Sometimes you don’t realize that you are down because you don’t dwell on these things. You get-up every morning, do your routine, head to work, go home, rinse, and repeat. Overtime, you realize that you’re unsatisfied with — with what? Your business? No, then what? Maybe you’re in a slump, but don’t realize it.
That’s not why you became an entrepreneur. You wanted to start a business because you had passion and wanted to make a difference. It wasn’t about the lifestyle or paycheck like any other job. But, here you are in a slump.
Is it too late to get out? Not necessarily. However, you would be in a better situation if you paid attention to the red flags in advance.
1. Every day is exactly the same.
Let’s be honest. There are days that are, well, boring. Whether it’s working on a tedious task, such as bookkeeping, or waiting to hear back from your developer before proceeding with your amazing app, not every day is an action-packed adventure.
But, what if you’re bored day-in-and-out? That’s definitely a telltale sign that you’re in a rut.
If you’re not motivated to use your time wisely then it’s time to do a little soul-searching — and shake up. You need to find out where your head is. Are you in this for the long-haul? Well, you need a tune up.
When you’re not in a rut, you break-up the monotony and make the most of each day. Even when you have downtime you’re still busy learning something new. Maybe you’re enhancing your skills, exercising, recording your goals, giving back, or checking in with friends and family.
2. You can’t stop thinking about yesterday.
Reflection can be useful.
It’s actually one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again. What’s more, when you need a little self-esteem boost you can think about a past success to lift your spirits.
But, there’s also a fine line here. If you keep reminiscing, replaying and telling yourself off about the past, then there’s a good chance that you’re in a slump. The reason? Instead of focusing on the present, you’re busy recalling how great yesterday was.
Again, that can be useful. But only in small doses. Remember, when you’re constantly stuck in reverse, you can never go forward.
3. You’re a daydreamer.
It’s also acceptable to occasionally drift off to an alternate reality.
In fact, daydreaming comes with benefits like improving your working memory, productivity, creativity, and your mood. It also gives your brain a change to take a break and recharge.
But, like being stuck in the past, frequently daydreaming can sabotage your long-term goals. That’s because instead of improving your business or life, you’re devoting too much time and energy to a non-existent world.
4. You’re stuck in your comfort zone.
This is another sign that you’re stuck in a rut. It’s easy to understand why. All entrepreneurs get it.
Maybe you enjoy the lifestyle, money, or location of your business. Who wouldn’t want to make a comfortable living, while having a flexible schedule that allows you to set your own hours?
Unfortunately, this can make us complacent — especially when so much time has been devoted to this endeavor — and so much money to your business.
Maybe you were originally passionate about your startup. But, as the years go-by, you no longer have that fire. It happens to the best of us. But, if you’re not happy, then it’s time to go out on a limb and get out of your comfort zone.
Trust me. It’s going to be scary. But, it’s better than running a business that you no longer have an interest in just because you’re afraid of taking a risk.
5. You always feel unwell.
Years ago one of my entrepreneur-friends had terrible stomach problems. He couldn’t figure out what the diagnosis was until a doctor finally determined it was stress from work. Believe it or not, it’s even got quite the name psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology. I actually think it’s gotta be like ptsd in some senses…
My friend decided to sell his startup, take some time off, and then start a new business that he was more excited about it.
If you constantly feel unwell, then maybe it’s time to realize that you’re in slump. Maybe it’s because you’re working too many hours, you’re strapped financially, or you’re worried about being perfect. Each of these thought processes will make you ill — it’s just a matter of time. Whatever the culprit, it’s not worth putting your physical or mental health in jeopardy.
6. You’ve got the “Sunday night blues.”
According to a global poll conducted by Monster, 76 percent of respondents in the US reported having “really bad” Sunday night blues. If you fall into that majority — meaning that you dread going to work on Monday — then it’s time to shift gears.
“There are many tactics people can use to reduce Sunday night blues, so they are less stressed and more prepared to conquer the week,” said Monster Career Expert Vicki Salemi. “Seeking work-life adjustments, and managing work-flow throughout the week can do a great deal to alleviate the blues, but ultimately it could be a sign that you need to find a job that better suits your goals or lifestyle.”
7. No one asks for you for help anymore.
Has someone ever asked for your advice, feedback, or assistance? It felt pretty good, right? It’s not that you’re ego is overinflated. It just validates that you’ve been taken as an expert. More importantly, you are trusted and helping others feels incredible.
But, have noticed that people are no longer asking for your help?
It’s because they can tell you’re no longer motivated, interested, or passionate about your work. So, if you don’t care about anything, then why should they waste their time asking for your assistance? Would you drop the ball? Have you dropped the ball? These are signs. Watch out for these. Really, it’s easier to keep yourself up than to pick yourself up later.
8. You put others first.
Interestingly, when you’re down in a hole, you also tend to put others first. That may sound confusing, but it actually makes sense. Like living in the past and always putting others needs first, puts you’re mojo in jeopardy.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t help others. You definitely should. The difference is always putting someone else’s needs ahead of yours to make yourself a martyr. Self-care is the best method to stay on top of your game.
9. Business is not good.
Between the daily hustle and being in a rut, you may not have noticed that your business isn’t doing all that well. For example, you have a high employee turnover, poor relationship with customers, and a reduced cash flow because of your lack of motivation and enthusiasm.
All of these are essential if you want your business to thrive. And, if they’re not, then it’s time to make a change before it’s too late for your business to recover.
10. You’ve become a homebody.
There’s nothing wrong with staying home occasionally. Sometimes you just need a day or two to rest and relax. But, if that becomes a frequent occurrence, then it’s a sign that something’s out of sync.
Remember, we’re social creatures. We need to get of the house and spend time with friends, family, and colleagues. It not only improves your mood, it also introduces you to new ideas, experiences, and people.
Who knows? Maybe — because your friends dragged you out of the house — you came-up with a new business idea or met a potential investor.
11. You’re looking for an escape.
We all need time away from our businesses. But, if you’re frequently searching for vacation deals or new business ideas — then it’s time to reevaluate where you’re at — what are you feeling? It may be time to move-on from your startup in order to get out of this hole.
How to Breakout of Your Slump
Admit to yourself that you’re in a slump. You need not tell everyone — in fact — make sure you DO NOT tell everyone. Now ask, how can you pull yourself out? Here’s a couple of ideas to get started.
Reflect on your current situation.
As an entrepreneur, it’s not uncommon to have more than just a bad day. I’ve had bad weeks and even months. However, this could simply be a phase and not a long-term slump. Determine where you’re struggling at and take the initiative to make a change.
If it’s just one area, correcting that issue may be enough to get you out of your slump. If it’s a combination of factors, you may want to pursue a new business venture.
Identify the work that matters most to you.
Entrepreneurs wear many hats. But, you don’t have to do everything on your own.
If you can’t stand certain aspects of running a business, then delegate those tasks to someone else. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, but your co-founder loves speaking in-front of crowds, then have them handle all speaking events for a little while.
While they’re out crushing those speaking engagements, you can focus on the parts of your company that you enjoy doing.
Set attainable goals.
“Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the amount of change required to get out of a rut, and that keeps us in it,” writes Pep Streep in Psychology Today. “To solve this, set manageable interim goals.”
Make sure that you don’t exaggerate your abilities — even to yourself. You want to make sure that the goals you set can be realistically achieved.
Adjust your attitude.
Negativity is the worst. Stop complaining and comparing yourself to others. It drains your energy and doesn’t change the situation. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your business, as well as recall your passion.
If you have terrible getting started, then begin practicing gratitude. I do this every evening by writing in my gratitude journal.
Don’t jump ship just yet.
The idea of bailing on your startup may sound appealing when you’re down. Consider all of your possibilities. Maybe you just need a vacation, start focusing on your personal health, or pivot from your original idea. Could a massage and eating a few good meals fix it all for you? Do the quick fixes first.
Those are all relatively simple steps to take that could help you breakout of your slump. After all, you could sell your startup only to face the same problems with your next business.
In other words, get to the core of the problem so that you can make the appropriate adjustments.
Editor-in-Chief at Calendar. Former Editor-in-Chief and writer at Startup Grind. Freelance editor at Entrepreneur.com. Deanna loves to help build startups, and guide them to discover the business value of their online content and social media marketing.