Do you remember the thrill of first starting your business? The flushed cheeks, the racing heartbeat, the butterflies, the promise of anything being possible? Do you still feel that same way? Or has the shine worn off?
Even when you’re passionate about what you do, your business has a way of making you doubt your commitment. You deal with emergencies, rejections and disappointments, admin headaches; it’s a wonder you didn’t burn our earlier.
When the scales are tipped so far toward the worse side in the “for better or for worse” cliche, frustrations slowly transform fiery passion into a smouldering flame. Fortunately, it’s not impossible to rekindle that spark.
Here’s how you can fall back in love with your business—even after the “honeymoon phase” is long gone.
1. Identify what’s bothering you
When you first started falling in love with your business, every email, every task on your to-do list, every purchase, felt like it was leading up to something bigger and long-lasting.
But today? Those little idiosyncrasies you found cute or tolerable now annoy you every single time they crop up. What were once thrilling opportunities have devolved into routine obligations.
It’s just like any romantic relationship—it’s all compliments and party manners until it turns into bickering, nitpicking, and complaining.
Unlike a relationship with a significant other, you can’t have “open and honest” communication with your business. Instead, this conversation starts internally. Reevaluate everything that’s been stressing you out.
1. Do you really need to use that vendor?
2. Are you attracting the right kind of customers?
3. What exactly is it that’s stressing you out?
Just like in any committed relationship, your partner can display behaviours that create unnecessary stress, that first need to be identified before they can be worked out.
Only once you’ve been able to identify the different areas that are giving you a tension headache can you systematically resolve each issue individually. It’s a seemingly small change that stops fuelling your negativity and reminds you to look at even basic business duties with a more positive perspective.
2. Add the tasks you love back into the mix
As your business evolves, it’s natural that your role as an owner shifts too. Before you know it, your schedule’s filled with administrative duties and decisions—but none of the hands-on dirty work you once loved. Reflect on the tasks that made you most excited when you were starting your business.
Did you love interacting with the customers or designing your own marketing materials? Whatever it is, find a way to incorporate some of those tasks back into your daily or weekly work life, even if it’s just an hour here and there. While you might not have the time or energy to do as much of those things as you used to, sprinkling them in will help you feel excited again—rather than being constantly wrapped up in the humdrum of your average workday.
3. Set ambitious goals
At the beginning of your journey as a business owner, you had one big, lofty goal hanging over your head: Start a successful business. Now it’s so easy to get lost in the minutiae and the daily struggle to keep your head above water, that it no longer feels like you’re working toward a larger purpose. You’re just trying to make it through today.
Establishing an ambitious business goal allows you to zoom out and see the larger picture, so set one (or even a few). Do you want to increase sales? Introduce an entirely new product? Revamp your website? Identify an objective and then put a plan in place to make it happen.
Having something that you’re working toward (rather than just slogging your way through your to-do list day after day) is a surefire way to reignite both your motivation and your enthusiasm.
4. Switch up your routine
Imagine if you were in a romantic relationship and your significant other took you on the same date every Friday night: tacos followed by mini golf. Every Friday it’s the same exact thing. Tacos and mini golf. Tacos and mini golf. The first few times, you enjoyed it. But, now, tacos and mini golf have completely lost its appeal.
It’s tempting to tell yourself that you thrive on predictability and routine. But, no matter who you are, the monotony lulls you into a sleepwalking state after a while.
Incorporating new tasks (as mentioned above) can help combat the tedium, but you can also try changing your workday routine. Maybe you’ll resist the urge to check emails first thing in the morning and instead save that time for focused, important work. Or, perhaps you’ll move your workout session to the middle of the day for a much-needed energy boost. Sometimes it’s the seemingly inconsequential changes like those that can have a big impact on your outlook.
5. Take some time off (yes, seriously)
If none of the above tips work and you’re still looking at your business with disdain rather than adoration, it could actually be a sign of a much larger problem: burnout. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of burnout include:
- Becoming cynical or critical at work
- Dragging yourself to work and struggling to get started
- Becoming irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers, or clients
- Lacking satisfaction from your achievements
Burnout is surprisingly common among business owners, given the long, strenuous hours they work.
Perhaps what you really need to push the reset button is some uninterrupted time away from your business. Plan a true vacation, or even just take a few days where you don’t travel anywhere—but you also don’t need to be “clocked in.” As the old saying goes, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.” So, maybe all you and your business need is a little space.
It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll always be head over heels for your business. But, if you’re looking for a way to recapture some of that passion you felt when you were first getting started, these tips can help you feel that spark all over again.