It’s October , the nights are drawing in and the weather is turning colder. School is back and in general I’m feeling a little flat. After 6 weeks of frantic business/summer holiday juggling, and dreams of how much work I could do once the schools returned, I now find myself at my desk with no small people in sight yet not a single ounce of motivation. I basically have the equivalent of writer’s block but for my business. You see, I have big plans, massive growth plans and huge targets for the next 5 years – the kind that people laugh at when I tell them – and I really believe in these plans, although I am now struggling to motivate myself and stay focused. So, what to do in a situation like this… I put out a post on my business social media and asked for help! Thank you to all the lovely people that took the time to respond to my posts – some of them complete strangers, but all have been in the same boat at some point of their self-employed or working from home journey, so I now hope that the following ideas will go on to help and inspire more people out there.
Firstly, it is important to differentiate between motivation and focus. They are two totally different things. I was looking to get my business mojo back and suggestions like having a cup of tea and a 30-minute break weren’t enough to do so. There were, however, loads of fantastic suggestions on how to stay focused which I will be taking on board (putting your mobile in a different room / setting yourself time limits / having a new to-do list everyday etc.), but, for the purpose of this blog, I’m focusing on Motivation – the next blog will focus on Focus!
- Remind yourself of why you are doing this: It’s great going into business alone; terrifying, yet exciting and exhilarating to know that every penny you earn is due to your hard work and is (minus the overheads) for you to keep. But along the way you can sometimes forget why you are doing all of this in the first place. I love marketing. I love helping businesses improve and grow their marketing. But, I want to be a school-run mum too and therefore I am a self-employed marketing consultant to try and get the work-life balance right.
- Write down your business objectives: Have you ever written down your business objectives? What do you want to achieve in 1 / 3 / 5 years? Write these up and stick them above your desk, have them there in front of you every time you sit down to work, make them become a mantra that you repeat so that you reengage with your business purpose and fall back in love with your job.
- What do people say about you and your business: I love this suggestion made on LinkedIn to review your testimonials, and think it is a really positive exercise to remind yourself how hard you work, how far you have come, and how much clients past and present really appreciate what you do.
- Make a plan: I love a plan! Having worked as a planner in several London agencies I learnt about pulling your thoughts together, questioning them, and then making a plan and implementing a strategy to deliver said plan. And this is exactly the same strategy to use when you have your own business. You know where you want to go, so write down how you are going to get there and make small but achievable lists that you can satisfyingly check off.
- Set aside ‘on the Business time’: It is the age-old dilemma of ‘On the business vs. In the business’. I, personally, have very limited working hours due to childcare obligations therefore always prioritise my client work over and above any of my own work – even monthly billing! But, this then leaves my own brand and new business pipeline at risk. Not surprisingly more than one person mentioned the importance of setting aside specific time once a week to work through your own business’s needs, be it finance, marketing or future planning and I think this is a great idea and something I’m going to implement now.