Looking For Love - I Need 3 Suggestions for Resetting My Startup


When I first co-founded my BtoB startup it was blissful. My eyes would sparkle each time I passed out a business card; every SVN commit caused my heart to flutter.

Now it is two years later and I'm proud to say that we've made things work. Don't get me wrong...we're still small but we do have revenue and our virtual team is strong.

Unfortunately the thrill is gone. I'm tired and opportunities to meet with potential clients don't excite me like they used to.

How can I get that honeymoon feeling back? I have heard lots of good motivational advice but I'm really looking for specific small, tangible advice that I can implement by the end of the week. Suggestions that will immediately shift my psychological approach. For example, should I start working at a new location (a different wifi cafe) in hopes that a new work environment will help me fall back in love? Do I need to join a new networking organization so that I can hear from other entrepreneurs? Should I meet with one of my MBA-type friends and pay (or not pay) for their review of my company outlook? Should I ask for suggestions from the high school student I tutor? Should I re-visit my business plan (even though I think it is okay)? Should I trade in my PC for a Mac?

Thanks for your support,
Forlorn Lover

Motivation Burnout Inspiration

asked Feb 2 '10 at 05:58
Fractal Guy
254 points
  • These are great answers! Thanks to everyone who posted. I've summarized the suggestions below: 1) Take a break 2) Start a side project 3) Rethink my initial plans (constantly do so) 4) Talk to new people about my ideas 5) Stay focused on high level tasks – Fractal Guy 14 years ago

14 Answers


Ive found that meeting people who have never heard about your idea, and will therefore be excited about it is a great way to amp yourself up. You were right on with your idea of getting out and finding a new network for your idea.

Go on Meetup and find your local startup or entrepreneurship meetup. Meet some people, spread the word about your business, and get tons of feedback from them. Who knows, they may even help you generate a new idea that will bring back that old spark...

answered Feb 2 '10 at 06:36
Eric Amzalag
818 points


  1. Take a long break: You need some perspective and being in the daily grind will not give you that. What I mean by long is like a 4-6 weeks. If you can't afford to do that, then you may be too involved with your gig and need to do #3 for sure.
  2. Start A Side Project: Do something you always wanted to do. It does not need to be related to the business just something you have always wanted to do.
  3. Hire Someone to Run the Day to Day: This helps refresh your perspective and get you thinking of new things to do.

In the end, you have to either regain the passion or do something else. If you languish in this muddled middle ground, you will never feel good about yourself.

answered Feb 2 '10 at 10:30
Jarie Bolander
11,421 points
  • +1 on taking a long break. This has proven to be the most effective technique for me. However, long break != wandering on the web all day. The best is to go on a trip or do something that really breaks the routine. – Olivier Lalonde 14 years ago
  • Agreed. The best thing is to go on that long trip you always wanted to do. That way, your gig is totally out of your mind. – Jarie Bolander 14 years ago


  1. Get involved with a charity.
  2. Personally handle a customer service call.
  3. Go visit one of your clients.
  4. Figure out an awesome gift to give everyone in your company, be creative and don't just throw money at it. Afterall, you do know what they like?

Now that your Monday is all planned out, enjoy the rest of your week ;)

answered Feb 2 '10 at 12:03
Jeff O
6,169 points
  • +1 for "Personally handle a customer serice call." – Tambet 14 years ago


See this. The answer might not be "to get that spark back" but to move on.

People thrive on different things - you might be a starter - and the current mode of doing business doesn't interest you for a good reason. You don't have to fight it - just do something different.

answered Feb 2 '10 at 07:37
Tim J
8,346 points
  • +1 My sentiments exactly. – Joe A 14 years ago


Try building something else.

Give yourself a week. You'll find the grass isn't greener and you'll realize how good you have it.

Or, a week later you'll realize you never want to go back, and that's OK too!

If you can afford three weeks off, that's best.

answered Feb 2 '10 at 09:15
16,231 points


My two cents:

You could be burned out. Consider taking a week off if you've been working on this straight for two years. Sit on a beach for a week and let your mind wander. Physically getting away from your day to day routine can give you more clarity.

Build your support network. Do you have people you can share your ups and downs with? Someone who's in the same boat? I find that a sense of community (and competition) is a great motivator.

Set new goals. It sounds like you've accomplished a good bit and put in a lot of work. Where do you want to take the company going forward? Come up with a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) you can get excited about. It should be something you're not really sure you can accomplish.

answered Feb 2 '10 at 10:01
339 points


Could you shift part of your efforts into building a B2B product in your field?

Instead of thinking about potential clients, you could think about potential users for your product. Just a thought.

answered Feb 2 '10 at 06:30
Scottie K
21 points


Aside from 'chemical enhancements' (check your InBox) there really is only ONE way to get that old 'spark' flying again:

Think back to the days of mystery and discovery. Remember the thrill when you learned one little new thing aout your potential new 'conquests'? Feel the shivers of delight at each confirmaton that'You ARE the right one' for him/her?

Yes, revisit your Business Plan, OFTEN! Look for ways to improve, build, make last longer.

Go back to the source

answered Feb 2 '10 at 06:46
A Business Mentor
215 points


You've been doing the same thing for two years. You've gotten good at it. You're bored! Outside of running your business, you probably don't let yourself get in that position -- you always improve your skills and seek out new challenges.

So it's time for your successful company to grow. Maybe one of your MBA-style friends can help with that; maybe you just need to start talking blue skies with your customers; maybe you need to lock yourself in with a whiteboard for a week and imagine what's next. But you need to grow your company and find new challenges. What's the growth path in your industry?

answered Feb 2 '10 at 12:36
Wade Armstrong
181 points


It is easy to get burned out. Go on holiday. The time you 'lose' will probably soon be compensated by your increased productivity when you get back.

answered Feb 5 '10 at 21:12
Andy Brice
336 points


The answer (in my view) is that there is nothing wrong... all you need are better Conversations.

You're not being challenged.

You need someone to kick you up the arse.

When you grow, you need new people to inspire and motivate you. Find a mastermind group and get people to challenge you.

Give yourself an impossible task. Move Up to the next notch. Do a bigger deal.

What's your next 1 year goal? Now times that by 100. Possible? Yes? OK then... times it by 200.

Find people who won't let you settle for you being a 2nd rate version of yourself. Find people who can push you be honest with you, and then in 2 years... you'll need to do it all again.

Because it's called growth.

answered Nov 1 '11 at 14:44
1,072 points


It should be said that in a romantic relationship between humans, after about 1.5-2 years the thrill is gone, too. After that initial period (when the neurotransmitter dopamine gives you that special feeling), the hormone oxytocin takes over and you feel comfortable and safe with your partner; or if it doesn't, the relationship is over.

I guess the same goes for the bonding between you and your company. You simply can't expect the same thrill now, but the company should give you a feeling of familiarity, comfort and safety.

answered Feb 2 '10 at 21:50
Ammo Q
561 points


I think you should take a rest, and then move on with a fresh look at the things you used to do.

answered Feb 5 '10 at 01:09
Alena Shechkova
101 points


Think about the amount of money you did/can/will make and I believe it will excite you.

answered Feb 2 '10 at 13:41
871 points

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