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,
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...
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.
Now that your Monday is all planned out, enjoy the rest of your week ;)
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
I think you should take a rest, and then move on with a fresh look at the things you used to do.
Think about the amount of money you did/can/will make and I believe it will excite you.