When many people start their businesses, they have a clear goal in mind. They want to be doing something they love whilst also getting paid for it. Dreamy, right? We’re often told that we should follow our passions and hobbies, turn them into a moneymaking machine, and reap the rewards. We follow blindly, imagining how amazing it would feel to be writing or painting or sewing or designing every day. How many people can truly say that they’re doing what they love, every minute of every day?
But, just like any relationship, things can turn sour pretty quickly. All of a sudden, you are spending less time doing what you love and more time working on the business itself. Those hours you thought you’d be revelling in your passion have turned into hours replying to emails, making sales calls, filling in tax returns, and getting to grips with Facebook ads (eugh).
Alternatively, you hire other people to do all of those things. Ah, now you’ve got the time back, right? Wrong. Instead, you’re spending hours managing staff. Before you know it, the love affair with your business has well and truly vanished. You consider separation, potentially even divorce. However, maybe all you need is to fall back in love. Consider this your business relationship counselling session. It’s time to fall head over heels once more.
A candlelit dinner
What’s the purpose of a date night in a relationship? For many, it’s a chance to reconnect without the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life. When you’re sitting down with your significant other during a romantic candlelit dinner, you have a chance to remember what it was you loved about them in the first place. It’s time for you and your business to have a date night.
Schedule a few hours in your calendar, once a week, to reconnect with your business. Just like you would do in a relationship, reminisce on all those fond memories and the adventures you have been on together. Remember when you secured your first client? That buzz… Amazing, right? How about when you got your first office space? I bet that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It can be so easy to get disillusioned when things aren’t always going to plan, but a date with your business can help you remember the good times as opposed to all the bad.
The silent treatment
Now, as my husband will tell you, this is one of my favourite pieces of relationship advice. Not that we don’t communicate to resolve issues, but because sometimes all you need to do is shut yourself in a dark room and have some time to yourself. The same can be said about your relationship with your business. How many still moments do you have? It can be easy to say “I’m too busy,” but trust me when I say you NEED to find the time.
Whether you’re a one-man (or woman) band or have a team surrounding you, there’s no denying that being in business can feel a bit ‘too much’ at times. It can seem like you never switch off. If you treated any other relationship with that intensity, you can bet there would be arguments. You can’t be in each other’s pockets 24/7 and expect not to fall out. It’s important to ensure you are giving your business a bit of the silent treatment every now and then.
This is another thing, like your date nights, that needs to be scheduled in. Give yourself 10 minutes, once a day, to retreat into your peaceful place. Mine is in another room, with my headphones in, listening to a meditation track, an audiobook, or (when things are bad) really, really loud rock music. Give yourself some breathing space.
Get your butterflies back
Remember those initial butterflies when you start falling in love? That weird fluttery feeling is actually a reduction of blood flow to your stomach (how romantic), which is due to a natural ‘fight or flight’ reaction. When you’re falling in love, you get something similar because it’s an unknown situation and you’re anxious about whether they are going to love your new dress or they notice you’ve shaved your beard. You get something similar when you start a business, too.
However, if you’ve fallen out of love with your business, perhaps it’s time to go back to basics. This is particularly useful if you’re spending less time on your passion (the reason you started your business) and more time doing admin or managing staff. Give yourself some time to go back to ‘the shop floor.’ If you started a content agency (like me) and now spend more time doing payroll and talking to clients (also me), then start writing again (like I’m doing right now).
As soon as I started typing away, going back to the basics of my passion, I remembered why I love this business so much. Whatever the origins of your business, it’s important to revisit them time and time again. This advice applies whether you’re your own boss or the boss of hundreds of staff. Not only will it help rekindle your passion, but you’ll learn a lot about what might have changed since you last dedicated all of your days to this part of the business. You may discover some processes that need tidying up or realise that there are new advancements in the industry you should be aware of. Going back to basics opens so many new doors.
A little bit of roleplay
Look, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to spice things up every now and then — especially not when it comes to your business. If you want to bring back some passion, then consider a little bit of roleplay. Why not put yourself in the shoes of someone else for a few hours? Not only will this help you see your position from a different perspective, but you may encounter some valuable insights too.
Imagine you’re a potential customer and go through the steps of discovering your business for the very first time. How you feel when you load up your website or landing page, those initial impressions. Are you excited? Scrolling through your social channels and the messages you’re sending out. Do they entice you? Do you want to buy? Is it easy to buy? What’s the selling point? Do you care?
Heck, you can even get dressed up in something you think your ideal customer would be wearing and go the whole hog! Consider where your customer might be (in bed, at work, on the toilet!), what kind of mindset you’d be in (actively seeking to purchase, knowledge-gathering, just curious), and have a bit of fun. Seeing your business through fresh eyes can make it feel brand new.
It’s fairly normal to fall in and out of love with your business more than Ross and Rachel in Friends. However, you don’t need to resign yourself to a loveless relationship. Instead, bring the spark back and remember why it was you started all of this in the first place. The more love and passion you can bring back into the business, the more you’ll see it flourish once again.