Four ways to stay motivated when you’re running a small business

Do you find it difficult to be enthusiastic about your small business on tough days? Read four tips to help you stay motivated when you’re an entrepreneur.

There’s nothing quite like working for yourself, and being master (or mistress) of your own time. But, as you’l know if you’re an entrepreneur, running your own business is also tough.

You often need to make important decisions alone, while juggling all the many roles involved in keeping a business going –  accountant, marketer, cleaner, receptionist and everything else. And many of them often have nothing to do with your true passion, the reason you started the business in the first place.

Four tips to help you stay motivated

So how do you stay motivated while juggling all of these roles? Especially through lean times? Here are four tips to help you from Karen Campbell of Brand Beautiful.

1) Delegate

The power of delegation is a wonderful thing. But too many of us fail to do it.

How many times have you laboriously stared at the screen trying to make sense of an accountancy spreadsheet or tried to write some copy?

We can’t be good at everything (well, most things – we’re women after all!). So this is where we need to delegate the things we’re not great at, or just bore us, and concentrate on the things we do really well, which will be the crux of your business.

One way to delegate core business tasks without taking on the responsibility of employing staff, is to hire a VA. Many VAs have a wealth of skills far beyond simple admin. (If you do hire an assistant or VA, find out how how to get the best value.)

Can’t afford to pay anyone else yet? Delegating doesn’t have to cost money. Is there an opportunity for a skill share? For example, could you swap something you offer in exchange for an accountancy/copywriting session? Never underestimate your business and your offer’s value.

And finally, don’t forget your housework too. Delegating tasks to your children won’t just take some of the load off you, but will teach your children responsibility. Read how to delegate successfully in the home.

2) Network

As small business owners, we can often sit behind a computer alone with minimal interaction. And this needs to be addressed.

Even though you may not think you have time to network, make some. There is nothing more empowering that meeting like-minded business owners who are sharing a similar journey and problems as you are.

And always remember, even if you don’t think that certain person you meet has anything in common with you, you don’t know who they know and vice versa.

It’s not just the connections you may gain that make networking worth it. After any networking meeting, you’re guaranteed to feel more energised and motivated – and maybe even come away with greater enthusiasm and ideas for your business. (Get tips on how to network when you’re a mum.)

3) Ask for help

Who do you admire? Are there any local business women out there who you think have got it nailed? Maybe their social campaigns are top notch, or their direct mail is hugely engaging.

If there is someone who’s doing something well, drop them a line and ask to meet for a coffee. Then ask them how they do it, and who do they use. Or, if you’re feeling really brave and they’re a good fit, ask if they’ll mentor you.

Everybody likes a bit of flattery, and if I received an email complimenting my business savvy, I’d be out, cappuccino-in-hand in a flash.

Flattery can get you everywhere (and gain you some kick ass business knowledge), so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask. The worst they can do is say no!

4) Take care of yourself

As tempting as it is to stay in your pyjamas and eat Nutella out of the jar with a spoon all day, this will not help your amazing business woman mindset.

Lack of self care can be the biggest reason we feel stressed, over-worked, ill and generally fed up. And it’s not just physical care, but emotional and mental care too. Here are a few tips on how to keep you at the top of your list:

  • Identify the symptoms of lack of self care such as poor eating habits, feeling resentful, stress and low energy.
  • Recognise how much self care is in your life right now. For example, do you take time to exercise, read a book, cook a meal, get a full night’s sleep?
  • When you compare the lists, is there more lack of self care than actual self care?
  • If so, look at your list at the lack of self care elements in your life and ask what can you do to tackle them individually.
  • What can you say no to? Do you have to be in that meeting? Do you have to stay for that extra drink with a friend? Does the world stop if you leave work on time? How much time could saying no free up?
  • Ask yourself how you could introduce exercise into your life? Could you get off the bus a few stops earlier? Could you book a walk in the countryside in over the weekend? Think how introducing this could make you feel a few weeks from now.
  • How’s your sleep? Could you introduce a bedtime routine including turning off the TV, phone, i-Pad at a certain time? Going to bed around the same time every night?
  • Schedule in some ‘white diary space’ for you once a week to spend on you. Whether that’s a long soak in the bath or reading a book. It’s your time only for you (no kids / partners permitted!).
  • Think happy thoughts. Smile at people, compliment your colleagues and friends and think what you’re grateful for in life and focus on those. I bet there are more than you think. This will naturally make you feel happier.
  • Make a list of realistic things that you could introduce to your life and do it gradually and record how it makes you feel. Are the stress levels getting lower? Are you feeling happier?

Stay motivated and watch your business grow

It may seem like a little thing, but maintaing your motivation could mean the difference between your small business thriving, and giving up.

Often what sets a successful business apart from one that didn’t make it isn’t better products or services. It’s not even a cleverer marketing strategy or bigger budget. But rather it’s the resilience and determination of the entrepreneur to succeed.

So make sure that you take care of yourself while running your own business, and ensure that you find ways to maintain your own motivation, through the good days and the bad.

On Saturday 24 September, Karen and fellow coach Juliette Dyke are running Brand Beautiful, an inspirational day for amazing women who run their own business, dream big and want to take it to the next level in Brighton. Find out more about the workshop here.