Losing and Finding My Motivation

For most people that know me this post is going to come as something of a shock, for a few it won’t. In 2008 I lost my motivation, BIG time.

I’ve been pondering writing this post for about a week, in fact I’ve started it twice and deleted it (once on purpose, once accidently (fuckwit)). So what caused the loss, combination of things really. Moving away from friends, not needing to work and relationship issues which wouldn’t be fair of me to share on a public site. End of the day it was entirely my fault and I’ll take full responsibility for that.

As you’d expect losing motivation has consequences, businesses just ticked over rather than expanding (thank fuck I’m a TOTAL advocate of automation and outsourcing), I drank too much and piled on a shed load of weight, wasted ยฃ500 on gym fees and never went once, house is something of a shit hole with odd jobs being neglected for the past year or so and other issues which again wouldn’t be fair sharing publicly.

On the positive side I knew it was happening and knew I needed to do something about it. I attended Elite Retreat which helped and led to me attending Think Tank which helped more. Also did the a4u speaking gig and various other talks and meets. All really helped and I made some great friends in 2008 which I hope and expect will be friends for life.

The final piece in me re-finding my motivation was my recent trip to Vegas. I lost a fair bit in Vegas, cash, naivety, morals, brain and liver cells BUT more importantly I hooked up with some brilliant friends (you know who you are), saw some amazing sights and became really REALLY motivated again.

So what next? Starting to get fit again (lost about a stone since Christmas) business is expanding, just launched the UK version of Coolest Gadgets which is going to be big. Flying to New York at the end of the month to meet up with a fantastic friend and start another business in a totally TOTALLY different niche and have a list ideas that will be acted upon.

Need to thank Scott for being an amazing business partner, friend and posting here when I haven’t been. I’ll be back posting more frequently from now on (won’t post pad but trying a lot of new things here so will have more stuff to share).

Al’s back. Funny thing is last year was my most profitable to date, you’ve just got to love Internet marketing.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. Game Producer (from DP) says:

    Good to have you and your motivation back ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Ashley Norris says:

    Hey Al. Sorry to hear that. You have created an amazing business so you probably deserved a bit of time out. But glad to know you are back on the case. Good luck with everything including the new site

  3. A very honest and open post Al, glad to hear you’re getting things sorted out and re-found your motivation.

    Like you say, outsourcing is a great thing to cover you for difficult periods in your life like this and you’ve now still got a business which is just as good (or better?) than before.

    Good luck with your new ventures, give me a shout if you need anything!

    Zath’s last blog post..British Airways To Allow In-Flight Mobile Phone Use

  4. I have to admit that this comes as a shock Al. I’ve been following this blog for a long time and have read the few posts you did in the last months but never once did I imagine that something was up. I thought you were busy and that’s all.

    I am however glad that you have found your motivation and energy and is back on track. Personal issues are always a bitch but once you get past them everything clears up.

    Good to have you back!!

    Mikael’s last blog post..Google Smack af EzineArticles?

  5. Motivation!!!! the only thing needed for a self made mind and person. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good to have to back mate.

  6. Good to see you spotted the problems and have acted to keep on moving forwards ๐Ÿ™‚

    The presentation you did in Leeds a few months back was excellent by the way!

    Matthew’s last blog post..Minoru 3D Webcam

  7. Hi Al, thanks for such an honest out cry, I’m sure you feel better after that, and now 2008 is over. Your story strongthens the belief that financial success doesn’t equal happiness. Your a down to earth guy and wish you all the best for this year, i’ll be following closely.

  8. As you have people writing for you I didn’t realise you’d lost your motivation…. Hope all is well now. Cheers.

  9. Good gracious, good luck and well done! Should you have not realised that, the consequences would be disastrous. Realising that, I believe you would have worked further on your 2009 gameplan, and well done for being back to office again!

    Looking forward to see you being active around. Actually, I aren’t really sure if I could really get to see you any time sooner.

    Keith’s last blog post..Windows Worm Affects Numerous PC

  10. Hey Al, I’m glad you recovered your motivation. Sometimes it’s hard to do it.

    Don’t know if you noticed, but in the uk version of coolest gadgets you have your about page with a default wordpress message.

    Javier’s last blog post..It Is Hard Not to Love Motorized Scooters

  11. Welcome back Al ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yeah I go through phrases of motivational ups and downs (a lot of that is to do with living by the coast in a country that is cheap to live in).

    I find that shifting projects every now and again, and letting some things tick over helps.

    The main thing is not to be to hard on yourself about past mistakes, and look towards the future.


    • Where do you live Deano?
      I am in a similar situation in Tenerife. All too easy to slope off for a sly pint in the afternoon and never make it back!!!
      Worse in the summer when it is red hot and everyone is out boozing on bar terraces by the beach and you are driving past in a frickin shirt and tie on your way to a meeting with a coffee-breathed Spanish bank manager!!!

  12. Thanks everybody for the comments, calls and tweets. You’re all awesome.

  13. Al,

    read and re-read this a few times today, then stared at my own version…. this last year has been something similar for me but perhaps without the automation element so earnings suffered for me.

    i have new projects now and am launching a new business in the next two weeks and i hope that i can get my butt back into some more aff stuff as well

    SEOidiot’s last blog post..#UKsnow

  14. Well done Al. What amazing honesty. I was in a similar predicament for a few weeks after Christmas, brought on by a nasty bout of norovirus. It made me wander if trying to pack a thousand things into a day (including a 9-5 – yes poor me!!) was having its toll…but then I looked in the mirror and told myself to “Get back on it”….I for one do not outsource enough of my web business so I really struggle when I have the occasional bouts of man-periods / man PMT, exhaustion and lack of energy to work….

    What the saving grace for me is that when you arrive at such a “Plateau” and you realise it, you also realise that your business has not contracted or been damaged….and your pumped up ready to shift into the next gear and really move it on to the next level…it also gives you a chance to remove yourself and look afresh at your business, which provides you the tasks and projects to move on up..

  15. Yes my biggest issue is doing anything day in day out on a consistent basis … glad you are back now mate

    • Yeah, I hate it when things turn into a daily routine. It really kills my motivation, that’s why I want to start working from home and being my own boss, because an employer usually limits you to what they need you to do for them and don’t allow you to explore something else. But if you’re your own boss, then you can always find something else to do when one turns routine or find another way to do it.

  16. Welcome back Al. A vacation away from everything is all it takes sometimes.

    Jeff’s last blog post..Bakery Mistakenly Makes a USB Flash Drive Cake

  17. Al, are you going to share more about your thoughts with the new UK site? The reason I’m asking is that I too have just decided to launch a UK site after having built a US site up, so any thoughts you have had could be beneficial.


    Mikael’s last blog post..Ken Giddens X10 Video – Vรฆrd at se

  18. Well, you never would have known it from the insightful post you’ve continued to share. Sure they slowed a bit, but everyone does after a while!

    Anyhow, I’m glad to hear that you’re back in the swing of things. I’m sure I’ll be seeing more variety in your tweets as well ;).

    Justin Cook’s last blog post..When digital theft is a good thing!

  19. One thing that’s hard finding once lost is motivation, and without motivation there isn’t happiness because there’s that empty feeling of unaccomplishment. Thank you for sharing your experience and tips.

  20. Al,

    You have no idea who I am I’ve been read your blog for about a year now. I lost my job a few weeks ago and am give it a real go to work from home.

    I’ve been staring at the walls in the smallest room in the house for the past hour thinking what the hell I do next to try get myself to a better level of income to support my family. Reading your blog is a real motivation to me and I’m sure a lot of other people. Great to have you back and glad life is good for again you.

  21. Hey Al, Glad you’re back on track mate. Been there myself especially after endless sleepless nights with young kids. I found Tim Ferris’ “4 Hour Work Week” book really helped. Less is more etc. Not down to 4 hours yet but getting there fast.

  22. If you ever want help finding motivation Al, I have a nack of helping people to find it again. People frequently say they get fired up after chatting to me about their ventures!

    Would be good to meet you at the Leeds conference next month regardless.


    Dan @ PowerDosh.com’s last blog post..Breaking the Block – Finding Motivation

  23. Hi Al,
    We all go through our dips. I was wondering why you weren’t posting as often, but like most people, just thought that you were extremely busy with all of your projects. A lot of us have been following you and Scott started Self Made Minds and you’ve provided a lot of inspiration for us. I’m glad 2009 is looking brighter. You have a lot of friends and fans out here!

  24. I had a similar year . mortgage broker – says it all really!
    2008 was just a nightmare, plenty of clients, enquiries etc but getting deals done and money in became impossible.
    Did almost nothing for 2 or 3 months – thought about sacking it completely for quite while.
    then discovered “internet marketing for noobs” set up a couple of site (albeit amateurish efforts) and slowly brought the business back to life.
    Thinks are looking up this year although it isnt going to be a walk in the park – but I have plenty of new projects to diversify me and Iยดm cracking on with them with as we speak.

  25. Hello Al!

    For me, helping others gives me alot of motivation and makes me feel really good about myself.

    I do it in my job as an IT Consultant. Solving other peoples problems and hopefully teaching them something along the way. I hope I am inspiring to them in some way.

    For me, you have been that inspiration. I have read your stuff for over a year now and your ideas and energy has been the main key to what I am doing in the land of SEO now.

    I just wanted to let you know that you are an inspiration!



  26. Its bizarre saying this, but I lost my motivation a while back in a very big way. I had been doing weights for a few years, nothing heavy nor that regular, just for the purpose of toning the body and building a little muscle. It was sometime in July 2007 when I did the weights at home as usual, but I woke up the next morning to find my body had changed completely for the worse. I went from a guy with a pretty attractive physique to a really weird looking one overnight. It was the most bizarre thing because I had never witnessed this nor heard of it happening to anyone where the body completely changed overnight. It completely ruined my mind, thoughts and my life.

    After this I just couldn’t be bothered to sit infront of the computer at all and spent large parts of the day on the bed just wondering and asking why this happened. I even contemplated suicide. Previous to that I use to spend approximately 8-12 hours a day at the computer, but for several months I didn’t even touch the computer and gradually forced myself to go on it for one or two hours as months went by as I felt I had to do something or else all the sites will become idle. Luckily, I was still earning a good amount of money from Adsense and other advertising even though I was completelty or very inactive for much of the time. Just recently I have managed to find a lot more motivation as I am seeing a great deal of improvement without actually doing anything, not completely back to where it was but still a great improvement.

    I know its very bizarre, but very true. I hope for the sake of anyone else, they never have to experience this.

  27. G’day Al,
    Firstly, top effort on being completely honest. It is indeed refreshing.
    I wanted to ask if you have plans of an Australian version of “gadgets”?

    If this has any appeal, I wuld love to have a chat about the possibility.

    Cheers mate,

    Craig McPherson

  28. I am glad that you have found your motivation and energy back. You are a really inspiration for many of us who lose their motivation at different step of our life.

  29. Al,

    Was good to meet up with you and have a few beers with Matt in Vegas. I saw pics of that Irish bar we drank in and there were women all over the bar like coyote ugly……we must have been there on gay night or something!

    Anyway, whenever you are down in London let’s meet up and do more beers, a curry and catch up. I was following your tweets with @shannonpoole and wished I had been there with you in NYC for the curry, perhaps we can do one in May.

    Found your blog now by accident reading stuff to do with Think Tank, sounded like a lot of fun. I remember early Pubcon’s being much like that. You should come down in July to the Citie of Yorke, oldest pub in London, Pubcon in London is always great, it’s a one day event that will last 3 or 4.

    Be lucky.

    • Was good meeting with you s well Jim, that was a mad night (even if their was lack of women there).

      NYC with @shannonpoole was awesome, as you could probably tell via the tweets. Doing Amsterdam next month for a4u and have a house boat for a week so expect more crazy tweets, then SMX in May so I’ll certainly be in touch about a curry.

      I’m due to do Pubcon in Vegas but will check out the London one too, sounds fun.

      Al Carlton’s last blog post..Sitepoint marketplace offers a good bang for your buck

  30. Yes I’ve been following the tweets about the house boat. Sounds badical.

    I am actually foregoing San Fran ad-tech to do a4uexpo in Amsterdam. It’s a less brutal flight and a lot of the people I spoke to are coming over to London for ad-tech in September. In light of the fact there is virtually a trade show every week it’s important to be selective.

    I’m likely to do any event in London and possibly ASE in New York. I’m tempted to do ad-tech New York to check the new venue and if I don’t do ASE it is likely to be because I hate the Hilton New York, the only thing I like about the place is the Irish pub round the corner that does a mean sheperds pie and good beer and stays open very late and the kebab van where they queue round the block to get processed meat on a tin plate covered in something that looks like mayo.

    SMX in May sounds like a plan. Gonna tap up Chris Sherman and see if I can get a speaking slot, always like to do the stand-up gig.


  31. Al,

    I had missed this post and just read it. I am touched that the thinktank helped.

    That means a lot to me!

    Much Love,

  32. Motivation is a key ingredient in running or working in any business/job. Good to hear you’re addressing issues and bouncing back

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