Entrepreneurs do what they do because they love it. But what happens when that passion, that drive, dwindles to embers? You’re not going to shut down your business and move on to something else just because you’re less enthusiastic about going to work. So use these strategies to rekindle that fire for your small biz.
#1. Take a Break
You might be feeling “meh” because you’ve been working too hard. Just like you need a break from your spouse (c’mon, admit you do), you also need a break from your business. Otherwise it’ll suck the life out of you. So do something else for a while. If you’ve got tons of time, hand the keys over to your best employee and go chill on a beach for a week. If you have less time, take Friday off and have some “you” time. If you have even less time, simply get out of the office and take a walk every day.
#2. Ask Yourself Why
You used to jump out of bed to go to work. Now you pull the duvet over your head and hit the snooze button. What’s got you so sick of work? Maybe you’ve got an troublesome employee you don’t want to deal with. Or maybe sales have been slow, and you worry for your business’s future. Whatever the reason, be honest about it so you can tackle it head-on. Then come up with a strategy to deal with the situation and move on. You’ll probably perk up from there.
#3. Talk to Other Business Owners
If you just feel like you’re working in a bubble (especially possible for those of us who work from home), find inspiration among other entrepreneurs. They don’t have to be in your industry; you should be able to catch the contagion of anyone’s passion for their own business, no matter what they do. Attend networking events or conferences to find them.
#4. Get a Change of Scenery
Move your office furniture around. Work from Starbucks once a week. Simply changing your environment can change your attitude. Just be honest about your ability to be productive somewhere else. For me, I can’t work with noise, so a coffee shop is out. Instead, I take my laptop and curl up in my favorite chair, or work outside on a beautiful day.
#5. Delegate the Work You Hate
It might not be your business that you’re despising, but rather certain tasks and responsibilities you have. Consider what tasks are the most time-consuming, or which you dread the most, and outsource them. If you don’t yet have any employees, hire a freelancer or consulting firm to help. This will free you up to put your attention on doing the things in your business that you really do enjoy.
#6. Work On Your Business
Maybe you’re tired of the mundane day-to-day. Hiring someone will help take care of that, and then you can work on developing your business. That means rather than writing proposals, you’re looking at your marketing strategy. Instead of sending invoices, you’re tweaking your growth plan. Think more big-picture and less small-potatoes.
#7. Try Something New
If you haven’t added a new product or tried a new marketing channel in a while, that could be the burst of innovation you need to get back into the swing of things. Test out something new, and pay attention to results to see if they help you achieve your goals (oh, and set up goals first!). If not, move on to something else.
#8. Get Rid of What’s Not Working
The other side of this coin is cleaning out the crap. If you’ve been offering a product or service that doesn’t sell well (or that is a pain to maintain or offer), chunk it. I recently decided not to continue to offer press release services. They were a thorn in my side. And so I put the kibosh on them. I feel lighter, and more able to focus on my business’ core offerings.
#9. Find Inspiration
For me, I find inspiration reading about other businesses. If reading is your path to happiness too, read business books, blogs, and magazines and get inspired. If you’re a video or audio kind of person, check out TED Talks or podcasts. You might find this enough to kickstart your passion again.
#10. Learn Something
What’s more inspiring than learning a new skill? Maybe it’s time for you to master social media or accounting. Attend a seminar in person or a webinar online. Read books on the subject. Then feel proud of your newfound skills.
When It’s Time to Call it Quits
Not everyone who’s lost the drive as an entrepreneur can find it again. Sometimes the thrill is gone for good. If you try these methods to no avail, ask yourself whether you really want to be in this business:
- How long have I felt this lack of passion?
- Does it feel temporary?
- Is there some event that I need to get past to see if I still feel this way (i.e. a busy holiday season)?
- How long can I continue like this?
- Is there something else I dream of doing?
- Am I tired of entrepreneurship in general, or just the business I’m in?
If all signs point to the fact that you’re ready to exit, either this business in particular, or entrepreneurship in general, consider your options. You can sell your business, take the money, and do something else. You can set your sights on a new career or business and gradually work your way toward it, closing down (or selling) your current business once the new one is making sufficient money. You can become a silent partner if you have a partner, and take a back seat in operations.
Whatever you decide to do, think it through. After all, you’ve put a lot of love, time, energy, and money into this business, and you don’t want to lose it all just because you’re frustrated with it at the moment. Make sure you have a soft place to land so that once you do make your exit, you’ve got a safety net.
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