Being an entrepreneur is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of hard work. If someone had told me a few years ago how much hard work I would have to do, I would have laughed. Now… nope. I get it.
You will have days where you can’t wait to kick butt and take names. You’ll be on top of the world. You’ll wake up in the morning excited and ready to accomplish awesome stuff. But you’ll also have days – maybe several at a time – when you just feel stuck and don’t feel like doing anything.
You’ll boot up your laptop and sit there, staring at the screen.
“Ugh. I need to get something done.”
Two hours later, you’ve accomplished nothing at all.
You want to get something done. You know you need to. But somehow, Facebook and YouTube seem to be winning the battle for your attention. Your motivation is more of a motiva-nope.
Here’s a secret: I have had so many of those days. Sure, I’ve done lots of cool stuff that I love to share. But that cool stuff has been littered with days – weeks even – of dull, bland, boredom. I could have stayed there, but then nothing would have been accomplished.
Over the years, I’ve developed a few tricks for keeping myself focused when I simply don’t feel like working on my business – whether that’s my blog, marketing, video content, etc. When I need a healthy dose of business motivation, I try to remind myself of these things.
Remember your “Why”
Why did you start your business in the first place? What drove you to start this crazy adventure? Don’t say money. That’s the typical cop-out answer.
No, I mean what is your real, deep-down reason for all of this?
My reason is pretty simple. To be fair, my reason is more like reasons.
- Time. I want time to spend with my family. I don’t want to be cooped in a cubicle all day. I want to build and grow my business on a schedule that is compatible with spending time with my family and giving them my time and attention.
- Freedom! I’ve been grateful to have every job I’ve ever held, but not so much for their respective schedules. I don’t want to be told when I must be at work and when I can leave. No. I want to be able to set my schedule and arrive and leave when I want.
- Flexibility. There are so many great organizations and charities. I want to be able to support them well.
I want time, freedom and flexibility. I know that if I sit here and do nothing long enough, those dreams wither and die. I don’t want that. Therefore, I work on building my dreams.
What’s your reason? Or rather, what are your reasons?
Why do I ask? Simple.
Your “why” is what will keep you going on days when you don’t feel like working on your business. It will encourage you to do something when you would rather sit in bed eating junk food. Your why will be your source of motivation.
Is this your passion?
If you aren’t passionate about your business, you’re going to lack the passion to build it. Even with a great “why” and skills, if you simply don’t care about what you’re building, you aren’t going to make the time for it.
We make time for what we care about.
If you continuously lack the drive to build your business, maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Are you really happy with your business? Would you prefer a different niche? Could you focus on a different area? Take a different approach?
Now, it’s entirely possible that you do love your business and do have a passion for your niche – but you’re just having an off day. But consider the possibility. Is this really what you want to be doing?
If not, what can you change?
Small steps add up
The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step – or so the saying goes. Years ago, I worked a typical 9-5 job that required me to hit certain metrics. At first, I found it difficult. “How am I ever going to hit that goal?” I would ask myself.
Thankfully, I had a very understanding boss, and she gave me some great advice. “I think you’re looking at this the wrong way,” she said. “How do you eat an elephant?” Puzzled, I cocked my head and gave her a funny look. She continued, “one bite at a time!”
It’s okay to take things one step at a time. Many of us need to realize that building a business isn’t a one-step process. No. It takes a series of small decisions, tiny movements, little bites. But those small things add up.
Maybe you don’t feel up to doing a lot today. So do something small.
Don’t write a 1,500-word article. Write 100 words. Don’t redesign your whole brand. Pick a few colors you like.
Small steps. Tiny steps.
Focus less on the size of your steps and more on simply moving forward.
Don’t be afraid to rest
It’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Being an entrepreneur is a very good thing – a very rewarding thing. But if you don’t allow yourself time to rest and reset, you’ll get burned out quickly. It may not happen overnight, but sooner or later you’ll be about as useful to yourself as a burned-out lightbulb. Dim and burnt with a slight rattle.
But somehow, we’ve adopted this idea that rest is laziness. “I don’t want to be lazy!” Great. Neither do I.
We know that lazy people get nothing. They may talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. And their businesses rarely grow. We don’t want that. So, we work. We push ourselves to do when we really should rest.
In response to the error of laziness, we have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction, forgetting the importance of taking a break, taking a nap, and recharging for a while.
I can’t speak for your country, but here in America, ours is a very go go go kind of culture. There’s always more to see, more to do, and we want it all right now.
That’s not healthy.
Our brains can only handle so much at a time. Like a battery, we can only go for so long before we’re just spent. There comes a time when we must step back, sit down and just relax.
Fun fact about human psychology: when we’re tired, we make bad decisions. We’re moody. We’re irritable. We can’t focus. Failing to rest can – and will – damage your business efforts.
When you aren’t well rested, everything suffers:
- Your motivation suffers.
- Your creativity suffers.
- Your interpersonal relationships suffer.
Resting, sitting out for a bit, allows us to recharge and recoup our mental faculties. Then, and only then, do we get up and start walking again.
Focus on taking small steps. If you can’t do that, don’t be afraid to rest – and don’t be sorry for choosing a nap over work.
I love quotes. You might even call me a quote junkie. Whitty sayings. Sage advice. I love it. I’ve also found motivational quotes to be some of the best motivation. Reading what men and women far more intelligent and far wiser than I… it just does something.
They’ve had struggles. Ups. Downs. Successes. Setbacks. They’ve stuck with it and lived to tell the tale.
These are men and women who have built empires and have done very well. It seems to me, I ought to listen to what they have to say. So should you.
If you haven’t been in this game long, you may be sitting there in denial. “Why wouldn’t I want to work on my business? It’s my freedom plan!” Sure. Tell yourself that now. Just wait.
Entrepreneurs who have been on this road for a bit know exactly what I’m talking about. While I hope you have few of these days, they will come. I guarantee it. That emotional high you feel now will come and go. Up and down. Great and meh.
That’s just human psychology.
What you do when that happens – now that will determine whether your business lives or dies.