What inspires you to get up every day and dedicate your life to your big idea? Is it the promise of financial freedom, passion for a cause, or something else? We all have different motivations for starting a business and for sticking with it, even through the bumps.
Inspiration is a deeply personal thing. What inspires you may be different from what inspires someone else. But how do you tell a fleeting interest from a driving, defining force? How do you ensure that your go-to source of inspiration is always pushing you forward? And what happens if your vision changes?
Ahead, explore sources of inspiration, learn strategies for staying inspired, and discover the spark that moves you to dream, create, and stay the course.
What is inspiration?
Inspiration refers to anything or anyone that gives you ideas, energy, and excitement. It can be a person or a place, and it can be as simple as one line from a song or as complex as an entire genre of film. Inspiration provides mental and creative stimulation that causes you to act.
Moments that inspire are often referred to as a “flash” or a one-time event that sparks a great idea. But inspiration can also be a sustained source of energy and motivation, such as living in a beautiful surrounding atmosphere.
9 ways to find inspiration as an entrepreneur
Have you ever been asked in a job interview, “What inspires you?” or “Who is your greatest inspiration?” only to be left grasping for a good answer and swimming in self doubt? Many people don’t actively consider this question in their daily lives. To find new ways to feel inspired, however, you need to assess the things that motivate you to achieve your goals and overcome challenges.
⭐ Bonus: Take our personality quiz to discover your entrepreneur type. The results will unlock ways to get inspired, curated just for you. Skip to the quiz
1. Audit your lifestyle
Start by making a list of the things you spend your time doing during an average day. How do you feel before you do each thing? How do you feel afterward? Take note of the things that leave you feeling energized and the places where you show up as the best version of yourself.
How do you limit those things that do the opposite? Maybe your focus wanes midday and you find yourself doomscrolling through Twitter, only to feel even less motivated to work. Eliminate these productivity-killing actions in favor of pursuits you find inspiring.
2. Optimize for joy
After you’ve audited your day-to-day activities and leaned away from the things that don’t inspire you, increase time spent on things that leave you feeling energized, excited, and creative. Set aside dedicated space for these activities in your schedule, and chase that feeling as you explore new hobbies and ideas.
3. Remove fear
Let’s consider the example of the aspiring entrepreneur. Your day job may be the antithesis to what inspires you. What if it’s the thing really holding you back from launching your new career path as your own boss?
Weigh the fear with the upside. While it’s scary to give up a steady paycheck to go all in on your idea, consider that leaving the corporate world could give you a rush of adrenaline—and inspiration—to finally chase your dream.
4. Surround yourself with inspiring people
Run the same audit exercise with the people you interact with. Who inspires you? A friend, a family member, a person in your network? Do you have a role model in your life? Prioritize time with friends who bring value to your conversations, ask the right questions, and give you honest feedback. If a specific person inspires you, seek mentorship from them.
5. Embrace change
Inspiration can come in many forms: books, documentaries, the people you follow online, a favorite hobby, a run around the block. If the things you consume, follow, and do aren’t inspiring you in the way they used to, try something new. Shaking up a mundane routine can give you a new perspective—and inspire you in ways you didn’t expect.
6. Upgrade your environment
If you’re looking to achieve big business goals, you’ll likely be spending most of your time at your desk or workspace. As you work hard to reach those goals, pause and be present in the moment. Does your workspace inspire you? If not, upgrade it with colors or objects you find inspiring. Alternatively, give yourself space to seek an occasional change of scenery. Try a co-working space or a hike in the forest.
🔖 Read more: Home Office Design Ideas for Productive and Energizing Layouts
7. Immerse yourself in creativity
Get inspired by your medium of choice, whether it’s film, music, painting, or books. Making time to take in the works of others can help get your own creative juices flowing.
Stroll through a gallery, update your skills through an art class, or catch the latest blockbuster. Busy entrepreneurs can often neglect leisure in order to get things done, but in doing so, they’re leaving valuable inspiration on the table.
8. Think outside the box
Explore new film genres or cook recipes from other countries and cultures. Try a different type of fitness class. Visit a new part of your city or country. Doing things outside your normal routine will expose you to inspiration you may not have felt before.
9. Create inspiration
When you find something that inspires you, find ways to engage with it every day. In some cases that may mean actively creating it. You may have found an external source of motivation to kickstart your project, but your ongoing success can lead you to be self-inspired.
Get inspiration for your business idea
Finding an endless source of inspiration is important for entrepreneurs in the early—and likely toughest—stages of a business.
If you’re feeling creatively stunted while deciding what business to start, or scaling an existing one, browse hundreds of business ideas that you can launch from home, on a budget, or for whatever your niche interest:
Get inspired to launch your big idea and try Shopify free today
What inspires you (based on your personality type)?
What inspires you is very personal. If you’re still stuck, your personality type may unlock some clues to what inspires you most.
⭐ Start here: Your entrepreneur personality type will reveal the best ways to find inspiration in your own life. Take our quiz to reveal your type and come back for handpicked ideas to inspire you.
How to get inspired as a Cartographer
Your motivations for starting a business are generally based on what you’re passionate about, Cartographer. And it’s easy to stay inspired when you love what you do.
Stay reminded of your “why” while you shake things up every once in a while. At work, design new products to keep the creativity flowing. In your personal life, experiment with new hobbies.
Sources of inspiration:
🏡 Upgrading your surroundings. As a solo entrepreneur, you likely spend a lot of time at your workspace—whether that’s your kitchen table or a dedicated studio. Make that space a reflection of your goals.
How to get inspired as a Trailblazer
If you’ve found yourself short on inspiration, Trailblazer, it’s probably an unfamiliar feeling. You embrace change, constantly adapting your surroundings and taking quick pivots when things slow down. Continue to consult intuition and take the path less traveled. Pursuing the unknown is what drives you.
Sources of inspiration:
🎨 Visual stimulus. As a creative, you can find inspiration and energy in taking in art and other creative pursuits, even if they’re unrelated to your own business. Try a vision board where you can pin imagery to inspire a new idea.
💬 Connections. Use social media to make connections with people who inspire you rather than blindly scrolling. Seek feedback, start discussions, and bookmark words and imagery that move you.
How to get inspired as a Mountaineer
You have a great imagination and solid vision, which means you’re less likely to need external sources of inspiration to keep you going. Your own ambitions are always just ahead of you, Mountaineer, and you have a clear line of sight. If you do stumble, redefine your goals—they’ll lead you to what inspires you.
Sources of inspiration:
📚 Stories. You have big, wild dreams that sometimes border on the fantastical. Stories expand your idea of what’s possible and stimulate your imagination. Schedule in time to read, listen, and watch.
How to get inspired as a Firestarter
What inspires you, Firestarter? Based on your personality characteristics, we know you’re driven by ideas and financial success. But when those two things fall short, shake up your point of view or make connections with new people. Soon the floodgates of ideas and opportunity will open for you again.
Sources of inspiration:
🎤 Success stories. Read case studies, listen to podcasts, or watch talks by and about successful entrepreneurs to get motivated by their accomplishments.
📣 Social media. You’re a mover and a shaker, always ready to jump on an opportunity. Follow trending topics and accounts that cover innovation, tech, and culture to inspire your next move. Make business connections and share ideas through interest groups.
How to get inspired as an Outsider
Your homework, Outsider, is to learn to step outside your bubble when feeling uninspired. Hard work will get you far, but outside inspiration will challenge you to grow and give you a renewed interest in what you’re building.
Sources of inspiration:
🌳 A change of scenery. If you hit a wall, get out of your comfort zone and seek inspiration where you least expect to find it: take a hike or work from a different room in your house.
📑 A clear plan. You’re inspired by financial stability. Consistently review your goals and progress and adapt your plan, if needed. A solid plan for a stable future can keep you motivated.
Finding inspiration FAQ
How do you discover what inspires you?
Take stock of your feelings as you engage in activities or explore different spaces. What actions, things, or people are integral to helping you achieve your goals? Try new hobbies, talk to different people, and explore the world around you to find new sources of inspiration in your life. The answer lies in your ability to realize when things inspire you.
What is an inspiration example?
An example of inspiration is a piece of art or content that stimulates your imagination and increases your desire to take action. This could be a book, film, piece of music, motivational quote, or a letter from a friend that inspires a great idea or a creative burst of energy.
What is an inspiring life?
An inspiring life is one that others admire or aspire to have. Those who have achieved success in business, found fulfillment while following a passion, or have built a happy family life are often an inspiration to others.
Images by Pexels