Exeleon Magazine

The Keys to Maintaining Optimism as an Entrepreneur

Abid Salahi on Maintaining Optimism as an Entrepreneur

The following article is written by Abid Salahi, Founder of FinlyWealth, on the keys to maintaining optimism as an entrepreneur and business leader. Read the digital version of the article by clicking here.

Optimism for entrepreneurs is almost a necessity for survival, at least in the beginning. It’s had a rough go in the business world, where the concept is more preferably attributed with resilience and perseverance than pure optimism. It’s worth noting that leaders who claim to be optimistic in the business world often are only “cautiously” so. It reminds me of the long stretch of time in the beginning where my company continuously generated no revenue but we stayed the course regardless of the challenges.

Understanding the Entrepreneurial Mindset

What sets you apart as an entrepreneur isn’t that you necessarily have innovative and new ideas but are willing to execute on them and see them to the end regardless of the outcome. This is all while making sacrifices in your daily life, whether it be missing social events with friends or simply having time to yourself.

Optimism isn’t just a personality trait but rather a crucial element in entrepreneurial success. Research in psychology and business studies has revealed that optimism helps entrepreneurs perceive opportunities where others see obstacles.

The Importance of Optimism for Entrepreneurs

Optimism helps you maintain a positive outlook despite numerous setbacks and uncertainties that are all too common while building a business from scratch. I started building my fintech with a “cool” app idea that essentially generated no revenue in the beginning. To top it up, it wasn’t free to build and had many monthly costs which I self-funded right from the start.

Essentially, with optimism you get entrepreneurs who are willing to invest more effort and focus on their projects to actually make it successful. Now how do you define success?

A study based out of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on dispositional optimism was able to find a correlation between entrepreneurial success and dispositional optimism. This is where individuals take proactive steps to improve and protect their health while maintaining an expectation of future success across life domains.

Key Strategies for Maintaining Optimism

These are some of the strategies that I live by in order to maintain a positive outlook in my entrepreneurial journey:

Focus on small wins

This one is quite significant. Instead of going for moonshots and hitting setbacks constantly, try to aim for smaller achievements which in turn will give you small victories. Everyone has big goals for their business and a certain vision of what it could be like one day far in the future, but that can also make your current smaller wins look insignificant and not worth celebrating.

Stay flexible and open to pivot

I didn’t know I would need to go through 3 different product iterations and completely deprecate initial builds of my product when I started out. What helped me get through it is staying resilient in the process and keeping an open mind. Being willing to adapt to different business models or strategies based on market feedback is an essential part of the journey. Why?

Just because you make a cool new product, it doesn’t mean others will find it necessarily useful. Changing strategies and focus can lead to a lot of success down the road if done correctly. After we pivoted our strategy, we started seeing a ton more traffic and user growth on our website, going from ~100 visitors per month to now over ~10,000.

Invest in your health

This one is probably obvious but it’s essential to keep a healthy lifestyle while continuing your entrepreneurial journey. That means working out regularly, staying active while also continuing to remain social with your friends and family, although the social part might get reduced.

By keeping your mind clear and your body healthy, you’re naturally more resilient to setbacks in your business and are more willing to maintain a positive outlook. This has personally helped me a lot!

Final Thoughts

As an entrepreneur, staying optimistic isn’t just nice to have; it’s pretty much a must, especially at the start. It’s funny how in business, people talk a lot about being tough and pushing through, but they don’t always talk about just being optimistic. In my own journey, there were times when it seemed like we weren’t making any money at all. But we kept going, believing things would get better and the expenses were justified.

Being an entrepreneur means you’re willing to jump in and do the work, trying to make your big idea a reality. And sure, it means you might miss out on hanging out with friends or just chilling by yourself sometimes. But that’s where being optimistic makes a big difference. It’s not just about feeling good; it helps you see chances to succeed where others might just see problems.

I started with a cool app idea that didn’t make money right away. It cost a lot to get going, and I was paying for everything myself. But being optimistic meant I kept working hard, looking forward to making it a success. And success? Well, it turns out that people who are optimistic tend to do better, because they’re always looking for ways to improve and expecting good things to happen.

To stay optimistic, I focus on the small wins, stay flexible and ready to change my plan, and I make sure to take care of my health. Celebrating the little victories keeps you moving forward. Being open to changing your plan can lead to big wins later on. And keeping healthy helps you bounce back from the tough times.

So, remember, being optimistic as an entrepreneur helps a lot. It keeps you going through the hard times, ready to catch the next opportunity. And for me? After we changed our approach, more people started visiting our website—going from about 100 visitors a month to over 10,000. That’s what staying optimistic can do.

Author Bio:

I’m Abid, one of the co-founders of a fintech startup that helps Canadians compare and find credit cards best for them as accurately as possible. Starting this wasn’t easy, especially because when you have no web traffic, no brand takes you seriously, translating to no money. But, I stayed optimistic, worked hard, and learned a lot along the way. Now, I like to share my experiences and tips with other entrepreneurs, hoping to make their journeys a bit easier.

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