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Three Ways to Stay Motivated

Aoife O’Brien, Empowerment Coaching explains three ways to stay motivated when owning and running your own business.

As with any job, being your own boss brings with it good days and bad days. On the good days you can feel on top of the world, like you can conquer anything. But on the bad days, sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated, you wonder what the point is, and is it really worth it?

There are three basic human needs which can help or hinder our motivation: autonomy; relatedness; competence. Below are some tips for how to apply it to running your own business.


This means having control over what you do and how you do it. One of the benefits of working for yourself is that you get to decide what you do, how you do it, and who you work with. While this brings with it many upsides, too much autonomy can also be overwhelming. It can be distracting without the right guidance. Here’s what to do if you’re feeling overwhelmed:

  • Remember your why! (Always start with why you are doing this and ask these questions: Who are you helping? What’s the impact of your work? How are you helping yourself have the best life for you?)
  • What is your vision for your business? What direction are you going in and what work will help you get there?
  • Your day, your week, your year, your next five years. Just take some time out to plan.

Relatedness means connecting with other people, feeling a sense of belonging, like you’re part of a community. It can also mean relating what you are doing to an overall goal. This is one of the biggest struggles for people running their own business. Being the boss can make it hard to relate to others on the team. Maybe you’re not included in the office chat and camaraderie. You can bring back that feeling of belonging in the below ways:

  • Expand your network; join a local networking group, attend local events for business owners, find other like-minded people in your area.
  • Reach out! It’s likely you’re not the only one feeling this way, and it’s always good to talk.
  • Connect to your purpose, find your why, what is your mission in life? How does your work relate to the bigger goal?

This is the third basic need which drives motivation. It means feeling capable of doing your job. While most people start out because they are an expert in one specific area, it’s difficult to be an expert at everything. Suddenly you need to know all about marketing, finance, product development, sales etc. This may take you away from the things you’re really good at (and enjoy doing!). Here’s what you can do:

  • Outsource or delegate what you can, so you can focus on what you’re good at.
  • Take it one step at a time, you don’t need to be on top of everything from the get go, focus on one area and master that, then move on to the next.
  • Celebrate the wins, whether it’s learning a new skill or getting a new client, which will give you a great sense of achievement.

The important thing to note is that these are universal needs – everyone has these needs. There is no order in which they need to be satisfied, but all of them need to be satisfied in order to feel job satisfaction and motivation.

If you’d like to know more about how to implement the above or use it with your team, feel free to reach out to Aoife on [email protected].