In any contest between the will and the imagination,
the imagination ALWAYS wins!
I learned this lesson back when I was in my 20s, just starting out, and
it`s had a ripple effect throughout my life. Motivation comes through
the imagination, and is particularly an emotion. It`s not a
feeling---as in a sensation. Nor is motivation a logical, intellectual
analysis; that`s an obligation.
People come up with all sorts of tricks to fool themselves into getting
motivated. If they`re not motivated, it`s because they don`t want
whatever it is they`re doing: simple as that.
So two questions descend. How come they`re doing what they don`t want
to do? Why do they believe they should be motivated when they have no
intention of liking what they`re doing?
Life is supposed to be fun. To that end, a business should also be fun,
and include not only the hard work, but also the time for that fun,
recreation, and getting recharged. What that leads to is A Schedule.
More often than not, a newly self-employed business owner is so totally
involved and engrossed with their business, they "forget" to create a
schedule. It can be whatever schedule anyone wants to make, as long as
it includes at least one, and hopefully, two days off.
Those days off can be together, split, on weekends, or in the middle of
the week. But without some days off, there won`t be any time to
remember that it`s supposed to be fun!
Look at what you`re doing. Look at your processes, and start
calculating how much time it takes to produce one completed order. How
long does it take from the moment you receive a notice that a customer
wants to buy, to the time you close out your accounts as a "finished"
What are the steps, their breakdown, and their times. Caculate how many
transactions you can complete in 6 hours. That leaves you 2 hours for
unplanned extras. Working 5 days per week, in some format, that`s 30
hours with 10 extra hours for unexpected events.
Figure out which five days would be most productive in any given week.
When you`ve got all the numbers, that`s your "capacity." If you
routinely are going over your capacity, then it`s time to hire someone
to help---an employee.
We sell flags, and another of the most instructive lessons I learned
was the concept of calculating purchases in terms of the "thing" that
generates revenues. So instead of saying a prime rib roast costs $35,
we now say that it would take 5 flags to buy a prime rib.
By converting dollars to whatever it is the business creates, you can
begin to see how to apply your capacity. You also can get a sense of
your growth path. Our current capacity, based on doing things the way
we`re currently doing them, is about 60 flags per week. At $7/flag,
that`s a gross revenue of $420/week.
For us, that`s a workable number in a boutique business. What`s your
product? How much "per unit" do you charge? What`s your capacity for 30
hours in 1 week? Convert that to dollars, and decide if it`s "enough."
If not, then you need to start looking at ways to either increase your
capacity, increase your prices, or restructure your business.
Motivation isn`t something you can force. It`s what I`d call "emotional
logic." The motivation always is the "why" of things, and it can`t be
an intellectual reason. You may "need" to do something in order to pay
the rent, but that`s an obligation not a motivation. It also means
you`re dependent on something other than your free choice.