Running your own consultancy business is a dream come true. It means becoming a CEO of your own company and using all your acquired skills over the years of full-time employment.
You have the freedom to set up your office, market your expertise, and help people. And what’s more exciting is that you can quickly start your new career and business right at home.
With all the opportunities ahead, it is crucial to motivate yourself as a self-employed home-based consultant.
1. Define your Workplace
A dedicated area that you can call your workspace is essential. It gives you a sense of purpose and allows you to focus on your tasks.
If your home space is limited, a desk and chair in one corner will do. Ensure you have the necessary equipment and tools that will keep you organised and connected with your clients, like a computer, mobile/landline, printer, planner, and more.
Don’t forget to add a cabinet for your documents, business materials, and office supplies. As much as possible, do not work where you sleep or near your bedroom to prevent procrastinating and telling yourself that you deserve more rest and work will wait.
2. Develop a Routine
Creating a daily routine is vital to your success. It helps you avoid procrastinating and stay on track with your priority tasks for the day. Pick your work hours and do all your work within the schedule.
A regimented schedule gives you accountability and motivates you to complete the tasks of the day. It helps you avoid the many distractions around your home and achieve your daily goals.
- Create a weekly schedule and break down your tasks for the week to maximise productivity. Smaller tasks are easier to accomplish, so spread them out during the working days.
- Structure your daily work schedule by making a to-do list, starting with the most difficult or challenging tasks. Once you slay the ‘dragon’ or ‘eat the frog’, everything in the list will be easier to accomplish. Strike off the completed tasks from your list. It adds motivation to carry on to the next task.
- Find your most productive period of the day, when your mind is sharper, and your motivation to work is at its highest level. Use this momentum to schedule your big and challenging tasks.
- For ongoing tasks that do not have a clear end, you can set the amount of time you will spend on them. Consider a 30-minute schedule at the start of your working day for checking your emails and another 30 minutes at the end of the day to answer them.
- Take breaks and observe regular mealtimes. Your routine should include taking at least 5-minute breaks or longer after finishing your big tasks. It is easy to forget the time when you are passionate about your work or growing your business, but getting regular breaks is necessary to recharge your energy and prevent burnout.
You may feel that you need to grind harder because you are building your business and professional reputation, but overloading yourself will wear you down in the long run and put you at risk of making mistakes. Learn to balance your schedule and take care of yourself by doing things you enjoy, like grabbing a quick lunch or coffee break with a friend.
- Set an end-time of your daily work. This means time to relax and spend the rest of the evening doing what you love, like watching Netflix, reading a book before bedtime, getting out with some friends, or sleeping.
3. Wear Working Clothes
Ditch your pajamas, take a shower, and get dressed comfortably to boost your motivation before tackling your day’s tasks. Working while still wearing your nightwear makes your brain think that it is still bedtime.
So, while it is very tempting to stay in your comfy PJs because nobody can see you unless you have a Zoom meeting, put on different clothes every working day. Getting into the habit of changing to your working clothes will psych you to face the day ahead. Your brain goes from sleep mode to productive mode.
According to fashion psychologist Dr. Karen Pine, “the wearer tends to associate himself with the characteristics of the garment”. Clothing is symbolic, priming the brain to adopt a consistent mindset with the meaning it represents.
When you wear professional work attire, your brain knows that it is time to work. When you don a sweatshirt and joggers, the brain gets ready for an adrenaline-pumping experience.
4. Work Out
Working at home can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. To prevent feeling lethargic and putting on weight, start your day with a physical workout like a 15-minute jog or brisk walk around the neighborhood.
You can also exercise indoors or practice yoga and meditation. All these activities stimulate the release of endorphins or happy hormones while awakening all your senses.
Use the extra hour before your work schedule to make yourself healthy and energised. It will also strengthen your self-discipline and boost motivation. You can also do quick stretching or deep breathing techniques any time of the day to reinvigorate your tired brain and limbs.
5. Turn Distractions Into Rewards for Completing a Task
Boost your motivation by rewarding yourself for something you enjoy doing. For instance, you work non-stop for 2 hours meeting with a client and successfully wrap it up. You deserve a nice coffee break or to watch an episode of your favourite show.
The point is to balance work-life activities as a home-based consultant. Do not be carried away and convince yourself that you need to watch another episode or have a longer break because it will defeat the purpose of turning distractions into rewards.
The levels of productivity and motivation vary each day. When things go wrong or turn to setbacks, take a step back and remember what you already accomplished. Review your works and take a different approach if necessary.
Finally, think about the reasons why you want to become a home-based consultant and bounce back with greater motivation. Tomorrow is another day to prove your worth.
About the Author
Angeline Licerio is a content writer for Elevate Corporate Training, a team of corporate trainers committed to improving performance of individuals and teams within organisations.