At a recent Accelerator meeting, one of our members shared a very honest confession: she hadn’t been feeling particularly happy in her business for a long time. In fact, she was feeling pretty crappy. As she explained it, “I know I’m supposed to be all rah rah that I get to own my own business, but I just don’t feel that way right now.”
This particular member has had a year of what we might spin as a “growth opportunity”—but what you might more commonly recognize as hiring the wrong people, watching those people make major client mistakes, and then having to clean up those messes. Rinse and repeat times three.
After she finished her presentation, another member of the group made a really astute observation. “Of course you’re feeling crappy! All you ever do is deal with the worst parts of your business. You spend all day trying to fix messes that you didn’t make and apologize to clients and hear them rant and rave about how terrible everything is. I would feel really crappy too.”
AS SOON AS SHE SAID IT, EVERYONE IN THE ROOM SORT OF NODDED THEIR HEADS IN AGREEMENT.
On one hand, it was so obvious to all of us. And yet, on the other, there was so much power in acknowledging it. The member who had been feeling crappy suddenly sat up a little taller and said, “Oh my god, you’re right! I never really thought about that.”
So what are the takeaways from this episode? Why am I sharing it with you? I’m telling you this story for a few reasons. First, it is vital that we all be honest with ourselves and each other in admitting that owning your own business is not all rainbows and unicorns all the time. It is hard. There are days that feel crappy. That doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. But it also doesn’t mean that slapping a smile on your face and pretending you aren’t feeling that way is the best solution.
Only once you acknowledge how you are feeling can you begin to identify ways to fix the situation.
Another member of our group explained that she too had been feeling the same way when she realized she spent most of her work time on customer service. In her case, that meant dealing with returns, responding to product complaints, reading WAY TOO MANY comments on social media. In order to fix the situation, she needed to change her schedule so that she only handled those issues for one to two hours in the morning. That way, she could get it out of the way and spend the rest of her day on work that actually brought her more joy—or at least less grief. Lo and behold, after making that change, she noticed she felt better.
If you find yourself identifying with this story, ask yourself a few questions.
• How am I spending most of my time? Is it on tasks I enjoy?
• If not, what changes can I make so that I can spend more time on work I want to do? Would a tweak in time management make a difference?
• Can I hand off some of the tasks I hate the most to a vendor or another team member?
Owning your own business can be the most invigorating, exciting experience. If you aren’t feeling that way, it is time to ask yourself why.