We all have days when simply getting out of bed and facing what lies ahead feels like a mammoth effort. As a small business owner you may find that when business is booming it is far easier to leap up and get on with the day than it is when things aren’t so rosy. So, how do you motivate yourself to carry on when times are tough?
‘In the midst of Winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer’ Albert Camus
Being your own boss and starting your own business can be hugely rewarding however, the reality is that running your own business is often a long journey filled with ups and downs. The challenge is to stay focused and motivated when there is an economic downturn, when sales are slow, when your work life balance is proving a challenge and the stress of wearing to many hats and juggling too many balls becomes exhausting.
Small business owners have the added pressure of carrying most (if not all) of the responsibility on their shoulders alone so it’s completely understandable that there are days when you just don’t want to face the day. We look at some tried and tested motivational tips to help you when you need a little bit of inspiration to get you going again.
7 top tips for when you need a bit of extra motivation
1. Be social.
The reality of being your own boss and running a small business is that you can end up spending hours alone. There are few if no colleagues around for you to share a bit of light-hearted banter or talk through any concerns. As humans we are naturally social and so it can be really de-motivating not having anyone about to talk to. It is essential that you put time aside to socialise with others. Have a think about ways you can get together with people in the same situation as youself. Feeling part of a community is important so why not try signing up to small business discussion groups. There are plenty of online forums that will enable you to join in on discussions with like-minded individuals.
Many towns have local small business networking groups that get together on a regular basis to network and chat. Business mentors can work really well too – and it can be an excellent way to bounce ideas around with someone and get an objective and experienced opinion. Realising that you are not alone and that there are other people in a similar situation to you who will have experienced much of what you go through as a small business owner can make a real difference to how you manage your business ups and downs.
2. Improve your time management skills.
Unfortunately the nature of running a small business or start-up is that you are likely to be juggling all sorts of roles - from accountant to marketer and strategist to administrator. This means that trying to balance all these disparate tasks can sometimes feel like an impossible mountain to climb. Good time management skills can help you learn how to prioritize your workload and focus your time and effort in the right place. Feeling in control of things is a far more productive than feeling so swamped and out of control that you can’t see the wood for the trees.
3. Take a break
Don’t feel bad about taking a break from your business. This could be anything from taking time out for a 20 minute coffee break or a whole day out with your nearest and dearest. Having a break can help you see things in a different light and approach problems with fresh eyes. Exercise is also a great way to get you motivated and lift your spirits. Many studies show the link between regular exercise and improved motivation. So if you are having a bad day, get out and do some exercise and see if it puts a better spin on the day.
4. Read some self-help books.
Ok there maybe a few cynical raised eyebrows here, but self-help books aren’t all Bridget Jones-esque ‘Men are from Mars women are from Venus’ type fare. There are some really excellent books out there that stand the test of time and are used by prominent business folk for inspiration. Indeed, ‘How to win friends and influence people was first published over 75 years ago and has sold over 150 million copies and Feel the Fear and Do it anyway has been riding high in the best seller chars for over 25 years. Take a look at this article from Entrepeneur.com that lists some of the most popular motivational books for entrepreneurs.
5. Think positively and celebrate successes
Of course it’s not always possible to look on the brighter side of life, but in order to succeed in a challenging environment it pays to remain as positive as possible in your outlook. Seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty can give you the push you need to carry on when times are tough. It is important that you learn to accept mistakes and see them as part of the learning process rather than as pure failure. We often waste valuable time lamenting on our perceived failures rather than learning from them and swiftly moving on.
And when you do succeed or do something well then sit back and acknowledge that achievement – celebrating success is a great motivator.
6. Face any fears straight on.
There are always tasks we don’t want to do, phone calls we don’t want to make and problems we don’t want to deal with. However the more time that we put off dealing with lingering problems, the bigger they become and the more likely you will start feeling unmotivated. I promise you 9 times out of 10 you will feel a whole lot better by simply taking a deep breath tackling the problem straight on.
7. Remind yourself of why you want to be your own boss.
When you’re having a bad day, week or month and business is tough, it is often easier to focus on all the things that make being your own boss challenging. Therefore, it is really important that you don’t lose sight of the reason you became your own boss. Remind yourself of all the benefits running your own business can bring. For example:
- Not having a manager to answer to
- Making your own decisions
- Creative control
- Sense of satisfaction and reward
- Setting your own working hours
- Tax benefits
- Working directly with your customers
Try writing a list of all the things that you love about being your own boss and stick it up somewhere where you can look at it whenever you need to remind yourself of why you have chosen this path! I’ll leave you with an appropriate and inspiring quote from The Chimp Paradox:
“Don’t be disheartened if you have set-backs: instead learn from them and always celebrate any successes. Remember you always have a choice. The choice you make and how you choose to deal with life will determine your success and happiness. So what are you going to do today that will make you happier and more successful?” Dr Steve Peters, The Chimp Paradox
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in this post, so do please leave a comment.
Man in bed image courtesy of graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Runner image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Coffee cup image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Books image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Positive thinking image courtesy of winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Fear / Courage image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Ecommerce man image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net