As a solopreneur, you want to recognize and reward yourself, but that’s not usually part of the game.

You don’t get an annual review or raise or bonus. No one gives you a pat on the back for your latest client or win. No one tells you how indispensable you are, or how much your work is valued.

If you’re lucky, you get clients who give you feedback after working with you. Maybe you’re part of a mastermind group and get the opportunity to hear that feedback from colleagues.

But at the beginning, the positive reinforcement might be few and far between, and you might need *more* to keep you feeling motivated to do the work.

Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean you have to give up the good feelings that come from recognition and rewards. You can develop a customized plan of your own to help you stay positive.

Define what recognition and rewards mean to you

How did it feel the last time you received a positive comment or feedback from a client? What effect did it have? How did it improve your day, your mood, even your confidence?

Detailed positive feedback can help us feel better about the work we do and build our confidence.

If you’re not getting that feedback from others, you don’t need to wait for it. 

When you acknowledge yourself for your wins, you start running your business from a place of confidence, inner strength, and intuition —  with less questioning and insecurity. And the good news is, you won’t depend on anyone else do it for you.

So how can you build in a way to reward yourself for a job well done? Start with considering your goals, your timeline, and your desired results.

Here are 7 steps to reward and recognize yourself for your efforts:

1. Develop a file for client feedback and testimonials. Every time you get a piece of positive feedback, however small, whether via email, a phone call, or your feedback survey, store it in the folder. Access this folder anytime you are feeling doubtful or unsure, or just want a pick-me-up.

2. Ask clients for feedback, especially at the end of your work together. It’s important to know what your clients loved or didn’t, how you helped them, and what impact you created. You might also gain insights that can help you serve new clients.

3. Jot down your daily accomplishments. Even if you don’t have clients yet, you’re probably still working your tail off, and you might not be feeling very good about it since you aren’t reaping the rewards (yet.) Did you complete a blog post or a new course outline? Maybe you had a successful mini-session or you reached out to a potential partner for a coffee date. Note all of your wins.

4. Start a gratitude list. At the end of every day, do a quick recap: What went well, what could have gone better, and most importantly, what are 3-5 things you are grateful for in that moment and why. Gratitude has been shown to make us happier human beings and keep you focused on everything that is going right.

5. Define your reward immediately when you start a new project. Choose your milestones and decide how you’ll celebrate them. (Don’t save rewards only for hitting your ideal goal!) Make sure whatever you choose is motivating and enjoyable for you. Most importantly, make the time for that reward once you hit the milestone.

6. Ask your fellow business owners or find an accountability partner to check in with you once a week to see what you can celebrate. Being accountable to someone else — even when it’s simply recounting your wins —  allows you to acknowledge and celebrate them.

7. Give yourself a break. If you notice you’ve been going non-stop, full throttle for the last several days or weeks without rest, it’s time to give yourself a non-negotiable break. What can you do for 10-15 minutes today to reward yourself for your hard work?

Rewarding and recognizing yourself is not selfish. In fact, when you work for yourself, it is necessary to keep you focused on the positive results and to keep moving forward.

And don’t confuse developing your recognition plan with practicing self-care. Self-care and self-recognition work in tandem to help keep your thoughts, energy, and mood in check so that you can handle the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

How do you recognize or reward yourself as a solopreneur? What would like to do more of?

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