Let’s face it, running your own business can be hella challenging. The ever-growing to do list. The missed sleep. The un-binged Netflix shows. The missed Sunday brunches with girlfriends. Oh and that’s the fun stuff. I haven’t even mentioned the things we actually HAVE to do. Like grocery shopping, meal planning, carpools, and the never-ending household chores.
Yes, #adultingishard. Adulting while running your own business sometimes feel impossible. It’s no wonder some people think we’re absolutely crazy for wanting to run your own business…
I truly believe that being an entrepreneur is a calling and a spark that lives in us that besides all obstacles won’t dim. However, we all have those moments when our motivation wanes and we start to think… “is this all really worth it”? It’s times like these that we need a little extra boost to stay motivated and get back in the game.
If you’re doubting yourself, having second thoughts, or even thinking about giving up – these feelings are completely normal. Building a business, like anything else, will offer many highs and lows. So to offer a little inspiration, I asked 10 successful business owners how they stay motivated as a solopreneur.
Overwhelm is the ultimate killer of productivity. In order for me to stay motivated as a solopreneur, I must narrow my focus, and simplify. Simplifying is at the core of everything I teach my clients. When you can strip away all the distractions – the mindless scrolling, the checking your email (again), the organization of files that have backed up on your desktop, etc. – you are left with the tasks that will actually move the needle. It’s like watching the juiciest apples float to the top of the water trough. Then you can pick one, and ONLY one, and see it through to completion. Finishing one task creates momentum to move onto the next, and then the next, and so on until you find a groove and motivation is no longer an issue.
When I first began my career as a solopreneur, I found it easy to stay motivated. The thought of being able to make money with my own business was enough to keep me writing content, creating new products, etc. However, as time went on, I noticed that working from home was bringing on feelings of isolation and loneliness. These feelings made it increasingly difficult to stay motivated as a solopreneur.
I’m big on taking breaks as needed, so whenever moments like this hit me, I take a few days off and spend time with my family. I also love getting outside and enjoying the beauty of nature. I’ll also use this time to read or work on a crochet project. Taking a few days off is usually all it takes to rejuvenate and get back on track.
Being a solopreneur is not easy and it’s certainly not for everyone. You’re your own marketing manager, operations manager, finance manager, CEO, quality control manager, and all the other roles you can think of. Most people don’t realize though, that you are your own motivator as a solopreneur. There’s no one to persuade you to persevere or tell you which direction to go. It is hard if you don’t have something to anchor you in place. For me, it’s knowing that I am coming closer to my dream of a location independent lifestyle. I love knowing I’ve done something to fulfill MY dream at the end of each day instead of fortifying someone else’s empire. If you are struggling as a solopreneur, tell yourself it’s only until you get there. Try to enjoy the journey however ugly it may be, the destination will be worth it.
As an entrepreneur, it can seem like the work never stops. For the three years that I have been in business, I am constantly chasing the next goal or achievement. I would often find myself checking email as soon as the alarm went off at 6am, and I would still be on my phone late into the night.
Unlike “normal” 9-5 jobs, entrepreneurs (or more specifically me) are not able to shut down at 5pm and just stop. I thought that the constant work meant that I was achieving great things. My business was booming and everything seemed to be great. Until it wasn’t.
After working like this for 3 years, I hit a mental breaking point. I hadn’t had a true vacation, where I disconnected from everything, in over three years and even though my business was rapidly growing, my mental health was suffering.
It made me take a serious step back and realize that I needed boundaries if I wanted this to be a lasting endeavor.
Now, I set work times for myself. I completely turned off notification on my Apple Watch and iPhone after 6pm. After all, there typically isn’t anything THAT urgent that can’t wait until the next day. And I try not to work on Fridays – which has been glorious!
I have also started doing things for myself. I started taking watercolor classes and actually taking a lunch break (that didn’t include working while eating). And I am learning that even though I have set these boundaries and I am working less, I am way more productive when I am working.
Staying motivated as a solopreneur is not easy when you’re trying to balance your family life, a J-O-B and building a VA business. Although at times I felt like quitting, these three things keep me motivated to keep building my business!
-Set Goals. Setting weekly goals helps keep me on track and I feel more accountable to reach them. The more I accomplish, the more motivated I am to keep on going.
-Practice self-care DAILY. I spend at least 10-15 minutes a day of alone time to relax and clear my head. This prevents burnout and exhaustion!
-Remember your “why”. I focus on why I started my business. My “why” is my fuel to not give up!
If you love what you do, you will push yourself to keep on going. By implementing these three things, you too can stay motivated as a solopreneur!
My number one tip I use personally to stay motivated as a solopreneur is a personal mantra of mine “trust the process” and reminding myself that my solopreneur journey is a process. I can’t compare my progress with others because they are in different journeys and at different part of their journeys. This mantra helps me stay grounded and calm my restlessness because you can’t do it all in a day. Some refreshing hobbies and habits I have to keep me on my path are running, meditation, painting and spending time with my animals and wife. I make sure to spend just as much time living my life that I do working on my hustle because if not, I burn out and crumble. You have to keep yourself intact and not get lost in the work. What I love most about being a solopreneur is the creative process itself and how many new things I learned about myself. When you truly think you can do anything, you CAN. It’s crazy but it’s true.
Finding ways to stay motivated as a solopreneur is a challenge we all face at one point or another in our entrepreneurial journey. For myself, it’s a combination of daily routines that keep me grounded and taking time to step away and clear my head. Every morning, I start the day with a motivational routine involving meditation, visualization, planning, and plenty of coffee. This routine puts me in the optimal state of mind to take on the day with energy and enthusiasm. Throughout the day, I make sure to take breaks whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or uninspired. Often, a brisk walk around the block is all it takes to rekindle my motivation. I still have days when I wonder whether the solopreneur lifestyle is really right for me after all, and that’s when I’m forced to remember my “why,” which is always strong enough to keep me going.
The solopreneur’s journey is scary and rewarding. I like to call it ‘nerve-skitedness’ – being nervous and excited at the same time. It’s like the feeling you get within the first few seconds on a rollercoaster. The anticipation of the climb to the top has your stomach in knots, but after the first big drop, it’s thrilling and bumpy, since you can’t anticipate all the twists and loops coming at you.
If you’re a solopreneur who feels like quitting – the good news is it’s normal. I question my ability to pull this solo thing off daily. Stick around for the wins, no matter how small. Think about the person who inspires you when you feel defeated and like giving up. Know that YOU are that person for someone else. You can’t win if you’re not in the game – stay in the game and keep working towards those wins.
When the afternoon slump hits, it would be so easy to just curl up and take a nap. But you’ve got an empire to build! So instead, here are 5 quick things you can do to boost your energy and stay motivated as a solopreneur.
-Drink a full glass of water – sometimes low energy is caused by dehydration.
-Go for a short walk – it’s energizing and inspires creativity. Some of my best ideas come during these impromptu walks!
-Eat a piece of fruit. The natural sugars are a great pick-me-up, and don’t cause the crash you get from refined sugar or caffeine.
-Call one of your solopreneur peeps. A good chat with someone who “gets it” always helps!
-Take a short play break with your pet!
As a creative solopreneur, I feel empowered to explore different ways to bring my vision into fruition. However, there is always this delicate balance of creating my art (which is dance) and running my business. As a dance teacher and performer, my mind defaults to classes and choreography…until I remember that there is an LLC after my name, so I must act accordingly! When my motivation is on the downward slope, I go back to what sparked this venture in the first place: dancing. Not creating…just doing, just being. Going back to the basics is one way to rediscover the passion that led you to start your business, and will provide greater clarity and reassurance when you feel overwhelmed. When I need to take a step back, traveling always helps me to feel renewed and rejuvenated. Booking a flight can be quite cathartic, so I highly encourage it!
Starting out a new venture as a solopreneur is not an easy task. You often find yourself feeling discouraged and the fear of failing overcomes that feeling of hope. I know I get discouraged, a lot. But to stay motivated as a solopreneur I must constantly remind myself of the reason why I started this journey in the first place. I am a mother with a college education, but I’ve been home since 2012. Mainly because daycare costs are insane, but now I don’t want to return to a 9 to 5. I want to be home with my kids even though they drive me nuts.
Find your reason and often remind yourself why it is you want this. Don’t give up on your dream! It will take time, but time passes anyway. Might as well pass that time doing something you love.
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