help you stay motivated all along the way.