How to Stay Motivated as a Small Business Owner
It takes a lot of hard work and motivation to startup your own business. You don’t get there by doing the bare minimum, and you definitely do not reach any level of success without personal sacrifice and a great website design. As a natural high achiever, being highly motivation is often the reason you are able to get to this point. Sometimes, though, even the boss needs a little help staying motivated. Here is a list of ideas to help yourself get motivated while you are building your empire!
THEME SONG OR JINGLE
While this may seem silly, and you may get visions of Dwight Shrute in your head… I highly recommend you find a song or even use Fiverr to have someone write you a jingle that will get you motivated when you need a boost. Whether you throw on some headphones, blare it on your computer, or listen to it loudly in the car on your way to a meeting, you can easily underestimate the power music has to change our emotions and encourage our confidence. And if you see me outside your office rocking out in my car, a la Dwight Shrute, just know that I am working out my nerdy antisocial nerves before we sit and chat.
USE LISTS TO KEEP TRACK OF YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
In life, there are list people and there are non-list people. I am lucky to be a list person and often make lists or even lists of my lists. It helps me organize, plan, set goals, and review achievements. Whether you are a list person or not, you can motivate yourself by making a list of tasks and crossing them off to track your achievements and feel both accomplished and motivated to have more cross offs. If you use an app like Wunderlis, they play a very satisfying sound when you check a task off.
USE A REWARD SYSTEM
Sometimes, the rewards of the work we do are enough to motivate ourselves. Sometimes we need a little more to get through the work. Is there something you would rather be doing than working today? Perhaps you would rather be out in the sun. Perhaps a netflix show is calling your name. This is ideal. Reward yourself by allowing yourself to watch an episode after you finish a set amount of work or taking a walk in the fresh air. If you are having on of those days that you would just rather be doing pretty much anything else, then use that anything else as a reward for accomplishing what you need to accomplish. If this is not enough, then break up your tasks and reward yourself bit by bit.
DEVELOP A ROUTINE
When there are no set guidelines forced upon you, it is much easier to slack off. If you are finding yourself slipping in the discipline department, it might be a good idea to create a schedule and stick to it. Create rituals to help you get focused - see 1, and write down a schedule so you can see it in print.
Sometimes my five year old is in one of those moods where he just cant seem to shake a defiant nature. When time out and talking about it doesn’t work I tell him that he needs a reboot. This is where he goes upstairs for a quick 20 minute nap and tries to reboot his attitude. He will usually fight it, but people, let me tell you. Once he goes up, he comes downstairs 20 some minutes later a completely different child. I have taken this a step further and found that when I need a reboot a short nap or shower does wonders. It kind of resets my day and lets me try again. So if you are having a horrid morning and just want to go do something else, or if you just cant seem to get motivated - give yourself a reboot - hey it works for foo jr.
PEER PRESSURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Part of the fun of running your own business is not being accountable to anyone but yourself right? But this can also be your downfall. If you find yourself struggling in the motivation department, then finding a peer to partner with, hold each other accountable, encourage each other - you can get your motivation from others in this way when you feel all alone building your empire. Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing. If you don’t know anyone that you can do this with, joining a local networking group is an ideal way to find an accountability partner.
Sometimes when you are staring at a big project or even just something you don’t want to do, it is a motivation killer. Instead of staring that big old cheeseburger in the face, cut it up into pieces and eat it a bit at a time. If you are not able to break your project or task into segments, then find another task that is more exciting or easier to get started. I find that once I am on a roll it is hard to stop, and before I know it I have finished all my other tasks as well.
While you do not have any upper management or boss to punish you when you do not hit your goals, your real punishment is now the failures your company experiences when you do not hit your goals. Sometimes, you can use little punishments when you miss your segmented goals in order to improve the chance of meeting the important goals. If you find yourself needing punishment, you can find ways to take away items or activities that you like in order to dissuade yourself of repeat bad behavior.
CONSIDER WHY YOU ARE DOING WHAT YOU DO
Sometimes, all it takes is reminding yourself what you are doing this for. Whether it is personal financial success, being able to spend more time with your family in the long run, or just the satisfaction of building an empire… reminding yourself of your intentions are always a great way to get excited over and over about your company. Another option is to think about your company’s mission statement and goals to motivate yourself to achieve these things.
GO ON AUTOPILOT
Sometimes, all it takes is to put yourself on autopilot. I find that if I can put myself on autopilot, that I skip the need for motivation and just get work done without even realizing that I am getting work done. So, the question is what puts you into autopilot? Get a cup of coffee, browse some news sites, and then just slip into work mode.
FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE
This is not to say to sit and meditate on breezy beaches, but to actually find the physical location that you seem to get the most work done and go there when you are having trouble motivating. Perhaps this is at your desk in front of your computer. Perhaps this is in your car on a laptop. Perhaps this is at Starbucks where no one can interrupt you to ask questions. If there is somewhere that you are able to be extra productive, even if it is unconventional - go there when you need a little extra motivation.
SAY NO TO DISTRACTIONS
When you are having trouble motivating, there always seems to be something more important than the task you really need to complete. Suddenly, your monitor needs a really good cleaning, your non-infrared mouse needs its dust kicked out, and your office might even need to be painted. Recognize these distractions as barriers to your success and shut them down. If you are unable to fight the temptation, change your scenery to one with no distractions.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
When you are not taking care of yourself, it is harder to take care of business. Make sure your health is not ignored for the sake of getting enough hours in (dead men don’t run empires). Make sure your wife or husband and children are not being neglected for the sake of your company’s success (it is lonely when you achieve business success and find yourself with a personal life failure). Make sure you are not burning yourself out. Do you enjoy golf? Go grab 18 on your day off. Do you really need a monthly pedicure to feel all is well with the world? Don’t neglect your well being. An unhappy, unhealthy and burnt out individual can hardly motivate themself let alone a team of employees.
One good way to avoid low motivation days is to schedule everything. No. No. Everything. Schedule the little things. Schedule the breaks. Schedule every task you need to complete. Put it on Google Calendars and share it with staff or a friend so they can hold you accountable. And when you think you have scheduled everything, go back and be more comprehensive. Schedule time to get your coffee. Schedule time to work out. Schedule anything you want included in your day and if it is not on your calendar, don’t do it. In this way you are giving yourself a more realistic look at your time management and you will know when to say no to that favor that would cut in to time you have already allotted. No. Serious. Everything.
JUMP OFF THE CLIFF
I remember a time in my late teens when I went cliff diving with some friends. As someone who is afraid of heights, deep waters, and well pretty much anything that could have a phobia attached to it… I had a small horde of butterflies growing in my stomach as we drove down to the man made lake with all kinds of crazy stories attached to jumping there. When I got to the top I knew that if I paused and thought about it, there was no way I would make the jump. So I ran to the edge and just did it. I did not look. I did not hesitate. And I did it. Sometimes when you are lacking in the motivation department while building your empire you just need to jump. Don’t hesitate. Just jump in. Dreading a phone call that needs to be made? Just start dialing. Dreading starting a project? Open up the file and just get started.
Do you have any other tips for getting motivated while building your empire? Comment below with your tips for the rest of these small business owners!
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Kim Young is Founder, CEO, and a developer at Foo - a web development company based in Wesley Chapel, Florida. She can also be found on Google+. With over 16 years of experience as a web developer, Kim is excited to share with you tidbits that she has picked up along the way. Kim prioritizes continuing education and out of box thinking in order to bring the most valuable solution to Fooweb's clients.