You're bored. Tired of what you do. You're not even close to where you hoped your business would be by now. You feel like you're losing ground and don't know how to get energized and ready for the next round.
It happens to nearly everyone. Even though we know it takes most people two to four years to get a business off the ground and making money, we somehow believe we will be the exception to the rule. Or we just forget how long two to four years actually is. It doesn't help that every time we turn on the news, echoes of the declining economy ring in our ears.
Plenty of people are thriving, even in this economy, and you can, too. More important, you can regain your passion for what you do. Follow some of these suggestions to boost your flagging enthusiasm:
- Become an industry insider. Take the next step to becoming savvier about what's going on in your field. Buy a subscription to that industry magazine you considered a luxury. Become a presenter or simply attend a conference you've always wanted to go to. You can always become more involved, whether it's helping at a local event, writing articles for publication or lobbying for a cause your industry cares about.
- Sharpen your skills. You may be good at what you do. But someone else in your field knows more than you do, has more skills than you do or has that extra edge. Nothing chases away a slump faster than learning something new. Government agencies, businesses and schools all offer tons of e-learning opportunities at low cost. Look for training sessions at local universities or interest groups.
- Find a mentor. One of the best ways to insulate yourself against business failure is to find and work with a mentor, someone with business experience who can guide and assist you. One place to begin is findamentor.org , a free website with a database of mentors and apprentices--a safe community where people can find support for achieving their desires. Find the right people to give you advice at the right stages in your career, be it one person or 20. Nothing is better than having a go-to person with whom to discuss your business ideas and concerns.
- Grow your network. You know you need a professional network of people to help you open doors, get you in someone's office or help you close a deal. But there are other advantages, too. When you find the right group of people and you click, it can be fun. Group events, socializing one-on-one and even commiserating about similar situations and feelings can remind you that you aren't alone and that a new day is just around the corner.
- Dealing with naysayers. Most of us deal with some clients or customers we can't seem to please, no matter what we do. Take their comments in stride and see if what they are saying is honest. If it is, take measures to improve your business. If it's not, focus on the positive testimonials you have gotten. Remind yourself how many people you are helping. Keep a folder of those positive comments and revisit them often. Better yet, add those testimonials to your website. They're great for attracting new clients and are a real mood booster when you're having "one of those days."
Lesley Spencer Pyle is the founder and president of HomeBasedWorkingMoms.com and HireMyMom.com , and she is the author of The Work-at-Home Workbook: Your Step-by-Step Guide on Selecting and Starting the Perfect Home Business for You. Pyle has been working from home for more than 13 years.