Are you feeling lost, weary or just plain meh about your business as the year winds down? Then let’s have a heart to heart.
I get it. I’ve been where you are. In the past 13 years of being an entrepreneur, I’ve seen it all and felt it all: extreme highs, extreme lows, and quite a few “what the eff am I doing?” moments. What you’re experiencing comes with the territory. We all know starting a business is hard. But what we tend to overlook is that keeping it going — and keeping yourself going — is just as big of a challenge, if not bigger. Over the years, I’ve started multiple businesses, lost my fire and gone down several dead ends before returning to my center.
Below are some methods I’ve used to help me break out of ruts and reconnect with my own uniqueness. I think they’ll help you, too. So before we all go back to our routines after New Year’s, take a little time to sit with these ideas and explore what they mean in your life and work.
Reconnect With Your ‘Why’
It may have been years since you started your business, and you can’t even remember why you took the leap. For me, it was because deep down I knew I could do better work, with better processes, than the places I had worked previously. Ask yourself again (and take note of) why you started your business. Can you reconnect with the joy or excitement you felt when you first created your business? How can you find that joy now? Or ask yourself what would make you feel excited again.
Visualize Where You’re Headed
Besides looking back, it also helps to get clear on what you want for your future. Set some vivid, lofty intentions. It’s OK to dream big. It’s also OK if that dream has to do with making money. After all, we didn’t go off on our own to live perpetually in lack. We started our companies to be in abundance and to serve others. It’s what fills us up.
Define Success For Yourself
Write down what being successful looks like for you. Then ask yourself where you got that definition. Does it truly line up with your joy? Or is it a definition you picked up from your parents or your uber successful and slightly annoying best friend from college? Remember that success is a multidimensional concept. Getting to go to the gym in the mornings, being able to work and see the world at the same time or not going to the office until 10 might be what really matters to you. Figure out what success looks like for you now, and restructure your business around that.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes your excitement can dwindle if there is not enough you in your business. Here’s advice I give to DesignGood clients all the time: What differentiates you from other businesses doing or selling the same thing often comes down to only one thing: you. That’s why it’s so important for your business to have a unique voice — a voice that directly ties into your beliefs, values and strengths. Real talk: I struggle with this myself, too, But I’ve come to realize that clients do like hearing from me directly. People like to do business with real people.
Look for Ways to Innovate
The environment you’re doing business in constantly changes. That means you have to keep changing, too. Where can you innovate in your business? Look at what you’re doing from a client’s or customer’s perspective. I bet there is a way you could repackage or reimagine your services or offerings to be more desirable, exclusive or clear. You can even start the year by asking your audience what they would love to see from your brand in 2018. Start by taking a look at where you commonly use the words “never” or “can’t.” I could never charge that much or I can’t afford to hire someone else are great examples. Which brings us/me to our next point. …
Do What You’re Passionate About
One way to get totally bummed out about your business is to continue to do things you don’t like to do. It also might not be the best use of your time or money to try to do everything on your own. Your clients want to hire you for the things you’re best at and that only you can do. Give all the other tasks to someone else (like a freelancer or virtual assistant) who is happy to do them!
Put Yourself First
If you sit at your desk till 8 every night instead of hitting your favorite hip-hop spin class that starts at 5:30, then you’re not doing anyone any favors. Your staff and your customers/clients need you to be filled up and inspired. You need to show up every day as your best version of you. So do things that allow that to happen! What are you working so hard for if you don’t do things you enjoy? Find some ways you can decompress and reset your brain each day — so that every morning you are showing up as your best self. Missing out on life just creates resentment. Which has no place in your business!
As an entrepreneur your business is very closely tied to your life and your livelihood. In fact, most of the time they are one and the same. The challenges of running your own business are real. But so is your ability to overcome them. And we’re always ready to be your ally in this journey.
Much love and lots of gratitude,