Peer-to-Peer: How can I stay motivated working from home?

Written by ProfitGuide Staff


“I have started up a small consulting business and am having trouble staying motivated working from home. I am trying to locate other people in my area of the city who would be interested in meeting for coffee first thing each morning to discuss the day’s events/challenges. I think having a support group and a place to go each morning will help on days when the desire to stay in bed outweighs the motivation to get to the office. Any suggestions on where to advertise this free networking meeting, or how to find others who may be interested?”

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Reader responses

Marcia Barhydt, Oakville, ON

Hi Debbie: There certainly is a sense of isolation in being a home-based business!! One great website I’ve found is www.briantracy.com. If you go to that site you can subscribe to a free e-quote of the day from Brian Tracy, an American motivational speaker. Receiving a daily motivational quote helps me to get on with it!!

A Fellow Homeworker, Toronto, ON

First of all I would suggest putting up signs at local coffee shops. But I think it may be more helpful to sit down each night and make a to-do list for the next day. I think that sitting around in a coffee shop sounds like WAY TOO MUCH more fun than work. I think she knows what needs to be done — so just do it already.

Second, I have worked from my home office for 14 years. I rarely have motivational problems for the following reasons:

  • I love the freedom of being self-employed.
  • I love not having to commute by subway or car at rush hour every morning.
  • I love being able to work with messy hair, sweats and no makeup except when I have outside meetings.
  • I love determining my hours, holidays and income.
  • I love the fact that if I have work to do for clients, admin stuff (filing, invoicing which I hate) I can do it, but if I’m totally caught up I can go to a movie, the gym or put away laundry. This is rare but I am never stuck “filling” time the way some people do in an office.
  • I love the fact that I am able to be totally productive when working. I never get stuck in boring useless meetings or coffee/water cooler gossip.
  • I love that I don’t have all my eggs in one basket. If a client moves on, I will replace that client more easily than I would a job.
  • I love the fact I don’t get stuck in office politics and backstabbing.
  • I love the fact that if I’ve been working like a dog I can dork about for a few hours or half a day…

All of the things I love about working at home motivate me in a phenomenal way because I never ever ever want to be in a “real” office again.

I think that this woman needs to really think hard about whether or not she is suited for this lifestyle. I firmly believed that motivation most often comes from within not without. I have struggled with all sorts of “motivation” strategies to lose 5 to 10 lbs. and while outside support and commiseration is not without some small benefits, it still comes down to me not having that piece of cake or not chocolate. Sincerely, a fellow homeworker.

Name withheld by request

I am in my fifth year of private practice as a management consultant based in a rural community in Western Canada. My view is that if you are having trouble being motivated as a home based professional — you are in the wrong trade. If it is coffee with peers every morning that will get you out of bed, then I think you would be better served by getting a ‘real’ job.

I realize this is blunt but I find many people go into to consulting for the wrong reasons. There is no doubt that the lack of social interaction can be very difficult to adjust to. Obviously, that need can be fulfilled by other strategies, but fundamentally home-based professionals have to be strongly self driven or their practice will die on the vine.

If you really want your practice to work, get out and ask for business. Develop marketing strategies, use your network, etc. Pretty soon you will enjoy the occasional peace and quiet the home office can provide as a welcome respite to engaging with stressed out managers in their boardrooms.”

Carmen Thomas, Cayuga Wolf Clan, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory

I too have first hand experience with staying motivated. I think the biggest hurdle is our attitude towards working at home. For this day and this moment, I choose to do the best I can with with the gifts the Creator has given me.

I would like to share my most recent personal experience in moving forward in our lives after quitting a paid position. I recently resigned my position from a prominent Aboriginal employer in Southern Ontario and was completely devastated after letting go of the position. The position was extremely stressful with little or no support from a Board of Directors. I managed to work long hours giving 101% every day for 8 months until one day I finally said to myself, ‘This is enough of me giving myself for little in return.’ I didn’t have another job to go to but knew that I had enough skills and experience to make it on my own. I managed to pick up a contract to help me through the holiday season.

Once the New Year rolled in, I had very little funds to work with and I carried a ‘poor me, pity me’ kind of stinkin’ attitude with no ambition to move forward in my life.

The turning point came after I asked the Creator for help. In turn I gave a new friend a call and he suggested I use the power of prayer to help me feel better about myself. So I did.

The next thing you knew my healing journey led me to my old Addictions Counsellor who gave me some sound advice and new ways to look at my situation. She gave me this simple question: ‘Is what I am doing right now, helping me to get to where I want to be?’ This experience was followed by a childhood friend calling me out of blue and offering these words of encouragement, ‘Keep Your Chin Up and Continue to Pray for Yourself!’

The Power of Prayer works in any kind of situation whether you are faced with bankruptcy, not knowing when the next pay cheque will come in, or when you need a little guidance in life. I use it and it really works.

Note that after my phone call with my childhood friend, I received good news 2 hours later that I will be starting a new contract the following Monday.

Daneh:toh (that is all I have to say!).

Carolyn Tryhurn, Calgary, AB

Similar to Debbie’s interest in forming a meeting group, I’d like to find out if anyone in Calgary would like to do the same thing.

I am also a home-based consultant and I am aware of a few others in Calgary that may be interested in forming a group. RSVP to cj17@canada.com.

Dov H. Rom

Hi Debbie. After another company purchased my business, I moved from working 20 hours per day to management consulting with flexible hours.

I had the same problem how to start the day and how to keep motivated. Right now I’m starting my day with DAHN Method it is holistic fitness program combines Yoga, Meditation, Tai-Chi and Energy exercise. This program give me high level of energy for the rest of the day. You can try different type of fitness or Martial arts program. If you want information on the program please e-mail to me at drom@home.com.

Lorrinda Mcmillan

I am also a small business. I lease space outside my home. This may be the first suggestion for an enterpreneur who can’t get out of bed because their office is in the next room. The second belief I have is that if you have time to meet others for coffee every morning, you have tooooo much time on your hands that could be used for marketing your business. Plus the prospects that would be interested in coffee everyday probably are not the leaders in their field. I would suggest you schedule one or two lunches per week with people that can use your services or lead you to more prospects. Once you begin to generate more work for your company, you will have no choice but to get at the business every day. I would guess you will also be very motivated as your services are important to others.

Rehan Zaidi

This is certainly not as frequent as Debbie would like, but perhaps it’s a start. The Toronto chapter of the Young Entrepreneur Association (for those 35 and under) has monthly breakfast brainstorming on the second Thursday of each month. For the full, up-to-date details you can contact yea@yea.ca.

Marlene Boyarzin, marlene_boyarzin@hotmail.com

Dear Debbie: I am interested in those morning get-togethers, but I live in Edmonton. Email or hotmail is about as good as we can get.

Hatem Belhi

There are many networking groups in the Toronto Area:

  • YEA: Young Entrepreneur Association
  • BTYP: Board of Trade Young Professional

Zale Tabakman, Toronto, ON

Hi Debbie. I have worked from home for many years. Each time I love it — but then the business grows and I have to move out.

I think having a morning support group everyday won’t be as productive as having a to do list that is too big. If you have a lot to do — it gets easy to get motivated.

A quick suggestion — set a minimum number of business development calls you will make in a single day. A call means that you have actually talked to somebody — not left message on a machine. I would target 10 per day. Some of these people would be purchasers of your services some would be partners and some would be people that will provide suggestions. Once you do these calls for a week or two — you will be generating so much activity and meetings that you will be up all night trying to schedule the meetings.

Judy Hodgson, Toronto, ON

Hi — I’ve just found this e-newsletter. Right now I’m not working at all and I’m finding it tough going even though I’m used to working for myself. There is a group in the Toronto (east end) that you may wish to explore — Women in a home office — contact: Anne Stone — email: stone@kodak.com

Nur Cowan

I have been faced with the same dilemma. I found that joining a service organization such as the Rotary Club provided me with a weekly meeting. It also gave me balance from all work and no other activities. A bonus is that most Rotarians are successful business people and I have made many new business contacts.

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Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com