So far, the hardest part about owning a business is staying motivated – especially when work isn’t consistent. With how small my company is, if I can’t work I won’t make money. On top of that, I am still building my clientele which means I don’t have a bunch of return or word of mouth clients so a lot of my budget goes towards getting new customers. When I have a full week, it’s easy to be excited and make huge goals and plans for the future… but when things are slow, it’s hard not to get bogged down in the details and anxious about finding any client I can – even the ones who won’t respect my boundaries.
Every day, I feel like I’m learning something new. Sometimes it’s because I met an amazing client who talked to me about running his business and shared some books with me. But sometimes it’s because I let a client take advantage of my time and willingness to be helpful and I had to set some new boundaries. But the hardest days are the ones when I haven’t gotten work for most of the week and I’m scrambling to pull people in so I have something to do.
The first couple days off aren’t bad. I can catch up on work around the house, read some books (I’ll update you on my reading list in just a minute), and do some admin work like updating my email list and finding more marketing options. A few days in though… I get restless. When there isn’t a task I can do to fix it, I get anxious and it’s hard to do anything that doesn’t NEED to get done. Can it wait till tomorrow? Sure, I don’t have a client anyway I might as well just wait and do it then. Why would I do it today when I could just nap or spend the whole day on my couch reading and holding my animals?
Just to be clear, there are definitely times that spending a day reading and putting of chores is great for mental health. It’s important to take a “me” day every once in a while… but not when the motivation is basically “fuck it, nothing matters anyway.” I love what I do and what I see my company becoming, so I’ve been trying everything I can to stay motivated and not fall into a slump.
I’ve started reading business books that have been recommended to me by people who are running (or have run) businesses that I admire. When I want to read, I’ll do chapter for chapter. One chapter of a book that I can make notes on and get ideas flowing, then as a reward I get to read a chapter of a fun book. Or if I want puppy cuddles, I have to read a few chapters while I do. It’s helping to get some positive momentum. I’ve also been keeping a list of things that I could do for marketing or organizational tips. Then when I’m feeling unmotivated and like there’s nothing I can do, I will find something small on that list like emailing 10 realtors in the area or working on a flyer for my next email blast. Once I do something small, either I’ll feel a lot better like I’ve accomplished something or I’ll be more motivated to do more!
On the other end, when it feels like I’ve absorbed all I can but still need something to do, I’m practicing letting go. My business isn’t going to fail if I take a day off to spend at a pickle festival with my boyfriend or if I go to bed 2 hours early and miss a client’s text. I’ve found out that sometimes when I can’t get motivated, I’m trying to force myself to do too much and just need to let myself play. And when I do, it’s so much easier to jump back into a full week or send out all those emails. Almost like I missed it!
To prove that one small task can really get your momentum going… One week when I had very few clients, I spent every morning on my deck. I picked up a random book just as something to do other than tiktok or sleep and something clicked. I had been forcing every chapter of most books before this for years… and that day… I don’t know if I was dissociating away from stress or if I just had the right amount of comfort to stay in the same place but not fall asleep. Whatever it was, I haven’t stopped reading since. For at least a month I didn’t watch any tiktoks or TV (unless it was date night)!!! And for someone who always has something playing in the background while getting ready and tiktoks till sleep comes… wow! So here’s my list of books I’ve read so far this year – including all audio, e-books, and print:
- A is for Alibi – Sue Grafton
- You Are A Badass – Jen Sincero
- B is for Burglar – Sue Grafton
- Chime – Franny Billingsley
- Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief – Rick Riordan
- Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan
- A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas
- Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan
- The Duke and I – Julia Quinn
- Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan
- A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J Maas
- Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian – Rick Riordan
- The Viscount Who Loved Me – Julia Quinn
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab
- An Offer From a Gentleman – Julia Quinn
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson
- A Woman’s Honor – Andreya Stuart
- A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J Maas
- The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown – Karen Hawkins, Suzanne Enoch, Julia Quinn
- Romancing Mister Bridgerton – Julia Quinn
- To Sir Phillip, With Love – Julia Quinn
And I’m currently reading :
- The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It – Michael E. Gerber
- A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J Maas
As you can see, I’ve definitely surpassed my goal of 12 books this year and have revised it for 50… maybe it should be closer to 100. What is on your reading list? What books have you enjoyed the most so far? I’m going to run out of these series’ soon and I’ll need something else to jump into! And most importantly, what do you do to keep yourself motivated? 😊 As always, if you take any fun pictures or videos, tag me on Instagram @SmileMakePeopleWonder and use the hashtag #DandelionSmiles. Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss out on the next exciting idea.