Thursday, September 29, 2011

Overcoming Lack of Motivation

For the past month my freelance writing accountability partner has been struggling with the very serious issue of lack of motivation. She recognizes that she’s fallen into a potentially destructive cycle of inaction when it comes to follow ups and marketing her business, and the result is a significant reduction in client projects and income. She’s no newbie to freelance writing – she’s successfully worked as a freelance web copywriter for over 10 years. She’s experienced the expected highs and lows of entrepreneurship before, but is really having trouble pulling herself out of this slump. I know how she feels.

Last year around this time, I was experiencing my own struggle with lack of motivation and enthusiasm as I traveled back and for between states trying to balance caring for my dying father and my own four children. Thankfully I had a pretty steady flow of projects coming in, and could continue working rather seamlessly thanks to my trusty cell phone and laptop. Still, getting through each client project was a struggle as I fought for focus, and my waning motivation resulted in stalled personal writing projects and marketing fail. Thankfully I pulled myself out of that hole before things got too far gone.

When you first start freelancing, or any new venture, you’re all charged up and raring to go. You’re high on possibilities and can’t conceive that a day will come when you don’t feel the way you do in that moment. But it likely will, and to make sure you don’t suffer too many consequences (financially and otherwise), it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Running a business can at time be a stressful gig. Here’s a little of what I’ve learned about maintaining/reclaiming enthusiasm for your business:

Take five

Or take the weekend off. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sometimes the best thing you can do is step away from everything for a day or two to get your bearings and clear your head. Don’t fall into the all too common trap of saying you can’t afford to take time off. You really can’t afford not to if you’re not operating up to speed. Stepping away will give you a fresh perspective.

Surround yourself with positive people

And put some distance between yourself and any naysayers. The last thing you need when you’re down is someone kicking you or encouraging you to give up, turn away and get a “real job.” Positive people will give you the feedback and support you need, lift you up and help you get through challenging times.

Join a group of like-minded individuals

This great idea for networking, support, and constructive feedback from others in the profession. Forums and mastermind groups can provide valuable advice to help improve your business, marketing tips and innovative approaches to doing business.

Do you take any special measure to stay motivated and keep writing?


Lori said...

I totally agree on the taking time away point. When I get in a funk, I need that space. I need to walk away and stop beating myself up for not finding work instantly. Some of the best ideas I've had for my business have come while walking in the park or gardening.

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