entrepreneurial depression

Saving Your Entrepreneurial Soul

Brandon Uttley Starting A Business Leave a Comment

Being an entrepreneur is hard.

You go into business for yourself full of fire, bursting with energy and creativity. You’re passionate, fearless, boundless. Unstoppable.

Then reality sets in. You get sick but you still have to work. So you drag yourself out of bed and zombie on.

People owe you money. You owe money. You can’t sleep. Customers aren’t showing up in droves like you hoped. There are a million things to do, and it feels like there’s only one of you to do 999,999 of them. You’ve fallen off the ledge, burning your reserves fast, hoping your parachute will catch wind before you crash.

What can you do? How can you save yourself, rekindle the passion for your business and get a fresh perspective?

How To Reignite Your Entrepreneurial Energy And Enthusiasm

Here are some practical ways to stem the waves of worry, doubt, exhaustion and boredom that eventually hit every entrepreneur.

Stop digging. If you’re in a hole, stop digging. That comes first. Do whatever you need to do to get help, whether it’s to stave off financial diaster or personal collapse. Find the light at the end of the tunnel and fixate on getting there. There’s always a light.

Count your blessings. Even in the worst moments, you need to find time to be grateful for what you have. Don’t take this lightly. If you can’t think of a single thing to be grateful for, start with air: You’re still breathing. Just breathe. You’re here, and whatever is happening in your business has not killed you. You are unique and valued, and you have a place in this world. You are simply being tested, like every other human being on the planet. Take stock of every little thankful thing around you.

Remember your “whys.” Get in a quiet place and think very hard about why you got into your business in the first place, before any of the drudgery of “running the business” got in the way. Remind yourself what you and your business are adding to the world.

Take breaks. Entrepreneurs are famous for working non-stop and thinking that’s normal. It’s not. Breaks are not just good for the soul, they are vital to keep you fresh and get you past the daily myopia that otherwise will blind you. So take regular breaks. Worst case, schedule (force yourself to take) a few half days off for the next few weeks. Better, take a long weekend or even a week away. Put someone in charge while you’re gone. For best results, schedule a longer sabbatical. Relax, unwind and unplug.

Exercise and eat right. All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, it kills him. Get up and start moving. Join a gym or hire a trainer if you need either to stay committed. Do whatever it takes to pump more blood and oxygen through your veins. The same goes for your diet. Avoid the drive-through window and start eating fresh.

Write. Document everything you are going through. This could be in a private journal, a public blog or whatever works for you. Writing is cathartic. It will help you process the emotions and events affecting you and your business. Later, you can look back over your entries and reflect on how you got through tough times—or spot patterns you can change.

A bonus of sharing your thoughts publicly is that you may attract others who have been through circumstances similar to yours. You might even solicit empathic input and advice. It could even quadruple your business, like it has for James Altucher. He has mastered the art of sharing the rawest of details about his entrepreneurial and personal struggles.

Outsource. The pressure to do everything yourself is rampant among small business owners. Get past your fears and outsource. Even if you think you can’t afford it, there are others who will help for little or nothing. For example, you can find interns at local universities who are looking for practical experience. Or you could hire a low-cost virtual assistant to take on many of the mundane tasks you do, freeing you to focus on more important things.

Trade places. Sometimes, it helps to trade jobs with someone you work with. Or offer to shadow them for a few days. This will get you out of your rut and show you things from a different perspective.

Get a mentor. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Actually, the opposite is true: the smartest entrepreneurs recognize they don’t have to go it alone. There are lots of people willing to coach or counsel you, depending on your circumstances. Having a devoted mentor or even a business “buddy” can help motivate you and hold you accountable. The Small Business Administration offers free mentors through their SCORE association. You might also join a professional networking organization, local Meetup group or mastermind. You could schedule a call with a professional business coach. If your outlook is really bad, consider seeing a professional therapist.

Learn something new. Challenge yourself to learn something every day that will help you improve your business and stimulate your mind. You many also be at a point where you need to step it up and get more advanced training to maintain an edge.

What about you? Have you ever found yourself drained and uninspired in your business? What steps did you take to reboot yourself?

Photo credit: Uncle Ariel

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About The Author

Brandon Uttley

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Brandon Uttley is Commander and CEO of Go For Launch, LLC, his fifth startup. He is passionate about helping others launch and grow successful businesses. When not working on his business, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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