Even the most successful entrepreneurs can fall into a funk. It’s how you respond and climb out of those pits that ultimately matters. Here are four signs you may have lost your entrepreneurial groove and what you can do to get it back.
Entrepreneurs are the trailblazers of the business world. Sure, they get up each day and put their pants on one leg at a time, just like you and me. But once those pants are on, the gloves come off and they swing for success all day long.
If you count yourself among this group of driven individuals, then you likely have a day loaded full of to-do’s that easily exceed the limits of a normal person’s 24-hour day. However, it is still a good idea to check in with yourself every now and again to determine whether you are making the most of each day, especially when you are running your own business.
Solopreneurs and work from home professionals don’t always have the benefit of peers around to keep them in check and focused on the tasks at hand. This can lead to pitching yourself softballs when it comes to goal setting and meeting deadlines; leading to slow or no growth for your business.
If this sounds like something you suffer from time-to-time, check out the list of 4 signs you aren’t challenging yourself enough to see if you’ve lost your entrepreneurial groove:
You don’t do anything that scares you anymore
As if starting your own business wasn’t scary enough, after you get your company going and work for yourself for a while, the scary parts don’t necessarily stop. You have to make sure your business is making enough money to cover its own bills, while still trying to make sure you cover yours. After you make it past that initial financial push and are pulling in enough to sustain a modest lifestyle, it can be easy to take a step back and let things ride.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no fault in regrouping and recharging. However, it is important not to let yourself stagnate here. You need to find one thing to do that pushes you far enough out of your comfort zone that it scares you a little bit. If you aren’t challenging yourself, reaching to land that big account, developing a new skill or a new product, then you begin to become dependent on the few customers you have to sustain you. Relying on a handful of customers is dangerous enough, but if you aren’t pushing yourself, pretty soon, your little business will start to feel a lot like that repetitive day job you once had. The only difference is, you won’t have any boss to come home and complain about anymore.
You Defend Your Comfort Zone
People are creatures of habit. It can be easy for all of us to find a place or cadence we are comfortable with and begin to settle there. The trouble is when we eventually wall ourselves in behind our comfort zones and actively defend against opportunities to grow and change.
A way you can tell if you have reached this point is to ask yourself, “When was the last time I failed to meet my goal?” If you can’t think of the answer, there is a very strong chance you aren’t challenging yourself enough. This doesn’t mean you should expect and accept failure to signify being on the right path. However, a business will grow much more on big goals that are just missed than it will on small goals that are easily met. So don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and push yourself just outside your comfort zone.
You Answer Every Call And Set Your Own Appointments
You’ve finally got enough clients to keep you busy. In fact, if you were to take on anymore, it would probably be more than you can handle. The question is, are you building a career, or a business? If you quit your day job and are now working for yourself, then you’ve already answered that question: you’re growing a business. A business doesn’t have limits, people do.
If you want to grow your business beyond your own limits, you need to learn how to delegate. This means when you are knocking out high priority tasks, you shouldn’t also be bottle-necking all menial tasks and communications through yourself. Instead, you can partner with a provider of virtual receptionist service like Acena. Getting started on a flexible, pay-for-what-you-use plan will grant your business 24/7 access to a pool of live, professional phone representatives – giving you the credibility and efficiency boost you need to grow.
You Accept Not Being A Leader in Your Industry
Successful entrepreneurs strive to become thought leaders in their industry because as Dr. Louis Pasteur once said, “Fortune favors the prepared.” Understanding your industry in and out is the best chance you have for spotting an opportunity that could be the turning point of success you’ve been looking for. If opportunity is not reason enough, many entrepreneurs are driven to become leaders out of their own deeply competitive nature. If you consider yourself an entrepreneur, but have allowed yourself to be OK with not being a leader in your industry, it may be time you revisit the reasons you started your company. It’s easy to let your foot off the gas when you lose focus on the passion that drove you to build your startup in the first place.
Find ways to re-ignite that passion and renew your drive to be the best. Maybe that means taking a vacation or doing a little traveling to refresh your mind and gain some perspective. Perhaps it means getting more involved in industry events, because surrounding yourself with other competitive people stokes the fire. It might even mean spending more time with your customers to see how you’ve impacted them.
There will be plenty of times when you get complacent or need to stoke your entrepreneurial fire. Find what works for you and give yourself the opportunities to get your groove back.
Even entrepreneurs are human. Some days the bell will ring and you’ll go all twelve rounds without landing a single blow to the goals you’ve set. Other days you’ll feel untouchable, knocking goals out left and right. The point isn’t that you win every day. The point is that you never let yourself stop fighting, because that is the only time you’ll truly lose.