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What to do when you feel fed up and frustrated with your business

Aka The Burn It Down Blues Blog Post

Sometimes I feel like the best thing I could do for my business is throw it in a wood chipper, liberally sprinkle it with petrol, set it on fire, then start over doing something completely different, like opening a cat cafe, or starting an alpaca rescue centre.

I appreciate that being this candid probably doesn’t encourage you to enlist my help as a marketing mentor, but I’m a sharer, and I can’t keep this one to myself.

And I’ve noticed that whenever I post in any business Facebook group that I’ve got the Burn It Down Blues instead of being met with an avalanche of disbelief and horror, I’m mostly greeted with comments that say ‘yep, I get that too’.

So because I know I’m not alone in my occasional impulse to declare myself a total business loser and jack it all in, I thought I’d share my rescue plan for when Burn It All Down Blues strikes.

 

1. What would Good Enough look like?

While I am totally convinced that my business and I are both woefully inadequate I ask myself ‘what would Good Enough look like’, journal whatever comes up, and notice if there are any significant gaps from where I am right now.

Sometimes I adjust the question – In what ways is my business (or am I) already Good Enough?

 

2. Go along with the fantasy

Instead of fighting the funk, sometimes it’s easier (and more fun) to go along with it. I imagine that I did burn it all down (not literally, there are no flames involved), and start over. What would that look like?

I don’t purposefully make this make-believe future crap so that I convince myself what I have right now is great. I go for it - and make this totally made-up alternate reality as awesome as I can. And then I play around with how it feels, and what my day would be like, and what about it is so great. And then I go back to my old dull project manager ways (old corporate job) and do a Gap Analysis between Make Believe Business Future and Actual Right Now Business, and identify

  • Where I already have those things that I want
  • What I can change right now that’s not hard work to do (quick wins)
  • What would take more commitment to change - when will I know it’s time to do that

 

3. Look at the Evidence of Awesomeness

There is an area inside my Notion account (an online database management system thingy) called ‘Evidence of Awesomeness’.

If anyone sends me a Voxer, email, Facebook comment - anything at all - that contains kind words about me, my work or my courses, I take a screenshot and it goes into the evidence locker.

It means I’ve got a bunch of testimonials ready to use in my marketing (I do ask permission first) and most importantly, it’s right there whenever the Burn It Down Blues roll around, so I can remind myself that I am not actually a completely useless lump of cold, crusty mashed potato and that I do have something to offer the world and people do benefit from my business.

 

4. Take stock of my business assets

I don’t mean my laptop (although it is rather lovely and was a bit of an ordeal to acquire), I mean the things of value that I didn’t have 7 or 8 years ago.

I imagine talking to 2012 Laura who was plugging away making £600 a month from freelance content writing gigs, and telling her about the list of the assets I have right now….social media following (not massive, but fun to interact with), email subscribers, connections I’ve made, courses I’ve created…..what would she say to that?

If I was totally brand new to business right now, and a complete stranger rocked up to me and handed me that list of assets and said ‘here’s your business, no charge, do what you like with it’ what ideas would I have? If I wasn’t constrained by the emotional baggage that comes with being the creator of the things, what would I do with the things?

 

5. Make myself feel better

Often when I’m beating up on my business it’s actually nothing to do with my business (interestingly you can definitely substitute the word ‘business’ with ‘husband’ and that sentence is still 100% accurate).

I’ve needed to be attentive to my mental health the whole of my life (bit of an understatement) so I have a handy list of things to do when I am in a funk.

  • Go to the beach and really hear the waves and the shingle and the seagulls
  • Watch my video highlights reels from previous years (I make these using an app called 1SE)
  • Make a coffee from my espresso machine and really smell it
  • Watch one of my fave TV shows (currently Ozark and Orange Is The New Black
  • Take a nap
  • Watch the blue tits on the bird feeder
  • Eat something made of pastry, or containing cream, or ideally both

 

6. This surprisingly comforting quote from Phil Stutz

A recent addition to my toolkit, this quote from Phil Stutz during an interview with John Cusack in 2012:

There are three laws of reality: One, uncertainty, it never goes away. Two, pain, it never goes away. Three, the need for constant effort and work never goes away. People don’t like that.”

I’ve found it comforting and uplifting, even though at first read it seems kinda miserable.

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