How to Self-Start When Motivation Is Low

get out of bed

How Do Solopreneurs Self-Start?

A student in a class I spoke to last year asked me, “how do you force yourself to get up when you work for yourself and make your own schedule?”

Self Starting - student question

I snickered and responded, “Sometimes I wake up two hours before my alarm goes off because my mind knows there is too much to do. Other times, I have a hard time falling asleep because my mind is spinning trying to remember all of the to-dos I have on my list for tomorrow or the next week. And then there are the days when starting happens to us. We've set an appointment, or have a meeting to be at. Maybe it's the dog that needs to go outside, or the smell of breakfast and coffee from the kitchen that gets us motivated to move."

What I wanted to say is that when you start a business that you’re passionate about, it wakes you up and fuels action. Your passion creates ideas and ideas build more passion. You can’t stop thinking about it because you want it so bad that you are generating your own motivation. It becomes your obsession and you can’t get away from it.

Jamie Teasdale - Clark College June 2018

While my response to the student was from the responsibilitarian hat, the flip side is just flat out not wanting to start and some days, I too wake up without motivation.

But business ownership is a deep pool of responsibility and while self-care is important (we all need to take a day off now and then) the plight of an entrepreneur is knowing that you have to wear all the hats, including being your own cheerleader.

How Do I Change My Mind?

Self-starting truly isn’t always easy. I usually have to take a deep breath and remember what I’m grateful for. First, I’m grateful to have woken up. Second, I’m grateful for personality improvement (i.e. coffee). I could just be tired, or a conversation from yesterday could have me bugged. None of that has permission to derail the purpose of the day I have ahead of me.

First I do the Coffee

So, I focus on my ‘why’. Keeping that in front of me daily, helps me recall what motivates me to run my own business and be my own boss.

For me, it’s that…

  • I do get to call my own shots.
  • I get to do what I love.
  • I choose to work with team members I enjoy and who hold similar standards in business.
  • I get to work for clients I’m passionate about.
  • I do set my own schedule.
  • I do get to take days off when I need to.
  • I don’t answer to another boss (actually, I answer to all of my clients, which is like having two dozen bosses).
  • I don’t have to drive myself into an office and sit at a cubicle, looking at a gray wall and doing the same thing day in and day out.

With all of that in mind, I might take a few hours to do some yoga or go for a walk to start my day with movement before I hit the inbox. Sometimes, we just need to “work it out” for us before we can work for others.

morning walk

If none of that helps straighten me out and put me in a positive mood, I recall the last day I did take off and what I spent my time doing. Putting my mind in the proper perspective about the recent wins and self-care I have taken reminds me how blessed I am and often gives me new wind.

No perfectionism allowed!

There is always work to do when we’re #wearingallthehats so be sure to give yourself a break if you wake up in an off mood or can’t seem to find your mojo. Yes, there is likely no way out of the tasks ahead, but if you started a business because you love doing or making something, remember that joy and you’ll find your wings.

Who are you turning over your mind to?

Doubt, criticism, and comparing your journey to someone else’s will never put wind in your sails, so just stop the negative thought patterns and self-talk. Don’t feed that beast because giving him just a taste will put him hot on your heals for more and he’s a tough one to shake.

sail boat out of a rain storm

Sure, it’s healthy to have goals and role models, but someone else’s journey won’t work the same way for you. Be authentic. Be you. People will want the uniqueness you bring to the world!

Stay the course

Remember too… although it’s true that not everyone should be in business for themselves, I also believe every business owner is also still learning (or they should be). Don’t be hard on yourself for losing motivation for a moment.

journalingInstead, be kind and gentle with yourself and when entrepreneurial doubt creeps in, take the chance to pull forward what you’ve already learned and assess what you can use from this experience to move forward.

Never stop growing, assessing your thoughts, examining ways you can improve, slow down, be more efficient, or perform better but ALWAYS keep your priorities in check.

Find solutions that work for you and you will ignite again. Just stay the course!

So, what is self-starting? It’s staying the course, getting out of bed, remembering your why, who you are, and what wins you’ve recently had – and then getting back at it.

Every day is a new day!

 - Jamie

About Jamie Teasdale

Jamie Teasdale founded Propel Businessworks, a small business development company, in 2009. Since then, she has been lending insight and creativity to businesses all over the U.S., giving them the tools they need to plan, promote, and prosper.


  1. Barbara K Smith on January 15, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Good word, Jamie! 🙂 <3

    • Jamie Teasdale on February 4, 2019 at 4:24 pm

      Thank you, mama! Sure do love you. xo :kisses:

  2. Tim Hare on January 17, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks, Jamie! I needed to hear this. You boosted my motivation 150%. Serious mental recalibration. Love you, girl!

    • Jamie Teasdale on February 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm

      Much love back to you too, Tim. Recalibration is sometimes (& often times) needed. Keep it forefront though. How you motivate brings life! ;o)

  3. Kara Sigua on January 18, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Sage advice! Hardest part for me: no perfectionism allowed. That’s my battle! Thanks for being an inspiration! Xoxo

    • Jamie Teasdale on February 4, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      You’re an inspiration to me too, Kara. 3 boys, a mom-life, wifery, and a job – You’re WonderWoman to me! xo

  4. Susan Swain on January 19, 2019 at 1:00 am

    Excellent post! “remembering your why, who you are, and what wins you’ve recently had” … hummmm, needed to hear this reminder. So many things pull at me during the day that I find myself running from morning to after midnight. Love my ToDo list, but it can drive me. You remind me in this post that I must set boundaries and do what I can each day (self-care), and for me to reflect again on being grateful. I tend to do this, but have not incorporated it into my business….reflecting on the business “wins” which is walking in thanksgiving.
    Much to learn my friend. Thanks for the input.

    • Jamie Teasdale on February 4, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      You’re a brilliant creative, Sue. Let your life guide you before your gift does. There is always inspiration as a creative, but self-care is a lesson we must embrace. You are equipped for the journey, my friend. xxooxx