“I’m concerned I’m beginning to hate my business,” Jean said.
“I’m waking up miserable. Not hung over, just dark and crotchety and miserable. Dreading the day and almost everything in it. I’m not getting rowdy the night before, so I’m not paying penance for any outrageous behavior. Just Miserable.”
This surprised me coming from the woman I thought of as a dynamo, and one of the top people in her industry.
“Is it okay if I ask a few questions?” I asked, quietly.
“Fire away,” Jean said, “that’s why I called you. I was hoping you could help me figure out what’s going on.”
You Suspect You Hate Your Business – What Brought It On?
Many of us face these feelings periodically, but if miserable is getting to be the rule rather than the exception, it really is time to ask some hard questions.
These are some of the questions Jean and I explored during our far-ranging conversation. We talked about what brought it on:
- An off day or week?
- An icky client?
- An overdue client payment?
- A family issue?
- A tropical vacation you yearn for in the middle of the new ice age?
- A gift you’d like to make to support a loved one or your community and feel you can’t?
- Some other (miserable-making excuse)?
As we exchanged more questions, Jean and I talked about how the answers to her disturbing concern about hating her business came in multiple parts:
- How much of this situation is coming from some inner context, a lack of self confidence or your own self talk?
- Are you responding to a comment a family member or associate made (or an article, blog or web site) that leads you to compare yourself and find yourself or your business wanting? No executive office suite, no precision engineered German sports car, no minions to whom you get to delegate the annoying tasks. How do you get 500 blog posts like them? Are you too far behind the curve to even start?
- Is it a numbers issue? How bad are your numbers? Compared to what? Do you have a goal, and if so, is that goal realistic, or is it a number you “should” be making?
- If your revenue is less than you want or need, what do you need to change?
And as we continued to talk, one this idea became very clear – there are really a limited number of elements you can control:
- How much time you want to work each week.
- How many prospects you talk to each week.
- How much you charge.
- Your closing ratio.
For most of us, the tipping point is how many prospects we’re talking to.
If you don’t have enough grist for the mill, the other elements become even more of a challenge. If you only get to talk to three people in a month, you are so sensitive if even one of them doesn’t pan out. If you have thirty people to talk to, you can tell a P.I.T.A. prospect to take a hike – with confidence.
You can raise your fees. You could work more or fewer hours. You could improve your closing ratio (my personal favorite).
But if you’re hitting this speed bump, I believe the first step is to get more people coming to you. (No, I don’t do marketing consulting, so this is not a pitch for my services).
Are You Really Miserable Because You Do Hate Your Business?
The other issue Jean and I explored? Was she really miserable doing this?
These are some of the other questions we delved into:
- Are you emotionally unsuited for your business?
- Do you need to change your prospect pool or niche or offerings?
- Do you want to spend less time on tire kickers?
- Do you realize you need to spend less time in email?
- Are you focusing on the wrong social media?
- Do you need more time speaking live to prospects instead of emailing?
- Do you begin to understand you must delegate much of the mind numbing administrative, back office stuff that sucks you dry?
Or are you miserable or unhappy because the revenue numbers just don’t seem to be working for you?
As usual, I am offering questions, instead of simple silver-bullet answers. There are steps you can take to address the numbers. There are steps you can take to farm out the admin. There are steps so you spend your time talking to real prospects instead of people who want free consulting.
If you are miserable emotionally, and you’ve looked at all the other questions I’ve asked – then, with all love and respect, it may be time to give yourself permission to say you gave it everything you have. You get to move on to the next chapter of your life.
Curious about Jean’s outcome? We discovered she was burned out and needed to change her offerings. She decided to offer projects and programs with more depth and range so she could charge dramatically higher fees. The result? She now needs only a few projects each month instead of more than twenty. She’s working with her ideal clients, and wakes up before the alarm clock goes off in the morning.
Take Action – Make This Your Own
If you find yourself facing similar issues:
- Ask the tough questions.
- Pick one thing to change.
- Honor yourself for having the courage and awareness to ask one of the toughest questions of all.
- If you’re tired of the fight, give yourself permission to move on.
- If you want to go one more round, give up being miserable and get the professional mentoring to make a difference this time – for whatever area in which you need support.
- If it’s more than one area, start with the one that will give you the biggest bang in income or satisfaction.
- If you’re not sure what that is, talk with a buddy who has a neutral agenda for you – or book a single hour with a mentor who understands your world.
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