Quit your job and live happily ever after.
Admit it, that’s a myth you bought into when you left your corporate career to set up on your own.
And now you’re sitting there, some years in, feeling jaded. That early passion you had around doing your own thing has gone.
Maybe the low-hanging fruit you went after in the beginning, telling yourself it would ease your cash flow, has turned into a job in itself. Maybe you’ve just got so entrenched in delivering stuff that you don’t know how to get off your self-created hamster wheel.
But don’t beat yourself up. This kind of thing comes with the small business owner’s territory. It’s just that not many people tell you about it.
So when it happens it’s all too easy to feel like you’re failing somehow.
Realising that, and normalising it is step one of getting your groove back.
Beyond that, here are some things that work for me:
Recover your “why”
I bet you started up your own thing for at least one of the following reasons:
- You had a clear, emerging sense of purpose; a big feeling that you had some thing, or some service, to give to the world that you couldn’t give from the confines of your corporate job.
- You had a big need for freedom; you wanted to create the kind of lifestyle that it’s hard to create while doing a corporate job.
What was your “why”? It’s so easy when we’re out there doing our stuff to forget. So, remind yourself. Go back to whatever inspired you in the beginning. Connect with it again.
That’s a key source of your energy and enthusiasm right there.
Step back and review
When you were working for whatever corporation it was, I imagine they did away days from time to time to encourage you to get your head out of doing stuff, and into envisioning the future.
So easy not to do this for ourselves as little businesses. But so necessary.
Remember you’re the CEO of your business. Invent your own away day. Find a lovely venue and get away from wherever it is you normally work.
Cancel the time out in your calendar and don’t let anything interfere with it.
Create a little process for yourself in advance. The kind of things you want on your agenda are:
- What was my original vision for this business?
- What have I achieved there? What haven’t I achieved yet?
- Is the vision still right? Now that I’ve been in business for however long, do I need to tweak it or change it? If so, how does it need to look now?
- What are the core services or products I need to have in place to deliver my vision now?
- What is in place that I can continue and leverage?
- What’s not in place yet that needs to be developed?
- How will I develop it?
- What’s in place that no longer fits my core business and that I need to manage off my portfolio?
- How will I do that?
Use this as a time to accelerate your personal growth
And while you’re stepping back to refresh your business, think about the things this moment of inertia may be calling on you to develop in yourself.
Many would-be entrepreneurs get stuck doing contracting work, for example, because they are afraid to package what they do and to take it to new prospects.
There’s a fear of looking stupid, being told “no”, having ideas that no-one runs with.
Again, these fears are pretty normal. So the challenge isn’t whether you have them. It’s what you do with them. A lot of coaches will suggest you develop a fearlessness in yourself. I don’t think that’s for real. But I do think it’s possible to engage courage to help keep you moving despite fear.
Other people get stuck behind beliefs like “I’m no good at marketing myself”. Again, pretty normal. But they’re just beliefs. Don’t assume they’re real. Test them. Challenge yourself to learn about marketing, or whatever, and see how it feels – and indeed what becomes possible – when you hack it.
Whatever, use this moment to acknowledge where your learning edge is, and use it to grow, energise and inspire yourself.
So, I’m curious. As a small business owner, what gets in the way of your being engaged and motivated? How do you stay fresh and engaged?
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