Some days, there is an almost tangible motivation that you can feel pulsing through your veins when you wake up in the morning. Other days...eh...not so much. With the new year here, it’s almost as if we are expected to feel some type of newness wash over us that guides us through the perfect business plan, social media strategy and works through the kinks of 2016. But things aren’t always this crystal clear. In fact, with that pressure, it can lead to a motivational struggle instead.
Not feeling motivated? Here’s some hacks for pushing through those tough moments. You will be surprised how far the slightest bit of inspiration can guide you.
The Pep Talk Generator
Yes, this is a real thing! The Pep Talk Generator is an extension of the website Babe Vibes and it literally fuels you full of powerful quotes and gives you just what you need to see clarity in a tough moment. Not happy with the quote they gave you? No problem! Just click on “next pep talk” until something strikes your fancy
The Self-Care Twitter Bot
With so much going into running your own business, stopping for a second to take care of yourself can sometimes be a distant thought. But the thing is this: if we aren’t taking care of ourselves, there’s no way we can be properly motivated to run our business. This is where the self-care twitter bot (@tinycarebot) comes into the picture. This account scoops in throughout the day to remind you of the simple things in life, like taking deep breathes, listening to music that inspires you and taking a break. Genius.
Change Your Scenery
As simple as this one may seem, switching up where you work everyday can do wonders for yourself and you motivation. It’s refreshing and can give you a different perspective on things. If you work from home everyday, try working for a couple hours in your favorite coffee shop - or even in a communal space. You never know what will inspire you if you’re seeing something out of the ordinary a couple days a week.
Break Your List Down to One Goal
More times than not, lack of motivation stems from being overwhelmed. Those to-do lists pile high, especially at the start of the year and it’s enough to make you want to crawl back under your covers in bed and hide. Instead, set some time aside to break that mountain of a to-do list into one goal or one task per day. Sometimes it even helps to break goals down into micro-goals so each day you are a step closer to achieving something big. And a huge bonus is the way that you will feel whenever these tasks get crossed off and done.
Put Your Goal Out Into The World
There’s nothing quite like making yourself accountable for something than putting it out into the world and actually telling people about your plan or goal. Once it’s out there, people will start asking you how everything is going and if you’ve achieved nothing, their questions will put you right in your place.
Share your goal with friends, family, at networking events - everywhere.
And sometimes, you might not only feel the pressure you need to buckle down and work towards the goal, but meet someone along the way that will help you.
"Steal the mesh underwear you get from the hospital," a friend said upon learning I was pregnant with my first daughter.
It was the single best piece of advice I received before giving birth in December 2013. My best friend delivered her daughter eight months previously, and she was the first to pass along this shared code among new moms: you'll need mesh underwear for your at-home postpartum recovery, and you can't find them anywhere for purchase. End result: steal them. And tell your friends.
My delivery and subsequent recovery were not easy. To my unexpected surprise, after almost 24 hours of labor, I had an emergency C-section. Thankfully, my daughter was healthy; however, my recovery was quite a journey. The shock to my system caused my bloated and swollen body to need weeks of recovery time. Luckily, I had trusted my friend and followed her instructions: I had stolen some mesh underwear from the hospital to bring home with me.
Unfortunately, I needed those disposable underwear for much longer than I anticipated and quickly ran out. As I still wasn't quite mobile, my mother went to the store to find more underwear for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't find them anywhere and ended up buying me oversized granny panties. Sure, they were big enough, but I had to cut the waistband for comfort.
I eventually recovered from my C-section, survived those first few sleepless months, and returned to work. At the time, I was working for a Fortune 100 company and happily contributing to the corporate world. But becoming a new mom brought with it an internal struggle and search for something “more" out of my life--a desire to have a bigger impact. A flashback to my friend's golden piece of advice got me thinking: Why aren't mesh underwear readily available for women in recovery? What if I could make the magical mesh underwear available to new moms everywhere? Did I know much about designing, selling, or marketing clothing? Not really. But I also didn't know much about motherhood when I started that journey, either, and that seemed to be working out well. And so, Brief Transitions was born.
My quest began. With my manufacturing and engineering background I naively thought, It's one product. How hard could it be? While it may not have been “hard," it definitely took a lot of work. I slowly started to do some research on the possibilities. What would it take to start a company and bring these underwear to market? How are they made and what type of manufacturer do I need? With each step forward I learned a little more--I spoke with suppliers, researched materials, and experimented with packaging. I started to really believe that I was meant to bring these underwear to other moms in need.
Then I realized that I needed to learn more about the online business and ecommerce world as well. Google was my new best friend. On my one hour commute (each way), I listened to a lot of podcasts to learn about topics I wasn't familiar with--how to setup a website, social media platforms, email marketing, etc. I worked in the evenings and inbetween business trips to plan what I called Execution Phase. In 2016, I had a website with a Shopify cart up and running. I also delivered my second daughter via C-section (and handily also supplied myself with all the mesh underwear I needed).
They say, “If you build it, they will come." But I've learned that the saying should really go more like this: “If you build it, and tell everyone about it, they might come." I had a 3-month-old, an almost 3 year old and my business was up and running. I had an occasional sale; however, my processes were extremely manual and having a day job while trying to ship product out proved to be challenging. I was manually processing and filling orders and then going to the post office on Saturday mornings to ship to customers. I eventually decided to go where the moms shop...hello, Amazon Prime! I started to research what I needed to do to list products with Amazon and the benefits of Amazon fulfillment (hint: they take care of it for you).
Fast forward to 2018...
While I started to build this side business and saw a potential for it to grow way beyond my expectations, my corporate job became more demanding with respect to travel and time away from home. I was on the road 70% of the time during first quarter 2018. My normally “go with the flow" 4-year-old started to cry every time I left for a trip and asked why I wasn't home for bedtime. That was a low point for me and even though bedtime with young kids has its own challenges, I realized I didn't want to miss out on this time in their lives. My desire for more scheduling flexibility and less corporate travel time pushed me to work the nights and weekends needed to build and scale my side hustle to a full-time business. If anyone tries to tell you it's “easy" to build “passive" income, don't believe them. Starting and building a business takes a lot of grit, hustle and hard work. After months of agonizing, changing my mind, and wondering if I should really leave my job (and a steady paycheck!), I ultimately left my corporate job in April 2018 to pursue Brief Transitions full-time.
In building Brief Transitions, I reached out to like-minded women to see if they were experiencing similar challenges to my own--balancing creating and building a business while raising children--and I realized that many women are on the quest for flexible, meaningful work. I realized that we can advance the movement of female entrepreneurs by leveraging community to inspire, empower, and connect these trailblazers. For that reason, I recently launched a new project, The Transitions Collective, a platform for connecting community-driven women entrepreneurs.
As is the case with many entrepreneurs, I find myself working on multiple projects at a time. I am now working on a members-only community for The Transitions Collective that will provide access to experts and resources for women who want to leave corporate and work in their business full-time. Connecting and supporting women in this movement makes us a force in the future of work. At the same time, I had my most profitable sales quarter to date and best of all, I am able to drop my daughter off at school in the morning.
Mesh underwear started me on a journey much bigger than I ever imagined. They sparked an idea, ignited a passion, and drove me to find fulfillment in a different type of work. That stolen underwear was just the beginning.