1. Have a plan
Know what you are trying to achieve in both the short and long term, and follow a plan to make sure you get that done. Whether that's a detailed business plan or a daily "to do" list, having a plan will keep you focused. Plus, it gives you a boost when you can tick things off the list!
2. Break targets down
Large goals can feel overwhelming and send you into a kind of work paralysis. Break the pieces down into small tasks and you will find that the end goal is totally achievable. So for example, if I set myself a task to myself of getting 10 new clients over the next few months, I could break this down into practical tasks such as running a special offer to encourage new bookings, or follow up on undecided clients.
3. Discuss ideas with others
Running your own business can be an isolating experience. Colleagues, friends and family are very useful sounding boards and have expertise and experience in areas you don't – amongst my group of friends are lawyers, PRs, journalists – so ask yourself, who do you know? Talking to others gives you a fresh perspective, help you from ideas more clearly, overcome stumbling blocks and feed your creativity.
4. Keep it fresh
Keep thinking of different ways to promote yourself – I love how MOO customers never run out of these types of ideas, like thesebeautiful pocket portfolios made from MiniCards. As part of my promotional plan for 2011, Inspirit is the official therapy partner to RSVP 2011, a big events industry showcase where our team of therapists will be giving out free massages.
5. Visualise better days ahead
Ok, so it makes me sound like a hippy, but I find it helpful to visualise the benefits to my life that will result from achieving my goals. Whether it's a dream holiday or simply a boost to your self-esteem, imagine how that will feel if you keep going and make it happen. At the moment, I'm obsessed with buying a mini-cooper, which I simply can't afford. So I designed my perfect mini online and have a photo of it on my wall to remind me that if I keep growing the business, one day it will be on my drive.
6. Be open to change
It can be very deflating when things don't go your way. I've had times when I have lost a client or an employee or a deal has suddenly changed its parameters. You need to adapt instead of losing hope, and think how you can work the situation to your advantage. Sometimes what seems like a setback can turn into a positive, and if not, at least you can minimise the damage and learn from the experience.
7. Do regular exercise
I swim regularly which re-energises me and yoga classes keep me calm and clear. Choose whatever form of exercise suits you best, but make sure you do some - it improves your mental clarity and decreases feelings of stress, anxiety and frustration.
8. Establish clear working hours
Don't burn out - I learned this from experience! It's too easily done, so make sure you get some work-life balance and build breaks into your daily and weekly schedules. As we all know, there's a difference between working hard and working effectively. Since my office is my home, this is a particularly challenging one for me. I have to remind myself that its ok to be at home relaxing, instead of attached to a computer at 10pm.
9. Treat yourself
Give yourself things to look forward to – a visit to a gallery, a shopping trip, a night with your friends. You deserve some rewards for all your hard work! I book a regular massage every month to relieve the muscle tension that accompanies hours in front of a computer, and to combat work stress. After a massage, I feel like a new person.
10. Accept the cycle
No one can stay motivated 100% of the time. When you're struggling, do what you can on the list to help and be assured that inspiration will return if you just keep going. And don't forget to keep putting yourself out there. Hand out your Business Card to anyone who seems interested – the upswing will happen sooner than you think.