It is hard to stay focused and upbeat all of the time when running your own business. If you’re like me, and you work alone at home, I absolutely understand the challenges you are facing. Which is why today I thought I’d share a few tips here that help me out, these are my 5 ways to stay motivated when you run your own business.
I’ve been working for myself for several years now, and I work at home, alone. Well, I have Herbie with me, but I’m not sure a miniature dachshund’s encouragement really counts?!
Over the years, my business has developed in different ways, and my life has changed inasmuch as the kids are both at school every day now. When I started here, I had a baby and a toddler at home so that brought different challenges to how I worked.
I’ve put in place new routines and best practices to move with these changes over time, and I have also learned my own working style and how my self motivation works. When you work for yourself, you really do need to be self motivated!
I have learned that these five things are brilliant for lifting me and helping me get into a productive and motivated mood.
Go back to the beginning
This one really helps if you are struggling for more than just a day or two. It serves as something of a reboot.
The idea is to go back to the beginning, thinking about why you started your business in the first place and revisiting your initial ideas and plans.
Now, those initial ideas may now be defunct now, but they will take you back on that original journey and remind you of just why you are doing all that you are doing.
You will also stumble across thoughts and plans you had that can spark something in you. It might be a product you had forgotten you were going to try or a promotion you were thinking of running. It might be more about getting organised behind the scenes, but whatever it is, run with it. Which does lead me onto my next tip…
Try something new
There is something invigorating about trying something new.
If you are self employed, you are likely to have an entrepreneurial spirit, which means something new is a challenge rather than something to shy away from.
This might be a huge thing, like a new service or product development, or it might just be promoting in a slightly different way. You might give your website a whole new look, get a new logo, or work with a new brand.
It can be absolutely anything, even something as simple as working in a different place. You will find that just doing something out of the norm will stir that motivation back up.
This one never fails to get me motivated, as I love trying new things. I like to learn new things, to stretch myself and to offer my readers and followers fresh concepts, content and products.
Work with someone else
This can really stretch you and get you back on top of your game.
You might be able to find someone else who works within a similar industry to you to work with for a day here and there from time to time. Perhaps you have found an office that you can use every so often so you are surrounded by others and a different environment and energy. Or it might be as simple as collaborating with another company on a project or chatting over the phone about your mutual businesses.
I like to have a work day with a friend of mine every month, where we work alongside one another and we bounce our ideas and goals off one another. It can also be good to share any successes and frustrations together, it is a different pair of eyes on your business.
I’ve also had some great phone and email chats with others running their own businesses, just sharing what we’re each up to, directions we’re moving in and asking one another’s opinions. It can really spark something new in you and it reminds you of your own goals.
Connect with your customers
You are doing all that you do for someone, aren’t you? Whether that be a large customer base or a small clientele, think about who you are working hard for.
Connecting with your customers can act a little like tip 1 in that it takes you back to why you’re doing what you do. It is also a great way to get some feedback on all that you do.
Feedback can help you to shape something new, improve what you’re doing and it can also give you that warm, fuzzy feeling when you hear something positive about what you’re doing. That definitely motivates!
And really, it is just fun. Talking to people who are in some way invested in what you do is enjoyable. Do more of it.
Your customers are at the core of your business, so it is simply the right thing to do.
This applies to every single day and then those time when you are digging deep to find some motivation.
It can be easy to fall in to the trap of always being in work mode, particularly when you work for yourself from home. It’s hard to separate work from home.
Build in breaks to your day, week and month. You know how best to juggle your own workload and you know when you are at your best. If you are a morning person, give yourself some time out in the afternoon, after you have been productive all morning.
For me, needing to walk the dog every day is a super handy ‘task’. There are days when I just want to get my head down and work, but Herbie advises me that that’s not possible, and I am always glad of the break from my screen once I get out into the fresh air.
I have some great ideas when I’m taking a break, it’s a chance for my brain to recharge.
When all else fails and tips 1 to 4 just aren’t cutting it, you might then need to take more than just a break of a few hours, if your business permits this.
I have gone through periods where I am not motivated to write, to interact on social media, to promote, to design, to create and so on. I have learned that it is important to recognise these moments and not push harder.
I run with it and adjust my work accordingly. For example, if I am not feeling creative, I might spend my time sorting my accounts or catching up on emails, rather than wasting time sitting in front of a blank screen hoping inspiration will strike. I then ensure I maximise those times when I am full of ideas and write several posts or film a few videos all in a row.
As I work from home, I might know that I need a break and take the day away from my business and do something completely different. Every time I do this, I come back stronger the next day and am brim-full of ideas! Learn to listen to yourself and know your own limits. You will soon use them to your advantage.
As a bonus point, in addition to these 5 tips to keep you motivated, there will be those little perks that brighten your mood.
I know the little things that work for me, the personal boosts and wins that I get, and I am sure you can name a few of those for yourself. It is worth stopping and thinking about them, and maybe making a list of them so you can draw on them when you need them.
Maybe playing music while you work? Maybe surrounding yourself with a few of your favourite things whilst you work? Maybe just grabbing your favourite drink to kick your day off? Whatever works for you, use it!
I do hope that these tips have helped you. I know how it can feel a hard slog at times, but you are doing it, keep on going.
If you work for yourself, what do you do to stay motivated?