I have recently been talking to many virtual assistants about the blockages they face in their businesses.
One of those that comes up over and over again is that they can’t focus enough on their own business to grow properly.
We work hard to get clients, and then we get too busy with client work to look at our own business.
We stop marketing, we no longer interact … we forget how to tell people how good we are at what we do.
Then when something happens and we need new clients, we struggle to find them. We have to start over.
Or worse yet, we suffer working with clients we don’t like or doing things we don’t like to do, simply because it’s easier to do than to start over.
We all cite the same excuses:
I don’t have time (to network, to market).
I don’t have money (to go to events, to do trainings).
I don’t know where to start (to find the shortest path to what I need).
And these reasons are valid, but they will keep you where you are.
If that’s not where you want to be, you need to dig deep and find your way out.
Motivating yourself to work on your own business can be difficult. Here are some tips that can help:
1. Start the day on a positive note and in a positive frame of mind. Work hard to stay in a positive frame of mind and see when you drift away from it (write it down if possible, to establish patterns). When you stay in a good mood, you can complete your client’s work more quickly and then move on to yours.
2. Try to avoid the need to vent to your colleagues. I love social media groups as much as anyone, but I see a lot of negativity and time wasters in those groups throughout the day. Find a trusted colleague that you can vent to when necessary and keep them away from the public airwaves. You don’t know how much it will keep you focused on advancing your business until you do (trust me!)
3. Compare yourself, not others. Review your numbers from last year and write them down, month by month (income, expenses, number of clients you worked with). Start updating those numbers with goals for this year (small to start, bigger as you gain more confidence). And be sure to enter your numbers for this year too to start comparing your own stuff with yours. Bracing! And it really shows you where you can make small changes that will pay off!
4. Keep things simple for yourself. If you have a project or task management system, take more time each day to organize it. You will discover that your day is much more productive when you have it updated. Being organized is one thing. Staying like this is another. Both will help you get more done, no matter how much you have to do.
5. Pay yourself to do your own marketing and business affairs. One of my business coaches told me to do this once and it was a great way to get me to block time in my schedule to do my own business stuff. I would only work about 2 hours a week for myself, but paying myself (or knowing how much I had earned, rather) was really motivating for me. He knew he was worth more than he earned.
6. Make the effort. Motivation does not happen by chance. Unfortunately, you have to make the effort to make this happen. To do that, make sure you understand what the reward will be. More money? Better clients? That’s very good. What does that translate to for you? Maybe a vacation? Pay off any debt? One night every month? Any other guilty pleasure?
To really be in tune with your business, you need to be aware of it.
Diving into the client’s work is a very common excuse for not paying attention to what we have the most control over: our own decisions!