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How to Stay Motivated When Running a Small Creative Business

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Are you a small creative business owner working from home, feeling unmotivated? Does this create feelings of guilt, challenging your motivation levels even further? If so, please know that you’re not alone. As a self-employed, small business owner of five years, I too have experienced fluctuating levels of motivation. I’m writing this to let you know that it’s completely normal.

So, what’s causing it exactly? There are many reasons you may be lacking motivation, and this is a crucial question to ask yourself. Allowing yourself to be mindful of the underlying causes can be extremely beneficial. I appreciate this can be tremendously difficult, and like myself in the past, you may have been deliberately avoiding this question entirely.

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When I first became self-employed, my motivation was incredibly high. I had been planning to leave my full time job for some time, and my to-do-list was brimming with tasks, of which I was enormously excited to complete.

It was all going so well, for quite a reasonable length of time I may add, until the procrastination presented itself. I suddenly became Marie Kondo’s greatest fan. Thanks to the KonMari method, my wardrobe had never been so impeccably presented. The dishwasher had never looked so clean, and the kitchen drawers were organised to a whole new level. That Victoria sponge cake just needed to be baked, but first, the oven needed to be cleaned again, for the tenth time. I’m fairly sure you can see where I’m going with this. 

Throughout this time, my business was about to become neglected, and I knew I desperately needed to reinstate the strong level of purpose I had once established. This was, and still is, an ongoing process. The advice below certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and I’m certainly no expert. However, as a current small creative business owner, having faced similar issues to yourself, I’ve learnt a few things along the way which may help you.

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Create a Regular Routine

You know it, distractions are everywhere. I’m partial to an episode of ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ and ‘Escape to the Country’ too. Whilst we can’t always commit to a rigid work routine, nor would we want to, routine really is the key to success. As you know, there aren’t unlimited hours in the day, so it’s really important to maximise them as much as possible. Use a planner and begin to establish a routine for the duration of a week. Assess your level of productivity and motivation at the end of the week. Continue to make regular adjustments where necessary. If this works for you, try to stay mindful of your routine and its benefits.

Set Realistic Goals

Whilst it’s admirable to dream big, setting unrealistic goals for yourself may lead to an indefinite level of disappointment, particularly when your motivation levels are low. Instead, look at aspects of your business that may be affecting your motivation levels, and think about how these may be improved. Use this process to set some initial goals for yourself. They may be small goals, but try to look at their combined impact when actioned.

Make a Plan of Action

Alongside each goal you’ve established, make a specific plan towards achieving each one. This should consist of manageable, easily identifiable chunks.

Focus and Commit

Set time aside to complete each goal and be sure to commit. This is going to be an ongoing process. Scheduling time for this process on a regular basis really helps, it can make you feel positively accountable.

Reward and Take Care of Yourself

Self-care is of paramount importance. Without it, you won’t be producing your best work, and your business and personal life may begin to suffer. Think about ways you can introduce self-care into your day-to-day life and start planning. It’s so important to reward yourself for your hard work. You’ll have something special to look forward to on a regular basis, which in turn may help to increase your level of motivation.

Connect with Other Creative Business Owners

Do you often feel lonely during your working day? It’s easier than ever before to connect with other small business owners, some of whom may be facing the same difficulties as you. Reach out to them and try to build a relationship. If you live nearby, you could suggest a regular catch up in a local coffee shop, or if this isn’t possible, regular Skype calls. You can use this as an opportunity to socialise, whilst also gaining a new perspective on your creative work. If your budget allows, the use of a co-working space may also help you to feel less isolated and more connected.

Remind Yourself Why

Why did you decide to start your own small creative business? How did you feel when you sold your first piece of work? You may even think back to a previous job. How did you feel on your last day, when you had this brand new journey ahead of you? For me, I chose to start my own business due to a need for more day-to-day creativity and fulfilment. Sunday blue’s became a regular occurrence and I knew I had to introduce something new into my life. Thinking back to this time helps me to renew a sense of perspective, which in turn improves my motivation levels.

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With so much distraction out there, I completely understand the affect it can have on motivation. Running your own business, although incredibly challenging, is an exhilarating experience. Demonstrating an ability to work through difficult issues faced, has the potential to improve your confidence, levels of happiness, and greater knowledge. Overcoming low motivation is challenging, but at the same time, please know that it’s entirely possible, and you’re more capable than ever before.

To all small creative business owners out there, you’ve got this!

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