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Wellbeing / Work motivation

Staying motivated when starting your own business

One of the most confronting issues you face when starting your own business is staying motivated to keep going without the enthusiasm and encouragement of work colleagues around you.

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When you first have the idea for your business and you’re in the process of setting everything up, your motivation factor is just about as high as it can go. Your head is filled with idea after idea and your days are filled with the practicalities of starting your own business.

But then comes the nitty-gritty of actually getting down to business and the reality of chasing prospects and selling your wares sets in. Without being in the lucky position of taking clients from a previous job, most of us have had to do the hard yards of seeking and seizing opportunities to make our own business enterprise become a flourishing reality.

After a few months of little movement, or tormenting nibbles, it is very easy to find your motivation levels at almost zero. So what can we do to combat this common issue?

The biggest problem for most new businesses is getting out there and convincing people that your services or products are the right ones for them. This will generally involve a few different marketing strategies, but at least one of them will be calling prospects either as a follow-up to material that you have sent them, following up on a lead either from a client, colleague or friend, or simply cold calling.

"The biggest problem for most new businesses is getting out there and convincing people that your services or products are the right ones for them."

If you have worked in marketing or sales before starting your own business, this aspect of building up your client base may not be a de-motivating factor, but for most the mere mention of cold calling is enough to send them ducking for cover behind the online newspaper, email inbox, pile of dirty washing or other procrastinating activity.

Want more articles like this? Check out the work motivation section.

Combat the procrastination by making this the first activity of your working day. By doing it early in the day, you can get on with other, more enjoyable tasks without having that nagging little voice at the back of your mind.

This principal applies equally to any task that you find challenging, such as keeping your accounts up to date, filing or other administrative tasks. If you don’t get on to these things and keep on top of them, they become a big de-motivating factor in your day, psychologically blocking your creativity in other, more productive areas.

Another big de-motivating factor, particularly when starting your own business, but which can apply to all businesses at any time, is lack of activity. When you’re first starting out you’re itching to show everyone your talents and it can be debilitating to your morale when you can’t seem to convince clients to take you on.

The key is to keep active in any way you can. There are many ways that you can do this. Reading books on marketing and promoting your business is great, but that isn’t technically an active task. Once you have digested the information, make sure you put the ideas that appeal to you, and which are suited to your business, into practice. Remember, when you’re choosing your marketing strategies make sure that they will work for your business and your personality. If you find cold-calling hundreds of prospects far too demoralising, try to find other, more creative ways to promote your business.

A great way of staying active is to write articles for websites or publications that service either your industry or your target market. This serves two purposes. You stay positive and feel like you have achieved something in your day. And it gets you and your business in front of prospective clients. If writing isn’t your thing, you could try speaking at conventions, seminars or even local networking meetings. Preparing the presentation will keep you active during your working hours and delivering it will give you a boost of confidence and a chance to meet prospective clients face-to-face.

Once you can confront tasks that simply breed procrastination and you discover ways of staying active, you should find that your motivation levels get the boost they need to move your business forward.

Karen Morris

, owner of Underground Communications, is a PR consultant and business copywriter with over 20 years’ experience in writing communications designed to grab an audience and deliver a clear message for her clients.

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