Re-Evaluating Your Business When It’s Not Bringing You Joy

Woah, woah, woah. It’s been a hot minute since the last post on TheCrownFox, right? This post is long overdue and we're about to get personal. Here's the deal: I really wasn’t #obsessed with my business anymore.

That’s scary, right? How many of you have worked so hard to build and create something just to have a moment of realization that screams, “NO! NO NO NO NO!”? Because that’s what the latter half of 2016 was looking (and feeling) like to me. I wanted to push through, I figured it was just ‘a season’ and I’d feel rejuvenated if I took some time away from blogging, or whatever. But try as I might, I couldn’t get back on board.

Through some wonderful connections, a few heart to hearts, and the universe giving me all the green lights I’ve made a transition that starts with my services but ultimately translates across my whole entire business (and life).

Now, I know I’m not alone in these “oh, shit” moments and I wanted to open up the discussion with whoever reads this so you know that it’s okay to step back, re-evaluate, and figure out what makes you actually happy. A perk of being your own boss is that you can change things. [tweet that!] You don’t have to do anything you don’t want too (besides like taxes and laundry, but whatever).

Here’s what my steps looked like (even if I didn’t fully realize they were happening at the time).


DON’T STOP THE IDEA TRAIN (LITERALLY, LET YOUR BRAIN WORK IT OUT)

This was step 1, even if I didn’t know it while it was happening. You might’ve noticed the latter half of 2016 involved me trying to launch, start, talk about a whoooooooole lot of things. I just was like ‘dangit, ONE of these things WILL make me happy’ and just kept generating ideas. My poor business bestie was probably so overwhelmed with my “NEXT GOOD IDEA” coming every day in our Slack channel.

But here’s the deal: this is good. Even if you feel stressed out about all these ideas and shift between really excited to really overwhelmed every single hour, at least you’re still ‘working through it’. Because you are – whether you know it or not. These ideas and brainstorms and random planning sessions are all just a part of your brain trying to find and create a solution for what’s bothering you.

Here’s what I did, what worked, and what didn’t:

First, let the brainstorms happen, write down the ideas, and get excited. Even if it’s totally not plausible, let it out of your head. I have about sixteen Evernotes that are like ‘GOOD BIZ IDEA 11/17’ and ‘DEFINITELY A WINNER 12/2’ that I need to go through and delete/condense. But at least I let the thought run its course and stop nagging away in my head.

It worked because I could see where all my interests were, I could see what seemed like something I’d want to actually consider, and it worked because I could see what was exciting me (versus filling me with dread or worry).

What I don’t recommend doing (even though I totally did some of these… oops): Don’t actually throw up any money or too much time to fulfilling these ideas YET. They aren’t fully formed, they aren’t definite, and they might pan out to be a huge waste of resources (i.e. money). So while they are FUN to think about, let’s leave them as creative brainstorms for now.


TALK IT OUT WITH PEOPLE. ANYONE. EVERYONE.

So there you are, in your head, overwhelmed, half crazed, about sixty ideas of things you could do that might make you happy and excited about your business again… but now what?

Connect with people. Talk to people. Talk to anyone who will talk to you about things – and don’t let it JUST be about business, but about life too. Get deep. Get weird. I’m literally starting 2 coffee/wine chats per week with people on my email list that need this sort of conversation (or really any sort of conversation) – because I totally did. You cannot keep it all in your head.

Here’s what I figured out – a lot of my unhappiness with my business resulted from unhappiness of the lifestyle it was forcing me to have. I only figured that out after talking to my partner and my best friend (who are not involved in online business world AT ALL). But I also talked to my business bestie, a client I’m close with, some awesome business owners I’m in a mastermind with, a random lady at the coffee shop sitting next to me one day (#realtalk), my mom, my sister… like everyone.

And I got vulnerable – I voiced concerns about where my business was, where I wanted it to go, what I wanted it to become, etc. I talked about how I wanted to live on a boat and travel the world, I talked about how I wanted my Instagram to be way more authentic, I talked about like EVERYTHING that was weighing on my mind that somehow loosely related back to my business and my lifestyle.

Then after I talked and talked and talked and got a LOT of feedback, I wrote out my dream lifestyle. What my days looked like, my weeks looked like, my work looked like, my clients looked like, etc. I day dreamed and manifested and built up perfect little fantasies in my head of working from a hammock that was hung somewhere on a boat (I literally know no boat terms) somehow magically like over the water but still safe and stable and where I could like actually see the screen on my computer despite it being sun-shiney outside.

And then I went back to all those random notes in Evernote and ideas and started really thinking which, if any, of these could help me create THAT life or dream. I nixed like 95% of the notes and came down to the realization that there were a few ideas that I could take, implement, and run with that would move me closer to this dream and those were the ideas I would pursue.


REFLECT FOR-LIKE-EVER

But this was all around the end of October and I was now in that, okay, I’m committed but like… ahhhh. So much work to do. I basically have to change everything, which is terrifying. I knew it needed to happen and I knew it would happen, but I was still scared so I spent the last two months of 2016 really reflecting on my decisions and making sure I could and would do them.

Then, something really magical happened. The pieces started falling into place before I even officially made the shifts. Seriously. The universe was like “no, Kaitlyn, it’s a good move look here: awesome client who is the greatest”. Just to propel and push and validate my thoughts further.

And I reflected on that, too. The thing is: I didn’t put hard deadlines on myself, I let the evolution happen naturally and let my brain work through the worries and kinks and solve the problems. I spent time reflecting each day on what I wanted my revised brand and business to feel like, to look like, to talk about, to teach about. I didn’t read other people’s blogs, I didn’t browse Pinterest, I don’t even know the last time I did anything on social media…

I just needed to step back and stop making myself frantic, giving myself ‘1 hour to think about my business and figure it out’ in my planner, and thinking everything would combust if I didn’t figure it out by X date.

Dont force yourself to 'figure it all out' by a certain date - let big decisions run their course. [tweet that!]

And you know what? It’s February 1st and I don’t have all the answers but I can say this: I’m SUPER excited to write this blog post. I’m FREAKING THE HECK OUT about the newsletter that is going out today. I’m going to have two coffee chats on Friday that are going to be so inspirational and exciting. I’ve already brought on a few clients that I am ECSTATIC about. January has been my most productive month in my business, like ever, and I’ve done yoga nearly every day, spent more time eating healthy and practicing mindfulness, and connected with bosses that I am so excited to call my friends. I’m building the lifestyle I daydreamed about just a few months ago and I can’t believe it took me so long to make these shifts.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Here’s where we land with this post: you don’t have to be miserable in your business. [tweet that!] You can create your dream business doing what you love. When something is right it feels magical and falls into place (I’m serious. If you’ve ever been in a bad/hard/unhealthy relationship and then in a good/healthy/balanced relationship you know how different those two things can feel? Business is the same). And most importantly – trust your instincts, trust your gut, trust your ability to adapt, adjust, and solve problems. You are awesome and strong and smart and so, so, so capable!

Now, just get out there, and DO it. I believe in you.



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


Posted on February 1, 2017 and filed under Business, Productivity.