Help My Business Feels Like a Job!

mindset small business owners
business has become a job

Do you feel like your business has become a job?

I recently asked my audience this question and shockingly 31% of them said they felt their business has become a job.

Imagine the journey of quitting your full-time job, launching your venture, the risks, the excitement and then landing in a place where it feels like all you have done is created a new job.

When you reach that place, where the business becomes a job, you can feel disillusioned and demotivated.

You may have a busy schedule and loads of meetings, but revenue is not where it should be and the to-do list is never-ending... but it feels like it is for nothing.

Then comes the question...

How did I get here?

This didn't happen in one instance.

You didn't just wake up one morning and decide you hate your business.

This happened to you over time.

You take on work to fill a gap in revenue.

You start doing tasks you know you shouldn't be doing to keep costs down.

You move outside of your skillset.

You've onboarded clients which aren't the right fit.

This is the point where we discover that the practical decisions you may have made over the last 3-6 months 'for the good of the business' may have a hidden cost... your demoralisation.

What about your good?

What about what is good for you?

Your business is your vehicle for a better life. It isn't a charity you serve. It isn't a job. This whole thing came about because you wanted to make a better life for yourself.

Ultimately, if you don't listen to yourself, your demotivation will cause you to quit your business.

So, how do we fix this feeling?

The first thing we have to do is accept three key points...

  • How I feel is real
  • I should be happy in my business
  • I have to change this

Well, the honest answer, is you can't fix the feeling without fixing the circumstance.

The good news is, this is your business, you can make the decisions and change things...

I've been in this position a few times. I slip into doing things where I have no time or it is outside of my skillset, simply to get things done. I then create a rod for my own back.

The logic is, I'll just do this to 'get it done' but then after doing this a couple of times in different areas, we see we have loaded ourselves up with tasks which demoralise us.

So, how do we fix this?

 

Your Mental Health

Almost 15% of people in my survey said they had contemplated quitting their business in the last three months.

That's a pretty sad place to be.

But before you throw in the towel, let me just give you some counsel. The last two years have been traumatic. I am pretty certain, that any business owner is dealing with some form of 'entrepreneurial PTSD' as a result of the lockdowns and financial uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.

Running a business means you are responsible. That lingering worry, prolonged over two years and then the uncertainty of 'is this over now?" can put a lot of pressure on you.

This has a lingering effect on how you think and feel about your business. It has an impact on your mental health. It might take you a year or two to unwind from some of the pandemic's impact on our thinking and mindset.

It might take some time to feel normal again.

You may have acquired some self-doubt during the pandemic as the restrictions threw the world into chaos.

What is clear, even with the inflation crisis and the War in Ukraine - the world has to move forwards. You have to move forward.

You did what was necessary to get through and now the thought of doing that same thing for the next 3 months let alone 3 years depresses you. That's the signal things have to change.

How do you think being demoralised in your business will affect your mental health?

It will have a huge impact on your outlook and decision-making.

The longer you allow the situation to continue the more demotivated you will become.

What happens if that continues?

Demoralisation and feeling downbeat can get much worse than feeling like an employee, it can lead to serious health issues like depression. It can lead to your business closing it's doors.

Maybe it isn't the pandemic, maybe through little changes in the business, you've drifted away from your original idea... it's easily done and before you know It you no longer recognise your business.

 

Change things

Now, it is time to change and you have the power to make those changes.

You are in control and you can make decisions to do things differently.

You have choices.

You can choose to keep things as they are, or focus on doing things differently. This is the baby you have brought into the world. You, the parent, need to guide how the baby develops. Otherwise, you will allow the baby to develop by itself.

Take back control.

If you don't like something... change it.

If this is how you truly feel, if you feel flat about your business, you either make changes or accept this is how it is going to be.

Either you do something or live with it.

But... don't let the fear of failure force you to live with it.

In other words, you are scared to change, so you tolerate things. That won't fix things. You just risk fatally damaging your business as you go through the motions.

I've worked with a lot of clients where 'drift' has caused them to change their services, switch markets and find themselves in a very unhappy place. Even when the money side is good, if you drift out of your sweet spot, it can be demoralising.

Taking the time to retrace the steps and get back on track can prove difficult because the business has developed a mind of its own and that juggernaut can demand a lot of attention.

You can make excuses that you will address things when things improve or you'll address things when it is quieter. The truth is, this is often an excuse for putting off something difficult.

Making changes will be difficult.

Making changes will create doubts and fears.

But the cost of doing nothing is high... you slowly shift into being an employee of your own business.

Perhaps during the pandemic, you took some low-paying work. Now, as the world is open for business, you are fed up with charging less than you are worth.

Ok. change it.

Stop doing meetings and calls which don't have an agenda or clear purpose.

If you need to get new clients to invest time in building a strategy and a plan to do it.

 

The Transition

There is going to be a transition from how you feel right now and how to get back to that sense of adventure and enjoyment you had running your business.

You might have to make some drastic decisions to feel better about your business, but likewise, you might have to tolerate some things in the short term.

If you have a plan to change things, this can give you some relief that you have a trajectory and daily actions to make this change.

Tolerating something for a short period is ok.

What you can't tolerate you should outsource or get help... even if that means earning a little less.

Without the daily actions, the status quo will continue.

Without you refusing to tolerate the status quo, nothing will change.

Without you deciding to change things, you will serve the business, rather than the business serve you.

The power to change this is in your hands.

Go make it happen

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