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I Ran Out of Content!
Following last week’s episode, I realized I had worked through my backlog of podcast topics and was at a loss for what I would discuss next!
I think a big part of why this happened was because I began this podcast as a fun side project to work on alongside my Java programming courses. As I’ve gone on and have found my groove, I’ve discovered that I’m ready to “go pro,” so to speak.
With this in mind, I collaborated with Carter “The Marketer” Johnson to create a mind-map of all the different sub-categories of business and what you need to know to manage your own.
Our list should fuel the podcast for many weeks to come so I can continue bringing you the tips you need to be successful! And today’s topic is critical for any self-starter: motivation!
How Do I Motivate Myself?
This is a question with which all new entrepreneurs struggle. Finding a way to motivate yourself to put in the hours is an integral part of running a successful business. If you aren’t motivated, you won’t work, and then you won’t be able to make any progress.
The thing about getting motivated is everyone has their own method that works best for them. Some people may like to listen to motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins. Others may find creating vision boards to be useful. Some need a coach who hounds them about getting their work done, and still others like to just create and see where their creations lead them.
No single approach fits everyone. Find what resonates with you and pursue that approach. If a particular method doesn’t seem to be working for you, ditch it and try something else!
For Carter, sticking to a morning routine is very important. Part of that routine is getting himself motivated. He reviews his goals for the day, reads a few motivational stories about entrepreneurs who succeeded in some way, and lastly, he listens to motivational videos on YouTube. As cheesy as it sounds, these videos work wonders for Carter and get him fired up to get to work.
As Carter’s example illustrates, routines are very important for staying motivated. You are the sum of your habits. If you first make a habit of doing the work, then you should make a goal of not breaking the chain of getting your work done!
Even on a day when you don’t feel like working, your motivation should be not to break this chain. This is what extremely successful people excel at: mastering the boring stuff and showing up for work even when they aren’t motivated.
If you are struggling with motivation, it can help to admit it to yourself. Say it out loud. Say, “I am struggling with motivation.” If you identify your problem and come to terms with it, then you will get closer to a solution.
The real problem, then, is identifying the problem right when it starts!
The “Entrepreneurial Dip” and the “Dip Sheet”
Carter admits that he operates in extremes: he usually alternates between being very motivated and feeling what he calls and “entrepreneurial dip.” To help himself understand and get out of these periods of reduced enthusiasm, he created a “Dip Sheet.”
The Dip Sheet is a catalog of scenarios that trigger a dip as well as exercises that help him get out of that dip. For example, Carter may experience a dip if he has not seen any business wins recently; to help himself turn this dip around, he might go for a walk outside or think about what he is grateful for.
The whole point is to keep track of when and why you lost motivation so you can avoid it happening in the future. And if it does happen (which it will!), then you have ideas of how you can do damage control on the situation and pull yourself out of your slump.
As for me, one of my biggest distractions from business is video games. When a new game I’m interested in comes out, I am liable to use it as an excuse to avoid working on my business.
While it’s important to have a relaxing part of the day to keep yourself from getting too stressed, the relaxing part should not be the entire day! So you need to guard yourself not only against the dips that business failures can cause, but also against dips caused by lack of discipline.
Carter’s Book and App of the Week
Book: The Charge by Brenden Burchard. As the book’s subtitle indicates, it will teach you how to “activate the ten human drives that make you feel alive.” Some of these drives include the desire for challenge, contribution and control; you will learn how to channel these drives into building a strong business. The book encourages self-reflection and offers motivation from a great authority on the subject.
App: ImageOptim allows you to compress images by dragging and dropping them into the application window without moving the file location of the original image. This is a great time saver and eliminates the hassle of managing multiple versions of the file. It is a Mac-only app, however. Check out Trimage if you have a PC.
I also have two app suggestions this week–one that Carter told me about and one that I discovered myself.
App #1: CloudFlare is a free to use content delivery network (CDN) service. For those who don’t know what a CDN is, it clones information from a home server across many servers all over the world. This results in faster load times, which increases traffic and rankings in Google searches. I recently signed up for this application, and I immediately saw huge gains–my three highest days of traffic since my crash in early May. And again: it’s completely free!
App #2: RescueTime runs in the background and tracks your usage of productive and nonproductive applications, giving you a weekly report including number of hours in each application and an overall productivity score. This tool gives you a true audit of your time usage.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention fellow podcaster Alex Barker and his program, The 66 Days Experiment. Alex decided he wanted to implement three changes to his daily routine that would better his life.
He plans to do these three things every day for 66 days. The idea is that 66 days is a trigger for creating a habit, so if he can keep the chain going through that period, then the habits will stick for good. Check out his website listed below. His experiment is in line with our conversation about creating habits of productivity for yourself!
If you’re struggling with motivation, reach out to us! Either Carter or I would be happy to offer you business coaching. Also let me know in the comments if you have any tips or tricks for keeping yourself motivated.
One last thing: please rate my podcast! This will really help get the word out to programmers and beginning entrepreneurs who need advice and would benefit from my program. Please visit my itunes page at Codersstartup.com/itunes and let me know what you think.
The Charge by Brenden Burchard