Many of my clients are solopreneurs. In fact, so am I. They’re my peeps for sure. This one goes out to you. To us. The few. The Proud. The Machines.
How do you know if you’re a solopreneur? Well, according to Google here is our definition:
The solopreneur is somebody developing their own personal brand. They're creators and inventors. They're not creating a company to hire employees; they don't have access to piles of money; they're just creating a niche for themselves in their own marketplace.
If this definition sounds like you, and you want to learn how to develop self-motivation to be more productive, then you probably want to read this entire article. On the other hand, if you’re looking for someone or something else to motivate you, then you are going to be looking for a long time.
If you identify with this definition of a solopreneur you already have self-motivation to a degree. It comes with the territory. It takes an immense amount of confidence and tolerance for risk to step out there into business for yourself, by yourself.
At the same time, being a solo business owner necessarily means there is nothing outside of you to be motivated by. Until you choose something to motivate you. There’s no boss to be fired by. You’re the boss. There are no employees to keep the company afloat for. You’re the employee. There are no investors to answer to. You’re the investor.
Now, this isn’t a conversation about tools. There are tons of useful productivity apps out there that can help organize your thoughts and action plans. Use them. They work.
The conversation I want you to consider is one about who you are as a person. A conversation about who you are as a small business owner and how that’s impacting the results you produce.
Most people think the productivity equation is simple. More Action = More Results. Sometimes that’s true. Most of the time it isn’t. Consider that it’s probably not true for you as a person whose declared themselves a solopreneur.
You’re already the type of person that’s oriented toward taking action. You’re already an inventor; you have an idea and then you go make it a reality. So, why am I not producing the results I want? I’m glad you asked.
It’s because you probably default to a habit of believing that More Action = More Results and that’s simply not true for you. You move forward with that mentality and grind yourself to a nub.
You get a bunch of stuff done. Then you look at the proverbial mountain of other things you want to get done, but haven’t yet. You feel overwhelmed and burnt out. You coast for awhile so you can regain some energy. Then you get inspired by another one of your amazing ideas and the cycle starts all over again.
Want to interrupt the vicious cycle? Want to free yourself from this self-imposed trap? You’re in the right place. I’m going to share with you 3 easy steps to drastically improve your productivity without having to add much of anything else to your list of things to do.
Choose What For
Why are you doing this business? If it’s just for the money, that might not be powerful enough to pull you forward when you want to take your foot off the gas.
Now look, I’m not one of those guys who’s going to preach at you about why making a lot of money shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. Go make a lot of money. I certainly want to make a lot of money.
The thing I want you to consider is what do you want the money for? Is it to leave a legacy for your kids? Is it so you can fulfill on your philanthropic goals? Is it so you can travel the world and knock everything off your bucket list? These are things that I assert will pull you forward when you want to stop.
Maybe it has nothing to do with money. Perhaps you want to crush it in your business just because you said you would. You might be doing it to make an impact on the world that’ll live on after you’re gone.
The reason why doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have a reason why. Not to motivate yourself to do so much you grind yourself to a nub. To motivate you to do some of the things that you don’t feel like doing.
This happens to all of us. It’s a normal part of the human experience. We, as small business owners, tend to love what we do for a living. And, there are some tasks associated with our work that we don’t love so much and we put them off.
This habit drains energy because this thing we’re putting off gets heaped on top of the list of undone things to do. And when that mountain gets high enough, we feel overwhelmed and crash.
Imagine a solopreneur, let’s call him George, who sells a B2B service and one of the key activities he’s chosen to get clients is cold calling. George chose cold calling because it works, not because he loves doing it.
Every time George went to pick up the phone, he dreaded it. When he was feeling inspired and energetic he did well and set sales presentations. When he was feeling tired or pressured, he skipped his call session and did something else. This is obviously a problem.
George turned everything around when, before making cold calls, he envisioned the smile on his son’s face holding his college diploma. George’s why is to send his son to whatever college he chooses with the profits from his business.
Choose Where You Take Action From
If you’re anything like me, your fellow solopreneur, you’re capable of taking massive action against your goals and dreams. That’s part of what makes us awesome :)
At the same time, this can get us into a lot of trouble. We can waste a ridiculous amount of resources by being this way sometimes. Resources such as our precious time, money, energy, and other people.
We can occur like a bull in a china shop if we get into massive action without first choosing where we’re taking that action from. Let me illustrate what I mean.
Before George created his what for, sometimes he’d muster up enough will-power to muscle through the cold calls even though he related to the task as a drag. He knew this was how he generated business, but he absolutely hated it. He felt obligated to just get it done because he had to in order to get clients.
The people on the other end of the phone could smell the fear and disgust emanating from George’s every word. It’s no wonder those call sessions didn’t produce optimal results. He knew something had to change.
George decided to relate to his call sessions as a game. He began to choose to make it fun. He chose to fall in love with cold calling. And the moment he started to practice choosing to take the action from this new place, he saw a drastic increase in results while actually enjoying the process.
Sound impossible? Think you don’t know how to do this? Think of someone you love. Maybe it’s a spouse, child, friend, or maybe a pet. Haven’t they been unlovable at times? Haven’t you ever been like, “I really don’t like you right now.” And then you’re like, “But I love you anyway!”
Choosing to take action from love, fun, joy, adventure vs from hate, a drag, obligation is the same phenomenon. You simply choose that you “get to” vs that you “have to”. This frees up useful energy and produces more favorable results every single time.
Do you see that word and roll your eyes? Ok good. Then I’m not the only one. Most of us solopreneurs think we don’t need structure and accountability. And we don’t like it. In fact, not having to answer to anyone is the reason a lot of us chose to be in business for ourselves.
I assure you that those of us who skip over the use of a good accountability structure are missing out on one of the most impactful productivity tools in existence. So, if you want to throw gasoline on the fire I suggest you take this on.
All you need to do is choose someone that cares about your success and share your goals with them. My recommendation is that you do this on a weekly basis.
You’ll need to make sure they’re on board first. Then simply set it up in a way you think would work for you.
Some possible ways it could work may be a weekly phone call, text or email stating what you set out to do and what you actually accomplished. Or maybe you go big and let everyone on your social media know what you’re up to.
The key is that you set it up however it would work for you. Do you need to establish consequences for yourself? Do you need the person to simply hear you out and say “ok”? Or do you want to request their feedback?
Any way you set it up is fine. The important thing is that you make a habit out of it. This is putting human nature to work for you. Oddly enough, we will do what we say more often when someone who cares about us has heard our declarations.
Choose one or two of these productivity hacks or implement all three to drastically increase your results. Drop me a line to let me know how it’s going. I’d love to hear from you!