When Small Businesses get into a Rut
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When Small Businesses get into a Rut


Are you a small business owner who has lost your enthusiasm? It can happen. You wanted to get off the treadmill of working for someone else and  now you are on one of your own making.

As a career coach I often work with people who run their own businesses. One of the main reasons they chose this path was because they aspired to becoming their own boss, embracing the independence that would entail. Many have previous experience of working for larger companies but for various reasons they had decided to go it alone. Of course there are benefits to being part of a bigger business and working for yourself can feel very stressful at times. But occasionally other emotions come into play. As a small business taking your first tentative steps into the freelance world, you may expect hard work, some sleepless nights but certainly not boredom and unfulfillment. And what does that look like? Times when you don’t always like the clients you work with. When you don’t always agree with the demands they put on you or even the products and projects they want help with. When this happens the effects on you as a business owner can be immense, both economically and personally. At best you feel resentful. At worst you feel trapped and in a rut.

Connect to your values and passions

Whether we run our own business or work for someone else it is important for our wellbeing to keep connected to the values and passions which make life meaningful and interesting. But it is easy to overlook those things when we get engrossed in the mechanics of day to day life. Yet once we manage to make that connection a big change occurs in how we approach our working lives. Being a politician in the Welsh Parliament for many years meant that I was called upon to campaign for many things. It was easy to feel quite overwhelmed at times. But my light bulb moment came when I decided that, as the saying goes, ‘I couldn’t be all things to all people’. And that meant that in order to maintain my sense of wellbeing and reserves of energy, I had to choose between what I would focus on and what I would quietly abandon. Issues such as education, women’s empowerment and supporting small businesses for example were highly important to me and subsequently then they were the ones that I would throw all my energy into.

Carol Adrienne in her book Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life, talks about the impact on us as individuals when we make a direct link to something we value. This realisation can open up new streams of energy. The way we approach our work and life in general can start to feel ‘effortless’, ‘fun’ even and ‘everything flows’. As a result we become more ‘resourceful’, we find the confidence to ‘handle anything’ and we develop ‘courage’.

Making more meaningful connections

But how does this philosophy apply in the world of work? As a small business owner, have you noticed how you really love to work with certain clients? Despite whatever challenges they present, you want them to succeed because you really care about what they do or because they as individuals inspire you. So deep is your connection to them that you are prepared to go the extra mile for them, a reciprocal effect in that it brings out the best in you.

Wouldn’t it be great if these sorts of clients and situations were not the exception but the rule? Of course arguably on the one hand COVID 19 has meant that many businesses are struggling financially. Many businesses may feel that they have less choice now in how they approach work and the sorts of clients and projects with which they connect. But COVID 19 is also making us more reflective in terms of not wanting simply to go back to normal but to do things differently in the future. One business I know has decided to make more long lasting change in his company. He is using the downtime to develop projects related to the environment, something which has been a strong interest for him for many years but until now did nothing about. Another, witnessing the impact the pandemic is having on the employment prospects of younger people, has decided to volunteer to become a mentor.

Getting off the treadmill

So how do you regain the enthusiasm that you experienced when you first started your business? One way is to take some time out to think more deeply about the projects and clients that really matter to you. Once you have this clarity then you can get off the treadmill and start to take your first steps on a new creative path.

If you would like my help in planning a new approach in your business then call me on 07595225291 or email me on chris@christinechapmancareercoach.co.uk