Self motivation sounds like a cool phrase for people who are self employed to throw around, but in reality, it can be tough. When you work for yourself there's no calling in for a mental health day, because who are you gonna call? Yourself? You have to schedule in your self care, because there's no one around to cover your workload when you're not feeling it and wanna go back to bed.
After a year of being self employed, I've been through it all - the high days when you get 1000 things done and still have time to get a coffee with a friend, and the days when you drop your coffee all over the floor, forget to put eggs in the cake and run out of milk just after the shop closes. Some days I nail it, and others, well, I survive.
Over the last year I've taught myself some tips for self motivation, and I thought I'd share a few of them with you all, in hopes that they might help you too! This can be applied anywhere in life, and not just when you're self employed. I've popped my personal spin on it, but the thinking and the points can be versatile to your life, your job or your goals.
I'll start with a quote that I love to think about at times when the caking gets tough.
"Entrepreneurs are people that will work 80 hours a week for themselves, to avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else."
And it's so true. Even though there's a whole lot of late nights, early mornings and coffee induced days, I would rather be working towards my dream, my goals and creating a life for myself fueled by love and passion for what I do, than being able to clock out at 5pm and leave work behind.
Of course we don't feel like that every day, sometimes I wish for the days when I had a 'normal weekend' where I didn't have any plans and could make it up as I go along, but the rest of the week wouldn't be contributing to my purpose and my why.
Whats your why? This is a big question that a lot of self employed people get asked - why are you putting your heart, soul, sweat and tears into something that is this hard? And it's a great question, and one that I could answer differently every day. But here are my main reasons:
1. Purpose - to contribute to something that is my passion, and to know that my success is my own. To create and control my purpose, and to be proud of something that I have built, and to inspire others while doing it. To inspire others, and lift other people up by doing what I do, and sharing the real life side of things.
2. Work/life balance - sometimes this one is waaay more lopsided to work than it is life, but lucky for me they kind of go hand in hand. A huge part of the reason I wanted to become self employed is to be flexible - to make my own hours and decisions and to answer to myself. I want to be able to jump in the car and head to the mountain if the weather is good on a Tuesday, and just the same to hustle hard when I want to challenge myself and see what I can do. I am largely driven by getting more of the 'life' in, so grinding my way through some epic hours of donut making is fine by me to make that possible.
3. Family and friends - which kind of comes into the last point, I've been able to spend so much more quality time with my friends and family since leaving my 9-5, and time is something we will never get back, so I'm always thankful for my business allowing me that flexibility. I now can't imagine my life without this flexibility, sometimes it means you miss out on social events, but it also means that if someone really needs you, you can move things around to be there for them which as a Capricorn, is so important to me.
4. Relationship (or I suppose I should say marriage now!) My husband Jay has always been self employed - he's a builder and has always had that flexibility when he wants and needs it, and I didn't. I always aspired to be able to have the same freedom so that we could have more adventures together.
So I ask you again, whats your why? It's always good to come back to these when you're having a difficult day, as they will always help you to find some motivation when you need it.
Tip 1: Daily to do lists
If you follow me on Instagram you'll be familiar with this! My daily lists provide me with so much motivation and allow me to be so much more productive in a day. If I'm feeling stressed about the following day or upcoming week, I will often sit down and nut out my list on a Sunday night and it allows me to go to bed with a much clearer head. Being such a busy person, my head is often going a million miles an hour, especially at bed time, so sometimes I'll write own the things I need to do the next day in my phone, and its amazing how much space this can let back into my brain. If you need some more accountability, share your list with a friend and get them to share theirs with you - or share it on Instagram like I do, it's amazing how much more motivated to cross everything off you are when you've put it out in front of someone elses eyes - and you never know! You might just inspire and help someone else by doing so.
If you want my to do list templates flick me a DM and I can send them to you!
Tip 2: Gratitude + perspective
Gratitude and perspective are two things that help me to stay motivated, and it's something that everyone can practice.
Some days I think to myself, "ugh I have to get up at 5am tomorrow and make donuts when it's stormy outside when all I want to do is sleep in." and then I catch myself out, and adjust my perspective - there is always a way to turn a negative thought around and make it into a positive one. I then think that actually, I'm lucky that I have customers wanting to support me, and buy my products, and that I can get up at 5am and put on comfy clothes, stay in the warmth and privacy of my own home, make the donuts, and then go out and get my nails done in the middle of the day.
This small change in thought process helps me so much, and although sometimes it's hard, you will get better at it the more you practice it. The key is to check yourself, when one of those negative thoughts pops into your head, recognize it, understand it and then change it. Repeat it in your head or out loud. Sometimes you still feel that grumpy cloud in there, but have the positive thought anyway, and eventually you'll start having them more and more.
3: Celebrate the small wins
This is so important! I always celebrate the small wins or little goals because a year ago, they were my big goals. Some people believe to stay humble you have to stay silent achieve your shit but don't brag about it, and don't show off. To them I say, wanna see my award?
Haha no, but in all seriousness - celebrate, share, enjoy! It's all in the way you do it, I love to share my successes and my wins with my audience, because they are such a huge part of it. Without an audience, and without customers, I wouldn't be able to do what I do and make a living out of it. You don't have to talk about your successes on Instagram to celebrate them, this is just one example of how I celebrate mine. Your circle should want to hear about your wins, they should be clapping as 'yaassss queen' ing right by your side, and if they're not - sis you gotta get yourself a new circle. I am so lucky to have a whole lot of supportive friends, family and followers in my life, that are on board this ride with me. And I can only hope that by sharing my successes (and failures for that matter) I can help, inspire and educate other people along the way.
If you just ticked off a goal, tell your friends and family, treat yourself to your favorite meal or drink, buy yourself a reward pair of jeans, or give yourself permission to do a netflix binge in celebration. By celebrating these small goals, you stay so much more motivated to get the next one. You worked hard for it, and you deserve to celebrate that.
4: Set boundaries
It can be easy to say yes to everything when you're self employed, people will come out of the woodworks and tell you they're your aunties house cleaners next door neighbour and they need a cake for tomorrow at a discount. But the truth is, you have to do whats best for YOU, and set boundaries not only with your clients, but with yourself. I've spent countless hours making a last minute cake and very little profit because someone had a really good reason, or running myself ragged to feature on someones Instagram story way in the background with a tiny tag you can barely see to click on. Once you start to realise you don't have to say yes to everyone, the next part of your life begins.
You have to set boundaries with clients and yourself, set yourself some working hours and don't answer your phone at 10pm. It can be tough when you have a small business to say no, you want the money and the client, but you have to remember to put your health first. I've learnt this lesson (and will continue to learn it) a thousand times, but I'm getting better at it. By setting boundaries you are taking control, and teaching your client base how to work with you, to get the best out of you, and eventually starting a change in behaviour.
Tip 4: Make time for the important things
I didn't look after myself very well for the first 6 months of going out on my own full time. I told myself I was too busy to make myself a healthy lunch, didn't have time to go to the gym and if I did I was far too tired to anyway, and I deserved that can of coke because I'd worked so hard and I just needed it to get me through the afternoon. But in reality, my perspective and boundaries were wrong. Once you start to check yourself for those excuses you start to realise you were just planning wrong.
I now plan my work around excersize, I physically make the time in my day around other things, to make that a priority and fit it in. And in turn, I have more energy, I'm happier and more positive, I'm more productive and best of all, I'm healthier than ever.
Find ways to help yourself, if you find it hard to plan, prep and cook a healthy dinner because you keep working late into the evening, you need to set yourself some working hours, and look into options to assist you. For example, there's services out there like HelloFresh and WOOP! that deliver weekly dinner ingredients, partially prepped that make it super easy to whip up a fresh and healthy dinner. Or if you're someone who struggles to get themselves to the gym, try a group fitness class or commit to working out with a friend and you might find something you love, and something that keeps you more on track.
If you're struggling to make time for something you love, try getting up an hour earlier and shifting something around to make it work, you'll be so thankful that you did.
Tip 5: Set yourself deadlines + use your time wisely
I'm a busy gal with a whooooole lot of goals. And so little time to get them done. I've got things on my list that have been on there all year that I 'just don't have time for'. But it's amazing when you have to get something done by a deadline (weather your client has set it or not) what you can do to make it happen. I have videos laying around I need to edit, and when I write it on my list each week, I find myself pushing it to the following week because it's not immediately important. But It nags in the back of my mind. So I set a deadline - edit one video by the end of this week. And I got it done and I felt so accomplished! So it may not be a real deadline for a third party that needs something, but by physically writing it down or telling someone that you're going to do it, you are more likely to get it done and ticking it off will be the best feeling ever. It could be the same for cleaning the house - I know I fee stressed when I'm busy and also have 5 loads of washing piled up or haven't vacuumed in a few days. Say you have 15 minutes before you need to leave for the gym - you'd just sit on the couch and scroll the gram until you need to leave right? Why not use that time to do something to remove some stress - in 15 minutes you could vacuum the lounge and kitchen, or change the sheets on your bed or hang out a load of washing - that's one less thing piled up, and guess what? You're gonna feel like a bad ass, domesticated AF #wifegoals after you do!
Tip 6: Self Care
Book that shit in sis! It can be hard to find time for those little things you need to feel good when you're always on the go. So I try and book myself some 'self care' time each day. Some days it's getting a facial or my lashes done, and others it's sitting down for coffee and talking to a friend. If you get those little moments in a day it can brighten up your mood and keep you from feeling too weighed down with work. This kind of works itself into the tips above about making time - you might think you're too busy to sit down for 15 minutes and drink an entire coffee uninterrupted - but guess what? You probably scroll your insta feed for that amount of time, or press snooze 3 times in the morning - so theres that 15 minutes back you didn't think you had.
If you know you have a huge week ahead, find your next quiet day and book a nail appt, or a walk with your bestie, and that way you have something at the end of all your hard work to reward yourself with, that will make you feel like a normal human again.
Another quote I love is:
"Exhaustion is not a badge of honour."
You can do anything, but not everything. Yes it's epic to be on a self led grind, and hustle your goals night and day, but whats not cool is not getting enough sleep or nutrition and burning yourself out. It's good to have a break and to look after yourself so that you can keep that passion going and find a balance. So make sure you make some time for yourself and the things you love away from work, ok?
Ok I'll stop rambling now, or I'll start off on another tangent which should be a separate blog post in itself.
These are a few of the ways I continue to self motivate and work on myself. I promise to keep sharing the ins and outs and ups and down of my self employed life, and I hope that you found some useful and motivating tips in here! If you try any of them and find them useful, let me know in the DM's over at @justjesscakeco x
"Self care is a priority and necessity - not a luxury."