The Power of Small Rewards to Keep You Motivated In Your Business

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Or in the case of starting your own business: step, after step, after step. Each one is small, but together they create a sequence that moves you towards your goal.

It would be easy to assume that the first six months as an entrepreneur are exhilarating, heady times. But I’ve definitely found that plugging away at the groundwork necessary to build my dream business has been challenging. Laying those foundations is critical, but when you have yet to reach the point of doing paid work the rewards can feel sparse. And it can feel like no-one will notice if you take a week off to catch-up on Netflix.

But if you’re like me and your own worst critic, sitting still can lead to a whole new round of procrastination. So when you want to keep that forward momentum, reward can be a useful motivator for achieving those initial goals. Each little reward is a mini celebration of the achievement you’ve already made in stepping towards your new working life.

Types of Reward

We all know rewards work. Whether it’s a reward chart for kids or tasty treats for your dog when he sits on command. But what kinds of reward should we look to for motivating ourselves in our work life?

Research tells us that rewards which work typically come in one of four forms.

Learning new skills and building competencies

Personal growth is essential for all new business owners. There is definitely going to be parts of your business that will push you outside your comfort zone into areas that you haven’t got any previous experience. So a reward may be allowing yourself permission to book an e-course that you’ve wanted to take for ages. Or perhaps signing up for coaching with the person who’ve you’ve followed online. Or even just buying a development book that has caught your eye. Last month I signed up for Simple and Season’s Campfire e-course. It has really given me the kick I needed to start moving my website content forward and given me the confidence that actually I can do it.

A Vision Of Your Future Business And It’s Growth

There’s a reason why vision boards are so popular. We all like to see representations of what the future could look like. If you’ve ever used Pinterest to pin home decor ideas or cut pictures out of home magazines, then you’ve used visioning as a means of seeing your future home. I love to use Pinterest to create a vision board for my business. I’ve pinned pictures of my dream home office, the balanced lifestyle it would allow me to lead, the places I would visit – even the clothes I would wear.

A reward in this category might be decorating the room that will be your office or buying the beautiful chair you will sit in. Anything that moves you closer towards the goals in your vision board.

Here’s the link to my vision board on Pinterest if you’re looking for some ideas –

A Work Environment That We Love

The environment that we work in can feel a bit of an afterthought when we work from home. But one of the cornerstones of what it feels like to work in a business is defined by the environment. It’s known as the artifacts and it can be everything from the furniture, the dress code, the facilities and the behaviour of those around you.

So if I give you two scenarios, think about how each would make you feel.

Scenario One: You’ve started your own business and each day you sit on your bed, working on your laptop surrounded by piles of ironing and drinking tea from the cracked freebie mug you picked up at a conference last year.

Scenario Two: You’ve started your own business and each day you walk to the cosy space you’ve set aside as a home office. You drink your tea from a beautiful handmade mug and work on your laptop with a scented candle burning in the background.

These are obviously two extremes and perhaps the second one doesn’t sound like your jam either. But hopefully it illustrates the point that the work could be exactly the same, but the environment plays an important part in shaping how we feel about it.

A reward here may be about setting up a dedicated work space. Or perhaps buying yourself a really nice cup and saucer to have your morning tea from. Or framing a motivational print and placing it somewhere you can see every day when you start work. On my reward list this month is this gorgeous mini hanging planter from KT Robbins Ceramics.

Pay and Benefits

It may be surprising that this comes so far down the list when it comes to talking about  motivation. When you’re self-employed and starting out, the option to pay yourself a nice juicy bonus just doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself in a smaller way.

A reward here might be something that you wish someone else would buy for you, but you feel a bit guilty buying for yourself. A piece of jewellery, an item of clothing, it doesn’t need to be related to the business in any way but is something that makes you feel the hard work is worthwhile. Or perhaps the benefit might be as simple as allowing yourself a day off to watch that Netflix box set or meet a friend for lunch.

Over the summer I gave myself a beautiful bracelet from Notes from the Heart called The World Is Your Oyster. It’s a message that feels really meaningful for me at the moment so every time I wear it I feel a little confidence boost.

Notes From The Heart bracelet - The World Is Your Oyster

I hope that has given you some ideas for rewards that might work for you to keep yourself motivated. It’s hard starting out with any business, and when you are your own boss you should remember to treat yourself in the same way you’d expect from any other employer.

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