Sole trader

I’ve started working for myself and I find motivation a struggle at times. There’s no one to rev me up when I’m down. What can I do? SmartSolo

As a sole trader, there’s no one to rev me up when I’m down. What can I do?

By Franz Madlener
Wednesday, 25 July 2012

This week’s Secret Soloist is answered by Franz Madlener, consultant and former CEO and founder of Villa & Hut.


What a great question! I could start by saying that you could write a book on trying to give the definitive answer – but then it occurred to me – hundreds of thousands of books have already been written on that exact question.


Enough to fill a library or a bookshop: Maybe then, that’s the place to start.


A library or a good bookshop – it’s amazing the motivation we can find in reading about the journey of other entrepreneurs and businesses.


The one thing that has always resonated with me, as a constant theme in all the different business books that I have read, is that the journey of a business is about beginning and failing, beginning and failing, and beginning and failing again.


Every time we begin, we are preparing to learn from what fails. Every time we fail, we begin again and, as we do this, we grow stronger and more motivated to keep going.


Maybe not with the exact same goal that we set out with, but one we are proud to have evolved to its eventual success.


No one knows exactly how a tree will grow when we plant the seeds. The same goes with our business.


Anything substantial and worthwhile is difficult – well before it is easy.


Here are my five key tips to staying motivated:

  • Get a mentor – Someone who believes in you as a person, and brings business acumen to your venture.
  • Read motivational and inspirational business books. It’s much easier to understand your own journey when you understand another’s journey.
  • Have a definite plan, with a beginning, middle and end goal in mind. It would be impossible for me to stay motivated running a marathon if I didn’t have the finish line in mind. Keep that goal visible in a written format. Look at it as often as you can. Visualise it. Then do it.
  • Give yourself at least 30 minutes a day to think positive and focused thoughts about what you need to do next. You are not flotsam. You are the lead ship.
  • Look at knockbacks as one step closer to your eventual success. Edison needed 10,000 failures to finally invent the light globe. When questioned, he famously quipped: “I wasn’t failing; I just found another way that it wouldn’t work. Eventually I had to find a way that it would work.”

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