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My Company Of One Story - Episode 2 Motivation


Welcome to this new blog-series of mine where I want to invite you to follow my path as one-man-company. I want to share with you how I survive working on my own, freelancing, building products, and how I try to follow my business dreams. This is episode number two, where I talk about motivation.

On Twitter, I asked on what topics you are interested in regarding my business, and I got a lot of great questions. You can still reply to that tweet if you want to know something specific. A few of those replies where about motivation, so this is why motivation is the topic for today.

It Keeps Us Going

Generally speaking, motivation is crucial to everything we do. It helps us to get from A to B more efficiently. It is like it gives us an extra energy boost to accomplish a goal. The more motivated we are about something, the more joy it brings. There are several reasons for that. On the one hand, you maybe enjoy doing something and this joy keeps you motivated doing it. But also a result could be the reason for motivation. I hated studying for school, but the goal of finishing it kept me motivated through my final exams.

Of course, work is here no exception. We need it to make a living, and motivation helps us to get there. Some people are motivated by money, and others enjoy the work itself. It doesn't matter in the end. Motivation makes everything more comfortable.

Motivation Is Different When You Work Alone

The reason people asked about how I keep myself motivated is that it is different when being self-employed. When you work at a company, there is always someone telling you what to do. There is always someone keeping the business running. It is done by keeping the employees working. So this means there is always someone or something pushing you like your boss, a colleague, or just a deadline.

When you work for yourself, there is only you. You decide when to get up, you decide what to work on and you choose when your work-day is over. You will still have boundaries set due to your family, a client or a bill that needs to be paid. But in the end, you make all your business decisions.

What Motivates Me is What I Do

The reason I've been programming for the last seven years now is that I enjoy it. I find it interesting, exciting, surprising, challenging, and rewarding. If you can create a business around something like that, you are fortunate. I know this is not typical, and I'm very thankful for being able to do so.

This is why I never had problems with my motivation in the last seven years. While I was working at companies, these things motivated me:

  • I was eager to learn
  • I wanted to make money
  • I enjoyed working

Most of the time, it was all three of them. Also, at the beginning of my own company, I was super motivated. I was motivated about trying something new, about creating and maintaining my own business, and about all the ideas I had in my mind.

The Time I Noticed Something Changed

My wife is leaving for work every day around 7 AM, this means we stand up at 6 AM, and I take care of preparing the breakfast. I'm very grateful for this routine because it makes starting the day a lot easier. If I lived on my own, this would be much more difficult, and I probably would sleep much longer. Still, after she is gone, it is up to me what I do. Motivation is what brings your ass to your desk for work. When there is a lack of motivation, this becomes much harder.

After the first anniversary of my company, I realized that everything became a little more complicated. It felt like I was drifting out of my flow. I didn't realize it immediately, but something changed. That time of the year, I had finished releasing the first categories of Laravel Code Adventures. (LCA) Instead of the estimated two months, it took me about four. I did some other work in between, but when I think back, it feels like I only worked on LCA, and when you think about the process of creating videos, it is not much coding.

It is not that I didn't enjoy this work. I just realized that the first half of the year was over and that I made like no money at all. I didn't plan to earn a lot of money with LCA, but the pressure of taking care of my yearly income in just half the time was frustrating. Also, it meant I had to work more on my client work in order to pay my bills.

In theory, it is not a problem when there is a little lack of motivation from time to time. If you don't feel like working in the morning, do something else and work later. That's precisely why I became my boss. But depending on your personality, this can become a problem. The first day you go for a run after breakfast, or you play a little PlayStation. Or maybe you do some housekeeping. There is always something to do in your houses, like laundry or cleaning. But then these little things get more, and at the end of the day, you realize you achieved much less than planned. An easy solution is to plan a little less for the next so that you don't feel too bad about things you don't finish. (not a good one)

As mentioned in my recap of 2019, my biggest problem at that time was that coding became only about business, and I lost my passion for it. I was missing all the little side projects, tutorials, and experiments I did after I came home from my old job. When you work for your own, everything is business and money-related. As a result, I didn't work on any side project in 2019.

What Is My Point?

Having a business changes everything. You get so much more freedom and new possibilities, but it all comes with a prize. You have to keep going every day. It is only you who is responsible for the future of your company. If you take a rest, so does your company. It is not that this is a terrible thing, it is just something that comes when you work on your own, and you need to be aware of that. This is why a lot of people prefer being employed so that they can concentrate on their primary skills and don't have to deal with all the business overhead.

There are days when I question myself as a boss and business owner, but all the other days, I enjoy working for my own and making my own decisions. I have no idea what the next years will bring, but I keep going, and I keep enjoying my freedom. I'm still passionate about what I do, and this is probably a good sign. It also keeps me motivated to get my ass in the morning to my desk and try to make a living enjoy life on the go.

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