One thing I deal with every now and then, and I’m sure every creative business owner will agree, is struggling to stay inspired and motivated. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I’m doing – I love being my own boss, I love making the things I do, but every once in a while, even the most exciting and creative jobs get old.
Over the last four years of running my own business, I’ve come up with a couple of strategies to deal with the ‘small-business-fatigue’. So I compiled a list of 10 things for you to do, so you can battle these dreaded feelings. Some of these are short term remedies, others will help in the long run but I promise each will make a difference.
Meet other makers/bloggers
That’s why I love the community around the YYC Girl Gang so much. Whether I meet just a few of you fantastic ladies over dinner, or all of you at a Girl Gang Hang, I always come back home full of ideas, inspiration, and convinced that what I’m doing is exactly the right thing.
Learn a new skill for your business
We all work so much, and so hard, and there’s always something that stays behind. Whenever I’m sick of my day-to-day tasks, I start looking into those things. It might be taking a class on how to improve your social media skills, looking into doing your taxes on your own, or just being more active in a Facebook group that talks about something relevant to your business. When I think I finally understood something I have been pushing aside for a long time, it makes me really happy and glad to get back to my usual tasks.
Learn a new skill just for yourself
I’m trying to learn a new craft each year. Last year I learned how to felt, this year learning how to do crochet is high on my list. Learning these skills that I won’t necessarily need for my business keep my brain active and stimulated. They also mean people will get something for Christmas that isn’t my brand, but truly handmade just for them. It might make you think: “Oh, maybe I should start a business doing this!?!” but then you will probably realize it’s much nicer to get back into what you’re already good at and you’ll gladly work on your already existing business.
Ask your customers for feedback
If your customers are anything like mine, they will shower you in praise. And what could be more motivating than sweet words? It’s not just that though, constructive feedback will give you ideas on what else to focus on in your business and you will want to direct your energies there – which means you’re doing something different than usual and that alone is motivating – at least for me it is!
Get the heck out of there
Take a break. Drive out to the mountains for the day, and let nature do its magic. Book a flight and spend the weekend in Vancouver. Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need for the inspiration and motivation to come back.
Drink tea and browse a magazine relevant to your business
You don’t have time for a break? Well, maybe just a little one? Like, let’s say half an hour for a lovely tea and your favourite magazine! Reading about other makers/bloggers does the trick for me and I just want to get back to work to start being as awesome as they are.
Read an inspiring biography
This is actually a point very similar to the last, but a little bit more in depth. History is full of brilliant artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, and other fantastic women (ok, some men are pretty cool as well). The best biographies are honest and talk about not only the successes, but the failures as well. I find seeing that even the most successful person had to deal with rather unpleasant stuff very motivating. They’re my idols; I would like to be like them one day. But it’s so easy to forget that success doesn’t come over night, but is almost always a result of hard work and perseverance.
Spend time with your loved ones
Don’t forget that hard work is not everything. In the end, why are you doing what you’re doing? Is it worth working, working, working, and forgetting about your friends and family? That might just lead to a heart attack, and for what? I believe balancing your work life and personal life is important and will give you the strength you need to keep doing what you’re doing.
Bake a cake
And by that I mean, reward yourself. You’ve got tons of stuff to do that you don’t want to do? Oh but there’s that cake (Or ice-cream? Or maybe just the Netflix show?) waiting for you once you’re done with that stuff. Or maybe half of the stuff and then there’ll be another reward at the very end. You know what I mean.
Do yoga or ride your bike
Exercise is important. Some people need to run 10km each day to be fully energized and happy to work. Some people don’t like to exercise that much. Find the right thing for you, and do it regularly. It will make all the difference. Sometimes I find the solution to a business problem while working out, sometimes it just gives my stiff muscles the right stretches, and makes me tired enough to get a good night’s sleep afterwards, so you wake up refreshed and full of energy and ideas.
I hope at least a couple of these strategies are helpful for you. Maybe you already have a good strategy to stay inspired? Let me hear it!