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How do you Keep Yourself and the Team Motivated in a Startup?

By Manjunath Bhat | October 02, 2019 | 3 Comments

I was recently asked this question in a private chat.

How do you Keep Yourself and the Team Motivated in a Startup?

I bring a first-hand perspective to this question having built a team from the ground up.  I can certainly say that  it’s almost like growing and tending a garden. There are no easy answers and unfortunately no amount of ‘self-help’ reading will help. This is especially difficult when you are supposed to be leading the team. Everybody looks up to you. The paradox is that the leader needs as much help as others expect from them.


1. Become part of a wider community where you can share your unique expertise.  Regardless of whether it’s Reddit, twitter, focus groups, physical meetup events, etc. Think of it as community of purpose than a community of practice.

2. Present on topics of your interest. You will be surprised at how much clarity you gain in preparing for the talk as well as the satisfaction you get in delivering it.

3. Rely less on external validation of your ideas or opinions. As individuals, we all have a unique opinion of the world and that’s what makes the world a diverse and vibrant place. We don’t have to agree with each other all the time. Disagreement doesn’t take away the merit in each opinion.

A learning a day keeps the boredom away. 

Lastly, keep the focus on learning and sharing what we learn on a daily basis. Encourage the team to share one-new-learning-for-the-day. A learning a day keeps the boredom away.  “Boredom” here refers to the feeling of futility, monotony and lack of meaning in one’s work.

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  • Jason Medd says:

    I’m currently working on setting up a social enterprise run by volunteers. We’re effectively a business startup. Motivation is the only thing that keeps the whole enterprise together sometimes. Here are 3 things we try to do:

    1. Create a sense of mission. The enterprise needs to be about something bigger than you and about something that is going to have an impact on a broader community. A sense of mission needs to permeate the organization.
    2. Always show progress towards the goal. Nothing saps a group’s motivation more than feeling they are stuck in the mud. It doesn’t matter how small but create a sense that there is forward momentum.
    3. Celebrate your victories regularly, even if the only victory is that you made it through another week. Startups are hard and require people wearing a lot of different hats and going above and beyond to achieve the goal. This places a lot of stress on people. Give them a space to let off steam in the company of their co-workers for support. This builds on the culture, sense of mission and loyalty to your organization.

  • ryan says:

    Team motivation is an excellent way to unwind the work burden. That is very effective way to learn at routine base. These three recommendations are key to make teamwork effective and efficient.

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