In the beginning, it’s easy to be excited about your new business. You can’t wait to get started and tackle your new venture with an abundance of optimism and motivation.
It’s usually well into one’s entrepreneurial journey when the reality sets in; building a business is hard – especially when you’re trying to do it while working full-time.
Because let’s face it, most of us don’t have the luxury of quitting our day jobs to focus on a home business.
And the daily challenges of growing a business combined with limited time to work on them can take its toll on your business motivation.
If you’ve been struggling with motivation, here are the best ways to get back on track while staying excited about your business.
1. Avoid shiny object syndrome.
The internet is a vast and often overwhelming resource of information. These days, you can’t even scroll through your Facebook news feed without being bombarded by courses offering to help you get more traffic, more followers, more subscribers, or more consumers. It’s easier than ever to fall prey to “shiny object” syndrome, chasing the newest course, book, or product that you think is going to take your business to new heights.
But constantly getting distracted by the next great idea scatters your focus and obliterates your productivity.
Go ahead and make a list of ideas, goals, and material that you want to learn or implement. But then take a hard look at them and identify what is going to benefit your business most right now. Pick two or three things, and make them a part of your daily process. Everything else can wait until you have seen through those first things.
2. Organize your time.
If you only have so much time to dedicate to growing your new business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by your to-do list. If you aren’t organized, you risk losing momentum.
Because you need to juggle this venture with your full-time job, it is paramount that you make the most out of the limited time you have to work on your business. Use task management tools like Trello to create your to-do lists and assign priorities and due dates for each task.
Review your to-do lists and task-batch where possible. This is the concept of grouping like-tasks together and tackling them in a predetermined amount of time. For example, you could dedicate 30 minutes to answering emails and social media comments. Then you could devote the next hour to client work. Having dedicated times in your calendar to work on specific tasks will help keep you motivated to do the work.
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3. Focus on a daily process.
Setting goals for your business is great, and you should definitely do that, but also understand that it’s your plan that’s going to help you reach them.
Don’t fret about how far you are from your long-term goals. Concentrate on your daily process and your short-term goals.
One way to stay focused is to create a daily checklist. For example, if you have a freelance copywriting business, your daily checklist could look something like:
- Find and pitch five prospective clients
- 1 hour of writing (either client work or creating writing samples)
- 1 hour learning a new skill that’s relevant to your business
Quite often, business motivation comes after taking action. When you achieve something, it motivates you to continue. By setting yourself up for daily success in this way, you get to revel in the feeling of accomplishment you get each time you tick off all the items in the day’s list! This creates a positive feedback loop which can have a snowball effect, building more business motivation as you continue to accomplish more in your business.
4. Work before work.
Perceived time-scarcity is a huge motivation killer, so you may need to get creative about making time to work. You may cringe at the idea of “working before work,” but if you are a nine-to-fiver, then you only have two other times to work on your home business: Evenings and weekends. Evenings can be hard because you’re mentally drained from the work day, and weekends may be filled with family obligations.
Scientifically, there’s a reason why getting up early makes you more productive. You’re better synced with your body’s natural circadian rhythm, which in turn makes you more alert and focused.
If you’re not a morning person, try starting small. The night before, set out one or two smaller, business-related tasks that you can get done in 15 minutes. Then focus on waking up 20-30 minutes earlier in order to complete those tasks before work.
It may seem insignificant, but once you do this for a few weeks, you will have successfully started a new habit. Over time, you can grow that a.m. time from 20 minutes to an hour. Besides, you might be surprised by how much you’re able to get done in 15 minutes, especially with a fresh mind and knowing your time to work is limited.
5. Find your community.
It helps to have someone to talk to about your business ideas and progress. There’s a myriad of online communities for just about any industry or type of business. Find one where you can connect with like-minded people to form connections, get inspired, and bounce ideas off of.
You could join a Facebook group or a small, online mastermind group. You can even use the internet to find a local community that you can meet with weekly or monthly.
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6. Listen to motivational podcasts.
Whether it’s a general business podcast or specific to your niche business, chances are you can find a podcast that inspires you. These kinds of podcasts feature industry experts or success stories that can help you learn and expand your horizons. (Optimize your time by listening to podcasts during your commute to and from work!)
7. Give yourself a break.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but taking a short break can push the reset button on your business motivation. When you’re hustling to grow a business while still working full-time, it’s all too easy to burn the candle at both ends and leave self-care by the wayside. If your home business is constantly frustrating or overwhelming you, it could be a sign that you need a break for a couple of days.
Understand that there is a difference between taking a break and quitting. Taking a vacation from your side-business doesn’t mean you aren’t passionate about it or not serious about making it work. On the contrary, prioritizing your physical and mental health is vital to bringing your best self to your business and clients.
Remember that setbacks are normal.
Success isn’t a steady incline. It’s a roller coaster of ups and downs. Remember that everyone fails at some point. Everyone procrastinates and gets discouraged. This is a part of every entrepreneur’s journey. The difference between success and failure is choosing not to give up regardless of setbacks.
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Corrie Alexander is a content creator and logistics nerd from Toronto, Ontario. Her climb up the corporate ladder cultivated her interest in the topic of career development, a passion rivaled only by her love of exercise and strong coffee. Visit her website, thefitcareerist.com.