One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt since setting up my own business is that ultimately it’s all down to me. As a business owner, you may have a network of people who can help you along the way but ultimately it’s your decision and responsibility how you run your business and whether you take on a project and complete it.
Now this can be a blessing as well as a curse. It’s great that you’re in control of your own work rather than at the mercy of some ‘pain in the ass’ boss. However, it can also be a burden because you carry the final responsibility of both success and failure for anything you do.
For example, I’m currently working on a new part of my business that is exciting but scary and I’m continually facing doubts, challenges and questions. Have there been times when I’ve felt like giving up? Absolutely!
I’m sure you’ve been through the same thing too, especially if you’ve worked on a project that has pushed you outside your comfort zone. It’s easy to start off all motivated and excited but that momentum can soon start to fade once those doubting gremlins begin to appear.
(See my previous blog “10 Ways to finish what you start“)
So how can you stay focused when the doubts and challenges take over?
Well here’s a method that I use to help make me feel “unstoppable”.
I go into what I call “icebreaker” mode. I see myself as an icebreaker ship ploughing my way through icebergs and obstacles as I work my way to my destination. Nothing can stop me, nothing can sink me – I’m going to get there hell or high water!
And you can use a similar method to keep you going when things get tough – just tap into your version of “unstoppable” – whether that’s a bulldozer or a caped crusader!
And as well as seeing yourself as unstoppable, I’ve found that there are 6 key actions that you need to take when starting on a project if you want it to succeed, and I’ve outlined these actions below.
6 Ways to stay focused on your projects when you feel like giving up.
Set your mission. Don’t start a project unless you have a clear idea of why you’re doing it. Ask yourself 3 questions: Why are you doing it? Who are you doing it for? How are you going to complete it? Then set this as your mission statement. This helps you to “own” the project (see below) and gives you a framework to get started.
Take ownership. Is this a project that you really want to do? Very often we take on projects to please someone else or because we think it’s what we should be doing as part of our business. This is a quick way to lose momentum because you’re just doing it to please or impress other people. So if you’re one of those people who rarely finishes what you start then be honest with yourself about whether it’s really your project or someone else’s.
Know where you’re going. Have a clear vision or idea of what the outcome of the project is going to look like once you’ve completed it. Having a clear and specific aim helps to keep you focused as you work through the project, and can be especially valuable when you hit any doubts or challenges.
Commit to it. Commit to your project and don’t get sidetracked by other ideas or requests. Every day spend time doing something that takes you towards your end goal, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.
Trust in the process. One of the biggest challenges I’ve had is the belief that I have to be 100% clear about a project before I can start on it. Sometimes you just have a burning desire to do something but don’t have all the steps to get there. Then trust that you will be given the knowledge, tools and resources that you need to help move you along the path to where you want to go.
Step back. Completing projects isn’t just about putting in the hours, it’s also about effective planning, creative thinking and taking stock of where you are as you go along. It can be a good idea to bring in someone else to get a fresh perspective, help you to stay motivated and keep you pointed in the right direction.
So these are 6 strategies that you can use when you’re planning the next project for your business.
And if you want more tips to help keep you motivated, overcome procrastination and organise your workload to get more done, then sign up to receive our free guide “How to organise your workload so there’s more time for you”.
About the Author
Valerie is the founder and owner of Smart VA which provides virtual PA and online marketing support to busy entrepreneurs who want to become more organised and effective in their day to day activities.
As well as handling the back office administration for clients, Valerie specialises in providing online marketing services to entrepreneurs who are looking to raise their online profile and generate more leads for their business. These services include setting up and managing email marketing campaigns, maintaining and updating WordPress websites and formatting and publishing Ebooks.
Valerie has featured on The Guardian Small Business Network with an article on the techniques and strategies that she has used to successfully market her business both online and offline.
Based in London, Valerie works with established small businesses in the UK and USA who are looking to remove the stress from their workload and have more time to focus on what’s important to build a profitable and successful business.