Wondering how all those online business owners seem to be motivated and showing up 24/7??
1. They’re not!
2. They have habits and practices to help them get motivated when it’s time to work.
As a solopreneur, staying motivated can be a challenge. You end up with a lot on your plate and it’s not easy to stay motivated without someone holding you accountable or having consequences for pushing back deadlines week after week.
Motivation isn’t something you magically wake up with. If you’re dragging yourself from bed to your computer and opening your inbox straight away you aren’t giving yourself time to get motivated.
Here are six strategies to help you feel motivated more often and for longer periods of time.
Links & Resources:
Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies – book and quiz to help determine what motivates you
When you’re an entrepreneur or a solopreneur, you end up having a lot on your plate and it’s not easy to stay motivated without someone else holding you accountable or having consequences for not getting stuff done.
Motivation isn’t something you magically wake up with. We think that it is because sometimes it does happen, but it’s still usually due to outside factors. We often think it’s things that have nothing to do with your business or the task at hand.
Usually, when you wake up feeling motivated it has a lot to do with how you felt going to sleep the night before. How you slept. How you woke up. Did the fire alarm go off at 5 AM? That is not a great way to wake up. Or, did you wake up to your cute dog licking your hand at 9 AM? That is the way I often wake up and I highly recommend it.
This entrepreneur stuff is not a regular job, so if you’re just dragging yourself from bed to your computer and opening your inbox you aren’t giving yourself time to get motivated.
I follow this one-woman online and she always appears to be motivated – getting up at 5 AM, working out, journaling – she’s on and excited all the time and I know that part of the reason she appears super motivated is that she has practices in place for all the things that we’re about to talk about today. Motivation isn’t a personality trait. There are a lot of external factors and actually a lot of control that you have in creating motivation.
Here are some things to do and think about to help you feel motivated more often and for longer periods of time.
One of the easiest ways to get motivated quickly is to bribe yourself. We do this with kids – “If you put on your shoes and are good at the store you can pick out a treat.” – and it definitely works with adults as well. Sometimes I tell myself if I work on this for 20 minutes then I can watch TV, or if I finish this podcast episode today then I can get tacos delivered tonight.
I actually have a list on my phone of things that I want and I use that to reward myself. Anytime I book a new client or finish a project, I buy myself shoes or a bottle of perfume.
Maybe you’ve got some big personal goals. You want to remodel your kitchen or take a vacation to Mexico and you use that as motivation to stay on track and committed every day.
I had two clients that I worked with this year who both had goals of moving to Mexico to live full time. That helped motivate them to show up and do the work every day because they knew in a few months, or at the end of the year, doing all of the work would lead to them having that opportunity.
What personal goals can you set or focus on – some small fun rewards and some bigger goals that will take a little time – to help you stay motivated every week?
You also want to make some business goals to help keep that motivation going. Business goals probably fall into two categories. First is stats and revenue goals. For example, I want to have 100 people in The Essentials by the end of the year. Maybe you want to hit a certain monthly revenue, or book 3 new clients, or get 5,000 people on your email list. Goals that you can easily track and check off within the next 6 months to a year.
Second, you want to have goals connected to your WHY or a bigger purpose that affects your audience, your community, or society. I want to see more women with successful businesses, earning a ton of money, feeling confident, and having the freedom to build their lives on their own terms. I believe that when women have financial freedom, time freedom, and when they feel safe (which often comes with money) the world becomes a better place.
What milestones do you want to hit in your business and what will that allow you to do personally and what will that allow your audience, your clients, your customers to do?
While it might be a little scary, I encourage you to make your goals public knowledge. It’s easier to slack off when no one knows what you’re doing.
Creating accountability with your audience, your clients + customers, your partner, family, friends, and your employees or contractors will help you stay focused on those things.
You might notice that when you’re open about your goals, the people around you want to help and see you succeed.
If you follow Rachel Rodgers (find her on ig @rachrodgersesq) you may have seen that she had her first million-dollar month at the end of 2020 (I believe) and her audience helped make that happen. When she realized she was getting close to that goal she sent emails, hopped on social media, added an extra bonus, and gave her audience the opportunity to help make it happen.
Why does this work so well? Because if other people see you win, see you hit a goal, they know it’s possible for them as well. And if they’ve been around for a while, if they like you as a human, if they’ve gotten value out of what you share, they want to see you succeed.
I also want to mention Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies – there is a quiz and a book that will help you figure out what motivates you. For example – I’m an upholder with a little bit of obliger. This means I can motivate myself most of the time, but for stuff that is a little more challenging, takes more energy (like going live on Instagram) I need to tell other people my plan otherwise I won’t do it. I’ll keep pushing that task back forever. However, if I tell my audience I’m going to go live at a specific date and time, I will show up 99% of the time.
Big, wild dreams:
What crazy, slightly out of reach at the moment, dreams do you have? If you had all the money, all the time, if you didn’t have to work, and you could do anything you wanted, what would you do? Would you buy a one-way plane ticket and travel the world making up your itinerary as you went along? Would you open an animal rescue and adopt all the puppies? Would you buy a mansion overlooking the ocean or a little cozy cabin in the woods?
I know if you had shown me the apartment that I live in – or just the fact that I live in San Diego – 10 years ago, I would’ve been like that’s amazing and completely out of reach. There was no way for me to envision the jump from living in Michigan, working at a corporate job 40 hours/week, plus freelancing, and owning my house to living in San Diego in a fancy apartment building, running a membership, and doing what I want whenever I want.
That would have sounded like a massive leap. Going step by step made it possible. I quit my job and worked from home for two years, then I sold my house and moved to San Diego, and lived in a 400 square foot apartment. The next year I moved to a bigger apartment with a view, and then 5 years after that I moved to this apartment.
Maybe those crazy dreams are impossible today and maybe they’re pretty impossible next year, but in 5 or 10 years you can and probably will be in a completely different place which means any of those crazy dreams could totally happen.
This is why I like having the monthly and yearly smaller goals because you can have some wins every year but then I really encourage you to have those big crazy dreams because it will uplevel how you work, the changes you make, and will give you a damn good reason to put the habits in place to keep you motivated and moving forward.
One thing I mentioned in an email last week is to get in the habit of 1. writing down your goals every day, 2. making a quick list of the actions (2-3 actions) that will move you to those goals, and 3. remembering your bigger why, or purpose, for going after those goals.
There are also things that help with day-to-day motivation because dreaming of moving to Paris in 10 years is great but you need some support in the meantime.
How you feel physically:
I feel more motivated when I am moving my body on a regular basis. When I spend time outside in the sun. When I do my hair and makeup and put on earrings.
In order to show up and run my business and complete projects, I put habits in place to support my body so most days I feel good enough to get my shit done.
I don’t know about you, but I often forget that things like taking a shower, washing my face, and putting on makeup really go a long way to making me feel motivated and excited to show up and do the work. If I feel good about myself, if I feel good inside, it takes much less effort to show up and get everything done.
How you feel mentally:
How you feel mentally plays a huge part in this as well. Are you thinking about 50 things you need to do? Are you comparing yourself to other people on Instagram? Are you focused on drama or challenges outside of work?
What habits can you put in place to get you back in the game mentally?
One small easy thing I did was create a playlist of my favorite upbeat, high vibe songs and play it in the morning, and dance around my apartment. I do EFT tapping with a coach. I make tea and breakfast so that when I sit down to work I’m in a good headspace and feel motivated and focused.
I also do more serious stuff like take an antidepressant and go to therapy.
Sometimes my anxiety shows up and I need to take a day off. No amount of lipstick or journaling or focusing on my goals is going to get me motivated because my body is focused on other things. Sometimes mental health or life stuff gets in the way, but the rest of the time I’m going to do everything I can to get in the right mental and physical space to be motivated and get shit done.
Where are you already motivated?
And then lastly there are things that we do every day or every week or every month that we don’t need motivation to do. We just do it. Look at your life and see which habits you have been able to stick to, and then take the time to think about why that habit is important to you and what motivates you to stay on top of it.
For example, I have been walking about 2 1/2 miles multiple times a week. When I started doing it it was because I had read a book called The Telomere Effect and it was all about living a long life and being healthy until the end. I started walking because that was one of the top things they recommended. I was also motivated to start and stick to a walking habit because my dad had a heart attack and a quadruple bypass the year before. Heart problems run in my family. It was partially wanting to walk for my future self and partially to avoid the pain of a heart attack or heart issues.
After about a month one of my other motivations was the way I felt after walking and the fact that it gave me 45 minutes to listen to a podcast. I was able to stay motivated to walk for a whole bunch of reasons. I could use similar reasons to stay motivated for other habits or goals.
Next time you feel like you need to be more motivated, come back to this checklist to figure out if you need to refocus on your goals, the bigger picture, or if you just need a damn granola bar and a nap can get back in the game.