Working for yourself can be a challenge; many of us dream of the day when we can tell our boss to shove it, buy a plane ticket, set up an internet beach on an island somewhere, and spend the rest of our days with a special blend of surfing, lounging, and just a little bit of working; however, there are several major problems with this type of thinking.
Most of us have been hard wired through years of shift work, and by being an employee, to do the minimum level of work until the boss tells us to do something more. Most of us are used to doing a set amount of work and wasting the rest of our day gossiping with co-workers or surfing facebook, but for the self employed person, this type of behavior can spell disaster.
A lack of focus, a dependency on the “boss” to tell you what to do, the lack of immediate rewards for your work, and a failure to realize the benefits of self employment can all dampen your enthusiasm and kill your motivation to work for yourself; that is why I put together this simple to follow 5 step how to guide for “How to stay motivated when you work for yourself”, and once you go through the steps, you’ll be working up a storm in no time at all.
- Create a clear plan of what you want to accomplish
The first step in maintaining your motivation to work for yourself is to create a clear and detailed plan covering what you hope to accomplish, what you need to get done each day and week, and what obstacles you may face that would rob you of your motivation.
For example: a self employed person in sales needs to know what their target financial goals are each quarter, month, week, and day, and they should understand exactly what they hope to achieve throughout the year. They should set realistic goals that they will have to work hard for each day, and if these goals are just slightly challenging then they will help to motivate you each day to hit your goals.
The same self employed salesperson should also have a rough idea of what sort of obstacles could potentially derail their progress and their motivation. They should create a rough idea in their mind what they will do if they hit a rough patch and don’t make any sales for an entire week, what they will do to overcome objections by customers, and what they will do if a former customer shows up with a problem.
By creating a clear plan, understanding what could go wrong, understanding what your goals are, and by laying out what you need to be doing each day, you can increase your motivation and increase the chances that you can stick with self employment long-term.
After you create your plan, set your goals, and understand what could go wrong, you just have to stick with the plan. Challenge yourself to hit your goals each day, week, month, and quarter; regularly check your progress and when you fall short of your goals or expectations implement a change that might help the situation get better. For example: if your sales this month are short of your goals, try adding an extra 30 minutes of work each day, trying a new advertising system, or try creating a special referral program offering discounts to your existing customers.
By sticking to the plan and using the incoming feedback from your performance, you can gain new and valuable insights into how to improve what you are doing; this sense of continual progress and accomplishment will bring a lot of excitement and motivation with it.
- Give yourself rewards to offer up external motivation
Step 3 is to start offering yourself up external rewards or “gifts” to yourself in exchange for a job well done. As you identify some of the problems that you are facing each day, offer yourself something that you want if you beat them: it could be a nice meal, a day at the beach, a vacation, or even a new shirt.
Everyone’s external rewards will be different because they are based off of your own personal desires, but incorporating special rewards as a way to motivate yourself to work harder is a great way to light that fire and keep it going. Many sales offices do the same thing by offering special bonuses or gifts to the office’s top salespeople. Many times, people will work much harder for something that they know is coming in the short term, than they will for long term rewards like financial freedom.
- Get in touch with your internal motivation
Next, you want to tap into your own internal reserves of motivation. While rewards and gifts can create an urgency to work hard and get the prize, internal motivation is a much deeper and much more powerful drive to get things done.
Ask yourself why you wanted to work for yourself in the first place; was it to spend more time with your family, was it to make more money, or was it so you could travel more and enjoy the world? Whatever your reasons were for seeking self employment in the first place, find these reasons and tap into them.
Remind yourself frequently why you are taking on the risk and burden of self employment; while it may be a gift in itself, it can also be incredibly challenging to work for yourself, and by frequently remembering why you are doing it, you will keep that same hunger you had when you started.
- Keep your eyes on the prize, but also keep your eyes turned inward
Your chances of success at self employment will go way up if you implement the first four steps, and by keeping yourself focused on what you want to accomplish, why you are doing it, and on the awesome rewards you are offering yourself up, you can create a lot of motivation; but, the final step in the process is to look within yourself and be able to observe and pinpoint your own lack of motivation.
Some days are bound to be better than others, but you must learn to be self aware enough to realize when your lack of motivation is becoming a habit, and you must go back through the first four steps to reignite it. Motivation is like a fire that burns in the beginning, but if you leave it unattended it will eventually burn up and smolder out; if you want to keep the motivation going for years to come, you have to be able to tend the fire, add wood, and protect it at any cost.
If you are willing to go through the steps I listed above: create a plan, stick to the plan and evaluate frequently, offer yourself rewards, get in touch with your “why”, and make sure to always be mindful of the motivation that you are feeling, then you will surely be able to maintain a strong sense of motivation throughout your life.
It is important to note again, that motivation doesn’t just turn off, it usually dies slowly like a fire starved of oxygen or fuel. By remaining vigilant and going through the steps often you can ensure that your fire stays lit.
What struggles do you have with motivation, and what types of things do you do to increase your motivation? Leave a comment below and give me some feedback, and if you know someone who might benefit from this article or if it helped you in any way, please share it with someone or the world!
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