Motivation is a Solopreneur’s Worst Enemy

After checking your email on your iPhone for any emergencies, you finally decide to crawl out of bed and start the coffee. While the coffee pot steams and sputters, you’re opening up your laptop for another day of solopreneurial bliss. You pour yourself that first cup and begrudgingly sit down to officially start your morning.

For one reason or another, you are just not feeling “it” this morning. Perhaps if you check your email again, something in there will motivate you to get to work. You delete two or three junk emails, reply to one message real quick, mark all the other client messages as new so you can respond to them later when you’re fully caffeinated. Then you promise yourself that you will also get back to the dozen or so newsletters that you’ve not read yet later because surely there is information inside that you absolutely need. Maybe it’s just too early.

Email feels overwhelming, so you move over the Facebook. Much more fun. You post a few comments here and there until you stumble upon a genius quote that inspires you. It’s so good that you just have to share it. But what to do with it? Should you share it on your personal Facebook timeline? Or maybe create a graphic for Pinterest? Ooh yes! And then you could put the graphic on Instagram and then link it to Facebook and Twitter. Yeah. That’s what you do. It’s so pretty!

Dammit. Coffee got cold. Time for a refill.

Okay. It’s been almost an hour since you got out of bed and you’re still not feeling motivated. After beating yourself up for what you haven’t done yet, you finally bust out your to-do list and ask yourself a seriously dangerous question: what do I feel like doing?

Why Motivation Sucks

If the scenario above resonates for you, then you are probably using motivation as your go-to productivity strategy - and it’s the worst strategy imaginable. This is where you hope that some external pressure (read: motivation) will come along and prod you into action. While it does feel good, motivation is completely unreliable. Motivation relies on your emotions and your emotions are constantly changing. And as a solopreneur, you simply do not have the luxury of waiting to feel working on your top priorities.

You need to get shit done! Immediately, if not sooner.

Want to radically upgrade your day-to-day productivity? Here’s the big secret:

Ditch motivation and choose tenacity (aka willpower) instead.

Here are three tenacity tips to help you get started:

1. Stop Learning

When we become solopreneurs, the first thing we do is become students of all things entrepreneurship. How many ebooks and bootcamps and programs and infoproducts on entrepreneurship have you purchased?

Now, how many of these programs have you actually implemented?

This stuff is inspiring and motivating and oh-so-easy to buy into. I get it. But most of these things end up in a dusty folder on your desktop.

Enough already! Stop buying new programs and downloading new opt-ins. Implement all you’ve already learned from the dusty ones. You know more than you think you do.

2. Launch a Consistent Activities Plan

Most solopreneurs I know work in constant project-mode, moving from one project or launch to the next with little happening on a consistent basis.

To stoke your tenacity, build and execute a solid Consistent Activities Plan. Develop a list of things you need to do daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, and quarterly to grow and upgrade your business. These are not things you want to do when inspiration strikes; these are hard and fast commitments that you will do whether you feel like it or not.

3. Build in Solid Accountability

When you work in a job-job, there is accountability around every corner. You’ve got bosses and coworkers and sometimes even your bosses’ bosses with defined expectations and clear deadlines. When you run a solo biz, all that built-in accountability is gone and it becomes far too easy to let yourself off the hook.

Add some serious accountability into your life by drawing on the strengths and support of others. This may mean hiring a business coach, joining a mastermind group, working with an accountabilibuddy, or a combination of the three. More than just personal cheerleaders, accountability partners are there to track your progress, keep you inspired, and ensure that you don’t quit. Perhaps you don’t need a whole team of people - like mine - and just one person will do. Everyone could use someone to push them along towards their short-term goals.

Let go of your need for motivation and choose to do something that propels you forward today - starting right this minute - whether you feel like it or not.

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Jennie Mustafa-Julock

Jennie Mustafa-Julock, The Audacity Coach, doesn't subscribe to the gentle encouragement coaching thing. Her signature cathartic shoves get you unstuck and unstoppable. Coach Jennie’s bullshit-free approach to so-much-more-than-life coaching has been the catalyst for her clients to launch new businesses, publish their first books, negotiate career leaps, and adventure the world, and more. For a high-voltage kick in the Audacity, check out, join her Audacity LAB community on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at @CoachJennie.

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  1. Stacey says:

    Stop learning. Yes that is EXACTLY what I need to do. I love to learn so naturally gravitate towards it yet how many of the things have I put in to practice to see if they’ll work? Not nearly as many as I should have by now.
    Thanks for the great post- it definitely spoke to me today.

  2. Eva says:

    Wow Jennie, this resonates. I feel like I’ve been given permission to stop feeling guilty when I’m “unmotivated” and instead just get to it. Thank you!

  3. As a learning professional, it’s tough for me to hear “stop learning” but IT’S SO TRUE. Love it.

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