How to prevent yourself from hating your business

27th July, 2015

“I can’t stand this job any more. I QUIT!” The dramatic quit story is a powerful fantasy. Thousands of workers every day dream of telling their boss where to go as they leave behind everything they hate about their job and reclaim their lives. Sadly, the ‘quit fantasy’ doesn’t really work when you’re the business owner.

Whether it’s at the end of an exhausting week, or while staring at an empty sales pipeline, every business owner has a moment when they question their decision to own and run a business. Here are three things you should do before you start hating it.

1. Think of the alternative

You could have a toxic boss, horrible colleagues, and a soulless job with no redeeming features. Instead, you’re the boss so you get to pick who you work with (yes, even your clients to a large extent), and you get to do something you’re passionate about and good at.

Once you reassert your authority as the owner of the business and realise you are the agent of destiny, it’ll becomes clear that if there’s something you don’t like about your business, you have the power to change it. You are only limited by your own imagination and ability to seek assistance, and that makes most people feel a whole lot better.

2. Remember why you went into business

People go into business for a number of reasons. While some of it may relate to avoiding the alternative, there will certainly be a number of positive reasons you chose to do it, whether it was to meet a gap in the market, to serve people better or to allow yourself some freedom in the way you work.

A good way to keep this reason front of mind is to draw on the contents of an ‘encouragement bank’. Start one by saving every email of gratitude and praise from clients, suppliers and other people who you interact with in your business. These notes may include positive reviews, referrals, testimonials and other records of excellent results. Give yourself regular access to this bank as a reminder of why you do what you do — and as an affirmation that you have a great business.

3. Go easy on yourself

Finally, take a step back and realise you are not a superhero with limitless energy and enthusiasm for your job, even if you own the business. Business owners who are not superheroes (that includes you) risk resenting their business or suffering from burnout if they don’t take time out for regular balance and rejuvenation. Allow for slower days — no one can be flat out every single day without crashing — and give yourself time off to help you keep perspective and refill your tank.

It does require a special kind of person to be a small business owner: we must wear multiple hats; solve problems; grow our businesses; keep our customers happy and impressed; stay ahead of our competition; manage staff; pay the bills and more. However, it does not require you to be invincible, and we make a great mistake if we start thinking that we are.

Sometimes what gets us down are those areas of work that are not areas of strength or that we simply really do not enjoy. These tasks drain us and curb our best work. Consider outsourcing these areas so you can focus on your strengths and tip the balance back in your favour.

If you are tired, unmotivated and unrefreshed, your business will be too. So include in your priorities time to relax, be healthy, spend time with loved ones and laugh. Make sure you stop every now and then to do something quite different to your usual business activities. If your business can’t run without you, you should treat this time as a business priority.

Remember, as fun as it could be, as a business owner you are not superhuman. And hating your business cannot be an option.

Further reading:

If outsourcing could help remove some of those jobs that just get in the way, check out our 5 Top Sites to Find Freelancers and Part Timers by Alex Kidman.
Or if it’s work life balance that’s a little off, have a read of “Are you maintaining your most important business asset?” by Ailsa Page