When some people read about famous entrepreneurs who have become millionaires — or even billionaires — thanks to a strong business idea, they understandably get the desire to start their own business. After all, few things are more appealing than becoming your own boss and making a lot of money at the same time.
However, the entrepreneurs whose stories are so inspirational to so many didn’t get to where they are today because they were exclusively focused on the bottom line.
More often than not, their entrepreneurial journeys were (and continue to be) inspired by something more. Here is a closer look at what motivates many of today’s most successful entrepreneurs to achieve greatness.
A Love of Entrepreneurship
Many entrepreneurs have a love of the business world itself. In an article for Entrepreneur, Mark Ogan writes, “The most successful entrepreneurs are not motivated by money. It’s about the experience, the way of life, the chase, the identity, the rush. It is a calling. It’s about scratching the itch that just won’t go away. It’s about knowing that this is the work you simply can’t not do. Success in entrepreneurship can be handsomely rewarded but even if it was not, I would do it anyway. Entrepreneurship is not a job, or a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a journey.”
That entrepreneurial lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Many entrepreneurs work well over 40 hours a week, with some reportedly working as many as 80 to 100 hours per week, to get their companies off the ground.
Needless to say, this entails working on a schedule that is different from the typical corporate 9 to 5. Some find the constant grind of entrepreneurship to be an exhilarating reward in and of itself. Others could find it stressful and exhausting. Those who are motivated by a love of the ups and downs of entrepreneurship are much more likely to persevere.
Because of this, it is important that would-be entrepreneurs take a step back and consider how they feel about the entrepreneurial life. If it seems like an exciting adventure, then you can move forward with confidence.
A Desire to Help Others
An increasingly common trend is starting a business with the goal of making a positive impact on the world. This is undoubtedly a reflection of shifting trends in society as a whole — a 2018 study found that 88 percent of consumers wanted brands “to help [them] be more environmentally friendly and ethical in [their] daily life.”
In a recent email exchange, Alexy Goldstein, founder of New U Life explained, “I think the startups that are in the best position to succeed today are those that are striving to make a meaningful impact for good in the world. Whether you’re improving customers’ health or fighting climate change, such goals give your brand deeper meaning that helps you better connect with consumers. These causes serve as a rallying cry that attracts like-minded people to your brand. It also gives you much stronger motivation to do what you do.”
With a goal to do good in the world, startups can create more than just a brand. They can build a movement that garners strong support for an important cause. This is certainly much more powerful motivation than money could ever be.
Notably, this also delivers benefits for a company’s bottom line. Research from Deloitte indicates that purpose-driven brands grow three times faster than their competition.
A Penchant For Innovation
Some people are content with focusing on a single business idea — and then there are serial entrepreneurs, who are constantly jumping from one idea to the next as they start new companies.
These entrepreneurs are driven by a habit of lifelong learning, which in turn, enables them to gain insights that foster new ideas that drive innovation.
As a blog post from Penn LPS explains, “Professional success is just one of the many benefits of lifelong learning. Others include building confidence through mastery, staying intellectually stimulated and discovering new passions and perhaps your life purpose. Additionally, through the process of learning, you develop life skills, such as time management, organization, and discipline, and enhance your skills as a reader, writer and critical thinker.”
Continual learning fosters creative thinking that fuels new entrepreneurial ideas. For many, learning about new industries, processes or problems is what sparks new ideas for a business. When your own natural curiosity is driving the entrepreneurial journey, it is easier to stay excited about business in general.
Such entrepreneurs are constantly generating ideas to make their current company even more successful. Though this certainly leads to greater profits, the mental reward of being an innovator is often motivation in and of itself.
What Will Inspire You?
It is clear that the motivations that drive successful entrepreneurs can be as diverse as the businesses they create. The reality is that there is no clear right or wrong answer to what inspires your entrepreneurial journey.
However, you must find some form of deeper meaning to what you do. When you have motivation that goes beyond the money, you will develop the determination to stick it out during tough times. You will have the grit to work through obstacles and ultimately turn your business into the success you dream of.