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How to stay passionate about your start up 

DATE: 24/07/23

AUTHOR: Fiona Kennedy

You’ve taken the leap into starting your own business. You’re engaged and excited about your brand and the promise of pursuing the goals you’ve set yourself. Cut to a some months, or even years later and the life of the business has taken over. From HR to finance, product development to customer service, you are required to be everything to every part of your business. All of the time. What then has happened to your passion and drive?

It’s often the case that business owners start out feeling very committed and focused on the passion that has motivated them to take the leap into a start up, but soon after, they find themselves caught in the daily grind. It’s easy for the mechanics of running the business to take over and before long, it can be hard to identify their initial passion. 

Why passion? 

Why though do we need to feel passionate about business? Is it possible to succeed in enterprise without feeling motivated and inspired? Those successes do exist of course but ultimately when you’re doing something day in and day out, it is a huge bonus to actually enjoy it. To find the purpose, the drive, and the inspiration in the mission of the business will help to float you through trickier days when administration and people management might be overwhelming. Not to mention that when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you will inevitably be motivated to achieve more, to be more creative and to better connect and inspire the people around you along the way. Win : win. 

If you are feeling distant from your initial motivation or that first flame of passion for your business, is there anything you can do to get it back? 

Remind yourself of your ‘why’

When you decided to launch your business you had a clear idea of what was motivating you. Go back to that. What was the problem you were trying to solve? What was it that initially spurred you into action in the first place? Connect with the ‘why’ of your business back when it started and consider whether you still believe in the mission.  Can your ‘why’ continue as your motivation or do you need to reframe it slightly as the business has changed. Be honest with yourself and what you want to achieve. 

Surround yourself with a passionate team

Don’t underestimate the power of the people around you. As you build your business you need to build a team and those people should mirror the passion and the motivation you want to see in yourself. Share your mission for the business with them. Make sure they feel engaged and part of the bigger picture you’re working towards. Enthusing those you work alongside with integrity and a shared mission can be exactly what you need in the moments when you’re losing your own focus.

Consider reframing

The work of a business owner can very quickly become overwhelming. The hats are multiple, the new skills and expertise that you need to have can feel endless. Take a step back and work out how you’re spending your time. How much of your day is spent on the mission you initially set yourself, on the goals that really inspire you? When you’ve figured that you out?, look at which of your other responsibilities could potentially be carved out? Are there apps or efficiency tools which you could make use of to relieve yourself of some of the administrative pressure? Look to the team you’ve built around you to delegate some areas where possible. By paring back certain areas that take up your time each day, you might find a way to come closer to the work that originally inspired you.

Take a break

No one can work at the same level of intensity in perpetuity. If you’re feeling burn out or a lack of enthusiasm for the things you were once passionate about, consider taking a proper break. That might look like carving out a time each week to do something you enjoy, away from the business. It may also mean taking a proper holiday where you detach fully from the work and responsibilities of the business. We all need time to refresh and recharge. If you allow yourself that, you can come back to the business feeling more energetic and inspired than when you left. 

Keep on learning

Never consider yourself an expert in anything. You might feel you know your own business inside out but the markets are always changing, people’s needs and wants are evolving and the world of technology is ever updating. Find time to keep educating yourself and staying current regardless of the area of business you’re in. That could look like formal Continued Professional Development in the form of a degree course, seminars, or conferences. Or you may prefer informally reading, learning, or reframing your knowledge on various areas of business. Any education is positive and sharpening your business and people skills can only help to reignite your passions. 

Create your support network 

Seek support from others in the same position. Find a professional network of business owners to join or seek connection informally through similar, like-minded entrepreneurs you’ve met along your business journey. Having a network of professional contacts with whom you can share concerns, discuss industry changes, and mentor one another can be invaluable. Inevitably most business owners will experience similar problems at different times so there will be satisfaction in being helped and in return, in helping others when they need it. 

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone 

Business is ever changing. Try not to be too concretely attached to your mission and objectives if you can see that they are holding you back somewhat. It’s good to be able to be flexible. If you see that your customers need something else, if you recognise a new direction for your business, or if you learn something that could bring a great deal to the business, don’t be afraid. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can yield huge benefits not just on a business level but on the personal development front. 

Business and passion may not always go hand in hand but it’s hard to deny that having the latter can really help the success of the former. Taking time to reassess your role in your business, the motivations you have, as well as making time for rest and reflection along the way can have restorative effects. Each will contribute to rediscovering your own passion for business and reigniting the motivation you need to move forward.