Mastering the Mind: How Business Owners Can Win the Mental Game

Being an entrepreneur is a challenge. Keeping your mind honed and ready can help you achieve more, even when times are tough.

As an entrepreneur, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “mind over matter.” Whether you’re a startup or seasoned business owner, the fact remains the same: the entrepreneur life is hard. There are ups and downs at every stage in the game and it can be mentally exhausting to weather. No one is immune from the psychological hardships or owning and running your own business. I know I’m not.

That’s why upping your mental game is so critical. Learning tricks to help you get through the tough times (and to be present enough to thoroughly enjoy the good ones) is essential. I’ve put together some of my favorite go-to strategies that I’ve learned over the years to help you get some peace of mind.

Stay Focused

This is an important skill set, particularly during the good times. When business is good and everything is on the up-and-up, it can be difficult to stay focused on the core tasks of the business. When customers come pouring in, it is definitely a time to celebrate. But it is also a time a hunker down on all the responsibilities that come with new customers: bookkeeping, onboarding, retention, inventory. If you take too long of a time-out to do a happy dance, you could fall behind on the essential tasks that keep your business running in the first place.


Whether times are good or bad, visualization is a helpful technique to keep your eye on the prize. This requires that you have business and personal goals established and written down. If you don’t, stop and do it right now. It’s important to know what you are working toward at all times. Once you have your list, find a quiet space to sit and visualize all of these goals coming to fruition. Envision your victory. See yourself posting that banner on your website that says “Over 100,000 customers and counting!” Imaging closing on that vacation home in Naples. Those are big ones but don’t forget the less grandiose but just-as-important ones. Imagine yourself sitting down in front of your laptop with a mug of your favorite coffee, itemizing your to-do list and checking off each and every one of those tasks. It feels good, doesn’t it?

Sharpen Your Mind

Staying mentally sharp is tough. In this day and age, everyone is a multi-tasker and we are constantly bombarded by distractions. Doing mind workouts can toughen you up psychologically and improve your ability to stay focused, calm, and effective. It’s important to remember that while the mind can dominate over matter, matter supports the mind. Keep yourself healthy by starting the day with a nutritional breakfast or snack, taking brief stand-up or mini workout breaks throughout the day, getting enough sleep at night and taking the time to enjoy peace and quiet.

Have Fun

Running a business is stressful and I know all work and no play makes Matt a dull boy. It’s important to remember to enjoy yourself. Many of my friends who own their own business became entrepreneurs for a multitude of reasons. Some did it to have more work/life balance. Others did it for the flexibility it afforded them in managing their time. Still, others did it to be able to travel more and work remotely. Remember the reasons you started your own business in the first place and remember to take advantage of those benefits. Let loose once in awhile. Take a half-day off and be a tourist in your own city. Enjoy a quiet (and smartphone-free) meal with your spouse or significant other. Life is short; don’t miss out.

Set Goals

Did I mention this already? I did. This is important because each and every one of us needs something to work towards. To get motivated, we all need something to achieve, something that propels us out of bed in the morning. Goals can also be the extra push we need when things aren’t going so well and we need a little boost to keep on moving. They are the “oxygen to our dreams.” They are also fundamental to professional success. The success of a business can be measured by many metrics: revenue, profit, customers, and more. Knowing your core metrics, constantly analyzing them, and making tweaks to improve are all stepping stones to reaching goals.

Every business owner can positively impact their mental game. Mastering the mind is an important aspect of being a successful entrepreneur. The highs and lows can be extreme, but if you have a firm grasp on your mental state, you have the ability to impact your circumstances - and your life.

Matt KneeMatt Knee is Founder and President of started in 2001, makes starting and running a business simple, fast, and inexpensive for entrepreneurs and their advisors. They offer complete incorporation and LLC formation packages. To date, they have started over 50,000 companies in all 50 states. 

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