I’ve been a ‘bad blogger’ – no surprises there. And while my sporadically updated blog might be a sign of a life well lived (and too busy for consistent updates), the real issue is something that many of us who are self employed deal with: motivation.
My income, overall, has been improving. Last month, for example, I earned around $25,000 USD, which for me is an incredible sum of money. In a month! More than my annual wage a few years ago when I left New Zealand… in one month.
And while on the outside everything looks dandy and somewhat impressive, on the inside there’s a deeper story. I know that $25,000 is not the upper tier of my earnings – not even close – but it is ‘enough’. To the point where it’s hard to make yourself move forward.
Will $35,000 USD a month make me any happier than $25,000? I don’t think so. Will it dramatically change my lifestyle month to month – probably not as the difference would just go into savings. Over the long term that’s an extra $120,000 a year which is in an insane amount.
So what to do about this ‘stall’ that I’ve found myself in? I know that I haven’t reached my maximum earning potential, but I also can’t seem to push myself further. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and here are my ideas:
1) Make a Five Year Plan
I don’t have a clear outline of what I want in five years. Five years of an additional $10k a month is over half a million dollars in difference. That’s two houses here. And then if I can actually work myself to ‘growth’, it would be a lot more than that amount. Making a five year plan of what I want, and what I need to achieve it will help me focus more.
I’ve been talking for months and months about diversifying. I mean, maybe even for a year. And I’ve finally figured out what I’m going to do. I’m going to make a brand name blog: Izy Berry, with the intention of making a life hack/life your dream style blog, following it up with a Podcast and then maybe a book. I’m currently sitting on these ideas right now, but I’m ready to start and excited about a new opportunity.
3) Segregating my Work
My assistant is amazing. She’s literally my right hand woman. She’s helped me take my business from ‘yay I don’t have to work for someone else’ to ‘wow, I’m earning a lot for my age’ and she’s been there with me for every step of the way.
However, recently, I’ve noticed she’s been working 40-50 hour weeks. Which is fine, she’s happy to do it, and she’s getting paid well. But every time I’ve built a new website I’ve handed it to her to manage and never thought of hiring someone else. But now I can see that it’s time. It’s time to start a fresh with someone else, so that the workload doesn’t become unmanageable. It’s both exciting and daunting looking to hire someone else.
While this isn’t directly related to my motivation, I know that it will have positive implications for my monthly income.
4) Setting Non-Monetary Goals
I made a mistake of hoping to increase my income by a certain percentage each month and I’m sure in many ways I have. However, I think for me that’s the wrong unit of measurement. I should aim to increase it by things I can control, things that aren’t seasonal, yet things that still increase my income. For example, I should aim to increase my portfolio of blogs by one blog a month. And my list of clients I can work with by 10 a month. These things are more in my control and it will be easier for me to get a sense of achievement with these, then hoping for a certain amount of money.
Do you have any tips for motivation issues when you’re self employed? I’d love to hear them.