We’ve all had those weeks. Weeks when it feels all the stress of running your own business just isn’t worth it. Weeks where clients won’t pay on time, or you work on projects that are not lighting you up, or you’re dealing with clients who micro-manage you and breath down your neck. And then there are those weeks when everything goes eerily quiet, and you compulsively check your contact form to see if it’s broken, and worry about how to pay your bills.
Unfortunately sometimes those weeks can stretch into longer periods of time, and you start feeling resentful about your business all the time. It’s so very easy to go down that gloomy road, which leads us to be unhappy with the way things are. A road where we start feeling that we’re only doing it to pay our bills. But if you think about it, what’s the actual point of having your own business if you’re feeling unhappy and only doing it for the paycheck? Surely there are easier ways than entrepreneurship to feel that particular way!
Here’s a little list of simple things that might help you get that spark back at times when it all just feels a bit much.
Remember why you started
We all have a reason for starting our own business in the first place. Can you still connect with that reason? Was it for the freedom, for the opportunity to push yourself, or to feel like you’re making an impact on your clients’ lives? Or maybe you’re just like me and hate being bossed around (Ha!), so the only option really is being your own boss. Can you remember why you started? Can you still remember what it was like working for someone else? I find that a trip on the underground at rush hour, being squashed in like sardines with sweaty bodies does the trick marvellously. If realising I never have to do that again doesn’t cheer me up, I don’t know what will!
Big up yourself
With all the tricky things we have to deal with as entrepreneurs, it’s often way too easy to forget about all the good stuff we’ve achieved. When you’re feeling dark, remind yourself about all your achievements. Perhaps, along with keeping a gratitude journal, which is a wonderful tool in itself, also keep a shameless brag journal, where you write down all the good things you’ve done each day. When you need a kick of self-confidence and positivity read through it and allow yourself to be proud.
If you feel like you’ve lost the love for what you spend most of your day doing, reassess. Make it habit to listen to yourself and ask yourself where your joy lies. Which jobs did you enjoy, which didn’t you feel passionate about at all? The beauty of running your own business is that there’s always room for growth, and you can always adjust your course. You can tighten your marketing efforts to attract the kind of jobs you do love, you can come up with new products and services that do fill you with joy, you can even change course completely provided you plan your transition well. There’s no such thing as ‘being stuck’ when you are an entrepreneur, you have all the power to shake things up.
Don’t turn your freedom into a 9-5
Ok, I know some people work best when they structure their day as if they were at a ‘regular’ 9-5 job, but to me that has always been a bit perplexing. Perhaps it’s because freedom is so at the core of my why, but personally I never want to feel like I’m stuck in too much of a routine. Sure, I have certain things that need to get done at certain times, but other than that, I like to enjoy the freedom running my own business provides as much as I can. If I can go write in the park, I will. If I want to work until 3am and sleep in the next day, I will. That freedom is what keeps me excited about the things I do. Even if you’re more of a routine kind of person, do make use of one of the biggest pros of working for yourself, flexibility. Whether it’s with regular breaks or working from a coffee shop from time to time.
Have a happy workspace
I believe your environment hugely affects how you’re feeling and how productive you are. I think it’s especially important for creatives to have a working environment which provides constant inspiration, and where we love to spend time in. How is your office looking? Is it comfortable, is it pretty? Is it filled with your favourite everything? Even something as simple as having a window to look out of while you work can make a huge difference, not to mention paying some attention to ergonomics, such as the height of your desk and the comfiness of your chair. Plus, I for one believe that a tidy workspace equals a tidy mind (but that could be just me. ;))
Reach out to others
I’m definitely guilty of going long stretches without seeing anyone else, and while as an introvert I quite like the solitude, sometimes isolation can definitely encourage those gloomy kind of feelings. And every time I do manage to meet up with others for a coffee, or attend a networking event, I always come away refreshed. Being able to bounce ideas off others can give just the right kick-start your inspiration needs. Even though you work for yourself it doesn’t mean you have to feel isolated, just remember that you will have to do the reaching out and get out there!
If you’ve been feeling negative lately, I hope some of these things might give you a nudge in the right direction. Remember, we’re in business because we love what we do and have something important to share with the world, what could be better than that!