There’s always that awkward moment when the startup you created begins to become comfortable and your days develop a steady routine. While there’s nothing wrong with a bit of stability, it can be tough to muster up excitement and enthusiasm to keep things fresh — and that can easily make it feel as though you are falling out of love with your business.
Feel like it’s time to rekindle that spark? We spoke to the experts on how to do it and rediscover your passion for the startup all over again.
1. “I work as a salesman and marketing manager for my father’s family business, a small car dealership in Upstate New York. We have two locations, plenty of inventory, and are one of the largest independent dealerships in the area. My days are jam-packed, between selling cars, taking pictures for the website and the social media accounts, and managing the inventory and pricing data. All in all, I have some variety in my days, but I also have a lot of routine. Due to that, I often find myself in a slump somewhere around the second week of the month, where I just don’t want to do anything for a day. This happens maybe once every two or three months, and lasts maybe three days. What I do, however, is I realize that this slump won’t last forever, and I give myself a light day to relax. I have a set of inspirational people I follow, like Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Warren Buffett, etc. I’ll take a day to just focus on computer work, listen to those videos in the background, and go home at night and focus on relaxing. It’s important to give yourself time to breathe, before getting really burnt out. All in all, I fall in love with my job once we crush sales year over year, and then I’m back in the zone. I think people focus in on how to love their job, and they don’t realize that they have to love themselves first. Even if you have the best job in the world, if you’re exhausted and miserable, there’s no way to be successful.” — Anthony Curren, Marketing Manager and Sales, Rick Curren Auto Sales and Service
2. “How are your Mondays? What do you feel the first minutes after waking up? Are you excited for what’s about to come next? To tell you the truth – most people aren’t. If an individual doesn’t enjoy what he works, he’ll be wasting half of his life, allowing stress and disappointment to predominate their overall feelings. There are many ways to spark your desire to work, but my main advice is: find growth opportunities in everything you can – pay attention to everything that you have to learn from your environment. This one of the best ways to renew your commitment to development.” — Eva Wislow, Career Coach and Co-founder, Careers Booster
3. “1) Take a break. Sometimes, you can’t help but feel saturated. Just get away from it all. Pick someone you can trust and have him/her run the business for a day or two while you relax and ponder your life. This will help clear your mind. Think about all the good things that have happened since you’ve started your small business and you’ll likely obtain newfound appreciation for your little firm. 2) Look back. Envision when you first thought of founding your business. You wouldn’t have built a startup about something you didn’t love or enjoy doing. Rediscover the reasons why you fell in love with your job in the first place. 3) Create a thank you list. Have a list containing one awesome thing that happens each day. This list will be your reminder that good things still happen in your job. You just overlook them which is the reason why you only notice the bad things.” — James R. Nowlin, Founder and CEO, Excel Global Partners
4. “As I started to feel the daily grind my desire and passion started to dwindle. I knew had to recharge and find my passion for my business again in order to maintain my business success. The first thing I did was review my previous job and resume. Comparing my current situation to my pre-business days really helps put things in perspective. I also looked at the first year of starting my business. The nostalgia reminds me of reason why I took on this challenge of starting my own business. I wanted to contribute to the apparel industry and make a difference. Rekindling my passion and ambition really helps me re-frame my work and fall back in love with my business. These perspective shifts real enhanced my love for my job.” — Lisa Chu, Owner, Black n Bianco
5. “If things are getting a little stagnant, I look for an outlet to advance my overall knowledge or performance in my field. I might be able to develop a blog or provide content to an existing one. While an outside blog might not directly impact my daily work, it provides an opportunity to sharpen my skills and research topics I may not have the opportunity to look into on the job thus bringing some variety to my work. I also look to ways of finding inspiration in what I do. Creating a visualization of my or my organization’s goals may help me do that or even talking to my colleagues about how they find inspiration during their daily grind. Sometimes attending certification trainings or conferences brings some spark back into my ideas as well.” — Robin Schwartz, PHR, Managing Partner, MFG Jobs
6.“It’s easy to get disengaged at work, especially when you’ve been in the same position at the same company for a long time. If you’re feeling stuck in your role, trying writing a personal vision statement that outlines WHY you do what you do professionally and what the rewards are for your efforts. Writing a personal vision statement can clarify and rekindle the emotional sources that drove your passion for your particular line of work in the first place. Write down in detail the reasons why you get up every day. What activities are most important to you? What is your end game? How does your job enable you to reach your goals? Treat it like a game. We trade time for resources, so we can do the things we love. When you take the time to outline your personal vision, you define the reasons you go to work everyday, allowing you to overlook the daily doldrum and challenges that plague us all. This is especially helpful over long stretches of time in the workplace, in a familiar position, and around a familiar team.” — Kevin McGuire, Owner/CEO, The Alternative Board – Detroit Metro North
7. “As a serial entrepreneur, I have become accustomed to these kinds of situations. I make sure I’m constantly coming up with great ideas and putting them into action. I’m continually looking for things to grow and improve. Whenever I see a need for a service, I grab on to the opportunity to help small businesses grow with my ideas.” — Ajay Prasad, Founder and President, GMR Web Team, GMR Transcription, and RepuGen.
8. “In 1994, I nearly walked away from my thriving business, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. After five years of steady growth, the company had reached its first million — then it hit a plateau and I lost my enthusiasm to keep going. But then I realized why the business had stopped growing: my team didn’t share my values or vision for the company. The only way to move forward was to do a hard reset, so I cleaned house and fired my entire staff in one day. Then I set out to rebuild with like-minded people. With a fresh start and an aligned team, I fell in love with my business all over again.” — Brian Scudamore, Founder, O2E Brands
9. “After 1.5 years from starting my own company, I had reached a point where everything seemed to be stable. I felt comfortable in my position, everything had finally fallen into place. That routine feeling was one of the reasons why I had quit my old job. When I discovered that things are heading towards the same path again, I woke up and felt the urge to do something about it. Along with starting to develop a comfort zone in the new position, the company sales had also stopped growing. We had reached profitability and I felt like I had achieved my main goal.
In order to get back into the game, I started to focus on growth hacking the company’s sales in order to get out of the comfort zone and reach new heights in terms of profits. My main strategy was to follow the 80/20, Pareto principle, where I’d find out which 20% of the strategies yield us 80% of our profits.
By doing so, you would have to keep a close eye on your company’s financials and constantly try new things to improve and grow. My strategy to keep the spark alive is to put your efforts into growth hacking the company’s results instead of sitting comfortably in your chair and appearing busy.” — Paul Koger, Head Trader | Founder, Foxy Trades LLC
10. “After nine years of hard work in our startup it is inevitable that day to day becomes a routine. It is for this reason that three years ago I began to try various tactics to avoid this comfort zone and to keep everything fresh and challenging. No tactics worked except one: talking to your customers every day! Maintaining direct contact with our clients, both personally or by telephone, email, or through customer service software is what keeps me awake and attentive to new opportunities offered daily. This is the best way to make every day different, to escape the routine, to keep growing thanks to constantly listening to your customers and developing new solutions for them.” — Cristian Rennella, CEO and Co-Founder of elMejorTrato.com
11. “I like to use the following two mind tools to help stay focused and refreshed. 1) Clarify your value. How would you describe your job or the goals you’ve been assigned to complete? If you’re in charge of planning a meeting, for example, do you view your primary role as someone who negotiates hotel rooms and A/V costs? If so, this is a costly mistake because you are describing the features of your role and not the actual benefits that come from your actions. Instead, think about the real value that’s being created from gathering a group of people together who are joining forces to learn, grow, and challenge each other through a live event. Then consider the benefits that will follow from this shared immersion experience. For instance, when employees bond face-to-face, stress goes down, morale goes up, and best practices get traded. The benefits of those benefits include a spike in productivity, greater sales conversions, stronger cultures, and higher company commitment! Focus on the ultimate benefits that come from your hard work. The more you clarify your value, the more valuable your job will become. 2) Develop a gratitude mindset. Often, you are so busy doing your job, you might forget about the value that comes from all your efforts. Thus, take a few minutes each day to think about the benefits others experience from your hard work and imagine them sending you lots of positive energy generated from their gratitude. When you approach life with a gratitude mindset, it causes the desire to add more value to the world. The more value you bring, the more valuable you become to others. This attracts goodwill and monetary success, which ultimately provides more things for you to be grateful for!” — Tim Shurr, President, Shurr Success, Inc.
12. “I think that no matter how exciting your job, there will enviably be a cooling off period at some point. For me, this happened around the second year. I had fallen into a really good rhythm, balancing my full-time job and side hustle with relative ease. After the dynamism of the first two years, this calm state became a little too predictable and routine for my liking. Getting back that honeymoon feeling took some effort and a bit of soul-searching, but I got there eventually. The first step was to remind myself of the good stuff. I made a list of the reasons I started my business and the positive aspects of entrepreneurship. It sounds cheesy, but when you find yourself in a loveless lull with your business, it really helps to remember the positives, and why you started doing what you do in the first place. Jot them down and take a peek every now and then to keep you going. As a one-woman business, I also found that joining a professional networking group with others in my field really pulled me out of the slump. If you’re lacking energy and enthusiasm, there is no better place to look than a room full of entrepreneurs. Speaking face-to-face with other people that share a common goal really helped me to revive my drive and determination.” — Sophie Knowles, Founder & CEO, PDF Pro
13. “Oh I so know what it is like to fall into what the tech/start up world calls the ‘trough of sorrow.’ It is exciting when you finally launch what you fully believe in! Then, you get into the work and a lot of it is not the shiny, exciting thing that got you started. Just yesterday I had this idea while flying home from London and I couldn’t wait to tell my team. Then came all the questions that would be logistical, technical, legal, financial, and it was enough to make me not want to do my idea. The truth is working for yourself is the hardest thing you will ever do. There isn’t anyone to motivate me but me. I recommend that people always have ‘white space’ in the calendar. Space where they turn off and just enjoy, think, read, run, watch bad TV. They can procrastinate during this time or think about something they want to create in two years. Or even tomorrow. But you have to Sharpie that space in your calendar and keep it there no matter what the deadline is. I also recommend having continuing education or other creative courses/learning courses in your year. Maybe you go to a conference, or take a new class in an area that isn’t your specialty or one that is. Learning helps you grow and often when we are not in love with our jobs it is because we fell stuck or stagnant. Lastly, to fall back in love with your job think about the day you started it. What made you so excited? Sometimes we are so focused on looking forward we forget to look back and see just how far we have really come!” — Lesley Logan, Coach & Author, Profitable Pilates Mobile
14. “Even if you have some sort of stability in the company, your competitors will make you strive for the best results. I continuously search for new opportunities that keep my job exciting. By working with other professionals, I learn something new every day. We help each other to see the project from a different expert’s perspective. So if you want to find something interesting in the job you once loved, look for new ways of improvement.” — Gideon Lipnickas, Owner, New Concept 180
15. “Sometimes even the smallest changes can make your job feel exciting again. As a business owner you can decide how to spend your time. Delegate at least some of the jobs that you don’t like doing. Make time for the things that you like. Also, focus on the skills that you are particularly good at. This won’t only bring a spark to your job back again but also help your business grow.” — Val Slajus, Owner, VIS Exterior
16. “Earlier this year, I was a sad, tired media exec and content strategist. I was so burnt out, I needed a new phrase for burnt out. As I assessed all the things that were going sideways, I realized every mistake and misstep I’d made happened because I was exhausted. Even my frustration and dissatisfaction were stemming from being too freaking tired. Exhaustion had me trusting the wrong people. It was jumbling my thoughts. It was zapping my creativity. It was stealing my happiness. So, I started prioritizing self-care. I needed to be centered and fortified, not off-kilter and broken down. A healthy prioritization of sleep, spa, meditation, nature walks, and camaraderie with positive-minded friends helped me reconnect with myself. Yet, the real surprise is that I started to get more work done and produce higher quality results. Making self-care a necessity makes me more productive. Self-care keeps my creativity fueled so my ideas, work and happiness actually flow. It also helps me stay appreciative of my accomplishments rather than steeped in my frustrations. I’ve reconnected with my true intentions, which helps me stay focused, which helps me keep falling in love with my work over and over again.” — Joy Donnell, CEO, Joy Donnell Official + Vanichi.com
16. “Last May, I was told by doctors that I had some extremely serious health issues (Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism). The ER doctor told me I was lucky to be alive! Ever since then, things at work that used to bother me or get me worked up no longer do. There is nothing like a near death experience to put things into perspective! I used to think WORK was the most important thing in my life, but now it’s my health and my son. This new perspective has allowed me to create the healthy life/work separation I never used to have. In a strange way, I actually appreciate my job/time at work more. I get more done in a shorter period of time because I want to make sure I have time to spend with my little guy before he goes down to bed each night.” — Bret Bonnet, Co-Owner/Founder, Quality Logo Products
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