By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
Are you feeling a little burned out on your business? Are your social media feeds full of your friends’ glamorous vacation photos, while you’re burning the midnight oil working on projects for picky clients?
It’s easy to feel less than inspired by your business this time of year. And for solopreneurs and self-employed freelancers, it can be even harder to get your enthusiasm going. After all, there’s no one else around you to cheer you up — it’s just you. How can you motivate yourself when you’re feeling fried? Here are five ideas.
1. Change it up
We often feel burned out when we’re stuck in a rut. If you’re doing everything exactly the same way every day, no wonder you’re feeling bored with your business. Try changing your routine. Grab your laptop and work in a different part of your house, out on the patio, or at the local coffee house.
Take a different route to your office or your clients’ businesses. If you normally wake up early to work, try sleeping in and working late at night instead. Something as simple as changing what you eat for breakfast can give you a different perspective on your day.
2. Take a break
If you’re so swamped with work the idea of taking a vacation makes you laugh bitterly, it’s even more important to take some time off. I’m not saying you need should head to Hawaii for two weeks, but you can take an afternoon off or block off one Saturday or Sunday to chill out.
Put your phone on airplane mode (assuming you don’t have any customers with potential emergencies right now) and do something fun. Even if you’re working 18 hours a day, six days a week, you’ll be surprised how re-energized you can feel, just by taking one day off.
3. Consider a co-working space
Co-working spaces, where you share office space with other freelancers, self-employed people and small business owners, are naturally energizing. You’re surrounded by like-minded people all day, providing some of the stimuli of working in an office without the exorbitant rent. Just run a search for “co-working spaces near me” and you’ll most likely get plenty of options. Co-working spaces are flexible. In most cases, you can rent space on a drop-in basis whenever you need it.
4. Put technology to work for you
Having to be chief cook and bottle washer for your business can drain your energy and leave you feeling unmotivated for more important tasks. Look for ways technology can streamline the tasks you dread.
Instead of manually tracking time spent on each client’s project, look for a time tracking solution built for freelancers to simplify this task. With TSheets, for example, you can track time, invoice quickly, and feel confident your billing is accurate. Who knows? You might discover you’ve been leaving money on the table.
5. Get support
When you’re the boss, the buck stops with you — and when you’re also the only one in your business, you have no one to lean on. That’s why it’s so important to find a support team you can turn to brainstorm ideas, vent your frustrations, or just get the pat on the back you need to keep going.
Look for a local networking group or business round-table group where other business owners share their challenges and ideas for overcoming them. If you can’t find the right type of group, start your own.
Getting a mentor can also help immeasurably, too. Unlike your friends, family members, or other business owners, a mentor can offer impartial advice. SCORE is a great organization that provides free mentoring services from experienced business owners and leaders. SCORE is a client of my business, but I would recommend them even if they weren’t.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.