Working for yourself can be liberating and exciting. You make your own schedule, are your own boss and depending on your industry, you can work from anywhere! But with all the flexibility comes unlimited options, and you have to be dedicated enough to know how to prioritize. There are also a number of things that often get overshadowed by the glamorous side of owning your own business: paperwork, dealing with IT issues and taxes, just to name a few. So when you get into a slump or get overwhelmed how do you stay motivated when you have a freelancing business?
Set Deadlines – Goals are great, but they are useless if you never meet them. Associate a date for each task and project you do to ensure you are motivated to make it happen. Otherwise it might end up stuck on the never ending to do list forever. And you’ll feel even more accomplished once you start checking things off and meeting (exceeding) your expectations.
Take Breaks – At the minimum, stop to eat lunch. Sometimes you get so caught up in the day because you are so passionate about your work, that you lose sight of the time. This is not healthy, nor productive. Give yourself a mental (and/or physical break) by going on a walk, stretching at your desk, talking to a friend or doing an errand/chore. By shifting your mind away from work temporarily you’ll come back with a fresh perspective and new energy.
Meet Others – Expand beyond your circle of people that are close to you. Regularly get out and about and find others (in your field of work or not) that you can collaborate with and/or get ideas from. You never know who you’ll meet that might be a resource or a potential work relationship down the road. So get out there and make connections and you’ll get motivated in return. Read this article I wrote with some additional tips on networking!
Be Open To Possibilities – Don’t box yourself (or your services) into one category, or limit yourself in what you are capable of. You never know where your strengths (or weaknesses) might lie if you don’t at least try. You might discover a new hidden talent or come to find out that you should stick to what you are good at. But at least be open to the idea.
Embrace The Unknown – There will inevitably be things that come up that you did not anticipate happening; a change or challenge that is beyond your control. Don’t let this stop or distract you. Mix it up, pivot your plan and take on a new course versus letting yourself get bogged down with the bad news. That is just wasted energy and it’s better time spent coming up with Plan B or an alternate route.
Take Risks – As a business owner/freelancer it’s easy to stay in your safe zone. You always want to do best for your business but often you end up taking the easy option. Know that every once in a while, it’s okay to take a leap of faith, fly blind or do something a little out of the ordinary. Some of the biggest and best rewards have come from the things we take a gamble on.
Ask For Help – Even the control freaks of the world who like to think they can do it all, will end up burnt out if you take on too much. Admit that it’s okay to lean on others for advice or support, and outsourcing the things you don’t like or are not good at. It will free up some time for you to focus on what you do well for your business.
Celebrate Successes – As a freelancers, we don’t take enough time to pat ourselves on the back. Take time to reward yourself, give yourself a “promotion” and celebrate the little things. Tell others and you’ll get even more praise and feel even better, giving you an extra boost of motivation too keep going strong.
Leave Your Comfort Zone – The best way to learn and grow is to do something that makes you uncomfortable. Even if it’s just the slightest bit. Try something new or take on a project that you dread just to push your limits and expand your mind to new experiences.
Follow these tips and you will not only stay motivated, but you’ll be accomplish things you never thought possible – all while having a little fun (and making money, no better motivating factor).