The secret to staying motivated and growing your business
When it comes to running a jewellery business – big or small – it can be difficult to build the momentum you need to get to the next stage, whether that is increasing sales, getting press coverage, employing staff etc. LJS tutor Anna Campbell is also a Psychology lecturer and she brings together her knowledge of running a business and psychology to give you some ideas for making 2017 the best yet.
We are forever looking forward to the next thing we need to do. We cross things off our to-do list and write on new items – it doesn’t end. But you have achieved your current success by doing just this – looking at the horizon and focussing on what you want next. If you are feeling a little stale or stuck then you need to have a little look back over your shoulder. Here’s how to do it
Look at how far you’ve come
- Take yourself off to somewhere that feels indulgent to go on your own. One year I went to the Haagen Daz cafe and I ordered the chocolate fondue (you can find a photo of one here if you feel the need). Now I admit, the chocolate fondue is for two people and I was there on my own! It was also more than I would normally spend on a treat for myself and I couldn’t finish it all (but I did have a damn good go!). The point was that I was treating myself to something incredibly indulgent and was valuing myself. (By the way, I do know that unhealthy treats can make you feel worse in the end so by all means treat yourself to something indulgent that will make you feel good afterwards!)
- Turn your phone off and take out a special notebook (we are all addicted to stationery right?!) and write down the things you have achieved thus far in your business. I mean everything. Here is a list of prompts because I guarantee you won’t remember it all:
- You weren’t born knowing how to make jewellery, what skills have you learnt?
- How have you developed the products you currently sell?
- What events have you sold at?
- Where do you sell online?
- What has worked well for your business?
- What courses have you attended and what did you learn?
- What positive feedback have you had?
Be specific and write down every. little. thing. Give yourself the right to brag in your special gorgeous notebook. It will help you focus on the cans rather than the can’ts.
Write it down as it happens
I can guarantee that many people will find that exercise really hard because we’re not used to thinking about achievements; we focus all our time on what we want to learn and accomplish next. I found the same thing so here is something to do from now on. Every time you achieve something that gives you a feeling of pride write it down. You can do that in a number of ways but the key is to make it as easy as possible for you. I have a giant post-it note on the wall just above my laptop screen. Every time I’ve felt proud of an achievement I have written one line about what it was and the month it happened in. It’s been easy for me because it is just there in my eye line. It’s also motivating to see it there. And, looking at it now, I definitely would have forgotten some of the things on the list.
Some people will prefer an online solution, a document on your computer to update. You could also try the jar method – write each achievement as it happens on a piece of paper and put it in a jar that you keep on your desk.
Once you’ve noted down your achievements to date it’s time to celebrate (as if the chocolate fondue wasn’t enough!). Speak to your loved ones. Thank people that have helped you. Feel proud of where you are right now.
Taking it from here – know yourself
Hopefully doing this every six months or so will give you a sense of self-worth, a feeling that your business is growing even if it sometimes feels like that growth is very slow.
The next secret is to know yourself.
Have you ever read a business or self-help book and really wanted to implement the things you’ve learnt there but been frustrated because for some reason you can’t? Me too. And I think I’ve found the answer.
We are not all the same.
Does that sound obvious?! I think these books are well-meaning and outline how one person has been able to find success. Unfortunately, unless we are like the writer, we may struggle to follow in their footsteps.
One book I read in 2016 that made a big difference to me was Gretchen Rubin’s ‘Better than Before’. It’s about forming positive habits and the key difference from other books is that she identifies four different personality types or tendencies first and then gives specific advice for each type.
Rubin suggests the four tendencies distinguish how people tend to respond to expectations: outer expectations (e.g. a deadline from your boss) and inner expectations (write a novel in your free time, keep a New Year’s resolution).
The four tendencies are:
- Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
- Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
- Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
- Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
Knowledge is power
There is specific advice for each tendency above (see the links). If you are an upholder you likely find it pretty easy to stick to your own deadlines and are very self motivated (sigh, the rest of us envy you!).
If you are a questioner you will need to research your options before determining a course of action. I would suggest that you set a limit on that though – you could end up researching for ever and not make any decisions or move your business forward (does that sound familiar? Did you spend six months trying to choose the perfect colour for your logo?).
I can’t give a rebel any advice – even if what I advised was what they wanted to do they would then not do it out of spite!
If you’re an obliger (like me) you need to find ways to set up outer accountability for things you want to achieve. Obligers work best with others counting on them so perhaps consider a partnership or find some other obligers and keep each other accountable. Or rashly announce your plans online, that way you’ll have to follow through.
Knowing yourself is one of the key ways to move forward. We may want to be different than we are but that just wastes your time. Learn what works for you and you’ll learn the key to your own success.