Working for yourself or running your own small business can be very rewarding. There’s the freedom from the daily commute, you no longer have to answer to your boss, and when things go well the money can be fantastic.
However, one of the biggest issues facing small business owners is self-motivation. When you’re an employee most of the time you’ll have a manager or senior who’ll be there to guide you, pick you up when you’re having a bad day, or in some cases to give you a good kick in the rear when you’re not getting things done.
These are all things that the small business owner misses out on. As the “big cheese” you’re the one who has to ensure everything runs smoothly, and it’s you who has to keep yourself motivated to get the work done. So how does the small business owner keep themselves motivated?
Remember Your Ultimate Purpose
Everyone goes into business for a reason. It may be to escape the rat race, or to be able to spend more time nearer home and loved ones, it could be to build financial security for your children.
Whatever your original purpose, it was obviously strong enough to get you to start your business in the first place. A good way to keep yourself motivated is to remind yourself of the real purpose of your business on a daily basis. Make sure you constantly remind yourself of your ultimate aims and goals. If they are important enough to you they will keep you pumped!
All work and no play makes everyone unhappy eventually so make time to reward yourself. Set yourself small goals and treat yourself each time something is accomplished. It doesn’t matter whether the goal is to win a certain contract, or to achieve a certain level of income. In fact it doesn’t even matter if the goal is just getting through the working month.
Engage in an activity you like to do, or treat yourself to something you’ve been eyeing up in the shops. It’s amazing how having something to look forward to can drive you to keep working hard.
Use Motivational Tools
It can be very effective to use some sort of motivational tool on a daily basis to keep yourself “turned on”. If you travel to work you could listen to some motivational music, or some sort of self-development program. If you prefer to read then try a motivational book. Something perhaps related to your industry that was written by someone who has already made a success of their business. Hearing about the victories of others can go a long way to keeping us motivated.
Some people report great results from going to occasional seminars. Again they can be business related, or personal development related. Often meeting and networking with other like-minded people can be of great benefit. Remember these events could also lead to you meeting your next big client so you could end up motivated and with a new contract!
I know that walking into my office to see a mile high pile of paper work on my desk does nothing to motivate me at all! It’s like being served a massive plate of food when you’re not really hungry. Too much on the plate turns you off instantly and it’s the same in business. Keep things organized and ensure things don’t pile up.
Make sure you have plenty of systems and processes in place that help you get things done so your to-do list is never overwhelming. If you do find you have a ton of work to do then the “Chunking” technique works well where you tackle two or three related tasks at a time before moving on to the next.
Take Time Out
Although when you run a business you can often end up working more hours than you did when you were employed it’s still incredibly important for you to take time out for yourself once in a while.
This should be time where you do nothing that relates to your business whatsoever. Spend time with your children, take your partner out for a meal, or take an afternoon off work to spend an hour in a floatation tank. Regardless of the activity, taking a little time away from the office is vital to your success. If you plug away for months on end without a break you can very quickly burn out. You are also likely to become frustrated and that can lead to a lack of motivation.
Remember To Motivate Others
As vital as it is to keep yourself motivated it’s also very important that anyone working for you is regularly “pumped up”. It doesn’t matter whether this person works with you full time in the office or is an outsourcer on the other side of the world. Everyone needs some kind of motivation within the working environment, and as the boss it’s your duty to ensure all staff are looked after. If you have more than one employee consider some sort of monthly or half yearly bonus to reward them for their hard work. You could also think about running a competition where the best performers win a prize of some description.
By doing this you don’t just keep your staff motivated but you also aid your business. Happy staff are generally much more productive than those in an atmosphere with little motivation from their seniors. Like anything in life motivation benefits from momentum. The more you practice something the better at it you get. Using various motivational techniques on a regular basis will provide you with the necessary momentum to maintain a positive attitude to your business, and will help keep you focused and on track. It really doesn’t matter which tools you use. Stick to whatever works for you and ensure you don’t let your self-motivation practices slip. They’re more important that you think!
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