How To Keep Motivated When Starting Your Business

By October 8, 2007 Uncategorized 10 Comments

Question from a VA:

“I am starting to have a problem with motivation. When I first started upon my quest to become a Virtual Assistant, I read everything in sight, took many notes, and subscribed to all I could. I even created a notebook and studied as if I were in college again. But now my eagerness and motivation seems to be tapering, and I am afraid I may lose sight of my goal and stop it before it even begins. Any suggestions?”

Lisa’s Thoughts:

I loved your question because it sounds like just me …. and many others. You’re really not alone in this. My husband laughs at me because of my never-ending ‘fads’. I get crazes about things – new hobbies, new foods, new health products, new everything. This may or may not apply to you, I’m just giving you my take on it.

I get an all-consuming excited feeling, a fire in my belly. If it’s something that I can read up on, I might order a ton of books from the library or the internet. I feel like I NEED THEM ALL NOW and cannot wait for them to arrive, so I can learn all I can about my new craze and be an instant expert. But sometimes, by the time the books arrive, I’ve lost interest and gone onto something else.

I love that all-consuming feeling of enthusiasm, of promising new pastures just waiting to be discovered. But as you’re realizing, when that fire starts to wane, your motivation and interest levels start to taper off as well. Not too serious if it’s about a new hobby, but not ideal when it’s about starting a new business.

So, how to overcome your lagging motivation? Let me think back to when I started up this VA business, which could so easily have been just another passing fad. I would say that the biggest reason that my motivation stayed constant was that I never lost sight of the reasons WHY I wanted to be a VA. On a daily basis, I KNEW WHY I wanted it. I knew I hated my job and commuting 2 hours a day to work. I knew I didn’t like being told what to do and when to do it. I was tired of the office politics and tedious power games at work.

The Law of Attraction says that you shouldn’t focus on what you don’t want. Instead you should focus on what you DO want. So, often I visualized myself in my own home office, running my own business. That helped too. But I found that reminding myself of what I didn’t want was just as powerful, if not MORE powerful than imagining what I did want! You have to see what works best for you.

I took a long term view as well. I asked myself where I wanted to be in 5 years time. Did I still want to be working for the man, or did I want to run my own show? Did I still want to be standing on the train for 2 hours a day, or did I want to stroll down the corridor to my own office in about… oh, 30 seconds? These things were enough to keep me going.

Think of your business as a marathon to be run, steadily but surely with your eyes on the prize, rather than an all-out sprint to the finish line.

Have you written out a plan for your VA business which includes your goals and visions? I didn’t write out a business and marketing plan straight away, but when I did I found it was very useful for keeping me on the straight and narrow.

Keep in touch with other VAs as well. I found it really useful to drop a friendly email to a VA and ask them how they’re doing. Quite often, their reply will keep you focused on achieving the same level of success that they have.

Read motivational articles and books. There’s a ton of them on the market – I have quite a few by Anthony Robbins which help. Just a little reading every morning will be enough to stoke the fire.

So, in summary, I think that connecting to your reasons WHY you want this, writing out a plan, keeping in touch with successful VAs and reading motivational books are essential to keep your motivation levels constant.

Do any of you have any other tips to add? Everyone is different, so there may be some other motivators that I haven’t written about so far! Feel free to share…


  • Linda Bryan says:

    That is a wonderful article. I am in the first stage of excitement you were in. I am reading everything I can find about the business. But I have been known to lose interest in a short matter of time after I start something. However, I have also stuck with something as well. I have worked for myself for ten years in a previous time in my life. The remembering what your original motivation was in the beginning truly kept me going. In my case, I was a victim of downsizing. I vowed that I would never give someone else that power.

    Right now, I don’t “hate” my job. I don’t have to do the long commute now that I was doing at a previous job two years ago. But now I have to prepare for the possibility that I will become a caregiver for my 85 year old mother and need to be able to work from wherever I find myself. I would need to have a flexible schedule, which is not possible in my current situation. I am not under the pressure you were under to make a change. Therefore, I am taking the time to see what I could virtually do that I am doing for my current employer (attorney) as well as what other services I could provide other professionals.

    I am reading your book now and finding it very helpful and will finish it while I am on vacation this week. Keep up the wonderful articles.


  • Monica says:

    In the past I used to get discouraged when things went wrong or not the way I had expected but then I changed my view.

    Instead of believing that I have to reach the summit everyday, earn huge amounts of money, I take little steps and set small goals so that I can achieve them easily and get happy with that. That little achievement encourages me to go on.

    When I get pretty tired I take a break, breathe deeply and then go on.
    Also, when I get bored I try to break routine and do something different, take a day off and come back full of new ideas and strenght. The secret is to keep it going!! It’s like life. You cannot stop living ( unless you commit suicide) but you have to go on.

    In my article Boost Your Teaching Creativity with a Smile, you can find some ideas to break routine and though it’s targeted at teachers tha main idea works for everyone.


  • Sheryl Mills says:

    I ma in the beginning phase and have not experienced the possible lack of motivation you are explaining. What has helped me is reading marketing books, marketing is always an issue. I also walk, I challange myself to be as creative as possible in the services I plan to offer and I think about this whilke I walk. Very zen and really good cardio.

  • Monica says:

    I agree with you. I myself don’t want to work for other people. I want to be my own boss . One way to achieve what you want is to desire it strongly and work hard to get it.

    Makig a written plan and chunking it into little portions like week goals and month goals can help you a lot to keep focus.

    That’s the most imporant thing. Don’t get distructed. Just go ahead along your own path and you’ll succeed.

  • Lisa Taliga says:

    Dear Monica, Sheryl, Linda and Monica

    Thank you very much for your comments – I found them inspirational. They will help me and many others!


  • Delilah says:

    Wow, what inspiring comments! I have started a checklist to follow and, yes remembering that first time excitement and recalling it to mind really helps.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Yes, it has definitely encouraged me to stay motivated. Thanks for sharing!

  • Naijeria Toweett says:

    Neat article and excellent feedback…am past stage one…landed my first client, going through teething problem…internet speeds and network connections, can wait to get down to starting the work…Visualizing change in my bank balance already…

    I quite agree about keeping in touch with successful VAs the VANA network and forums are a God send.

  • Allison Walcott says:

    I am in the process of starting up a VA business in my country and have found all your articles especially this one to be quite interesting. I hope to be successful and to gain a lot of international exposure. With 3 kids my goal is to work for myself, be my own boss and yet be flexible to watch them grow. Thanks for keeping me motivated and focused on my dreams. God bless.

  • Wow, I am EXACTLY the same way! I get so jazzed up and excited about a new venture that I spend most of my time researching and reading about the subject matter, but then when it comes time for action, my enthusiasm seems to have dwindled or fear just completely takes over. Deep down, I don’t want this to happen with my VA business because I know in my heart that this business is for me. And I do agree with you that my WHY needs to be strong enough for me to move forward. MY WHY??? My 4-month-old daughter. Because childcare is costly and I don’t feel comfortable with anyone else except grandparents, I have elected to stay home with her. But I still feel the need to contribute financially to our family. My WHY is the reason for everything that I do. Thanks again for a great article!

Leave a Reply