You know that feeling when things are going well: everything’s in harmony, your work is flowing, your sales are looking healthy, and it feels like everything has finally fallen into place. That this is it; the success you’ve been working so hard for. If only we could bottle that feeling. That energy. That motivation. Because it’s not always available in such abundance.
Running your own business is full of ups and downs. There will be times when jobs are scarce, money isn’t coming in, and you feel at odds with everything. And those are the times when your motivation can disappear altogether. When inaction can become a habit. When the idea of binge-watching old TV shows is far more appealing than another day staring at a computer.
Where’s that bottle of energy when you need it?
But there are ways to keep your motivation up. To keep pushing, and striving, and to keep hold of the joy of doing something that you love (even if it doesn’t feel like it loves you back right now!)
Remember Your Goals
There’s a reason you started your business. Probably lots of reasons, and now is the time to remind yourself of them. There was a reason you were excited about it, and now is the time to get that excitement back.
So, remind yourself of your goals. Your ‘whys’. Make a vision board, write a bucket list, create a meditation, whatever method works for you. Make note of your short-term goals, your mid-term goals, and your long-term goals. Even those that seem like pipe dreams. The holiday homes, the sports cars, the fame, the awards, remember those goals. Because, once upon a time, they seemed like pipe dreams to someone else. Someone who achieved them.
Think about what originally got you excited about your business. Ponder it, meditate on it, look back at old social media posts, put yourself back in that moment. Rediscover that same excitement.
Outsource and Collaborate
Have you ever noticed how you laugh more when you watch comedy with other people, rather than on your own? Life is much more fun when others come along for the ride. Excitement is contagious.
Why not outsource the aspects of your business that you don’t enjoy, or that aren’t your natural strength? Not only will it free you up to do more of what you do enjoy, and what you’re good at, but you’ll get new input into things. Other people bring new ideas, fresh perspectives, and a freelancer comes with a detachment from your business that you can’t achieve yourself. They can look at it differently, more critically, and really help with refreshing the way you see it.
Or find other people to collaborate with. Be it sharing a market stall, swapping blog posts, featuring in one another’s newsletters, or working on a new project together. Again, you’re bringing in those new ideas, those fresh perspectives, and another energy, one that may be exactly what you need to boost your own.
It can be very easy to get wrapped up inside your own head. With all those numbers, and to-do lists, deadlines, and strategies floating, jumbled, around in your brain. So, let’s leave all the business of business aside for a moment. Let’s do something creative, and open up the part of you that’s designed for dreaming, for empathy, for living in the moment.
You may already have a creative hobby; painting, knitting, dressmaking, or even just a colouring book. If your business is creative already, try a different medium or discipline. Try something new. Learn something new. Or you could spend some time designing flyers, or advertising banners, or making attractive graphics for social media. Dance. Sing. Go for a nature walk and make a collage from the leaves you pick up. Grab some marker pens, some post-it notes, some revision cards, and layout a new marketing plan across the floor. Just get moving, get creative, get out of your comfort zone.
Change Your View
Bored of staring at the same four walls? They say that a change is as good as a holiday, and they’re not wrong. Try working in a different part of your house, or work out in your garden. Even just rearranging and sprucing up your workspace can help you feel refreshed. Paint your desk, change the decor, buy a new houseplant. It’s amazing how much a spring clean can also be a spring clean for your mindset.
Or take your work out with you. Work at the park, at a coffee shop, at the library. Rent some office space, even if it’s just for a little while. Home office swap with a friend.
Say Hello (in real life)
Get out of the office, and go and speak to some real life people. Being an entrepreneur can be incredibly lonely, and, however much you love your own company, it’s nice to connect with others too.
Go to a local networking event or convention, join a book club, go for coffee with a friend. Just get out of the office, out of your head, and get socialising. You could make new friends, new business contacts, find your tribe, and even—gasp—have fun doing it!
With a mix of focussing on your whys, and refreshing your outlook, you could have your motivation back and be raring to go in no time.
Those are my top tips for boosting lagging motivation levels, what’s your top tip?