When the going gets tough
Ok, buckle up and get ready for some real talk.
I’m not always motivated to do everything I’ve got to do in my business.
There, I said it.
Yes, I love being self-employed. I adore the autonomy and relish the freedom of choice I get, over the hours I work, the tasks that I do and the direction I take my Virtual Assistant business it. I get geekily excited when I’m planning my next challenge or achieve a win, however small.
But,(yes, there is one)…
…sometimes, I just cannot drag my sorry arse over to my laptop, open it up and immerse myself in the business bubble.
Business ownership isn’t all candyfloss and cookies
Often, it’s task related. End-of-year tax returns make me want to stick my head in a blender, (thankfully I’ve got someone super-savvy to help me with those), and I definitely have a love/hate relationship with social media.
Other times, it’s coming back to work after a period of time off; most likely filled with lazy days, family fun and far too many G&Ts.
This is the reality of being the badass boss of your own business, whether it be a Virtual Assistant one or any other. You wear all the hats. The numbers one, the marketing one, the IT one (that one’s a bitch), the caretaker one, the CEO one…and probably more. You’re also, crucially, someone outside of the business – a Mum, a friend, a daughter, a fitness fanatic, an amateur chef…and YOU.
So, for those moments when you’d rather bathe in a tub of snails than do the task at hand, here’s my spicy advice.
When you’ve got the motivation of a peanut…
1. Eat the frog
Yeh, you read it right. This well-known productivity method involves tackling your hardest task first. Not only are you most productive when you start work, but once the slimy snack is eaten, you’ll feel a whole lot better, (although possibly not if you were actually eating frogs), and ready to tackle the easier wins.
2. Eat the elephant the only way an elephant can be eaten
At the risk of overwhelming you with animal-eating analogies, this one’s a good one. Desmond Tutu once said, ‘There is only one way to eat an elephant. A bite at a time.’ If your task is a stonker, break it up into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
3. Remind yourself of your ‘why’.
As you’ll already know, I freakin’ love my VA business, and if doing one mundane tax-return a year means I can keep running it successfully, then so be it. Importantly though, if on reflection, the task in hand doesn’t get you closer to your goal or relate to your ‘why’, then it might be time to reflect on whether that task is actually a necessary one.
4. Reward yourself
I know, I know. Intrinsic motivation is always preferable to extrinsic. However, as much as I try, in my capacity as a parent, to get my little darlings to tear themselves away from playing and walk to school because they want to, or schlep around Aldi with me because they have a deep desire to ensure that the cleaning cupboard is restocked – sometimes a dangling carrot, (or in their case, Kinder bar), works wonders. It’s the same for adults. Kinder bars work for me too. Or wine.
5. Set a timer
When I was preparing for my second birth with hypnobirthing techniques, I had a mood board that stated, ‘I can do anything for one minute’. While sadly, the birth itself lasted a lot longer than that, and the likelihood is your dreaded task will too…the premise is good. If you know you only have a set amount of time, it feels more finite, and therefore doable. Furthermore, working against the clock makes us more intentional with our actions and can actually mean you achieve more, quicker.
6. Use accountability
It’s amazing how much more motivated you can be when you don’t want to let other people down. Procrastinating on a blog? Pop a post on your social media telling people when to expect it. Struggling to get your social media scheduled? Jump into a Virtual Assistant Facebook group, (hint – like mine 😉) and see if anyone else wants to have an online co-working session. I used this tactic for my first lives – once the word was out, I couldn’t put it off any longer and my comfort zone was well and truly compromised.
7. Shake things up
Those of you who have seen my Instagram will know that funny, lip-syncing reels are a bit of a ‘thing’ for Apex VA. There was a time when I’d post one a day, and I’ve had coaching clients who not only discovered me through them, but enjoyed them enough to sign up to my services. However, there was a time when I lost all motivation for them. Rather than plod on arduously, pumping them out with all the enthusiasm of a teacher setting end-of-term homework, I decided to switch things up. I introduced a new format for the reels, branched into TikTok and have even bigger plans afoot, (watch this space!).
8. Imagine your future if you don’t do it
This is a great one for those of you who are struggling to motivate yourself enough to get your Virtual Assistant business off the ground. What will your future look like if you just don’t do the task(s)? Will it stay the same? Is that ok? Will it be worse? If resigning the project to the bin will result in a lifetime of misery, then it’s time to pull up your big girl (or boy) pants and get on with it!
9. Don’t do it…get someone else to!
I’ve saved the best till last with this one. If something really isn’t your skillset, and not only fills you with dread but takes you ten times as long to do as it would for someone else to, then consider outsourcing. C’mon, I’m a Virtual Assistant…what else was I gunna say?!
And here’s the twist…
I’ll be entirely honest with you. Writing this blog was one of those moments. I sat down to do it, read my list of possible topics and sighed. Then I scrapped those topics, opted for this one, blasted it out and am about to reward myself with a large glass of wine.
See…the tips work!
Whether you’re an aspiring Virtual Assistant, a newbie or a veteran, come and join my wonderful Facebook community – The Virtual Assistant Power Academy – to meet like-minded people and get a tonne of free support!