Finding motivation as a business owner

Kirsty Young Advice and Tips

Trying to ‘find’ motivation can be a challenge, both in business and in life.

Working with a wide range of businesses every day, we find this topic comes up again and again. If you’re struggling with finding your business ‘mojo’, we’d like to share some practices we’ve seen work well for a whole variety of business owners like you.

First, three few key points.

  • Everybody’s motivation in life ebbs and flows – it’s normal. Don’t stress about it.
  • Motivation isn’t something you have or have not got. It’s more a ‘state’ of being. Learning to get back into that state is a key skill. So you need to recall that feeling of being in a ‘motivation zone’ – a feeling we’re sure we’ve all experienced at one time or another. Then work to get back into that space using the tips below.
  • Being a business owner can be a lonely place, which can add to the problem of lack of motivation.


Ten top strategies for regaining your motivation

Here are 10 strategies we’ve seen work well, to help you (re)find your motivation:

1. Be clear on why you are doing this

Ask yourself a simple question – why are you in business? What is your mission?

If you don’t have a mission, get one. Turning up every day and working lots of hours without some idea of why will kill your motivation pretty quicky. It doesn’t need to be a world-changing mission, but understanding why you started your business in the first place can really help.


2. Set Goals

Set some goals, and make them exciting!

Before you start goal-setting, though, think about the underlying reasons for wanting to do them. Why are these goals important?

Goals can be as big or as small as you want. If the goal is big, split it into smaller goals, so you can monitor and measure the progress and success. For more on goal setting and the SMART system, check out our blog on how to set business goals.


3. Get positivity into your ears

The ‘personal development’ world is vast and varied – and you don’t even have to read a single world. You can tap into this amazing wealth of new ideas and information out there through podcasts, videos and audio books.

Time and again, we’ve seen how taking in new ideas, information and inspiration is a major help in finding fresh motivation, especially if you seem to have lost it.

It doesn’t help that we are constantly exposed to a barrage of negative news and information, as tv and social media compete for the most attention-grabbing headlines.

As an antidote to this, avoid certain news channels, and stop random social media scrolling. Try this – remove yourself from negative views for a month and see what happens to your mindset.


4. Surround yourself with people with your mindset

Finding other positive business owners who have a good business mindset can really help.

    • Get into networking groups, or mastermind-style groups for your profession.
    • Consider group coaching , which tends to be more affordable than 1-2-1 coaching. Group business coaching help combat the loneliness issue that often rears its head.
    • Look to remove any consistently negative people from your inner circle.


5. Take a break (sort of)

If you are hard at work and/or the business is struggling, you may think there is no way you can take a break. We’re not saying you need to immediately book two weeks in the Caribbean, but just a day off or a couple of days rest can really help.

Just getting out into nature or time spent in a different environment can also help. These out-of-work times can give you ‘headspace’ to review your situation, free up your mind, and allow headspace for new ideas. That alone can restore motivation.

Time out from work also allows you to review if there is a reason why you’ve lost motivation if everything else in your life is working. Remember that key aspects of everyday life– sleep, food, exercise – can affect your state of mind.

If you really enjoy work, then consider a specialist conference in your industry, or a personal development event. These can be a massive source of inspiration and help you see your business from another point of view.


6. Stay organised

Staying organised can really help avoid overwhelm, which is certainly a common motivation killer in our experience.

If you are feeling overwhelmed:

    • Write down all the jobs in your head.
    • Pick a couple that you know you have the time for today and get them done.

We could do an entire blog on how to prioritise and pick those tasks, but for now, just doing this will help that motivation.

Plan, but don’t procrastinate.

    • DO find the time to plan


    • DON’T constantly just plan and take no action.


7. Practice the habit of progress

Taking action to move projects forward is motivating. Aim for small, constant motion.

We suggest you start small every day. James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits”(great book), talks about the ‘2-minute rule’ to build habits. To start a new habit, you just need to do it for 2 minutes a day. This rapid habit-creation technique could help you become the type of business owner you want to be.

Making progress can be difficult especially when faced with a long “to do” list of tasks. As we say at Heelans, “Eat your frog”.

Your ‘frog’ is the most difficult, most unattractive, and challenging job you have to do at any given time. It’s probably the most important too. So, eat your frog, get it over with, and watch your motivation levels rise.

View large tasks as projects, then split them into micro ‘next actions’. Doing these micro next actions constantly pushes these projects forward, without taking up great chunks of your time.

When the practice gets tough

When the habit of making progress becomes hard, particularly on a tough, challenging or boring(!) task – aim to just ‘get closer’ to doing it. Example if you want to tackle a big project but aren’t enthused, just sit in front of your PC and open the document. See where it leads.

This strategy is like attempting to make going to the gym a habit. If you put on your gym clothes, you’ve taken a step towards it. If you get to the gym, even if you tell yourself you are only doing 10 minutes, you will likely do more and have began the habit making progress.


8. Create the time to make progress on the things that excite you

Finding the time to work on your business, and projects that excite you can help motivation. And we do mean ON, not IN. See our previous blog for some tips of how to find the time to work ON your business.


9. Work in an environment that excites you

Make sure you’re the right work environment to get you into your ‘motivation zone’.

Re-arrange and organise your workspace. You may need to do this outside normal hours if you don’t think you have the time during the working day. However, don’t use this as procrastination inside your productive hours!

Try not to mix and match the functions of certain workspace and homelife areas. For example;

    • Reserve the sofa for chilling, not for working.
    • Keep a “no devices at the dinner table” rule
    • Don’t take your phone into the bathroom (yes, we’ve all done that…)

Try to reduce any sort of obstacles to working on your goals within the work environment too. It could be that you don’t have a tidy, quick way to work at home. Set up a clean, small desk somewhere where you can easily plug in your laptop without disturbing the family. This could really help your motivation to do some work at home.


10. Crack open the champers

Business owners often beat themselves up over a lack of perceived progress, or due to not-so-great feedback from a customer (for example).

If you find it hard to identify your progress/wins, ask yourself:

When you first started your business, would you be happy with where you are now?

The chances are your answer will be a resounding “yes”!

If it’s related to some negative feedback, try to remember all the good things your customers have said. (Or better still, put all your positive feedback from clients on your website for everyone to see!) Resolve to use any particularly negative feedback as a learning experience and incentive to improve the business.

Take time for a (quick) look back at your progress and celebrate your wins. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you have now and how far you have come.


You are a motivated person

Finally, remind yourself you are someone that has been motivated in the past, and can be motivated again. At heart, you are a motivated person. That hasn’t changed.


Finding it hard to get motivated over your accounting?

Accounting may be our passion, but it may not be yours!

Ask your accountant or book a consultation with us to discuss how outsourcing some of your regular financial “frogs” such as bookkeeping, payroll and VAT returns can leave you with a better appetite for your business.

We’d love a chat about how we can help. Or if you’re looking for specific information we offer a paid 1 hour, 1-2-1 consultation so you can ask simple questions of an accountant.