I’ve officially been doing this whole business thing for almost six years. The experience has been all over the place. I’ve gone from thinking that it’s the most awesome experience ever to being moments away from throwing up my hands and throwing in the towel. Complete disinterest to passionate love where I stay up for hours writing my little heart out.
At the end of the day, I still love my business, even on the days where I struggle to like it.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming on where I want my business to go moving forward. It almost feels like couples therapy. My business has a life of its own and sometimes I have to step back and evaluate if we’re both growing in the same direction, if we’re both getting what we need to move forward in a healthy way. If we’re good for each other. Me and my business, we had some stuff we needed to figure out – together.
Love will keep us together.
Having a business is a lot like being in a really complicated relationship. It takes a lot of time and energy and sometimes the benefits don’t seem worth it. You feel under-appreciated some days and over-worked others and then there are the days that you feel completely head-over-heels in love. It feels right. We’re talking soul-mate stuff. It’s fulfilling, you look at it and think, “Hot damn, this is MINE.” And you couldn’t be happier, and then there are the days where you don’t feel appreciated, you wonder why you try, and you contemplate being a run-away bride.
Relationships take communication. Communicate with your business.
You’ve got to be able to communicate with your business. Know what it needs, when it needs it, as well as what YOU need, when you need it. Then you find a balance between the two. Give and take. Compromise. Ignoring your business because it’s too much work, or you feel lost, or you get overwhelmed – will not a happy business make. Going all in and working yourself to complete exhaustion, while ignoring your needs, will not bring you the love. Listening to everyone tell you what you should do to make your business work doesn’t work. Each business is different, each you is different, and to make it work together you need to do your own thing by being willing to explore balance.
Date your business.
Well, not really, because that would be weird, but go on business dates. I’m talking Creative Business Planning and Play dates. Take a notebook and fill it up with plans. Get to know what your business wants you to create. You might think that you know where you want to go with it, but sometimes it has other plans. Take the time to have fun with it. Listen.
One of my favorite things is going to the park on a nice day, bringing my notebook along, and just writing out a business plan. A very random, free-flowing, business plan. Oftentimes, we get so caught up in the everyday upkeep of our business that we forget to look at the big picture.
Don’t be afraid to try something new.
When you’ve run your business for awhile, you generally get a system down. Do you know what happens when you do that? Stagnation. Oh, I’m guilty of it. In fact, I have a confession to make. I haven’t taken Pinterest seriously until this last week. Had no desire to figure it out or any know-how when it came to making connections. You see, back in my day Facebook and Twitter were where you put your focus.
Putting in just a little effort this past week on Pinterest has seen my traffic almost double.
Lesson learned: Mix up your routine. While it’s good that you’ve got a system down, don’t stop learning. Spice it up.
Get professional help.
I am a very much do-it-myself person. I can count on one finger the number of business courses I’ve paid for because I like doing my own research and coming up with my own plans, but if there’s an area in your business where you’re struggling (ahem, pinterest) don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Join a group, sign up for a program, use Google, ask one of the business people you admire. It’s good to invest in your business. It’s good to have help figuring out the ins and outs and tricky bits. A business coach or a new business program can help you get a new perspective and renew your relationship with your business.
Remember why you fell in love.
What made you want to blog or create your website? Why did you decide to take the step to do it? I’ve found that the best way to fall back in love with your business is to remember why you started it to begin with. Channel that starry-eyed innocent who got butterflies each time they hit “Publish.”
That’s the essence of your business right there. That’s what you should honor each and every day. Ask yourself if your posts or products are honoring the spirit of that. Remember why you love what you do.
Let it fill you up.