Last week, one of my new clients called me and announced she was finally ready to start the business she had been thinking about for a year. I was so stoked for her. Months ago, we met in my old office and talked about her business idea and threw some ideas around for the design and branding. She held off for a while, but now she's ready to launch her business, and I couldn't be happier for her. I drove out to her new building to talk about the space, how she wanted to use it, and how we could use design to make the space as effective as possible for her and her clients. She was excited, and we talked through options and ideas and colors. She had the fire. Her enthusiasm spread to me and lasted for the rest of the week.
For me, this interaction reinforced that entrepreneurs get to do the things that set them on fire.
Owning a business can be tough. As an entrepreneur, you need to have the ability to land on your feet, to accept responsibility and give credit, to stay humble and positive, and to kick your own ass a little for being late to work or slacking off on the job. You have to solve problems, even if you don't know the answers right away. You have to show up, even when you're the only one accountable for your actions. The bottom line is, owning a business can be difficult, but it can be extraordinarily rewarding when you remember to do the things that set you on fire.
What do I mean by that--the things that set you on fire? You know what I'm talking about. The parts of your job that don't even feel like work. Unless you're an accountant, that probably doesn't include accounting or organizing or playing with calculators.
The thing that sets me on fire is storytelling. I love to write. I love to create videos. I love to talk to business owners and use design to solve their problems, communicate their ideas, and tell their stories. I love my dog, so I bring him to the office with me most days. Outside of work, the thing that absolutely sets me on fire more than anything else is snowboarding in stupidly steep terrain. It's where I do my best thinking. And non-thinking for that matter. Because of this, I try to work with like-minded, adventure enthusiasts as often as possible. Their businesses tend to have great stories for me to tell in my most authentic voice.
My Challenge to You:
Make a list of the things that don't feel like work.
Spend your day doing those things as much as possible.
Make a list of the things that definitely feel like work and you enjoy the least.
Figure out what you can delegate or hire out. Like accounting. (Thanks, Dani!) This will leave you with more time to do the things that fuel the passion behind your business, the stoke.
If you find yourself at work, at the business you own, sitting there wondering where your passion went, you need to ask yourself where it actually was the whole time.
Where did it start, and how has it shifted? Are you doing what you want to be doing? What small things can you change to reignite that fire that you had when you started your business?
I've learned that there's a surprising amount of self-awareness that needs to go into running a business. Your customers can sense your passion or lack of it, and this builds or breaks brand loyalty. You want your customers to stick around and live more inspired lives by experiencing your story, too.
This is your life, your story. You choose how it unfolds, your favorite characters in it, and how you react to what happens next. When it comes down to it, at the end, all you truly have are your thoughts and memories. Do things you will remember. Be with people who share that passion. Hire employees who support your vision, and support theirs in return. Run your business in a way that makes you proud to call it your own. And do so with fervor.
Your passion will come across in your business. Your customers will feel it and support it.
Do the things that set you on fire.
Wheelie Deep Thoughts
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