How to Stay Inspired at Work When Business is Slow

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Who doesn’t love a good motivational quote? I know I do. But at the end of the day, what inspires us and what moves us to action are two vastly different things. When you’re an entrepreneur, there are going to be days—sometimes many days—that you feel less than inspired. How do you manage it? How do you stay inspired to be productive in your business when things just aren’t working?

How being uninspired almost killed my business

About a year into my business I was making OK money, but nothing crazy. I was on Instagram, I was blogging, I was doing speaking engagements—you know, all good ideas for growing your brand. The problem is that no new leads were coming through and the business wasn’t growing. I had convinced myself that I was bad at sales. I hated trying to find new business. I hated feeling pushy. But without sales, it just wasn’t going to happen.

So I hired a salesperson to start finding companies that I could be a good fit to work with and it was a total disaster. She didn’t understand me, my business, or what I was trying to accomplish, and it showed.

I was totally uninspired. I hated sales! Remember? But the hard truth was that if I wanted my business to grow, it was up to me to sell it—uninspired or not.

Take a break

First things first: stop. Just stop. Trying to push yourself when your mind and heart really aren’t in it will only lead to silly mistakes and poor quality work. That doesn’t help anyone, so just give yourself a break.

This could mean checking out what’s new on Instagram for an hour, leaving work early and hitting the gym, or simply taking a day or two off to clear your mind entirely. Yes, there’s work to do, but as an entrepreneur, you get to decide how that work gets done. Chances are you’ll be much more productive once you’ve given yourself a chance to step away from the workload.

Audit your current efforts

Now if you’re feeling less than inspired because business is slow and nothing you’re doing is actually working, then it may be time for more than just skipping out of work early. You probably need to audit what you’re already doing.

It’s easy to set up what we believe to be a smart strategy and execute on it. What’s difficult is looking at your current efforts and admitting to yourself that it’s not all working.

Personally, I had that “ah ha” moment after hiring a salesperson. No one knew my company like I did, and trying to outsource these deeply personal communications wouldn’t work coming from someone who wasn’t personally invested in my brand.

So what are you doing that’s NOT working for your company right now? Are your efforts on social media falling short? Are your emails not getting opened? Are your follow ups to networking events getting stale?

Whatever it is—and it could be more than one thing—is holding you back. The only way to get reinspired is to find the strategy or strategies that are tripping you up.

Make a pivot

So here’s the kicker: if you want to get inspired when business is slow, you’ve got to do more than just identify the problem: you’ve got to be willing to put in the work to fix it. The scary thing is that this can sometimes mean abandoning a strategy you felt strongly about to reallocate your efforts elsewhere.

You know what’s inspiring? Results.

When I felt like my business just wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t making any new sales, I had to switch my mindset, the way I spent my working hours, and even my attitude. I got inspired again when I started to get clear on who I should work with, sent a few strong pitch emails, and booked three discovery calls my first week at it.

When you change the way you view the problem and take new, more effective steps to solve it, you’ll rediscover the drive and passion that keeps your business moving forward.


Meet the Author: Shauna Armitage

Shauna is a Marketing Director or Fractional CMO helping early-stage startups scale with effective strategies, creative solutions, and unparalleled integrity by making the most of small budgets for maximum impact.

As a vocal advocate for women in business, Shauna is on a mission to redefine what it looks like to be a working woman and to support other women doing the same. She spends her free time traveling with her husband and four kids while drinking Coca-Colas. Connect with her on Instagram at @shauna.armitage.

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