July 9/16, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 2
By David Romano
Is losing interest in running my business normal? I have been in the flooring industry for nearly three decades and as the years go by, I find myself less interested in going to work and every idea I hear on how to make things better seems like too much work. I feel trapped because I cannot sell the business, but I need to earn an income.
Dear Burned-Out Owner,
You are not alone. In fact, if anyone who owns a business has told you they’ve never experienced this feeling, they’re lying. The key is to find that one thing, or combination of many things, that provides your “chi.” The drive to not only keep going, but the motivation to own a better version of your company each year.
Here are some things that have worked for me as well as some tips from Forbes and the Harvard Business Journal.
Schedule personal time to recharge.Too often, business owners don’t allow time for themselves. Ask yourself what you’ve always wanted to do that you’ve never done, and what you have done in the past that has given you joy. Then go and do it and don’t feel guilty. After all, there is quantifiable evidence that owners who take more than a month off each year run larger and more profitable companies than their peers.
Seek out a mentor.No matter your age or experience, there is always someone who knows more than you. You can hire a business coach, reach out to someone in your network whom you’ve always admired or connect with people in your field through industry organizations and/or social media.
Delegate parts of your business.Consider assigning the work you don’t enjoy to someone else. Sometimes it seems easier to do it yourself, but the long-term effects lead to burnout.
Focus on your relationships.When you start losing that loving feeling for your work, you may start pulling away from the people around you. But that’s one of the worst things you can do. Those relationships are what will help you feel energized and inspired.
Introduce innovation.Disenchantment often stems from monotony. If you’ve been doing things a certain way at work from the start, think about how you can introduce innovation.
Throw yourself into marketing.If work has been boring, maybe you need to challenge yourself to find ways to attract new business. Perhaps because you haven't been trying to bring in new customers, you’ve been going through the motions.
Stop doing the parts of your job you hate.Maybe you love interacting with customers but hate number crunching. Perhaps you need to unload some of the grunt work you've taken on so you can work on more of the big-picture tasks that will help your business grow. No matter what activities your business requires, you can always find a way to do more of what you love.
Take up a hobby.If running your business seems to be a 24/7 venture, maybe you need to carve out more of a life outside of it. The Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology came out with a study of about 350 people with a variety of jobs and hobbies, as well as a second group of 90 U.S. Air Force captains, and found the more people engaged with a hobby, the more likely they were to be better problem solvers.