As entrepreneurs we all go through slumps. Some last a few hours; others can last for days, weeks – even months. And once we finally emerge – after we’ve napped, listened to music, communed with nature, taken a social media break, practiced deep self-care and love – well then it’s time to get back to work.
Except we don't talk a lot about the best ways to get back to work. Ways that'll jumpstart our brains but still protect against another slump.
Here are the top ways I jumpstart my brain once I've recovered from a slump.
- Tune In. Once you’ve recovered enough to start thinking about your business again, take the time to tune into your own intuition. Resist the temptation to crowdsource ideas, google or sign up for another course. Those things can come later once you know where you’re going next. For now realize that you already know what you need to know – so listen for it and you’ll be surprised how quickly you hear your path emerge.
- Solve a Puzzle. Sometimes the worst thing you can do when you’re coming out of a slump is to jump straight into deep business decisions. Instead give your brain some time to warm up – after all, it’s just taken a break and could use the practice. Solve a puzzle game or completing a series of brain teasers. Once you feel the gears starting to turn again you can switch over and start solving your business questions.
- Do What You Teach. If you teach something and are having trouble figuring out what to do next, drop the teaching part of the equation and just start doing again. Teach copywriting? Write a page of copy. Teach email marketing? Set up a campaign of your own. Feel like you can’t help people strategize around their business? Plan your own next 6 months. Getting back to the doing will kick your brain into gear of what you need to do to teach.
- Revisit Your Original Vision. Lots of people will tell you to get out of a funk by revisiting your big ‘why’. And while that can work, I think it fits more in the recovery/self-care phase of a slump. But when you’re trying to get moving again you need to revisit more than just your why – you need to look at your whole vision. This means also reconnecting with your how. When you first started your business what did you picture? Was it what you ended up creating? If not you might find your answers in what’s next by returning to that original vision.
- Journal With A Purpose. During the recovery phase you might journal about how you feel, what you’ve experienced, anything that comes to you in open journaling. But when you need to get going you need to get more practical and journal with purpose. Make a few columns, label them ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ and start listing the pro’s and con’s of what’s been working and what’s not been in your business. After an extended slump a lot of people think they have to scrap everything. This exercise will help you realize you probably don’t need to throw it all away. Instead look for 1 or 2 high impact tweaks you can make around what’s not working, and see things turn around right away.
- Expose Your Options. Sometimes a biz funk is simply the result of too many ideas cluttering up your head and overwhelming you. Jumpstart your way out of your slump by getting the ideas out of your head. List everything that’s been on your mind on a piece of paper. Literally every passing thought about your business. When you see everything on paper in front of you, rather than constantly trying to access memories and thoughts and piece them together, the obvious path will appear.
- Commit To Focus. “Not now” doesn’t mean “no”. Another form of overwhelm that causes a lot of slumps is an unwillingness to focus on one thing at a time. But focus is where the magic is; focus is where stuff gets done. So grab that list of options you just made and choose which one you want to pursue right now. And give yourself permission to focus on only that one thing knowing that the others aren’t being discarded – they’re just being put in line for when the first idea is complete.
- Create Something New. Remember when you were first starting your business and just needed to start somewhere so you just created something – anything – to get going? There’s no rule you can’t do the same thing now as a slump buster. Sometimes remembering that it does’t need to be perfect – it just needs to be created – is enough to get your mojo back.
- More Risk = Less Risk. This might seem like an oxymoron, but think about it: the more risk you take, the less risky it is. If you’re stalled because of a risky next step, find more than one risky step to take and take them all. When you take one risky action and your brain is likely to freak out on you, paralyzing you from doing anything. But take several risky actions at once? You’ll be desensitized from any one of the individual risky actions and they’ll all feel easier.
- Blow It Up. Warning: this isn’t for the weak-hearted or for the minor funk. This is for one of those “this has lasted 6 months and I’m not sure I’ll ever emerge” funks. One that’s caused by feeling like you’ve boxed yourself into a corner by creating such a small niche or specific audience and now wanting to branch out. And because you’re concerned your new thing won’t resonate with your old audience or brand, you do nothing. For months. Get out of it by blowing up your business. I’ve deleted entire email lists before, started new Facebook pages, started from complete scratch before just because I knew it would clear my energy to create the something new. Not ready for the full nuclear option? That’s ok. Let yourself stretch from your business identity by testing new ideas somewhere people don’t already know you. Go to a new Facebook group. Jump on a new social media platform. One well known startup I’ve worked with actually tests risky ideas under an assumed name in a different country. It works.
The Encore (5 More)
- Learn From The Love. Read your testimonials. But don’t just read them to be reminded you’re awesome (even though you are). Read them with purpose: look for the patterns around what your clients consistently praise you for, and think about what you can create that does more of that.
- Help One of Your Favorite Clients. Lots of people will tell you to get out of a business funk by helping people. I think that’s great, but I don’t think you should help just anyone. If they’re not the right people for you it can just lead to even more confusion. Instead figure out how you can help one of your favorite clients. It’ll remind you what you love about her, and inspire you in the direction of what you can create that will help her and more like her.
- Do The Opposite. Sometimes all it takes to get started is to act the opposite of what you’re struggling with. Feeling like you’re totally disconnected? Reach out and connect.
- Ask Questions About Businesses You Know Nothing About. Sometimes we get caught in the same business circles and that can lead to analysis by paralysis. But there’s a whole world of entrepreneurs out there going through something similar to you in a completely different industry. Reach out to an entrepreneur outside of your regular sphere and talk business. You’ll be amazed at the takeaways you’ll gather for your own business.
- Outside Eyes. We all become blind to our businesses at one point or another. So reach out to your business friends, your mastermind, and ask for their ideas. The ideas they come up with will probably have you saying ‘of course!’. Biz friends tend to know what we should do next before we can see it ourselves.