Fall Back in Love With Your Business This Valentine’s Day
February 9, 2021 | Education
When we go into business for ourselves, we understand that we aren’t going to be happy all day every day. We know that there will be challenges. However, we hope that the excitement around building something unique—a business that aligns with who we are and what we want to be doing—will pull us through tough times.
But last year was extraordinarily difficult. Businesses owners in every sector struggled to adapt to the global health crisis, their worries about the future of their business compounded by personal frustrations and loneliness.
If last year made you dread sending emails, stopping you from reaching out to new clients, and avoid doing the things that you know will move your business forward, you aren’t alone.
This Valentine’s Day, and as we look to a more vaccinated and optimistic spring and summer, we explore some small things you can try to reinject a bit of joy into owning your business.
Keep a swipe file of nice comments
When we’re feeling fragile, it’s easy for one nasty comment or a negative customer interaction to knock us off our game. Keep a swipe file of screenshots of lovely comments from customers or encouraging words from friends (somewhere that’s easily accessible, like your phone or desktop) and look through them to remind yourself of the value you bring and why you do what you do.
Try not to get lured in by the hustle mentality
While there will always be times when you’re working hours that would make the Department of Labor wince, permanently swapping a 9 am – 5 pm for a 5 am – 9 pm will quickly deplete our mental and physical resources. There’s a toxic online community that celebrates this style of working and wears ‘drained and frazzled’ as a badge of honor.
And being quarantined has only blurred the lines between home and work further. Many of us think ‘why not work? there’s nothing else to do’. But we need to take time to affirm our other identities outside work, as a good friend, a fun partner, or a present daughter, or simply resting for the sake of rest. There will always be an email to send, so don’t feel guilty for taking the time to make yourself a dynamic, well-rounded person.
Don’t compare your business to others you see online
The more time we spend reading about entrepreneur journeys online, the more distorted our views become (and we were given a lot more screentime last year). We see a teenager who launched a second-hand clothes business on TikTok and has earned over $200k, or an old friend on Facebook who was let go at the beginning of the pandemic and who now portends to bring in six figures a month freelancing. Those stories are outliers. The vast majority of small businesses in the U.S. are bringing in a modest income, built over time. It’s great to have ambitions to be much bigger than you are today, but don’t use others’ successes to belittle how far you’ve come.
Do some volunteer or charity work with your business
If you’re under pressure with money and resources, it might feel counter-intuitive to involve your business in volunteer or charity work. But esteemable acts like volunteering at a shelter as a team, or coordinating food parcels for people shielding all add up in our minds and can elevate our mood. Doing something that’s different, that’s objectively good, that serves our communities, can shake things up and help us to live our values.
Read the notes and plans you made at the beginning of your business
Going back to the space you were in when you first started making plans will help you to realize how far you’ve come; gasp at the things you were naive to believe, marvel at how much you learned, and feel gratitude to yourself for everything you’ve done to make it a reality. It may also offer you a much-needed reminder of why you decided to go into business for yourself in the first place. In the day-to-day grind, it’s easy to lose sight of our ‘why’.
Find out another way to get draining tasks done
One of the great things about entrepreneurship is that you can get out of it what you put into it. The issue is that we aren’t suited for every single task on our list, and so sometimes we can put in so much time and effort into doing things that don’t move our business forward and that drain us, take us out of the zone, or frustrate us, and stoke our imposter syndrome. Over the course of a couple of weeks, jot down how each task you do makes you feel. If marrying inventory between your webshop and brick-and-mortar makes you feel like throwing your laptop out the window, try getting some short term support while you look into investing in software that will do it for you. If you get to the end of a long day and think that there’s nothing you want to do less than come up with an Instagram post, think about who can support you to schedule some evergreen content. Prioritize getting those tasks off your list so you can put your best foot forward.
Figure out what’s getting in your way
As Growtality’s Kerry Preston said at one of Enthuse Foundation’s first events, “When you consider your obstacles–depletion, tiredness, lack of credibility or funds–go home and make a list of everything you’re doing that’s sabotaging you. Then do the opposite. That’s your action plan.” It doesn’t mean beat yourself up for avoiding tasks, it means to take an objective look at your business and whether you’ve been putting off doing things that could really make an impact, and then try to find a way to get them done.
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