Business Challenge n.2: when you lose motivation

Yes, it has just happened to me, and, I think, this is one of the biggest challenge an entrepreneur can face.

After about a year and a half since I decided to pursue what I love, after working hard to implement my initial idea and to adapt it along the way, while I was working to launch my first online course… I happened to wake up for at least two consecutive weeks feeling exhausted and, for the first time, not excited by the perspective of another day of work.

Why did it happen and what could I do about it? Aren’t we supposed to love every single day of work, when we are following our passion? It’s not that simple. Most of the times, we decide to start our own business because we love to do something or we have a “mission”. On the other hand, starting and running a business involves many different activities. Although we love the ultimate reason why we are doing it, we may not love each single activity we need to carry out to achieve our goals.

Take my case. The reason why I started my business is that I love helping people, and women in particular, realize themselves professionally. When I know I am helping someone start a process of change, build the necessary self-confidence to kick off an independent activity, or understand the steps to transform a vague idea into a real business, I am happy, it makes me feel fulfilled. Hence, personal contact with my community members is an important prerequisite to feel motivated in the work I have chosen to do. That’s why I started my business with brainstorming events!

On the other hand, I soon realized that brainstorming events were not sufficient to support people all the way in the difficult process of starting a business from scratch. At the same time, they were not sufficient to provide a stable income for me. That’s why, in the last few months, I have been working on my first online course “from your passion to your business”, an easy, step-by-step guide to build a solid business model starting from a vague idea, a passion, or a set of different possibilities. Since I love to learn new things and to transfer my knowledge to other people, preparing the material was a quick and fun process. Moreover, my beta-testers were keeping me on track (I had to send them one module per week for review) and the interaction with them was giving me what I needed: the feeling I was helping them.

When the beta-test was over, I had to start working on the final version of the course. Now, the fun part is over: the learning is over, the teaching is over, the interaction with my beta-testers is over. What is left is a tedious process of fine-tuning. It is now only me and my webcam… every single day for many consecutive days. Needless to say, I am not enjoying it. Moreover, since I am a bit of a perfectionist, the finalization of the material is taking much more time than I supposed it would, and completing the course feels like climbing Mt. Everest.

So, I have been in the middle of a phase of low motivation for some time… what to do about it? My reaction was to look for what I was missing: interaction with my community members! This is why I proposed an informal meetup in Bern. Three bright and interesting women showed up and we spent a nice evening, talking about how to find and follow our “life purpose”, by inventing a job that feels right for us. Here we are!!

Another thing that helped me regain motivation was a surprise. In the last weeks I have been video recording testimonials from the beta-testers, who finalized the online course. In a video interview, I ask them to explain whether / how the course helped them. Yesterday, for example, I interviewed Zara and this is what she said:

This reminded me all of the sudden of the reason why I am doing all this. Yes, I am spending endless hours alone with my webcam, but I will eventually finish the course and I will go back doing what I love to do: help you, teach you, push you!

If you are going through a low-motivation phase in developing your business, remember the ultimate reason why you are doing it and try to “treat yourself” with something that you are missing. It will help , I promise!

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