We asked one of our freelancers — jo80 — how she maintains her motivation as a entrepreneur. Jo80 runs a small but successful copywriting and content creation business on our platform.
Here is what she wrote:
If I had a boss, a month ago I'd have marched into the office and handed in a request for leave.
I was tired, lacking energy, and my enthusiasm had packed up and left me.
I'd had a busy few months and, in the process, I'd lost all motivation for the work that was piling up in front of me. I just needed a week off.
Sadly, though, I am the boss.
People are giving me their leave forms as they take their well-earned breaks.
There isn't anyone else to pass the piles of coffee-stained reporting over to, and there's no one to forward the phone calls to because, you know what, it's all on me.
Customer satisfaction? You've got it…all me!
Oh, don't get me wrong.
I love my business, and I love everything I do each day. But when you've been pulling at the same thread for months on end, with no sign of any let-up to the daily problems you face, it can sometimes feel relentless.
One of the most frustrating consequences of this is a lack of motivation. There is so much to do, there's so little time to do it, and yet you can't be bothered with any of it!
So, tired as I was, I don't give in easily. Rather than packing it all in and sailing off into the sunset which I’m pretty sure was calling me by name, I worked hard to restore my balance.
I got my motivation back, and, if you identify with what I’m saying, here are six things you can do to do the same.
1. Take the break.
While people harp on about work-life balance, when you're a business owner, your work is your life, and vice versa. It's not always easy just to pack up and run away to a life without responsibility. And if you do, there's no guarantee you'll have a business to come back to!
But that doesn't mean you can't have an evening off.
Switch your laptop off, take yourself to the movies, get an early night, and do something that's just for you.
Look, if you can extend that to a day or a whole weekend, then do it! If you love what you do, it doesn't take too much time-out for you to reset your energy levels and start again the following Monday filled with enthusiasm. But if that's not possible, even a few hours break might be enough to relocate your clarity.
2. Remember your ‘why'.
Every entrepreneur has a reason for starting their business: you might want to provide a better life for your family, perhaps you want to make a difference in the community, or maybe you dream of taking a particular market by storm. Whatever your 'why', it can be easy for it to become buried underneath the ever-increasing pile of daily grind.
Remind yourself exactly why you started this business — make a list if you must. Getting a clearer vision of the core of your business will renew your enthusiasm for the mission you've possibly lost sight of.
3. Think positively.
When you're tired and overwhelmed, it can be easy to get into a negative mindset.
— “Who appreciates me anyway?"
— “Who would notice if my business wasn't here?" and
— “What's the point?" are all common questions we ask ourselves during periods of low motivation.
Now let's look at those same questions and put a positive spin to the answers:
— Your staff, clients, and suppliers all appreciate you! You employ them, provide them with a product or service, and keep their businesses ticking over.
— Your loyal customer base would notice if your business weren't there, so would your family who are proud to watch you living out your dream and earning an income in the process.
4. Revisit your business plan.
If you didn't start out with a business plan, now's the time to create one. If you do have one, revisit it.
Your wavering motivation might stem from a lack of clarity surrounding your direction. Perhaps you're working away but not actually getting where you want to be. This will indicate that you need to readjust either your goals or the action steps you need to take in order to get there.
Set aside some time and revive your plan. I have no doubt it will uncover some things that you'd forgotten about which will all have a positive impact on project ‘Restore Mojo'.
5. Look for a new challenge.
Your current lack of motivation might be more than simple burnout.
Maybe you're just done with what you're working on, and you need a new challenge. Perhaps your passion for your cause has left the building for good, or maybe you have other priorities in your life which, for the duration, have taken precedent. There's a chance that if you can't face the thought of getting out of your pyjamas each day and into the office, your work no longer lights you up, and this isn't what you're supposed to be doing anymore.
Now I'm not saying that is the case, but it's worth exploring.
Entrepreneurialism comes with ups and downs, and a lack of motivation doesn't mean the end. The heart, energy and enthusiasm you once had for your venture are still in there somewhere; you just need to uncover it all to start achieving the way you once did.