Building your own business is possibly one of the most challenging things one can do in their life. This is because there are so many factors to consider, such as balancing client work and personal life. But when starting a business, one of the most critical factors in your continued success is your ability to stay motivated because, without continual drive, everything will come to a grinding halt. So we’ve come up with six ideas for how you can stay motivated as you build your business.
Freelancers often love the sense of independence that we have. However, it’s vital that as you work, you don’t let this independence become isolation. There are entire communities of creatives working for themselves. These people can help you solve problems and heal the creative blocks that come with doing creative work without someone telling you what to do. They can also give you the motivation to achieve bigger and better things.
Having a network of others in your field also means that you’ll have someone to reach out to when the going gets tough. Whether you need help with a technical problem, need to score an additional client, or need advice on pricing, having close bonds with others who do what you do means having a fighting chance at competently running your business when you’re out of your depth.
The key here is to form ongoing relationships. Find people who can be more like colleagues or coworkers than prospective clients. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re contributing to them as you’re getting back.
It’s also beneficial to set up a recurring, ongoing meeting with a group of others you can depend on. I’m a big fan of twitter spaces, but any meeting space will do, online or in-person. Having regular meetings keeps you accountable and in touch when we so often shy away.
If you’re going to compete in a cut-throat industry, it’s necessary that you take care of yourself. Unfortunately, we often wait until our health starts falling apart to take care of ourselves. Yet we know that our health affects how we work, solve problems, and how effective we are at providing value to others. It’s very easy to treat yourself poorly in busy times, hoping that you’ll get more done.
Part of taking care of yourself also means putting limits on how much you’ll work in a day to prevent burnout. Sadly, it’s common for freelancers to hustle so hard that they drop. So you’ll want to make sure you pace yourself by putting an upper limit on what you’re doing in a day.
Of course, the typical self-care advice is true here, as well. Make sure you are sleeping well, eating relatively healthy (and by that, I mean you should try to avoid the depression donuts), take breathers throughout the day, get some outdoor time, and exercise regularly.
All of these will do wonders when it comes to keeping you positive and proactive.
If you’re competing in a high-stakes game, it’s easy to focus on the end goal and forget that you’re making progress. But unfortunately, it can often be hard not to feel like you’re getting nowhere when there isn’t a clear progress indicator.
A way to combat this is by celebrating the small victories. Think back on how you were when you first started working for yourself or how your workflow was when you first started with a client.
Here at Plutio, for example, we celebrate every new customer. No matter how large we’ve seen our sales volume grows, we’re grateful for every customer we get, whether they are a $9/month client or a $900/month client. Don't forget that even the little wins add up over time and create a thriving business.
Sometimes those who work the hardest and burn themselves out do it because their work ethic comes not from a place of passion but a place of insecurity. Working because you feel like you need to prove yourself, you need to outperform the person next door, or you need to be first in line for the next promotion is a surefire way of crashing and burning.
Instead, being understanding of the fact that you’re human is key. You, just like everyone else, are going to have good days and bad days. What’s important is that you don’t do too much on the good days, and on the bad days, do at least a little. Everything else comes with consistency. Just remember, you are enough, even if you haven’t yet accomplished the goals you’ve set out for yourself.
So much of your business is indeed its processes. How you get attention, how you get leads, how you get customers, and how you work with your customers are all determined by the processes you’ve defined. And what’s more is that these processes allow you to streamline your operations and bring legitimate value to the organization outside of your own personal work. However, even with clearly and cleverly defined processes, there will always be exceptions that must be made.
For instance, as a freelance web designer, I will typically also do some marketing and advertising work on the side. Sometimes, I have had to take on other projects that have taken me away from the web design routine. However, these situations usually involve a temporary cessation of what got me to where I am today.
Artists, designers, videographers, and other creative individuals need to stay flexible and open-minded when it comes to the content of their processes. By utilizing this flexibility in your workflow, you can gain additional clients without compromising your standards or priorities.
I’m grateful that I have managed to keep my head above water in a relatively saturated and competitive industry. Though I do have to work hard, I have been able to work at a sustainable pace.
If you find yourself working with your back against the wall, remember to take care of yourself. Take it easy on yourself if you haven’t been able to break through yet. Eventually, it’ll happen if you stay consistent and patient with yourself.
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