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How to Find the Motivation to Succeed at Freelancing

by Laura Spencer

on November 5, 2013

in Freelancing Basics Productivity

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

Did you ever have one of those days? You know, those days when you have trouble getting started on your work?

Lack of motivation is a very real hurdle that many freelancers face. Overcoming it can actually determine whether your freelancing business will succeed or fail.

Unmotivated freelancers have a tendency to procrastinate and sabotage their success in other ways.

In contrast, highly motivated freelancers tend to excel at what they do. If you want to succeed you should work on becoming more motivated–especially if you have trouble finding the energy or desire to complete your project work.

In this post, we’ll discuss two types of motivation and provide some tips on how to find the motivation to succeed at freelancing.

What Are the 2 Types of Motivation?

Motivation can be elusive for some freelancers. Did you ever wonder where motivation comes from?

Basically, there are two sources for motivation:

  1. External motivation. External motivation comes from others. Common external motivators include your clients, your friends, your colleagues, and even your family. As a freelancer, you have a minimal amount of control over your external motivators.
  2. Internal motivation. Internal motivation comes from within. Freelancers who are internally motivated continue to work even without outside encouragement. This is the type of motivation that you have the most control over and the motivation that will help you succeed.
  3. Now that we’ve identified the two sources for motivation, let’s take a closer look at each of them.

    What You Should Know About External Motivation

    Often, we freelancers depend heavily on others for our motivation. After all, who doesn’t like to get praise or other recognition for their work?

    Common external motivators for freelancers include:

    • Client praise and recommendations
    • Social media popularity
    • Respect and acceptance from your colleagues
    • Getting a bonus or reward for your work
    • Reading inspirational books, articles, and posts

    External motivators can be very effective when you need some encouragement. Nearly every freelancer has a story about how someone or something inspired them.

    In general, while you can work towards getting an external motivator, you can’t completely control whether you will get it because an external motivator depends on someone else. .

    Because you can’t completely control when you will get external motivation, you shouldn’t rely on it completely. If you have trouble getting external motivation, you should work on building a supportive network.

    This bring us to our next topic, internal motivation.

    What You Should Know About Internal Motivation

    If you’re motivated by internal factors, your motivation comes from within you. You don’t depend on anyone else for motivation. Being internally motivated can be a very good thing.

    Some common internal motivators for freelancers include:

    • Pride in your work
    • The desire to express yourself through your work
    • A need to stay busy
    • Wanting to control your schedule
    • The fear of failure

    It’s easy to think of internal motivation as being the best type of motivation, but you’ll notice that not all internal motivators are what most people would consider to be positive. For example, the fear of failure or the need to stay busy are not necessarily how most people would want to be motivated. However, those factors are what drives some freelancers.

    Internal motivation is very important to have because it will help you keep going through those periods when you have no external motivation. To find your internal motivation, examine the reasons you became a freelancer in the first place. Often freelancers lose their motivation when they move away from their original dream.

    For most freelancers the ideal is a combination of positive internal motivators reinforced from time to time by external motivators.

    5 Tips to Increase Your Motivation

    You can become more motivated by following a few easy tips. Here are five ideas to improve your motivation:

    1. Surround yourself with supportive people.
    2. Take the time to enjoy what you do.
    3. Remember past successes.
    4. Don’t be constantly comparing yourself to others.
    5. Understand why you became a freelancer.

    You’ll probably notice that these tips rely on a combination of internal and external motivators.

    What Motivates You?

    Different things motivate different people. What motivates you?

    Are you primarily driven by external or internal forces? What would you say is your primary motivation for freelancing?

    Share your answers and motivational tips in the comments.

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About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy LauraĆ¢??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.