After studying some of the one million business owners who use Shopify, we discovered that founder types tend to fall into one of five personality types. Which one are you? Start with our quiz.
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. And, well, 2020 has been bumpy. This month, stargazers, we’re navigating inspiration, and the sparks that make us look, leap, and persevere.
The events of 2020 have left many of us closed off from the things that stir our creative cauldrons. It’s time to dig deeper. ✨
What’s critical about inspiration is that you can’t fake it. It’s a deeply personal thing. What inspires you may be different from what inspires someone else in your shoes. But how do you tell a fleeting interest from a driving, defining inspiration? How do you ensure that your driving force is always pushing you forward? What happens if your vision changes?
Here, we’ll share methods for finding inspiration, suggested sources, and tips for staying inspired—picked just for you, based on your personality type.
What first inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Even if you’re currently in a creative rut, you likely turn to some of the same sources for inspiration when you need it—maybe even the one that inspired you in the first place. Take our poll and tell us: what inspired you to pursue entrepreneurship? And see how you stack up against the Zodiac community.
How to find inspiration as an entrepreneur
If you’re feeling creatively stunted while trying to find a business idea, or if your current business has been stagnant, you may be lacking inspiration. Frankly, many of us are in a similar position these days—confined by the limitations of lockdown and potentially closed off from the things that stir our creative cauldrons. With travel, conferences, and the company of others all on hold for the foreseeable future, it’s time to dig deeper.
How do we overcome these foreboding feelings and instead shift our focus to the things that move us? Let’s start with what doesn’t inspire you. If, like me, your focus wanes midday and you find yourself doom scrolling through Twitter, only to feel even less motivated to work, maybe don’t do that. Easier said than done, I know.
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? Increase time spent on things that leave you feeling energized, excited, and creative—and set aside dedicated space for them in your schedule. How do you limit those things that do the opposite? Run the same exercise with the people you interact with. Now, prioritize time with friends who bring value to your conversations, ask the right questions, and give you honest feedback.
Shaking up a mundane routine can give you a new perspective—and inspire you in ways you didn’t expect.
Inspiration can come in other forms too: 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 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.
And, if your usual sources of inspo have been shut down by the pandemic, find ways to enjoy them anyway. Grounded travel buff? Explore films or cook recipes from other countries and cultures. Yoga studio closed for business? Partake in virtual classes. What inspires you—and well, everything else—may have changed permanently.
How to get—and stay—inspired, based on your Founder Sign ✨
What inspires one Trailblazer might differ from what inspires another, but we’ve been peeking into our founder crystal ball enough to detect some patterns. Mountaineers may be energized by ideas, while Outsiders typically look to more tangible sources of inspiration. Find out how to tap into what makes you build, grow, and create.
🌟 Don’t know your Sign? Start with our personality quiz.
Jump to your Sign:
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. But your approach to business can stray into the methodical. While that’s a trait that helps you keep your books clean and your goal on track, don’t let it overtake joy. If you work long hours at a handmade business, the thrill you had for creating could get lost in the monotony of the work.
Learn to 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 (don’t forget about that!), experiment with new hobbies.
Sources of inspiration
Make changes in your life that reignite your passion for what you do, Cartographer. Start by:
🔨 Making an impact. You’re motivated by seeing measurable results after all of your hard work. Find other ways to make an impact—help others, donate time or money to a cause, or start a business with a social mission.
🏡 Updating your surroundings. As a solo entrepreneur and a hard worker, 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. Do the colors inspire you? Can you post mood boards or mission statements in full view?
Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you truly love. It will not lead you astray.
Inspirational quotes for Cartographers
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
“Motivation may be what starts you off, but it’s habit that keeps you going back for more.” – Miya Yamanouchi, author
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you truly love. It will not lead you astray.” – Rumi, 13th century poet
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. That approach keeps things interesting—and inspiring.
Continue to consult intuition and take the path less travelled. Pursuing the unknown is what drives you. Inspiration comes easily from within, Trailblazer, but as a social creature be sure you replenish your resources in the company of others.
Sources of inspiration
You rarely stray so far off your own course that you can’t find your way back to an enlightened state, but when you do, this may be what inspires you:
🎨 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. Catch a film or an art opening. Try a new hands-on hobby. Or create a physical vision board you can see from your work space and continually update it with things that inspire you.
💬 Connections. Normally we’d tell you to host or attend a meetup, but in lieu of those options, connect online. If abused, social channels like Twitter and Instagram can be more distracting than helpful, so set boundaries and limits for yourself. Use these tools to make connections with people who inspire you rather than blindly scrolling. Seek feedback, start discussions, and bookmark words and imagery that move you.
If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.
Inspirational quotes for Trailblazers
“What we find is that if you have a goal that is very, very far out and you approach it in little steps, you start to get there faster. Your mind opens up to the possibilities.” – Mae C. Jemison, engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut
“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” – Dolly Parton, musician and philanthropist
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks, activist
How to get inspired as a Mountaineer
You’re an easy one, Mountaineer. And, we mean that in a good way. 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, and you have a clear line of sight.
If you do stumble, though, it may mean that you’ve unintentionally strayed off course. Redefine your goals, write them down, and post them somewhere prominent as a constant reminder.
If your dream only includes you, it’s too small.
Sources of inspiration
We know, Mountaineer, you’re usually too proud to admit that you don’t have all of the answers, but when you’re really stuck, it’s time to look outwardly.
You can find inspiration here:
🧑🏻🤝🧑🏿 People. You’re energized by social interaction. Take on a business partner or join an online community of other successful entrepreneurs. Who inspires you? Keep them close.
📚 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.
Inspirational quotes for Mountaineers
“If your dream only includes you, it’s too small.” – Ava DuVernay, filmmaker
“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.” – Jim Henson, puppeteer and filmmaker
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” – Paulo Coelho, author
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—say, a recent bout of failed business ideas—what keeps you going? For you, stagnancy is punishment. You need to move and change to thrive. Shake up your point of view or make connections with new people and soon the floodgates of ideas and opportunity will open for you again.
Champions keep playing until they get it right.
Billie Jean King
Sources of inspiration
You probably haven’t thought much about the concept of inspiration—you’re too busy making moves to stop and smell the roses, Firestarter. When you do find yourself with some downtime (the horror!), you can find inspiration here:
🎤 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. But unless you’re watching, you might miss them. Follow trending topics and accounts that cover innovation, tech, and culture to inspire your next move. Make business connections and share ideas through entrepreneurship community groups.
Inspirational quotes for Firestarters
“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” — Billie Jean King, former pro tennis player
“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO Dropbox
“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos
How to get inspired as an Outsider
Like the Firestarter, you, Outsider, take an unsentimental approach to work. Unlike your risk-positive friend, though, your surroundings don’t change much. You like systems, predictability, and taking slow steps toward your goals. It’s a safe and responsible approach but sometimes not a very interesting one.
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.
Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.
Sources of inspiration
You risk losing sight of what inspires you if the goal seems far away (like a comfortable retirement). In moments of doubt, find inspiration here:
🌳 A change of scenery. You’re a creature of habit, and when your machine is chugging along, it works for you. But if you hit a wall, get out of your comfort zone and seek inspiration where you least expect to find it: take a hike, visit a park, or even work from a different vantage point in your house.
📑 A clear plan. Financial stability is important to you, so if you feel shaky about it, you could be doubting your path or feeling stuck. Review your goals, plan, and progress—where did things start to fall apart? Adapt your plan, if needed, and find confidence in your financial goals again—it’s ultimately what motivates you.
Inspirational quotes for Outsiders
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson, entertainer and former pro wrestler and football player
“Stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns.” – Susan Cain, author
If you’ve yet to determine your Founder Sign, take our quiz, then sign up for our newsletter. The Founder’s Zodiac runs every month and offers up advice and relevant content curated just for your type.
Illustrations by by Alice Mollon