I’m noticing more and more creatives feeling less-than-enthused (or completely bored with) their businesses. It’s something that isn’t talked much about… after all, if you’ve spent tons of time and money building a laptop life, it feels wrong to admit to being tired of it! So how do you deal with a case of the “Entrepreneurial Doldrums”?
Has your business fallen ill with a serious case of the “Entrepreneurial Doldrums?” Oh no! This is the worst kind of ailment a business owner can have. The doldrums suck the energy and life right out of you AND your entrepreneurial spirit. How do you know if your business is suffering from this terrible condition, and even more importantly: How can you find a cure?
Symptom #1: Feeling stuck
Even the best of us go through periods where we feel like nothing we do moves the needle in our business. Despite the joy of working for ourselves (who wouldn’t want to do that?!) we force ourselves to work on the same reoccurring list of “to do’s” each week. We beat our heads against the same challenges of getting found, being seen, and getting our message out there. We repeatedly book the same type of client that once thrilled us – but now they make us feel like tearing our hair out.
Ultimately, business just isn’t fun anymore. It seems like the next goal is out of reach, or worse, you’re lost and don’t know what you want to do. You miss the joy you had when you first started your business, and, eventually, you start doubting yourself. “Why do this to myself anyway,” you start wondering.
Prescription: A business coach can provide the outside perspective you need to find a fresh angle on your services, your clients, and your marketing strategies.
Potential Side Effects: May rediscover strong sense of purpose and business “why.”
Symptom #2: Learning feels same ol’, same ol’
If you see one more “Book 100 Clients an Hour with THIS Simple Trick,” you might barf. You’ve read all the “how to” and best practice articles. You’ve signed up for the classes, attended the conferences, dutifully networked like you’re supposed to. You’re beginning to wonder if there’s anything new to learn out there. Jumping into a program with yet another group of hopeful newbies sounds about as enjoyable as stabbing your hand with that Poppin’ pen on your desk. You’ve been there, done that, and there’s just nothing interesting to see.
Generic “start your business” classes don’t meet your needs any longer. You’re ready to grab your hat and diploma and move on to the next big thing. The question is… what is that? And how will it actually help?
Prescription: Just like college students, entrepreneurs eventually need to break away from “Business 101” classes to work on an Independent Study. A business coach will provide guidance for a deep dive into what you need to focus on next, educational resources, and the perspective of their own experience.
Potential Side Effects: Excitement and/or brain fatigue from absorbing gobs of new, useful information.
Symptom #3: Going through the Motions (or: Mechanical Motions, or: Doing without Reviewing)
You are so over this business of recording end-of-month stats (but not implementing what you learn), setting quarterly goals (but not following through), and deciding on an objective because it “sounds good” and is what folks expect next. All of it seems meaningless. Sure, you could tweak your website’s copy again, get yourself booked as a speaker, come up with a new opt in freebie… but without an end goal in mind, you’re drifting aimlessly. And you’re sick of it.
You’re ready to set goals based on something that you actually need in your business, goals that bring in results, and you crave the support and accountability to make it happen. The problem is identifying what exactly will make a difference!
Prescription: There’s no point in doing just for the sake of doing. A good business coach will help you identify what is working in your business, what isn’t, and help you set the right goals to achieve your dreams.
Potential Side Effects: Emotional exhilaration resulting from seeing the rewards of all your hard work.
Symptom #4: Too Many Ideas, Too Little Time
“Squirrel!” Your rich, creative mind throws out a good idea at least every other day, or hour. Definitely at least every shower session.
It’s so hard to choose what you want to focus on most! Unfortunately, you know you can’t do it all… at least not right away. But which idea do you prioritize? Or how do you set everything up so it makes a cohesive, meaningful business?
Coming up with a long-term strategy that feeds your inner creative and your business dreams is easier said than done. You know you need to make a plan and stick to it, but when every idea seems like a good one, it’s hard to choose just one thing at a time to work on.
Prescription: Clarity is key, and often we have to find it outside of ourselves. A business coach looks at your business without the same emotional attachments you have, allowing them to give you honest feedback about which of your ideas seem viable. Together you can craft a long-term plan that incorporates all your business ideas in an actionable, strategic manner.
Potential Side Effects: Unexplained bursts of productivity, resulting in tangible accomplishments and a shorter to do list.
Whew! I’m so glad there’s a cure for this dreadful malady! Business coaches can kickstart your business again, helping you regain your energy and zest for self employment. Sounds like an ideal recovery to me!
Tiny Read: When it feels like your efforts are going to waste and you’re tired of getting the same old spiel in every new business course you try, it’s time for a business coach. A coach helps you establish reasonable, actionable goals, and a strategy and long-term vision for your entrepreneurial dreams. After determining what direction you should move in, they hold you accountable, making sure you don’t short-change yourself or your aspirations.