How to Get Motivation Back...

I realise this is a ridiculous thread to be starting on Christmas Eve, but wondering if anyone else out there is feeling similar to myself.  I started up in practice this year and in the first couple of months won 6 clients.  Everything was going great, I wrote a business plan, started a budget to figure out when to leave work and told my company what I was doing.  They weren't too supportive (or maybe they were too supportive) with me handing in my notice, and persuaded me to stay on in a consultancy capacity paid through my practice.  In the last few months I've completely lost focus with my practice and can't seem to work out what to do to get my motivation back.  I realise part of this is likely driven by the fact that I still haven't left full time work.  The job I've stayed in is a step up in terms of responsibility and is  teaching me things I've not had experience of, so I'm utilising it as a learning tool, giving me experience that will be useful in my practice.  I have little problem servicing the clients I have but I seem to have lost all focus and motivation for the future - it's starting to give me sleepless nights.  Not knowing how to win new clients (the first few were just too easy and now I can't seem to get more).  I'm assuming this is normal in the first year of setting up and how people go about getting back on track?  I want to use the days off this week to get myself back in the zone - building my client base, experience and finally leaving work before next Christmas.

Comments
Eoghan2's picture

Stick at it, I did. I only    1 thanks

Eoghan2 | | Permalink

Stick at it, I did. I only remained for four days on a consultancy basis with my previous employer, as I felt, how can you build a practice when you are also contributing to another one.I left on the 8th January 2005.

With the support of my wife and family I grew from 15 clients to now in excess of 400, although I did buy a practice with 200 odd clients in 2008.

Thank you Eoghan.  I forgot

bluesian1210 | | Permalink

Thank you Eoghan.  I forgot to mention that the client's I'd won were those that I now realise are the types that I should be staying away from - the ones that have been fired from all other accountants!  I think this has thrown me and made me doubt my business plan.  I'll take your advice and keep at it.  Hopefully I'll be more successful in 2013!

Paul Scholes's picture

In limbo    1 thanks

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

Don't be disheartened, even though it was decades ago I can still remember that inbetween situation.  I ended up doing 3-4 days a week sub-contract for 2 firms but the 1-2 days a week was never enough to do my own work and plan for development.

I was lucky in that my old senior partner was looking to retire and offered me a dozen clients on a plate (for £0) with promise of more and that was the impetus I needed to drop one of the firms and take the plunge.

If I had my time again, in addition to the normal marketing stuff (including targetting specific local businesses you like the look of), I would certainly look at buying a small block of fees either via the Opportunites page above, agents or by touting around all the local sole practitioners.  Over the past 2 years I've sold on a block of my fees to another accountant I've worked with for years and I'm sure that are many older sole practitioners in the same boat.

Good Luck and Happy New Year

scorpio4506's picture

I think what will help is a specific plan of action

scorpio4506 | | Permalink

I think what will help is a specific plan of action.

You mention having written a business plan, which is great (how many business owners actually do this?!), but have you written a marketing plan?

Here are some (albeit very brief) pointers:

  • Firstly identify the types of clients you do want i.e. turnover, number of staff, sector etc.
  • Next, where do these prospects ‘hang out’? What do they do business, what do they read, where are they online etc etc.
  • Then, figure out a lead-generation offer that will get them to contact you.

For example, I used a specific ‘give away’ in a group on LinkedIn that was used by solicitors. 315 enquiries around 90 days later, and I now have a good database to target. So it can work, you just need find the right audience, using the right message, with the right offer.

In addition, do you have any website presence? Has this been fully optimised in the search engines? I could go in to all kinds of details about key word domains etc. But it shouldn’t take long to get a good website up and targeting local businesses. This can not only generate good enquiries, but more importantly pre-qualify the enquiries, so that hopefully you can avoid the kind of clients you currently have. (How? By asking specific questions on the contact form).

From personal experience - and from working with private clients - I feel you need some quick wins and more importantly a specific programme of activity you can follow. It’s all too easy to be working ‘in’ the business and not ‘on’ the business, and get caught up in the general hassles of running a business. Any action, even initially in the wrong direction is a start – hope that makes sense. I think once you start the 'doing', then this will help with the motivation.

I’ve given you some brief suggestions, and I’m more than happy to discuss further if you’d like some ideas, pointers etc.

(I’d even been happy to gift you a pdf copy of my book ‘Maverick Marketing’ if you would like this - a chapter on 'motivation' which might help)

All the best, and happy new year to you. And well done for starting out on your own!

Andrew Ludlam

Maverick Marketing Consultancy

 

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