In response to a recent question I received from Randy Gilpin, ExcelliMatrix, he asked “What keeps the passion for business?”
I read your question several times, attempting to understand what you’re asking. I believe you are asking what can be done to ensure you have passion for your business – not specifically how I keep the passion for my business. Either way, I can answer – and it’s a good question that not a lot of business owners ask or discuss, but they should. Most of the time and productivity problems entrepreneurs have are really rooted in a lack of passion for the business. They’re bored out of their minds, tired and stuck, but need the money and don’t have a lot of options lined up to earn outside of getting a job. And since that option is more horrendous than staying where they are now, they remain stuck in a no-growth business, doing just enough to keep it afloat, but they certainly aren’t interested in fixing it up and growing it.
Here are my top 3 ways to keep passion for your business:
1. Have an end game.
So, for starters, it’s important to know there will be times you want to quit. If you don’t wake up at least once in a while ready to throw in the towel, you’re probably not trying very hard. You WILL be hammered with problems, buried with “stuff” you’ve got to get done (and exhausted by it all), overwhelmed, stressed out and sick and tired of dealing with many of the same problems over and over again. That’s what burnout is – it’s losing ALL passion and drive for what you do because all you “see” is a giant pile of tedious WORK that you HAVE to get done.
So first, a few strategies. First and foremost, have an end game in mind that makes it ALL worthwhile. Your why. As Nietzsche said, “He who has a big enough why can bear almost any how.” Do you have that? Are you clear on what the goal line looks like? Is it deeply meaningful and personally important to you? I want to be crystal clear on this – it has to be YOUR why. Not what you think you should have, not what you think you should say. It might not be for your family and your kids. It may be “shallow” by society’s standards. Doesn’t matter, because you don’t need to tell anyone what it is – but you DO need it, and it needs to really move you. Keep that in mind and you WILL be able to pull through the tough spots. Think about realizing that goal and achieving it…make the picture in your mind clear. Get a sense of what it will feel like when you achieve it, and remind yourself OFTEN.
2. Hire what drains you.
Second, make a list of things you have zero passion for and that drain your energy and go in search of someone who you can hire to do those for you. As much as you can, only do the things that give you energy – and eliminate, outsource or simply stop doing the things that don’t give you energy. That does NOT dismiss YOUR personal responsibility as the owner for growth. Like it or not, you are in charge of sales and marketing, profitability and setting and hitting growth targets, and you cannot delegate that. If you need to because you have zero interest in it, then find a business partner who will own that and you work for them (you heard me right…you work for THEM). Get some equity, but let them lead, which brings me to my next point…
There are a lot of things you have to do as a business owner that aren’t fun, that drag you down and irritate and annoy you. I’m 100% on board for NOT just accepting these situations and rolling over to die a slow death by a million paper cuts of annoying people, tasks, clients, employees and situations. But I’m also not for simply delegating the tough job every business leader must take on. YOU started the business and therefore ARE fully responsible for everything that comes with it. So many business owners get into the business they’re in because they like the technical part of doing the work, but they don’t like and aren’t good at all the aspects of running and growing a business: the marketing and selling, hiring and managing of people, tracking, reviewing and understanding the financials, managing their time, dealing with problems, setbacks, headaches, etc. They’re technicians suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure (thank you, Michael Gerber) and simply want to “do the work” and not run the business.
3. Maintain a steady diet of motivational material.
My final piece of advice is to put yourself on a steady diet of motivational material. You ARE in the right place for this because THIS community is one that will openly share and help you with a countless number of problems you’ll face that will drag you through the mud and drain your passion. COME TO THE EVENTS IN PERSON. This is another piece of advice that gets ignored so often by smaller business owners. They “can’t afford” to come…can’t take the time away. Foolish. You need that battery-charging experience desperately and you cannot get it sitting at home, alone, looking at the same four walls day in and day out. Virtual is good, but it should only be used as a last resort. You cannot replicate the in-person experience virtually, and you cannot get inspired results from an uninspired, tired, overwhelmed, anxious, fearful leader.
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