It’s normal to experience dips in motivation, to want to procrastinate instead of dealing with the mountain of work that lies ahead. But at the end of the day, true entrepreneurs know that you have to push past those feelings and force yourself to do what’s difficult at times.
There is no question that more Americans are finding ways to develop a side hustle. According to a 2022 Zapier.com study, at least two in five Americans have a side hustle, up from about a third in December 2020.
But if you’re going to make your side hustle a reality, you need to commit to identifying when you’re procrastinating, wasting time and avoiding the difficult tasks you should be doing. You have to go after what you want with a single-minded focus. That’s real hustle.
To help reset myself in these moments, I compiled this list featuring my favorite motivational quotes from top business legends as a reminder of why I’m here, what fuels my hustle and just how short this life really is.
These quotes will inspire you to get working, validate your idea, create your success and get stuff done! They are quotes that are perfect for getting into the right mindset for thinking big, accomplishing your most meaningful goals, and refocusing on the larger picture of why you committed to this hustle in the first place.
“Good things happen to those who hustle.” – Anais Nin
Good things (usually) don’t just fall into your lap, and there’s no use waiting around and hoping they will. Want to start a side hustle? Stop thinking and talking about it. Get started today. Good things will happen when you work hard for them, and position yourself to identify which opportunities you can take advantage of.
This quote from Anais Nin, a prolific essayist and author during the early to mid-1900s, lives on the wall right above my desk. That’s motivating.
“The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.” – Unknown
It doesn’t cost you anything to dream—time, money or hard work. Hustle, on the other hand, costs all of that. This quote serves as a constant reminder to get out of bed when my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. and it’s time to get to work. No matter what time of day you work on your side hustle, you’re going to be tired. Deal with it. Hustle through the difficulties.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
The best way to get your side hustle moving is to flex those creative muscles.
Use this quote from the great Maya Angelou as motivation to create every single day—no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. The act of exercising your creative muscle will help you perfect your craft and become even better. Create. Create. Create.
Related: 11 Reasons You Need a Side Hustle
“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” – Oprah Winfrey
If you feel like your side hustle is hitting a roadblock, reframe that challenge: it’s just adjusting its center of gravity. This quote is inspiration to constantly adapt in the face of adversity.
Any time you feel procrastination creeping in, strive to be aware of it and treat it like a plague—stop procrastinating the moment you realize you’re doing it and find a reward for tackling that milestone.
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”– Sheryl Sandberg
Take a minute to think about this one.
If truly nothing was stopping you, nothing in your way, nothing to be afraid of, what would you do? This quote is inspiration to do exactly that. What are you waiting for? Should you quit your job to pursue your side project that’s gaining momentum? Well, maybe. You tell me. What are you afraid of?
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
No one has ever done anything important (perfectly) on the first try—failing once or even dozens of times—should never mean failing forever.
When I fail with a big project, not landing a new client I’ve been pitching, under-deliver on the results I was expecting, or when I get down about a cold email campaign that went completely unanswered, I always limit the amount of time I allow for being discouraged, to no more than an afternoon. After that, it’s time to dust myself off, figure out where I went wrong, and start hustling again.
“You gotta run more than your mouth to escape the treadmill of mediocrity. A true hustler jogs during the day, and sleepwalks at night.” – Jarod Kintz
Basically, put your money where your mouth is.
Don’t just tell everyone about that great idea of yours, or your dreams of owning your own business—use this quote as a reminder to actually make daily progress toward bringing it to life. Learn the skills you’ll need to excel, level up your game, network with the right people and find mentors. Don’t make excuses—hustle hard.
“Hustle until you no longer need to introduce yourself.” – Anonymous
No one asks Bill Gates who he is. Use this quote as inspiration to achieve greatness—remind yourself of that and you can’t lose in the long run.
“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” – John Wooden
Success almost never comes in a neat package. This quote will remind you to make the best of what you have, and what happens even if you fail.
“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
Mediocre is easy. It takes work to become truly great. Learn to love the hustle.
If you want mediocrity, invest in a low risk, low return lifestyle. You want to fulfill your dreams as an entrepreneur? You’re going to have to hustle a lot. Save this quote as the background on your phone so it serves as a constant reminder of what you’re here on this planet to do.
“You can’t have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic.” – Stephen C. Hogan
This quote represents a common theme here: don’t expect big returns if you’re not making big investments.
It’s going to take hard work and consistent investment to reach the top of your mountain. If you’re struggling to find the right business idea worth pursuing, then set aside the time to dig deep into the topics you’re personally interested in. Uncover meaningful problems you’re motivated to solve—ones you’ll keep working on, even when the going gets tough.
Identify a mentor, take a class, attend workshops, practice your solution on friends and family. In this case, it’s your investment of time that’ll help you make true progress.
“I will tell you the secret to getting rich on Wall Street. You try to be greedy when others are fearful. And you try to be fearful when others are greedy.” – Warren Buffett
Stand out in the crowd, push your limits and go left when others go right (when you have good reason to do so).
This quote is a reminder that by zigging when others zag, you can capitalize on the gaps that other people are missing. And this is also common business advice from the world’s top entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed—as well as garnering widespread support throughout most of today’s best business books—which gives good cause to take this billionaire’s quote seriously.
“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” — James W. Frick
You might talk a big game about prioritizing your side hustle, but if you’re spending 50 percent of your budget on stuff you don’t need, that speaks louder than words.
Align your budget with what you want your priorities to be. That’s the secret to truly getting where you want to go.
Will achieving your goals take sacrifice? Of course, but I’d argue that most meaningful goals worthy of achieving in life should require sacrifice. Otherwise they wouldn’t be meaningful, would they?
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“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn
Value your time more than your money, because your time is a finite resource.
Use this quote as a reminder not to make the mistake of spending a lot of time doing something yourself, that would cost only a little bit to delegate to someone else. If you don’t have the resources to delegate and pay for contract-based help, get creative and find a partner who’d be willing to invest their time helping to build your business, in exchange for equity.
“Don’t think about your errors or failures; otherwise, you’ll never do a thing.” – Bill Murray
Failures are important only to learn from, but don’t waste your life wallowing in regrets of the past. As Bill Murray says, you’ll never do a damn thing if you allow that worry to cripple you.
This quote from the incredible Bill Murray is simple, yet oh so true.
From transitioning to a new career, to starting a new side hustle, deciding to quit your day job, investing in a long-term business strategy like content marketing, or otherwise — push forward into your new venture with confidence.
Embrace the inevitable reality that there will be failures in your business. Get over it today, and move into tomorrow with the motivation to continue creating.
Originally published in 2018.