What To Do When Your Business Feels Like 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.
Consider the journey of quitting your full-time job, launching your enterprise, the dangers, the excitement, and finally arriving in a situation where it appears that all you have done is create 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… it feels like the effort is all for nothing.
Then comes the question…
How Did I Get Here?
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. Start doing tasks you know you shouldn’t be doing to keep costs down. Move outside of your skillset and onboard 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 thoughts…
- How I feel is real
- I should be happy in my business
- I have to change this
Well, the honest answer is that you can’t fix the feeling without fixing the circumstance.
The good news is, this is your business. You 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 idea is that I’ll just do this to ‘get it done,’ but after repeating it a few times in different areas, we realise we’ve loaded ourselves up with duties that 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. But, 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 its 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 you’ve lost track of your company and the business has become a job.
Now, it is time to change. You have the power to make those changes. You are in control and you can make decisions to do things differently.
Take back control. If you don’t like something… change it.
If this is how you actually feel, if you are dissatisfied with your business, you must either make adjustments or accept that this is how it will 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, when you are scared to change, you start to 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 to put off doing something challenging.
Making changes will be difficult. Making changes will create doubts and fears. But the cost of doing nothing is high.
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.
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. Tolerating something for a short period is ok. What you can’t tolerate, 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.
Your business will become a job.
The power to change is in your hands.
Go make it happen