Are you staying motivated in your home business?
“How do you stay motivated when you're in business for yourself? Don't you just watch TV all day?”
These are questions I get asked a lot. Staying motivated in business, particularly when you work from home, doesn’t always come naturally. But it is a skill you can develop.
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Staying Motivated In Business When You Work From Home
At least once a week, one of my amazing subscribers will ask a variation on how am I motivated to work from home? How does that actually work? What does that look like when you don't have a boss telling you what to do?
It’s a really interesting question, and I think it comes down to a couple of different things.
Reason #1: Self-Discipline
I'm super self-disciplined. I'm really motivated to work for myself, and that is mainly because I'm very clear on my why.
I remember what it was like working in my day job. The office politics. The fear and loathing. I faced these things every morning going out to work. The environment at that job did not suit me at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I've had some great places to work in, but I still really resented having to be at work between certain times and not being able to to go, “You know what, I just don't feel like working this afternoon. I'm not at my optimal time. I just don't produce really good work from two o'clock onwards.” I really struggled with that when I was in a workplace, and it became quite evident in the last job I had before I went full-time working for myself. Asking permission felt very child-like, and I am more about self-empowerment.
Reason #2: My Why
I'm also really clear on my why. I know that I don't ever want to experience someone telling me how I need to be spending my time ever again.
I don't want somebody dictating when I can take time off. For me, it really was about getting my time back and being in control of what I wanted to do. It wasn't really money-driven for me. Money has not been a big driver in doing what I'm doing. It's always been about time.
I've always wanted to be able to just get up when I want and do things when I want to do them. I know that may sound kind of selfish and self-centered, but I'm responsible for my happiness. That realization is so empowering!
I get to choose what happiness looks like for me, and that means not working for somebody else. That means being in charge of my day and personally deciding what each day looks like, hour by hour.
When you start working for yourself, and definitely when you start working from home, you will start to have responsibilities to other people: your email subscribers, your clients, anyone that you work with. They're paying you money and expect certain results. That is always going to be there. But you still get to choose what that looks like.
So I have a few things I do to keep on top of #allthethings and maintain motivation at home.
As I've previously mentioned, I'm a massive scheduler. I schedule everything out. I don't leave a lot to memory or chance. That might sound really regimented, but it's not. I have a ton of flexibility in there and I schedule in my downtime. I make sure I get time for myself. This is super important, especially as an entrepreneur. It’s all too easy to work extended hours and forget about personal care for the sake of your growing business. But over-extending yourself invites burn-out.
Right now my schedule looks like this:
Mondays are completely dedicated to whatever I want to do in or on my business.
Working “in” and working “on” my business are two very different things. One is maintaining, the other is developing and growing. The focus on Monday can change weekly, depending on what's currently happening. But I always remember to work on my business regularly with an eye to growth.
On Fridays, I work a few hours in the morning and the rest of the day I dedicate to self-care. That's normally when I get a massage or go out to lunch with my husband. We may even catch a movie. I get to just do whatever I want on Friday afternoons.
And then the rest of the week, so Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday is full on working. I generally still finish work around two or three o'clock because I realize I’m not as productive after 3:00 p.m. I will often get a second wind around 7:00 pm and sometimes choose to do a couple of hours at night. But that's only if I've got a big project that I’m working on
I may do a few hours of work on a Saturday morning, but that’s on my business, not client related. It’s where I might catch up on training, clear out emails, or work on a project I have in development.
I DO NOT work Sundays. It’s the one day of the week that my laptop stays closed, my phone stays face down and I relax and spend time with friends and family.
It's really about understanding how you work and then putting systems in place to make sure you keep on top of everything.
Know Thyself (then put a system in place)
You know that when you work in a job, you are expected to be at work at a certain time. When you work for yourself, that's not necessarily the case. However, I keep that same type of schedule because it’s what I’m used to. It works best for my business.
I want to make sure I still keep some form of routine in place to structure my days. When you don't have a routine, things can get off track. And before you know it, you invest too much time in three different daytime soap operas and walking the neighbour’s dog…
Friends and family are more likely to respect your time when you have a structure in place. Easier said than done — but that’s a whole other blog post, lol!
Staying Motivated in my Business
So for me, I am up at 4:30 a.m. That is, again, my choice because I love that time of the morning when nobody else is awake. It’s a productive part of my day and means I get to focus on things of my choosing every single day without interruption. So 4:30 a.m is when I wake up and start my day.
When I'm coaching clients and that type of thing, that kicks off around 7:30 a.m. So between 4:30 and 7:30, I have a window of time to focus on whatever it is that I’ve decided is a priority for the day.
I make sure I exercise and journal. Sometimes I meditate. But it's all dedicated to that early time slot. I then know that between 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., I'm working in my business dealing with clients, coaching calls, responding to emails, and all those types of things.
In a nutshell, that's generally what my work week looks like.
Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Routine
Routine is such a big part of success when working from home and staying motivated in business that when you break a well-established routine (like I have right now… I’m working from a friend’s beach house and I feel completely out of whack! First world problems, I know…) you will feel off your rails.
Having a solid morning and evening routine is key to making sure that you don't get distracted when working from home… and that includes making sure things like dirty (and clean) laundry, loading/unloading the dishwasher etc, are all taken care of.
Every morning when I get up at 4:30 a.m., I have a set routine. I have a quick look at what my schedule looks like to see if I have to move anything around (although I would've considered that the night before during my evening routine).
It's about discipline and motivation. Clearly know the reason why you're doing this, why you are working for yourself, why you are working from home. Understand that you need accountability and systems in place to make it all happen. Working at home isn’t a free-for-all! You still need a schedule and a routine to be successful.
If you want to do this for yourself, staying motivated in your home business and leading a successful side hustle, your immediate next step is figuring out what your schedule looks like. I previously covered discovering your why in this post, so take another look at that if you’re still stuck on that area.
Being super clear on your why makes creating your daily schedule and routine so much easier. It puts a reason behind each and every decision and action you take during your self-employed day.
And by figuring out your schedule—by making sure you’ve taken care of your business stuff and your personal stuff—you’ll be able to stay motivated in your business, even when you’re working from home.