In a lot of ways running a business is like a marriage. There are similar stages: apprehension – when you’re not sure it’ll work out; infatuation – when you can’t get enough of the relationship; and resignation – when you realize that every business, just like every marriage requires hard work. While there’s no avoiding the hard work, falling in love with your business again can help you sustain the energy that being a successful entrepreneur requires. Here’s how to do it:
- Get back to your purpose. Remember why you started your company in the first place. Were you working to fulfill a need? Did you see something you wanted to change in your industry? Had you identified a way you could improve your community? Let’s face it: it’s easier to work for someone else and earn a consistent paycheck than it is to start your own business. You did it for a reason, and you need to keep that reason in mind.
- Reconnect with your core values. When we’re working in harmony with our core values, we feel good. When we’re working against them, we feel tired, frustrated, and wrung out. Simply making sure your company is working in support of the things that matter most to you can help you rededicate yourself to your business. Identifying your core values can also help you ensure the staff you hire is in alignment with your mission.
- Focus on more than the money. A Princeton University study has confirmed what we’ve been told our entire lives. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Specifically, the study found that once basic needs can be met – which they determined is at around the $75K income mark – additional money did not result in additional happiness, at least not in and of itself. What did make people more happy was doing things they valued with that money. Whether it’s charitable work or using funds to spend more time with your family, remember that your bank balance alone isn’t a measure of your happiness.
- Make the world a better place. One of the most rewarding aspects of entrepreneurship is the ability to effect change in your community. When you have to slog through the hard work of running your business, knowing your work makes your community better can help sustain your efforts, help make it feel worthwhile.
- Realize your importance to your employees. Not only does your company support your family and your community, but it also sustains the families of your staff. Seeing the very real effects of the business you started and realizing how many people depend on your dream gives you concrete reasons to keep going. We thrive on being needed, and entrepreneurs fuel our economy and support countless families.
Just like a marriage, running your own business doesn’t stop with the honeymoon. It’s great to enjoy the first flush of starting a new project, but sooner or later, you must settle in and get down to the hard work of sustaining and growing that business. Adjusting your perspective and getting back in touch with all the important reasons you had for striking out on your own can get you through the tough times.