How to Love Your Job
It was 2014, I was working sixteen hour days, I had a sweet baby girl who barely recognized me, and my dream of owning my own business was quickly turning into a nightmare.
When I acquired an event rental business that sometimes did florals, I was thrilled to finally own my own business. It was a dream come true. In my mind, owning my own business gave me the freedom I wanted to make my own schedule, be a present parent, and have something that was all my own.
It there anything more frustrating than when dreams don’t match up with reality?
I could have wallowed. Some days, I really wanted to wallow. But I just knew if I could change this up a bit and educate myself, I could make this thing work.
I knew that one thing that absolutely wasn’t working was the rental business. You’re probably thinking, “Wasn’t that, like, your whole business?” Yupp. Sure was. But I didn’t enjoy it, I was losing money, and I knew it wasn’t the way forward.
Sometimes, I think we’re so scared or ashamed to admit that we need to make big business changes, that we keep pushing using strategies that we know aren’t working. It’s the law of inertia: objects in motion stay in motion. It’s much easier to keep using the same strategies that are failing us, than to change our habits and set ourselves free. But if we want to make our dream lives reality, we need to make these big changes over and over again.
“Start over, my darling. Be brave enough to find the life you want and courageous enough to chase it. Then start over and love yourself the way you were always meant to.”
- Madalyn Beck
So what do you do when you love your business, but you know you need to make big changes? Maybe you don’t need to start over, but you need to pivot. How do you figure out what changes to make?
Trust your gut
I’m a pretty intuitive person. I know not everyone is like this. But every time I’ve felt convinced of something deep in my gut, I’m always right. Whether it’s a weird, uncomfortable feeling I get about a potential client or employee, a nudge about the future direction my business, or a certain sense of where to push with one of my mentoring clients, I’m starting to realize that my gut usually knows something’s up before my brain does.
If you’re regularly getting a sense about something in your business, don’t ignore that! Trust that while you may not know why you’re feeling a certain way, those feelings are valid and they’re probably pointing you to something significant. 99% of the time, it’s okay to act on these feelings before you fully understand them!
Make a List
This is kind of the opposite of trusting your gut. Both tools are important! Once you’ve identified that something is broken in your business (trusting your gut), you can begin to more objectively determine what is broken (making a list).
The process of determining what is and isn’t working in your business looks a lot like the process I described for hiring a killer business team. If you haven’t read part one and part two of my blog series on building your business team, do that right now!
First, divide a piece of paper in half. On the left side, write down all the things that are going well in your business. Are there specific things that you’re loving right now? Employees that are really crushing it? Parts of your work day that you always look forward to? Jot those down!
On the right side, write down everything that’s not going so well. Is there an area of your business that you always dread? Is there a service you offer that you know is losing you money? Is your work schedule destroying any sense of a personal life? List all the things that take your business further away from what you always dreamed it would be.
This doesn’t necessarily mean list all the things you don’t love doing. For example, I don’t get excited for my monthly meetings with my accountant, but I understand that those meetings keep me financially on-track. I wouldn’t want to forego those meetings, because having a good handle on my finances keeps my business profitable. This might not be the most thrilling task, but it’s definitely not an aspect of my business that I’d categorize as ‘broken’
Make the Dang Changes!
Once you’ve identified what’s breaking your business, you you actually have to change it. (I know!) It’s not enough to just know what isn’t working. Once you’ve figured that out, you have to move forward!
For example, when I realized that I was losing money by the buckets with my event rental business, I also found that the tiny part of our business that was devoted to florals actually profited much better! That’s when I decided to devote my whole business to florals, and sell off my rentals to another rental company. So here’s the breakdown.
I identified what was breaking my business (rentals)
I figured out what was working in my business (florals)
I monetized and eliminated the rental side of the business
I spent the next year educating myself on the business of floral design
Was this change easy? NO! Was it scary? Hell yeah it was! But I knew in my gut that this was the change I needed to make, I did the brain-work to confirm what my gut was telling me-- that my rental business was bleeding money-- and then I worked my butt off to make the changes!
Since then, I’ve made countless business pivots. I know for many of us, our businesses are so personal. They feel like extensions of our identity. And I just want to encourage you, that just because something worked for your business at one time, doesn’t mean that it always will.
There is no shame in that. Let that go. Don’t let pride or stubbornness keep you shackled to a part of your business that is no longer serving you. Be thankful for the purpose it served, and then move on.
It’s a lot like pruning a garden. There will be times when you need to cut away something that had once been vibrant and alive, but it isn’t taking you in the direction you want to go. While the initial cuts can feel painful, the result is a beautiful, flourishing business. Don’t hold on to old growth. Embrace what’s next.
Hey-- did you read this and get a sinking feeling in your stomach? One of those gut feelings that maybe all of your business is broken? That’s okay! Come back in few weeks for Part Two: Know When to Quit!