Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs. Until a business gets off the ground and clients or customers are streaming in regularly, an entrepreneur -- especially a sole entrepreneur -- can seem to have more "downs" than "ups." So, how does a new business owner stay motivated and on task throughout those down periods? By walking the walk.

When I graduated from college, the only jobs available in my geographic area were clerical. Fortunately, my high school typing class had qualified me for one of these jobs. I disliked the work, and yearned for the day when I would be promoted to a management position. A mentor at the company had wisely told me that if I wanted a managerial position I had to look the part before I could get the part. In other words, I had to “walk the walk” before I could “talk the talk.” Rather than wearing skirts and slacks, I began wearing suits. I felt managerial, and I looked managerial. Several times, as the Chairman and CEO passed my desk, he commented on my professional appearance. In less than a year I was offered a position as a manager. Without thinking twice, I took it.

This vignette illustrates several points:

1. If you want something badly, you must believe that you can find a way to achieve it. Do you believe that your business will be a success, or do you doubt your ability to make it so? If you find yourself doubting your decision to launch your business, you will sabotage yourself. That’s your Inner Critic speaking. Don’t let it take over. Each day replace the self-doubt with a concrete plan of what you will accomplish that day to move your business one step closer to success. Most days you will take baby steps, and once in a while you’ll get to take a Giant Step.

2. You have to act the part before you can get the part. When people ask you how your business is doing, how do you respond? If your usual response is to moan and groan about how bad the economy is and how poorly you’re doing, you’re not presenting yourself or your business in a positive light. Remember, in order to be successful, you must act successful. I’m not suggesting that you lie, but I am suggesting that you choose your words carefully. If you need more clients or customers, instead of saying, “Business is terrible,” say, “Business is slow right now, but I’m hoping that it will pick up.” The more often you hear yourself saying these words, the stronger you will believe them, and the more motivated you will be to make things happen.

3. When an opportunity presents itself, take it. See where it leads. If it’s not exactly what you were hoping for, you can always change course farther up the road. Sometimes success springs from the most unlikely places. Whether it be advertising, networking, product lines, service sectors, or other aspects of your business, sow your seeds as widely as practicable. You never know which may be the first to germinate. Especially when you’re first starting out, don’t try to guess what will work and what won’t. Allow yourself to experiment and find out from experience. You may be surprised!

Above all, stay positive. Believe that what you are seeking is on its way to you. Then, remember to follow these tips:

• Trust yourself; trust that the actions you choose to take will yield the results you want.
• View obstacles as speed bumps rather than as mountains.
• Don't sweat the small stuff.
• Act deliberately, without hesitation.
• Frequently reassure yourself that everything will work out.
• Follow your own intuition.
• Eliminate "shoulds" and focus on "want tos."
• Express to yourself gratitude for the good things in your life.
• Tell your Inner Critic to quiet down.
• Say "yes" to more opportunities!

Author's Bio: 

Mary Ellen Halloran holds a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA, a law degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, CT, and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of New Haven in West Haven, CT. From 1971 to 1994 she held upper management and administrative positions at various companies. In 1996 she moved from Connecticut to San Francisco to pursue her degree in Counseling Psychology. From 1998 to 2007 she worked as a marriage and family therapist in San Francisco. In 2008 she opened Transitions Life Coaching in Tolland, CT, where she works with adult clients on a variety of issues, including self esteem, anger management, parenting skills and career transitions.