Many people assume that being Self-Employed is a dream; you get to choose your own clients, work from your own office or even from home and manage your own diary. However the reality is often not the working paradise people envisage; you have to do all your tax and accounting, source new clients, manage your invoicing and often deal directly with people with complex questions or complaints.
You could find that after you have just started up, you discover that you are, in reality, spending more time working and less time with your family than you did in your previous job. You could also find that you have bills that you need to pay, but no money has come in yet to pay them. All these things can quickly de-motivate you, which can be disastrous to a self-employed individual and can often be the cause of small businesses failing in the first year.
However if you follow the tips below they can empower you to keep on top of things and stay motivated and driven to make your self-employed business a success:
1. Set yourself goals/targets and reward yourself when you reach them
Give some thought to what you want to achieve in the long term, medium term and short term with your business and what you need to do to achieve this. From this your can create a set of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals and targets to continually focus you, keep you motivated and give you a real measure of your success. It is important that you work out a way of rewarding yourself when you achieve success – this goes a long way to keeping you motivated and focused on what you want from your business.
2. Manage your time effectively
Make a day plan with clearly defined tasks such as canvassing for new business, responding to emails, report writing, ordering materials and doing the actual work you business does. Most importantly stick to it. This way you will be working smart and will be able to achieve more in the day than you would be if you keep getting distracted or bogged down by individual tasks. This can go a long way in keeping you feeling productive and motivated and ensuring your create a good work-life balance.
3. Never sell yourself short
You have bills to pay and want to build up your reputation in the industry, but you just don’t seem to have enough clients. Be warned however; no matter how tempting it can be, never agree to work for less that you think you are worth. Set a minimum charge and stick to it, as by undercutting yourself you devalue your work and de-motivated yourself. If the client is worth working with, they will pay you what you are worth.
4. Remind yourself of why you set up in the first place
It is easy to forget the things that got you passionate and driven enough to set up on your own in the first place. This is especially true when you are bogged down with difficult clients or complex cash flow management. One tip, that seems to help a lot of people, is to write down a mission statement describing why you took the step of becoming self-employed, then put it somewhere you can easily read, so that when you become de-motivated your can remind yourself what it is all for.
5. Keep on top of your back office/cash flow
There sometimes is nothing more de-motivating than a pile of invoices or receipts that need action or worrying about how you are going to pay this or that bill. The best way to stay motivated is to ensure you keep on top of your back office (such as accounting, payroll, cash flow, invoicing etc) by regularly setting aside an hour a day to work on these tasks to prevent them building up. If you really cannot stand back office admin, then give us a call – we offer services at a reasonable price to self-employed individuals, freeing you up to do what you love.
Staying motivated when you are self-employed can be difficult, especially if you are working on your own. However it is important to remember with a bit of dedication and perseverance the rewards will outweigh the negatives and you will be well on the way to achieving the work-life balance that you dreamed about.