Going for a goal, even when the going gets tough, is arguably one of the most critical test an entrepreneur will have to pass if they are to be successful. While the obstacles are guaranteed to arise, it’s how the obstacles are met that determines the outcome.


Those who find out how to maintain motivation and overcome exhaustion and fatigue in the face of adversity have the key to creating a successful business. We’ve spoken with a number of entrepreneurs about what strategies they use to overcome adversity and deal with a condition known as “founder’s fatigue.”

We invite you to read on for more insights on the subject from the following startup founders.

1. Pace Yourself

You should always plan on running a marathon and pace yourself and your team. Never plan for a sprint. Fatigue is there for anything you do. Remind yourself what it would be like with fatigue on your other job. Fatigue with hope is much better than fatigue with no end. Talk to other entrepreneurs for sharing and advice. Of course, you have to pick the right colleagues to talk to though.

Laurie Heng, Trumpia

2. Review

It can be very hard in the early stages of to keep on pushing forward, when sometimes it seems that the results are only coming in very slowly. I have setup a review process with trusted advisors and team members, where we discuss where we are and what we have achieved and define what our focus for the next phase should be. This helps to keep everything into perspective and to see how much we actually advance over time looking backwards. Looking forwards through the definition of clear medium to short term goals we make the mountain we have ahead of us smaller and easier to climb.

Rolf Ritter, People As A Service

3. Unplug

Unplugged. It is critical that founders force themselves to completely unplug electronically from their startup on a structure basis. This will reserve energy, spike creative insight and help maintain productivity.

Tim Nichols, ExactDrive

4. Stay Focused


Here are some good strategies; 1) Stay focused; understanding where your startup is going is very important. Obstacles are only short term and offer an opportunity to recalibrate. 2) Share the burden; you cannot reasonably perform every function in your startup. Surround yourself with talented people. 3) Look beyond your field. There many ideas and innovations happening beyond your own discipline; look outside to these and bring fresh perspective back to your startup.

Isaan Wanzama, kopigin

5. Positive Feedback

I like to keep a collection of customer emails we have received that really exemplify the value our company/product has created for real people, businesses, and industries. It is always a good reminder to know that what you do makes a difference.

Jonny Videl, CallsheetOperator

6. Focus on the Problem

  1. Google yourself or talk to your users. If you find people saying nice things about how your product make their life better, you will be cheered up.
  2. Visualize your “enemy”. If your startup idea comes from your dissatisfaction against a certain problem (for ubo, that will be bad traffic that kills everyone’s time) , remind yourself that villain and get back to fight.

Corrinne Zhao, Ubo

7. Envision the Future

Its imperative you have a vision for the future, a touchstone that you return to when things get tough that you believe in and that motivates you, because there will be many barriers and if you lose sight of what you are trying to achieve they can seem insurmountable. Founding and growing a company is tough, especially the first time round, but the personal reward of taking this process on is immense, and no matter what the outcome you will be a better person for the experience. Never do the same thing and expect a different outcome and you will always be learning and growing.

Todd Gisby, StretchSense

8. Treat Yourself


Being an entrepreneur tends to go hand-in-hand with being totally obsessed with your business. Although most entrepreneurs will work until they burn themselves out; Here are my 3 tips for overcoming founder’s fatigue:

  1. Stop making to-do lists! Instead try scheduling your tasks for a specific date and time. Scheduling your tasks ensures that you make the most out of your time. To-do lists can be overwhelming and often entrepreneurs will wear themselves thin just thinking about what needs to be done instead of actually doing the work.
  1. When in doubt, hire an expert! It can be hard to delegate tasks as a new entrepreneur, but getting help from an expert will allow you to free up more time in your day to focus on what you’re good at.
  1. Treat yourself! Do one thing a day to treat yourself for accomplishing the small wins in your day. If you managed to follow up with all your clients today, make an executive decision to pamper yourself with a soothing, warm bath or a 30 minute dance party in front of the mirror to your favourite iPod playlist.

These tips can also be used to keep you motivated when you encounter the inevitable obstacles of building a business. Also, don’t forget to find a group of mentors/supporters in your community that you can talk to. Having a strong support system filled with people who are either going through the same thing as you or have already been, there will help you work through your emotions and concerns, as well as realize that you’re not alone.

Zoey Dash, OMNI