Any business owner will tell you, business is full of ups and downs. Business growth is never steady; there will busy periods, followed by quiet spells. However, it can be really difficult to keep your motivation up when business is slow. Here’s some advice on how to ensure your motivation doesn’t take a nosedive!
Change your view of this current slow period
Your business may be slow for any number of reasons. Sometimes it’s something you’re doing or not doing, the time of year may be affecting it, and sometimes it’s just something that’s happening! If you want to keep your motivation up when business is slow, change how you’re currently viewing the situation.
It’s easy during quiet or slow periods, to look for reasons why – and sometimes this is a good thing – if we have a positive view on things. It frees us up to see the reality of our current situation, as well as opening us up to the possibility of changing it for the better. A positive viewpoint means you’re seeing it as an opportunity and something you have a say over. You can then ask questions like:
- Is this something that’s just affecting me, or is it affecting others in my niche/industry?
- Have I done all I can realistically do?
- What can I do, to turn this around for me?
- Am I being visible enough?
- What action can I implement today, to help?
- What is in my control at this moment in time – and how can I use that to my advantage?
- Is there something I’m not currently doing, that I can do to improve this situation?
The questions above enable us to see past the situation and focus on what we can control. They help us to focus on a plan of action, so we can do everything in our power to both keep our motivation up and do what we can, to help turn the situation around.
However, if you see the current situation as a problem that’s happening to you and something you have no say or control over, the chances are you’re also using it to beat yourself over the head in some way! This viewpoint then becomes a sign that you’ve done something wrong – and this leads you to question yourself and your abilities – and motivation will then take a nosedive.
Questions we then ask ourselves tend to focus more on the negative. Questions such as:
- What am I doing wrong?
- Why am I not attracting clients to me?
- When will I get a break?
- When will my business finally get started/take off/hit the next level?
- Why is my business taking so long to get going?
- Why is my business slow, when others are doing well?
If you want to turn it around, you need to be able to step forward and take ownership and control of what you can. Look at that first list of questions and work through them, as they’ll help change your viewpoint and point you towards what you can control and implement. Here’s a recent blog post on how to master your mindset and here’s a guest blog from last year entitled ‘Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life’, if you need some help to get started.
Remind yourself of your reason why
When our business hits a slow point, it can decrease our motivation. Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or have been in business a long time, that period of demotivation can lead to us losing sight of what’s important – our reason why.
So, why are you doing what you’re doing? What motivates you to want and have your own business? Who is it you’re looking to help? What gets you out of bed and wanting to make your business a success? Imagine it, feel it, focus on it and remind yourself of your why. Create a motivation board, write your ideal day in your journal, write letters to yourself from an older you who’s got the benefit of hindsight. In short, do what you need to do, to get totally connected with that reason. If you’re already in business, use this recent blog post to help you carry out a review and get prepared for your next steps.
Ramp up your determination and self-belief
Reminding yourself of your reasons for having a business will help you ramp up your determination, but it’s only half the equation. The other part is believing you can have it and are worthy of having it. When business is slow, it can knock your confidence and leave you doubting whether you can have it or even achieve it. Left unchecked, this self-doubt can lead to confidence and self-belief issues that affect you and your business, long term.
Your levels of self belief, confidence and self-worth keep you stuck at the level you think you ‘should’ be at. This can impact on the amount of effort you put in and how much energy you put into achieving what you want. This could then mean that your business seems slow, because you’re subconsciously ensuring that it stays at a visibility, productivity or financial level that feels manageable and safe for you. Take a look at this recent blog post, if you want some help getting out of your own way and switching your focus back to your clients. And, if you want to boost your confidence, you’ll find this blog post on courage and confidence, a great read.
Stop putting off until tomorrow, what you can do today
We are often guilty of delaying our plans, waiting until we’re at a certain stage of success before we get started. Typically these are plans tied in with income or visibility, such as waiting until we have a certain amount of followers, before we start livestreaming or recording videos, waiting until our income reaches a certain level, before we buy the software we need, or delaying a launch for when we have a larger audience.
Whilst it is sometimes better to wait until we have larger audiences – it isn’t necessary and it certainly shouldn’t stop you from doing what you want to do. Commiting to daily action steps that grow your business, regardless of your current position, is critical if you want to keep your motivation high. Do what you can to get that product created and ready for launch, go live now and get those videos out there, as they’ll help raise your visibility and give you the practice of doing them, and check out free software alternatives or buy what you need to buy, if you need it to do what you want to do. This recent blog post on learning how to structure your day better, will help you commit to implementing your plans, as will this one on being productive.
And whilst you’re at it, commit to daily action
No matter what your current situation, you need to be committing to daily action steps to help move your business forward. This is even more important, when the going gets tough or when business is slow. Asking positive and action-based questions (such as those listed earlier), will help you get inspiration for action steps to take.
Daily action will also have a positive affect on your motivation. Not only will it raise your adrenaline and mood, it also helps keep you focused and on target. There’s also the satisfaction that you know you’re taking control of the situation and doing everything you can, to help improve it for the better. If you need some help deciding on your action steps, take a look around the blog. Here’s one on 10 Places to Find Clients for Your VA Business, to get you started.
Network, network, network
When business is slow, go networking. In fact, whether business is slow or not, you need to be networking! Networking is the lifeblood of your business, so it should be a consistent and crucial part of your regular to-do list. This isn’t just about getting clients – it’s also about socialising, raising your visibility and building a support network of like minded business women, as well as gathering potential new contacts, affiliates and Associates for your business. Here’s an overview on the benefits you can glean from networking, whist here’s another on the benefits of networking with other VAs.
Social media and the internet generally, has given us an opportunity to interact with people from all over the world. Luckily, the Virtual Assistant industry is a thriving one and isn’t location dependant, so you can socialise and network with anyone, anywhere!
Did I need this quiet period?
Finally, there’s always the chance that your business is slow – because you need this quiet period! Many service-based business owners, and women in particular, struggle to take time out for themselves. What then often happens, is circumstances ensure you get what you need. Many of us our working parents and we struggle with the work-life balance of it all. I’m a big believer that’s it’s better to look for work-life integration instead. In fact, I recently wrote a blog post on the differences, as well as how to achieve work-life integration, which I hope you’ll find useful.
It can be really difficult, keeping your motivation up when business is slow. However, I hope the above points have both helped you realise, there’s always something you can do. I can’t overestimate the importance of networking at every stage of business, as well as always ensuring your mindset and self-belief are in a good place. Ultimately though, it’s having the right focus and implementing daily steps, that will help keep you on track and motivated, when your business is slow.
I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on today’s blog post? Why not share them in the comments box below. Do you have any go-to strategies for when your business is slow? Why not share them with us, by leaving a comment in the box too!