71 Fire Starters for Inspired Entrepreneurs

The road of the entrepreneur can be rough, full of good days and bad. On the less than lustrous days, we all need something extra to push us onward and upward, even when we don’t feel like it.  That one thing, for those of us who are here to serve in a big way, is often what drove us into business in the first place.  So last week we asked –

What is that ONE thing about your business that lights your fire, and gets you out of bed and over every hurdle, especially on the tough days?

The responses came rolling in! Our 71 respondents provided unique examples of the types of things that make all the blood, sweat and tears of being an entrepreneur worthwhile. You will discover motivating factors that include getting paid, stilettos, family members, avoiding the boss from hell and overcoming obstacles. We invite you to share the one thing that gets you out of bed too, in the comments below.

Our sincere gratitude to the 71 entrepreneurs who were kind enough to share the inspiration that lights their entrepreneurial fire. Openly sharing your expertise and experiences is a huge asset to this blog and the readership. I wish you all a wonderful week and hope to see you here again.

If you would like to contribute to this week’s question, be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to find out how you can get involved.  We’d love to have you on a future post!


1. Freedom, Baby, Freedom…

A winning business of your own (and my own) means…

* Being there for your kid while you stay committed to your own dreams.

* The opportunity to create real wealth (probably not going to happen with Social Security or even an employer-fueled 401K.)

* You can take the day off, or work in your sweats or punch in at 10:30.

* More “security” than a job, where someone else makes the pivotal decisions

* The financial freedom, the lifestyle freedom that inspired you to start your business in the first place.

* The chance to fail…and correct course.

* Never having to say, “I wish I had just gone for it…

Your own business (and mine!) can expand peace, prosperity and freedom across the planet. THAT’s why I do what I do. xo$, Ellen

Thanks to Ellen Rohr of Bare Bones Biz, Inc.

2. Sharing My Passion

Being able to share my passion and know that others find it helpful in advancing their career always keeps my fire burning.

Thanks to Michael Brandvold of Michael Brandvold Marketing

3. To Be The Best I Can Be

I am very conscious of the fact that we only have one shot at life. I want to make the absolute most of my time on this earth and to give my business my all. There is nothing quite like the sense of achievement you feel when business is going well and you reflect on how far you’ve come. On the down days, I remind myself of this and push myself to keep giving it my all.

Thanks to Sarah Moore of Vappingo

4. My Life’s Work

I truly feel like I am performing my life’s work. There is nothing that I would prefer to be doing instead. My business highlights my greatest strengths and constantly challenges me to work on my weaknesses. Best of all, I get to play a part in my customer’s most precious milestones – weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, new babies. It’s fun and creative work and every day is different. I feel very lucky.

Thanks to Brina Bujkovsky of Personalized Wedding Anniversary Gifts

5. Knowing I Have Control Over My Destiny

As an entrepreneur, success or failure is up to me. I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to greater success. I view a challenge as just that, a challenge for me to figure out. I like exercising my brain and creativity to come up with new and better ways to solve problems and grow the business. There is no room for stagnation or boredom. Life and my business is what I make of it. Being self-employed provides not only a constant challenge, but also the opportunity for a constant feeling of accomplishment. After a tough day, I feel even better knowing that I was able to overcome that day’s obstacles.

Thanks to Nancy Butler, CFP®, CDFA, CLTC of Above All Else, Success In Life And Business

6. The Thrill Of The “aha”!

What lights my fire is the thrill of seeing my clients catch a powerful insight or achieve a goal and watching their faces beam with delight. Today it happened when a young man, after several failed attempts, passed his test to become a “physical trainer” and he realized his dream is finally within sight. It is especially rewarding to see people succeed who have overcome huge obstacles and challenges.

Thanks to Maureen Daniek of Radiance Coaching And Consulting

7. Celebrating Each Step I Take

Building my photography blog has been an amazing ride. There have many ups and a few downs and I’m still excited to reach the finish line. I get energized whenever I hear that something I wrote or a picture I took resonated with someone. I started blogging two years ago, because it was the thing to do. I finally chose my niche in January 2011 and I’ve been working like crazy to build my photography blog in earnest and I love what I’m doing.

Every time I receive an email from someone who wants to connect with me; every time I learn something new about photography, blogging, or social media; every time I overcome a fear (like submitting a guest post to Digital Photography School); every time I see respect in the eyes of others – these accomplishments light the fire in me.

Thanks to Kimberly Gauthier of Kimberly Gauthier Photography

8. Entrepreneur WannaBees

As a business coach, my entrepreneurial juices ooze when I met a budding entrepreneur open to learning how to build a sustainable business. Entrepreneurs, in general, are enthusiastic, motivated individuals who are hungry to see their idea in action. Most understand that the first step in building that business is by writing a business plan. Too many skip this first step and dive into starting the business believing that the right business idea will guarantee success. The student of entrepreneurship understands that even the best idea can’t succeed without the proper basic first steps. (S)he follows directions from her team of advisers and causes me to put all my creativity and enthusiasm into what (s)he is doing. The dream becomes my goal!

Thanks to Vicki Donlan of VickiDonlan

9. There Is No Motivation Like Money

The one thing that gets me out of bed, over every hurdle, especially on the tough days is that if I don’t get to work – I don’t get paid. Working for yourself is different than working somewhere, that just because it is Friday you get a paycheck. I only get paid when I work and having 2 kids to support motivates me to work harder and more effectively so I can get paid and support myself and my kids.

Thanks to Michelle Dunn of Michelle Dunn Writer, LLC

10. Don’t Judge Until You’ve Walked In My SHOES!

I write a fashion column and my own fashion blog. Coming up with current material to write about for both columns is hard and I work from home. So to get me going I have to be in my ZONE! My ZONE of course is located in my shabby chic office surrounded by inspiration fashion boards. But the ONE BIG THING is I HAVE TO BE WEARING A GREAT PAIR OF STILETTOS WHILE WRITING! Jimmy Choos, Manolo’s…whatever, sometimes I even have them on with my pj’s!!! Yikes!

Thanks to Jill Mikols Etesse of Jacketsandjill

11. Bettering The Planet AND Bettering Myself

I’ve always looked for ways to combine making the world better and accomplishing my personal goals. I feel blessed that my work as a Green marketing and publishing consultant/copywriter, bestselling author, and international speaker allows me to do both. I’m helping others be more green and tell their green story to the world, while creating a decent living and opportunities to travel.

Thanks to Shel Horowitz of Green And Profitable

12. Making Women Whole Again

As a Certified Mastectomy Fitter, I make women whole in many ways and this gets me up in the morning. I lost my mother, father and step-father to cancer but with today’s advances, especially in breast cancer, the number of survivors is rising dramatically. Unfortunately this is usually at the loss of a woman’s breast(s) followed by hair loss from chemotherapy. Everyday I fit women with prosthetic breasts and wigs that allow them to get back in the game as a whole person, not someone identified by cancer. The transformation in their composure, the return of their smile when they look in the mirror, the way they just stand taller, makes hassling with Medicare and worrying if I will cover my bills each month well worth it.

Thanks to Pattie Cagney Sheehan of Second Act

13. Hit The Snooze!

To light my fire each day, I hit the snooze on the morning alarm. That action gives my 9 minutes to lay back and visualize what my day will look like. Spend those 9 minutes picturing the perfect day, full of success and accomplishments. Imagine the possibilities and see everything going your way. Those nine minutes will give you just the jolt to move forward, jump out of bed and be prepared to overcome every hurdle.

Thanks to Angie Segal of ActionCOACH

14. Light My Fire

Speaking on panels and meeting new people is rewarding and gets my entrepreneurial spirits going.

Thanks to Eula M. Young, COO of Griot’s Roll Film Production & Services Inc.

15. Changed Lives Light My Fire

The time crunch hits everyone and is responsible for tons of unnecessary stress. When someone who has heard me speak or read my books says to me, “You changed my life,” that lights my fire. It gives me the desire to do more of the same with others. It fuels the desire to expand my “personal learning network” to include others who can benefit from what I have to give or help me to get even better at what I do.

Thanks to Frank Buck of Frank Buck Consulting, Inc,

16. Love The Challenge

I love the challenge. Loving what you do is great, but all business has challenges. The challenges are what I love. I love to figure out how to overcome the obstacles for my clients. The results when you do are always great and rewarding, but being able to problem solve and creatively conceive of and implement business solutions makes me feel truly valued, because I am not just delivering result, I am delivering solutions. The challenges are what most people shy away from, though they are what give your business grit. Learn to love the challenges. It will keep you edgy and always searching for ways to grow and improve.

Thanks to Lauren MacEwen of SM Cubed Consulting

17. One Of The Lucky Few Who LOVES His Job!

Almost 10 years now, and being a Professional Realtor still does not feel like a job! I know when the sun rises I, for the most part, get to determine the fate of my day. I determine how hard/easy I will work; when I go in to the office/come home. No one else can take credit for my success or failure. The height of my income is determined strictly by how much effort I am willing to put forth. Are you starting to understand? Any type of personality can become a successful entrepreneur; but, for a Free Spirit like me, it is PERFECT! There is such a free feeling that follows you when you are an entrepreneur and answer to no one but yourself. I can only liken it to an eagle soaring around in circles in the clouds looking down on all those poor souls stuck to the ground. I LOVE IT!!

Thanks to Randy Morrow of Keller Williams Realty–Divorce Specialist

18. Impacting People, And It’s Not About You!

We all have people, personally and professionally, who rely on us to some extent whether they are family, friends, associates or colleagues. In business, it is the same thing. Customers, followers, fans, or people we have relationships with rely on us for information, goods, services and in some cases much more. This is the thing that I always come back to when I’m dragging. It isn’t about me. If I’m having a bad day or am less motivated on a particular day, the business and those people it impacts should not be dragged down too. In fact, I imagine all the people who rely on me and rely on my business outlook and expertise when I’m not feeling motivated, and it always perks me up. When you look outward and make it about other people, it becomes easier to push onward and upward.

Thanks to Mike Sprouse of mikesprouse.com

19. It’s All About The Payoff

The best feeling you can have during the work day is when a client contacts you and gives a really incredible compliment because the hard work you did for him/her paid off. It’s always great to see the positive results of your efforts and experience the genuinely appreciative tone of your client. What I like to do is keep a “feel good” document consisting of nice compliments from clients. When a project gets tough, I like to take a look at the document and remind myself that it will all work out in the end.

Thanks to Tony Popowski of Grass Roots Marketing, Inc.

20. One Word, Three Letters …

EVE. As a single parent, this precious little person motivates me every single second; even on the darkest, most difficult days. There is no safety net, no back up plan, no extra financial support; add to it, living in basically a rural town with a depressed economy. To me, there are no options except to get up every day and give it my all. I love what I do because I created it with Eve in mind.

Thanks to Elena Patrice of WebsitesGiveBack

21. Never Letting Yourself Down!

In three words…………..COMMITMENT, COMMITMENT, COMMITMENT (to both others and myself) I run through my mind the following:

“Even though what I write is a service to people, I could stop writing and just take all the pressure off and live a more relaxed, easy-going life. People will work things out for themselves”

I run this thought on purpose because I know in my heart that when I can possibly be of help, there is NO WAY I could ever live my life walking away from ALWAYS make the effort to be a help. If only one human being is helped as a result of something I have written, then all my time and all my effort was well spent. This is why I get up each day and do what I do…..writing to “Serve The People”!

Thanks to Harris Glasser of Serving The People Press LLC

22. What Lights Your Entrepreneurial Fire?

A combination of curiosity and passion! My thirst for knowledge and understanding is equaled by only two things: 1) the rush that I feel when I learn something new and exciting, and 2) the warmth that I feel in my heart when I share it with others and appreciate it too! In both of my businesses there is so much to learn and to share that I feel blessed to fulfill my higher calling – to teach – as well as to satisfy my greatest desire – to learn. These things make all the problems and challenges that I face as a solopreneur worth it!

Thanks to Monique Y. Wells of Understanding Time Management

23. Dodge the Boss from Hell

I was trying to think of something pithy and riveting, but when it comes right down to it, what lights my fire is the memory of working for some pretty miserable people and the desire to see my business succeed to a level where I can continue to control my own destiny. I love what I do, and am fortunate to have wonderful clients. And that is typically enough to motivate me to get up and going at a very early hour most mornings. But on those tough days, the ones where all you want to do is stay in bed for another few hours, the mere thought of going back to work for someone who doesn’t respect me or what I do propels me out of bed and to my office.

Thanks to Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk of BBR Marketing

24. “Potential” Is My Entrepreneurial Kindling

Every moment of every day holds the potential for one of my authors to … hit the bestseller list, land a big speaking gig, sign a movie deal, or simply have their intention fulfilled by a single reader whose life was touched and changed by the writer’s words. It’s what drives me to keep taking chances, to risk my feelings and my finances in the fulfillment of someone else’s dream — that together, we could create sparks that ignite people, that change them, help them, validate them. And, that one of our books could spread like wildfire and not just make us money, but make a difference in the world.

Thanks to Nancy Cleary of Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Inc.

25. Entrepreneurship Lights Our Fire!

The best thing about being (and staying) an entrepreneur for me is the ENERGY, OPTIMISM, FREEDOM. Energy that comes from doing something you love and working with clients who are equally excited about what you do and what your company can do for them. Seeing the results of what our company does for our customers also gives us energy and makes it a pleasure to come to work every single day. Optimism because the possibilities are endless. From growing a business in ways you never thought possible or in directions that you hadn’t previously thought of. Getting recognition from employees, partners and customers fuels this optimism for the future. FREEDOM…this is probably the most important. Freedom by being location independent and having all of our team all over the globe.

Thanks to Anastasia Valentine of Sandbox PM

26. Dream With Your Co-workers

When feeling down, the best way for me to get up and going is to talk to my partners, and co-workers. I usually organize a meeting where we talk about the long-term vision, the things were going to do in the coming months to offer more value to our customers, the marketing activities were going to try to reach more customers. This creates moving enthusiasm in all of us and we have again the energy to go out there and do stuff.

Thanks to Peep Laja of Traindom

27. The Bliss Of Wedding Bliss Lane

What gets me out bed every morning and over every hurdle is that I am helping to build a business along with my wife, Jackie, that is providing what I feel is a valuable service to not only the bride and groom, but also to anyone who is involved in a wedding.

Thanks to Salvatore Asta of Wedding Bliss Lane

28. Dear Mr President…Premier…or Prime Minister

Today I woke up to an email with the subject line “Solutions for Ontario Students with Communication Disorders”. The email linked to a petition about education in Ontario and how our current education system serves those with communication disorders. Any discussion regarding a lack of speech and language services for those in need flames my fire. Our company was created to reach more families than I could as one therapist.

There’s a link from a P!NK song that hits home for me: “No child is left behind? We’re not dumb and we’re not blind. They’re all sitting in your cells” (lyrics from “Dear Mr President”)

If we don’t take care of our children’s language and hearing needs today, a great number of them will end up in our prisons. We must pay for it now…because we WILL pay more for it late.

Thanks to Sara Bingham of WeeHands

29. There Is More Than One Way To Get To Carnegie Hall

When making the transition from starving artist to wealthy entrepreneur I keep going knowing that within 2 years I will be combining music and business center stage Carnegie Hall, dispelling the myth that the only way to get to Carnegie Hall is practice, practice, practice.

Thanks to Paul Tobey of TrainingBusinessPros.Com

30. I’m Changing The World One Diaper Cover At A Time. Sounds Kinda Corny Right? Well, Not Really!

I chose this crazy road of entrepreneurship for the same reasons as many of my fellow maniacs – to do something bigger. In my mid-twenties, I was lost, unfulfilled, and completely overwhelmed by the thought of doing something meaningless for the next 40 years! I was determined to do something bigger, and have discovered that one of my biggest motivators, as well as rewards, is providing that same passion and meaning for my employees. I am changing lives, maybe on a small level for now, but the future is bright and I never look back!

Thanks to Amber Schaub of RuffleButts, Inc.

31. A Fireproof Strategy To Keep The Entrepreneurial Fires Burning!

I learned a long time ago that success in business, the common denominator of success, is all about PURPOSE. In that little booklet titled, “The New Common Denominator of Success” by Albert E. N. Gray, the secret is revealed. That’s what all the greats do, they follow their purpose. It could be to invent, or to lead masses of people, or to develop and train professionals, or lead leaders. Whenever my fire starts to fade, or my enthusiasm wanes from setbacks and failures, I turn back to my purpose – to help others discover their dreams and desires, and give them hope that they can improve and be more effective. As a business & executive coach, I have the privilege of doing that every day! And remember: You will never succeed beyond the purpose to which you’re willing to surrender.

Thanks to Doug Savidge of ActionCOACH Business Coaching

32. Change The Orchestra World With Innovation

I began arranging pop songs for orchestra in 2009 as my startup while I was on unemployment. So I’ll take a song by Lady Gaga, Madonna, or Pearl Jam and arrange it for The Boston Pops, Youth Orchestras and more.

The thing that keeps me going is the idea to create new music, new ideas, and ultimately – new audiences. I feel like orchestras are cover bands now, and it pains me to see them going bankrupt and struggling. But I constantly say “what else do they expect when they continue to play music by 200-year-old dead composers?” The idea of being innovative and creating new, exciting orchestra repertoire that people love has generated a great response, and it’s what drives me every day.

Thanks to Walt Ribeiro of For Orchestra

33. What Lights My Entrepreneurial Fire…

In 2009, I had an idea that came to me. What about a stylish, but eco-friendly durable bag line? I took my idea and created these unique bags. I’m passionate about what I believe in and feel that it’s my duty as an entrepreneur to create environmentally responsible items to reduce my carbon footprint on the environment. But my passion also lies in my bags– who doesn’t love a stylish bag that is long-lasting and gets the most for your money. That’s why I get out of bed in the morning– I’m able to do what I love and create bags that are cute, versatile, and fashionable.

Thanks to Lisa Schaefer of Whether Bags

34. It’s Not About Me, It’s About Us

The one thing that lights my fire every morning is accepting and embracing the idea that, on any given day, the work I do makes a difference to others. Whether coaching clients on their resumes and, shortly after, receiving calls from them about their new jobs, developing a strategic marketing plan for an international firm or dedicating the weekend to writing my next book – risking it all, for the sake of a truthful story with which readers may one day connect – I strive for improving my skills all the while making a positive impact in other people’s lives.

Thanks to Alex Sukhoy, M.B.A. of Creative Cadence LLC

35. There’s A Thin Line Between Love And Work!

When I was 16, I had this summer job designing bumper stickers. My then boss told me, “Michele, if you can make your avocation your vocation, then you will have a happy life!” Guess what? He was right! I love what I do and it makes me spring out of bed every day knowing that I do exactly that! It is not rocket science. I design and produce interesting and useful products for both home and personal adornment. My clients send me inspiring thank you notes that spur me on to do more. I save them in a beautiful box to read if I ever have a down day (every once in a great while). I aspire to make things that families will fight over in a last will and testament.

Thanks to Michele Palenik of Purple Cloud Studio

36. Finding Freedom By Controlling Your Destiny

My freelance writing and marketing business is just a year old, so I can relate to the “down” days of being your own boss. I’m inspired to get out of bed every morning because I know I control my own destiny. If I need more work, I simply need to influence more prospective clients to give me a chance. Or, if it is a beautiful day and I’ve met my most important goals, I might head out for a mountain bike ride. That feeling of freedom is so sweet it motivates me to push through the harder days.

Thanks to Elizabeth Sklaroff of Round Social Marketing

37. Giving Back By Doing What We Love Lights The Entrepreneurial Fire

We’re driven by knowing that the services we’re offing our clients gets their story told and pays serious dividends for them in raising awareness. Before we started our business, our team was recent college grads stuck in a myriad of economic distress faced with this startling reality: fewer than one-fifth of our fellow graduates had job offers in hand when they finished school. We haven’t forgotten how that felt and are grateful that we’re now able to use our skills to help others; if we can assist clients like a small business or a non-profit in staying on their feet and using cost-effective means to market themselves, then we’re satisfied.

Thanks to Jeremiah Sullivan of Framework Media Strategies

38. Posh Potties Light My Fire!

My commitment to my customers. In my case, it’s making sure that our portable restrooms are perfect. What motivates me is seeing a client survey come back with a 10 out of 10 and knowing that my customer was thrilled (and surprised) with the service & product.

Thanks to Christine Sweeney of Atlanta Watercloset

39. I’m Hot For Scaling

The one thing about our business that lights my fire is the potential to scale our business to the umpteenth degree. By that, I mean taking your business to a whole new level by means of leaving your comfort zone and drawing in unimaginable quantities of new customers. When you step outside your comfort zone, you are literally taking a big risk with your business, but you’re doing it in return for expectation of an infinitely bigger payout. This can mean taking your company in a completely different direction, going public, or even creating a secondary website or business venture.

Thanks to Ian Aronovich of GovernmentAuctions.org

40. Sharing The Limelight With My Co-Inventor, My Daughter!

One dark, August night, my daughter Rhonda and I were sitting around the dark team cooler after a hard-fought ladies fastball game (we have been our team’s pitcher/catcher duo for the last 22 years) when she said these now famous words: “How come a fridge has a light, but not a cooler?”. That was the spark that ignited our invention – a little LED light that goes on the inside lid of a cooler…. FAB = Find A Beer! Fast forward a few years; my ladies fastball team is called The FABulasses and Rhonda is now listed as a patent co-owner. This means that I am no longer accountable to just me (who is far too easy-going), but to my daughter. With these emotions now driving my determination and ambition, success has arrived.

Thanks to Linda Pond of LindaLeePond.com

41. Allowing My Wife To Be A Stay-At-Home Mom

We all want to work for ourselves, have flexibility or a certain lifestyle, but for me, the biggest thing that drives me is for my wife to reach her dream and be able to be a stay-at-home mom. We have been trying to conceive for over three and a half years, going to a fertility doctor for two and recently found out that we are expecting. Although we started our business over a year ago, I am now driven more than ever to build a profitable business that will allow her – and me – to spend as much time with our child as possible.

Thanks to Perry Cunningham of To The Top Performance


Every day, I wake up realizing that like me, parents and their children are excited about student travel, foreign exchange and study abroad programs. They may be unaware that no federal standards of practice, oversight or mandated public reporting governs the organization they are entrusting their child or future to. Every day I wake up recalling tragic stories of abuse, neglect, death, unsafe living conditions and more from other families who have shared their stories. Every day I hope to change that reality, a greater good for a greater whole, with our company.

My son Tyler Hill died on a People to People Student Ambassador Trip to Japan. He was barely 16. He died full of his future His death was 100% preventable.

Thanks to Sheryl Hill of ClearCause Foundation

43. It’s About Growth…not Results

For me, it’s all about a growth mindset. Nothing gets me over the hurdles and out of bed in the morning like the belief that I am learning and growing with each step. By focusing on my own growth, the “problems” become opportunities to become tougher, stronger and smarter. This mindset shift, which I reinforce by posting sticky notes around that remind me “I am growing” gives me gumption to keep on going, that trying to “be disciplined” never did. Focusing on goals never worked for me, but making the process the goal brings the reward right into the present moment, and makes me willing to do things that are hard. Owning a business is an incredible growth experience…that’s what keeps me going.

Thanks to Colleen Keenan of ActionCOACH

44. The Ministry Of My Work

Our company is an emerging minority-owned marketing firm located in Cincinnati, Ohio, with less than ten employees. I often say that the life of an entrepreneur has good days and bad, but the emotional rewards are endless. Each week, someone who was touched by our company expresses their gratitude for our kindness with hand-written notes, telephone calls, emails and/or posts on our social media pages. Employees thank me for increased responsibilities and professional development opportunities. Customers thank me for exceeding expectations. Vendors thank me for loyalty. Non-profit organizations thank me for charitable donations. Community supporters thank me for the opportunity to attend company sponsored events as our guests. These expressions confirm that even through the obstacles, my mission to serve my employees, clients and community is a good one.

Thanks to Crystal Kendrick of The Voice Of Your Customer

45. Helping The Little Guy Or Gal

My motto is plan your work and work your plan. I like taking an idea and turning it into a reality. If you have a big idea, can you break it into small steps? Then you take those steps one by one. I love checking things off my to-do list. I’m certainly passionate about planning but the older I get, the more I have to accept that you just can’t plan for everything. To be successful, you have to be flexible and adaptable. You have to listen to your customers and respond accordingly.

Thanks to Lesley Tweedie of www.littleindependent.com

46. Into The Great Wide Open

I get through any tough day by waking up knowing that I have no idea what is coming my way, but that no matter what it is, it is going to be interesting. I’m fortunate in that I’m in a very creative business where we’re always doing custom work for so many amazing clients. It’s like fishing: you never know what’s going to be on the line that day. There can be a lot of stressful situations, but the wide open creativity and unknown potential more than compensates for that!

Thanks to Craig Wolfe of CelebriDucks

47. Helping People Sleep Better Gets Me Up In The Morning

Building a new product category in the U.S. is an enormous challenge. My job is to create a market in the U.S. for our restorative sleep mattresses that help people with dementia and related Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, Cancer, Children with disabilities, and other medical conditions sleep better at night. On the days that progress and sales are slow, I think of my Grandfather who had dementia and the 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, many of whom suffer from sleep disorders due to this progressive disease. When I get up and start my day at 5 AM, I feel compelled to get the word out about products that could help make the quality of life for millions of Americans (and their families) a little better.

Thanks to Elisa Louis of ExoMotion, LLC

48. I’ve Come To Realize That Cooking Is My Ministry To People

What keeps my fire going daily is that while I’m in the kitchen creating meals, I know I’m making a difference in my client’s home through my food. Whether it’s the excitement of a client’s brother finding out I’m making fresh pesto, or having the opportunity to change my client’s son’s palate to healthy foods from McDonald’s. He now requests mushrooms with every meal! Or having the opportunity to let my clients have a quiet dinner together after the kids have been fed and put down. They get that opportunity to enjoy a great meal and each other. There are so many elements that happen in the home around food. And I’ve come to realize that cooking is my ministry to people. It doesn’t matter how long the day is or how tough the client has been, being in the kitchen makes me smile.

Thanks to Jamie Poole of Jamie Poole Enterprises, LLC.

49. I Am Developing Chile….Thoughtfully!

I get out of bed every morning (in rural Pirque, Chile – Population 16,565) uber motivated with thoughts and big plans of how to best develop Chile and make the Chilean people happier (on their terms)! My goal is to become the individual who makes the largest social and economic impact among Chile’s middle, lower and indigenous populations by the time they hit their goal to become a fully developed nation (anticipated 2018). I am doing this by awakening the entrepreneurial consciousness in Chile, starting with young people/young adults in rural and economically depressed areas. One of my young entrepreneurs that I coach from the states is currently here in Chile for 6 months bootstrapping his start-up and serving as continued inspiration. Viva Chile!

Thanks to Shonika Proctor of Group Interactive, Inc.

50. Unlimited Possibilities

My entrepreneurial fire is sparked and fueled by the daily revelation that my success is up to me! From the moment I wake up, I see each new day as a fresh white canvas of infinite possibilities – to create; to innovate; to challenge; to reach out. This shapes my thoughts, beliefs and actions into a firebrand of potent resource that is inspired and motivated to press forward and claim my destiny. Whether my business is in its spring, summer, autumn or winter, there are always unlimited possibilities – endless opportunities to succeed – as long as I remain present, focused and ‘in-season’. 🙂

Thanks to Robin Dickinson of robindickinson.com

51. Discovering Passions For People!

We all have those days when everything seems miserable. However, working with my clients always ends up leaving me inspired! It’s a great feeling.

Sitting down with a client who believes something is impossible — and helping them to see the future possibilities, discover their strengths, and create a plan to achieve their goals is empowering. It makes me remember that anything is possible.

Only a few weeks ago, one of my clients was asking the question “Is it possible to quit my job and be a financial trader full-time?” Only a short time later, he is living his dream, and making the money he’s dreamed of, consistently. We’ve now raised the bar. It’s an amazing reminder that we can achieve anything we set our minds to.

Helping others always brightens my day.

Thanks to Julie Melillo of Julie Melillo Life Coaching

52. Genius Is Always Just Around The Corner…

What gets me over the hurdle? That genius can jump out and surprise you at any moment. And you never know where it will come from. I might get to be the genius. It might be my client, or my coach. Or some random blogger I stumble upon online. You really never can tell – and I love looking for the wonder of it!

Thanks to Erin Ferree of BrandStyle Design

53. My Heart Smiles

Seeing children’s faces light up with realization inspires me.

Realization that they have learned something new.

Realization that they have a new-found confidence.

Realization that they matter in this world.

Knowing that things I do will make a difference in a child’s life makes my heart smile.

Thanks to Toby Brown

54. It’s The Dogs!

As canine wellness practitioners, the thing that completely drives us is the dogs. Our passion is to help each and every dog we encounter, whether it be with a variety of physical problems or behavioral issues. We just can’t help it, we love, love working with these wonderful beings. The majority of dog owners absolutely love their dogs, and consider them part of the family. Our goal is to help owners keep their dogs healthy and happy for as long as possible, using these alternative therapies. That’s what lights our fire.

Thanks to Sherri Cappabianca of Rocky’s Retreat

55. It’s All About The Customers In The End

Being a small business owner, I am bound to facing an abundance of emotions and circumstances each and every day. Some of them are good and joyful, others are bitter and disappointing. At times I feel like this is it, I can’t handle it – I’m done with this! Only once in my life I felt like quitting, but I guess it was never meant to be. To my surprise one of my customers was the one to pull me out of this misery and give me the boost to keep going and leave all that pessimism behind. She wrote just two or three sentences that appeared to be crucial for me back then. They made me wake up and realize that sorrow and disappointment are inevitable and they are never the reason to give up. It was at that time that I finally realized that it is all about the customers in the end.

Thanks to John White of Best Essay Help

56. I Love My “Employer”

I’m a one-woman show. I do TV, radio, personal appearances, website, books, and articles, my word for money management God’s way. I LOVE what I do and, even on my worst days, I’m motivated by knowing who my Employer is. Without finishing college, I’ve managed to climb some pretty impressive heights and build a platform for what I teach and do and live. When I don’t feel like getting up and at it, I remember the words of 2 Timothy 2:15a: “WORK HARD SO YOU CAN PRESENT YOURSELF TO GOD AND RECEIVE HIS APPROVAL” (NLT). That’s my goal. I want others to know that Jesus Christ cares about every aspect of our lives; that we can’t separate the financial or any part of the physical from the spiritual. I have the pleasure and honor of sharing that Good News with others.

Thanks to Judy Woodward Bates of WWW.BARGAINOMICS.COM

57. Make Your Life A Mission

The biggest thing that moves me to get out of bed when I really don’t want to is thinking about my bigger mission. As soon as I gave true thought and honour to how my business is a large part of my life’s mission, of how it will help add value to the world, my feelings changed. Fear subsided and I knew that this was bigger than the day-to-day things that must be done. There are lives to change and dreams to help come true. Business is not just business.

Thanks to Jennifer Trask of www.jennifer-trask.com

58. People Love What I Like

I like to wake up and find a word that will inspire others to make it through the day. The responses they give me is what fuels my fire to continue.

Thanks to Derrick Hayes of WOE Enterprises

59. It’s The Sparkle In Her Eyes That Keeps Me Going

I recently sold my dance fitness studio for women I created a little over 5 years ago. Now, I’m an inspirational speaker, teaching women to engage their minds to notice the thoughts that often block them, love their bodies, and have more fun in life. Yes, I absolutely hit tough days, and the sparkle in a woman’s eye renews my commitment and dedication every time. It’s seeing a woman walk with her head up high with pride that keeps me going. It’s knowing that a woman truly takes ownership of her body and doesn’t require a man in the room to feel sexy. It’s witnessing the sparkle in her eye in the glory of her “aha” moment of truly loving her body. It’s knowing, I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing in life.

Thanks to Joni Lowe of www.JoniLowe.com

60. You Need To LOVE The Process

You can’t start a business for the love of money alone. You need to embrace the process and love what you do. The vast majority of all businesses fail. If you don’t love the creative process and believe in your idea, it will make pushing through work at midnight every day unbearable. Creative destruction, love of the creative process and embracing unpredictability: qualities every entrepreneur needs to have.

Thanks to Mitch Gordon of www.GoOverseas.com

61. Opportunities = Jobs

What gets me out of the bed in the morning is growth. Not just revenue growth but people growth. Every time we take on a new client, challenge, or product, it is the opportunity for us to grow personally and professionally. I love hiring new, talented people and every year we have continued to attract smart, kind, and diligent colleagues who want to help the business succeed. This is the most exciting thing to me: inviting others into building this company and watch them do amazing things I never would have dreamed of.

Thanks to Paul Griffiths of MedTouch

62. Helping Small Businesses Find New Success

In several of my previous, as well as my current company, our success and excitement is primarily driven by the success of our clients. Nothing fires me up more than hearing an attorney client proclaim that our products have helped them land a new client, grow their practice and reach a new height in their business. To see the excitement and confidence grow in a small business owner is a great reward for me. Those client achievements make the long hours and exhaustive work of building products and a company worthwhile.

Thanks to Carey Ransom of www.realpractice.com/

63. Remembering What I Came For

I have a vision of how a company is supposed to work, and I see my vision has become a reality. On tough days, I remind myself that I built this company from scratch, I own this company, I control this company, and I’m successful. The company runs exactly how I think a company should run: It cares about the quality of its products and services, it cares about its customers and employees, it cares about following the law and acting decently, it contributes to a good society, and it generates fun and excitement. One rare, bad day doesn’t change the larger success I’m having, so I usually weather the storm on a bad day just fine.

Thanks to Luke Latham of www.sellrex.com

64. The Moment When They See The Door

In my work, I help people and organizations navigate complex and messy influence networks for greater success. A lot of my clients have been banging their heads against the same wall (figuratively speaking of course) for years, thinking that if they just bang a bit harder, the wall will give in and they will succeed. Mapping out their networks is like taking a step back to take in the whole room. Together we often discover that there is actually a door that they can open and walk through. The way their face lights up (or tears fill their eyes) when they realize that the answer to their question might be completely different from what they thought, that they may not even have asked the right question to start with… that’s what makes me get up in the morning.

Thanks to Eva Schiffer of Net-Map

65. Lighting The Fire Of Inspiration!

Emerson wrote, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” This is one of my main objectives as a leadership consultant and facilitator. Whether I succeed in imparting knowledge about a particular topic is less important to me than inspiring others to be the best leader/employee/person they can be. This cannot happen through the rote transfer of knowledge from my brain to theirs. I can effect real change by inspiring others to reframe, rethink, and recalibrate their relationship with themselves and with those who play a significant role in their life. I believe few people are ever inspired to greatness without appealing to their hearts. I’m less interested in being a “trainer” of people and more passionate about being an “inspirer” of people.

Thanks to Michael Brenner of IdeAgency

66. Knowing We Are Making A Difference

The one thing about my business that lights my fire, gets me out of bed and over every hurdle, especially on the tough days is knowing we are making a difference in the lives of healthcare providers and patients alike. To be a healthcare related business you must have a passion for what you do. The challenges are numerous but the rewards are great. Our rewards are the thank you’s we receive from patients after helping them work with their insurance companies for services that should be covered and were not. The emails, phone calls and letters we receive from clients thanking us helping with compliance issues and fighting for payments denied to them. Sure we are a service but out of everything that come our way the thank you’s mean the most to me.

Thanks to Melissa Turner of Mainstream Services Inc. Medical Billing

67. A Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love!

This is a labor of love! The work is precisely where my business mind and heart lie. Therefore there is little to no conflict in either the work that I do, or in the various facets of the job that comprise the work as a whole.

So, my entrepreneurial fire continues to burn through the good and the bad. I know I have within my own power and authority, the ability to affect any and every outcome. When things go bad, there is no boss or manager from whom I have to shield any inadequacies in order to protect my employment, potential for a raise, etc… Instead, I have complete autonomy to rise up from the knock-downs and see if I can yield a positive outcome and potentially gain additional respect from employees, peers and clients.

Do what you love and the fire will remain a lifetime!

Thanks to Edward Carrick of Performance Analysis

68. Get Out Of Bed

I’m a worker who likes job and customer satisfaction. Interestingly, when I look back over my nearly 38 years (23rd June 2011) I realize that many of the jobs I’ve had, I created for myself — my bike repair around age 6, my beer and wine making 6-9 years, my paper route up to when I left school at 14, not to mention my fruit and veg shop job after school everyday and all day Saturday. I’ve gone from full-time employment trainee mechanic, to mechanic, and now a boss in building firm. I’m getting more from the internet in revenue than from my offline business, with easier work and less hassle. So my advice if you’re online is to get a dog. The interaction with people is magnetic, and you have to get up in the morning to take them out. Plus, they always show you affection.

Thanks to Scott Andrew of SA Refurbishment Limited

69. I Am The Solution…

I totally understand that I am responsible for the space I hold in this part of the world. And although people (many in my circle), may not directly say it to me, I know in their hearts they are hoping for great things to happen. In my mind, I believe that I am that great thing. I know that my existence is not just for me. In understanding that, it brings me to a place of certainty when it comes to others. The services that I offer through my company were created as a solution and that alone is why I get out of bed everyday. It is the reason I check my email to see if anyone is reaching out to me for assistance.

Thanks to Tawana Necole of Corporate Chics, LLC

70. One Life To Live

I think we are all reminded of our strength in times of growth. Making the decision to begin our journey to purpose is one such time. As we make the conscious decision to walk in our purpose, there is a strength in moving out of existing in a space of comfort, to living in a space of purpose.

You must now decide if you will move into your purpose. This is a paradigm shift of thought and expectation of self. Sometimes people learn their purpose, but they aren’t ready to move into it. It is important not to force yourself into your purpose, but rather discuss the choice made to wait. My purpose is to empower women entrepreneurs. I love to see women make the decision to begin living their purpose, thus, livin’ life out loud.

Thanks to Brandy Adamson

71. Where There Is Smoke, There Is ….


Have you ever seen the look on a homeless child’s face as she watched her friend enter her own home? Have you ever felt the cling of a child dreading to return to her life just one hour previous? I have. From this abyss, I launch, nurture and enact my dream.

The homeless are a long way from home! I have a plan to create jobs — in a society where the unwise are so duped they still believe words over actions. Deep within my business model is a way for even the poorest of the poor to make a living. That single goal gets me up, keeps me up, fills me up. I want to provide the means for anyone to get the money to escape from the same chains of fear, pain and despair — you dear reader have escaped.

Thanks to Jim Nico of www.thesocialnetworkmagazine.com

Thanks so much again to all our wonderful contributors for your valuable tips for closing a sale this week!  We hope to hear from you again.

If you are new to the Question of the Week and would like to get involved, simply follow the link below to get started.  We’d love to have you share your knowledge and experiences here too, and get a bit of PR in the process.

This week’s question is –

Masterminds – Finding the Right Fit

Entrepreneurs who are part of a support network seem to experience rapid business growth. Mastermind groups are great for collaborative coaching and innovation.

But with so many out there, how do you find the right fit, and are the more expensive groups really worth the investment?

Why should I join the discussion?

Because this online forum is a great place for us to exchange ideas, learn from each other and network. My goal is to unite successful women entrepreneurs to share our insights and solutions to the challenges we most commonly face in our businesses.

How do I get involved?

Every Monday I will post a new Question of the Week. This is a great opportunity for you to bring your expertise to the table. Using the link below, please submit a one paragraph response before the deadline, and the following week I will share our community responses on my blog.


I look forward to your response to this week’s question! If you have any questions you know where to find me. Have a great week!


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  1. Posted June 20, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Creating my own destiny while simultaneously leading a fulfilling family life.

    • Posted June 21, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Samantha! I agree! I love determining my own destiny and being my own boss. It is hard work but incredibly liberating, and a never-ending adventure. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your fire starter. Shannon

  2. dimplearora
    Posted June 20, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a wonderful way to get entrepreneurs involved! Thoroughly enjoying this valuable and inspiring post! Thank you!

    warm regards,
    Dimple 🙂

    • Posted June 20, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Dimple! So happy to know that you found it valuable to read. Our contributors are amazing, and the invitation is always open to join in the fun each week. Would love to have you share your inspiration and insights. 🙂

  3. Posted June 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    GREAT discussion Shannon.
    For me — the latest thrill has been how proud my boys are of me….After being home 10 years and then turning “entrepreneur”…they are so proud and supportive!

    • Posted June 20, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Rachel, I LOVE IT! Thanks so much for sharing what lights your fire. I can’t imagine anything better than having children who think you rock. 🙂 You are paving the way for their dreams, by living your own.

  4. Posted June 20, 2011 at 6:51 am | Permalink | Reply

    Ah, these are truly inspirational comments here Shannon! It’s so neat to hear what motivates another on their journey! Thank you for allowing me to be included (always such a privilege) and for sharing this wonderful list with the rest of the world!!

    Wishing you a fabulous, productive week!

    Much kindness,


    • Posted June 20, 2011 at 7:44 am | Permalink | Reply

      Elena, I am thrilled to have one of your stories again this week! Yes, we got a great group once again and I hope that all the stories will inspire those who read them, especially if they are having a rough day. 🙂

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  1. […] Quoted in this wonderful article about what inspires entrepreneurs to get out of bed.  Look for #34: It’s Not About Me, It’s About Us. […]

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