From winning new projects, a diary full of promising meetings, to even decorating your new office and picking out all your fresh new folders and stationary… those first few development years of business ownership are exhilarating and full of adventure! No two days are ever the same and with every day comes a new experience and learning curve… and you loved every minute of it. But now? All of a sudden, those long hours you love to put in, are now a chore. Your focus is gone. Maybe your personal and home life are suffering as a result of the constant stress. Like everyone else unhappy with their job, you sit there with a sense of despair on Sunday night at the thought of another Monday back at your desk. Ultimately, everything about your business has become a burden. A burden that you undertake with zero passion.
You’re not sure how or when you started to feel this way. You just know something doesn’t feel right anymore. You’ve suddenly become one of those people who dreams of escaping your mundane unhappy work life in the quest for something more exciting. Starting your own small business is a bit like falling in love: it’s exciting, exhilarating, and new. You don’t mind putting in the hours and effort during the beginning because you feel like your building something good. But just like in the affairs of the heart, when it comes to business it’s all too easy to let the passion slide. Take off the rose-tinted glasses and after the adrenaline rush subsides the reality sets in and you may discover that not everything about running a business is so wonderful. There are tasks you absolutely hate to do, activities you find stale, technical difficulties to test your patience and clients and vendors who you may not get on with at all.
Before you make the huge decision to dump something you’ve worked so hard to make a success, consider how you can rekindle that lost spark. All people from all walks of life have those moments and periods of wanting to pack it all in, its completely natural. However, you owe it to yourself and your business to decide whether this is just a wobbly period (99% of the time is!) or your mind is made and that’s it you’re done!
Does this all sound familiar to you? Let’s highlight some of the danger signs and if you find yourself nodding along and saying ‘yep, that’s me’ then read on for top tips to get you feeling the love!
- You’ve taken on too much, you’re wearing so many ‘job hats’ that it’s overwhelming
- You no longer have the time to ensure you are keeping your clients/customers happy.
- Business plan? Haha what is that… I haven’t looked at in ages/ever!
- Your cash flow is a serious problem
- You’re working long hours and hate every second of it
- You’re putting things off and finding everything else to do but solve your problems.
Thankfully, you can rekindle the flames of passion for your business by making a few subtle (tried and tested!) changes in how you work and think. Here are seven tips to help you love your business again!
- Take a holiday! Most business owners rarely take a break, and if they do, they are still not fully switched off… they still answer emails, have the laptop available etc. Repeat after me … ‘YOUR CLIENTS CAN LIVE WITHOUT YOU FOR TWO WEEKS, THE WORLD IS NOT GOING TO END!’ Get a holiday booked that’s purely for you, designed for lots of rest and relaxation. No worrying about answering emails, listening to answerphone messages and dare I say it… no social media! You might find a holiday to escape from it all, and one that gives you (and your brain!) a chance to relax and slow down, is just what you needed to fall back in love with your business. Don’t feel guilty either – everyone needs a break and your clients will understand. Just give them plenty of notice and away you go.
- With your newly refreshed state of mind… start again! After a holiday you always feel relaxed, rested and re-motivated. Before you go back straight into work and catching up – take a day to spring clean your business. Use this new-found positivity to clear out the garbage (ineffective procedures, bad clients and maybe even literally clear out the garbage if you have a messy office!). Simply ask yourself questions such as; what can I get rid of that’s not working/making me unhappy? What’s something that’s costing me lots of money? Can I get rid completely or find a cheaper alternative? What can I do to make my business more efficient? What ideas can I implement to make my clients happier? What skills can I learn that will benefit my business? By examining your life and reviewing your typical work day/week/month you can work out all the areas that are good/bad and act on that to help you solve many of your business issues and set yourself up for success!
- Streamline processes to relive overwhelm! If the main problem within your business is that you feel overwhelmed, running around doing 1001 jobs, then you will really benefit from looking objectively at your business to identify the areas in which your time is being taken up unnecessarily. You can majorly improve your productivity and free up a lot of your time by implementing software, delegating tasks, hiring a freelancer and other tactics designed to be utilized by business owners like yourself to improve workflow and yield better results! Constantly chasing up invoices? Implement a software to do it for you. Absolutely hate answering the business calls? Hire a company who’s job it is to do that. You can easily free up your time by streamlining your current processes and delegating the ones you hate to someone else, leaving you happier, less overwhelmed and of course your business becomes more productive and professional as a result.
- Remind yourself why you started your business! If you’re unhappy with your life and business, it’s easy to forget why you launched your own venture in the first place and the huge benefits you receive from it. When it comes down to it, you‘re the boss. You can take time off when you want, work the hours that suit you, pick and choose your clients and have control over your future. Ok so you are thinking of quitting self-employment, for what? To go back to the ratrace working for someone else, 9-5, a condescending boss, traffic and working all the hours under the sun to make someone else rich! That’s crazy to want to go back into! If you need to fall back in love with your business, take a few minutes to be humble and grateful. You are living the life that most people only dream they had to guts to do! Yes it may be stressful at times, but surely all the massive positives outweigh the negatives you experience sometimes.
- Have good support around you! Running your own business can be a very lonely affair, especially if no one in your inner circle runs their own business so can’t relate to how you are feeling. It needn’t be, however as there are so many business support networks around in the form of monthly groups, networking opportunities, online communities etc. where you can meet up, get out the office and talk to like-minded people who can offer advice, support and a new way of thinking about things. Don’t underestimate a simple coffee with a friend or family member too! A nice chat to whinge and whine to get things off your chest can do the world of good – as they say a problem shared is a problem halved! – so make sure you have a lot of people around you who you can talk you when things are getting too much as this support can make the difference to help you succeed.
- Work out your plan! If you are on a weight loss plan, for example, how great does it feel when you hit your weekly/monthly target and keep knocking those targets out the park! How motivating it is to see yourself working hard to achieve this positive life changing goal. The same logic can be applied to building and making a success of your own business. Take the time to work “on” your business by setting time aside to plan your goals and create a bigger picture of what you want to achieve. Identify realistic goals and objectives and create a roadmap that guides you towards that success! Make sure you regularly review your master plan and check your progress toward achieving your goals. When you see yourself hitting those goals you will feel a sense of motivation and fulfilment knowing you are one step towards where you want to be. Importantly, don’t feel sad if you don’t hit your goal, simply assess what you missed and learn what you need to do to make sure you hit it next month… you’re only human remember!
- Book your next holiday! The logic here is that you will always have something to look forward to. Taking a break, even if its just a few days away is so important for a business owner. A holiday refreshes you, gets you a change of scenery, reminds you how good you really have it (after all, you didn’t have to ask anyone else’s permission to go on holiday – you just did it because you could as you’re the boss!) and that time away even gives you a chance to miss your business! All of which gear you up for an ultra-positive stint for when you get back to your desk!
What are your top tips for staying motivated as a business owner?