Entrepreneurship is a hustle. It’s a 24/7 passion that ebbs and flows. It requires inspiration, motivation, hard work—and even setbacks, disappointments and failure. These are all ingredients for well-rounded success. But even the most committed and hard-working entrepreneurs experience a loss of drive or feel stuck in a rut. If your ambitions need a tune-up, here are four ways to help revive your dreams:
Act on New Curiosities
Sometimes you just outgrow your passion. And that’s exactly what happened to Joshua Cooper Ramo, vice chairman and co-chief executive of Kissinger Associates and New York Times best-selling author. The successful former journalist left the world of journalism during a time when, in his words, the field was hit with upheaval because of technology. So he turned in his career in journalism for a career in commercialism, following a curiosity for the country of China. Exploring this fascination led Ramo to more than a new profession abroad—he grew personally by becoming bilingual, bicultural and influential in an evolving new country.
You don’t have to exit your area of expertise completely, or move across the globe, to re-energize your entrepreneurial spirit. But you can embrace a new product, introduce an additional service or cultivate a renewed vision for your business that can excite you in your work in a new way.
Show Vulnerability to Your Networks
Marketing entrepreneur and photographer Jenna Kutcher proclaims her obsession to be “teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life).” For Kutcher, part of being an entrepreneur is to find meaning in her work that makes a difference in the lives of others—and one way she does is by showing vulnerability and relating to her audience (who are driven business-minded women like herself). She connects with and grows her networks by sharing how she’s dealt with overcoming a heartbreaking miscarriage and facing criticism about her weight. If you’re in a networking rut, experiment using social media as a platform for opening up beyond your business endeavors. Not only can this create stronger connections and make you more approachable, but it can also be a therapeutic, freeing and empowering.
Take Creative Risks
Whether you’re reshaping your current business or seeking a new entrepreneurial pursuit, you can make the most impact by taking a risk on an innovative idea. Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton and New York Times best-selling author of “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World,” emphasizes that “To be an original, you need to take radical risks.” Great change agents, leaders and forward thinkers like Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn’t change the world without taking a gamble on their convictions or visions. Online glasses retailer Warby Parker wouldn’t have been able to successfully sell affordable, designer-quality glasses without believing that customers would purchase glasses online using the company’s try-on-at-home business model. As you position your business, ask yourself, “How can I be more original?”, “How can I make something unconventional popular and widespread?” and “How can I reject the status quo or defaults with a better option?”
Create a Variety of Content
Reaching your audience by producing content for all channels (e.g. social media, YouTube, email etc.) increases your engagement and networking. One person may prefer to connect through Instagram, whereas another may enjoy a live, interactive seminar. Podcasts in particular have a significant effect on business-to-audience connections. “More than a third of Americans have listened to podcasts (112 million) and 15 percent of Americans listen to a podcast weekly, loyally following the tales of their favorite voices,” according to “The Value of Podcasts” by Jack Loechner, the editor of The Center for Media Research’s daily Research Brief.
Kara Loewentheil, J.D., is the master-certified life coach behind Unf*ck Your Brain. Her podcast covers topics on gratitude, sexism and leadership—in addition to online classes, her blog, free guides and social media posts. Linking all of your content can also boost the effectiveness of reaching your audience. Promote your podcasts with emails that offer teaser information, or give a quick excerpt from your blog post on an Instagram post, encouraging followers to click the link in your bio to read the entire piece.
As you experiment with new passions, vulnerability, creative risks and diverse content, also start to think about those who you inspire you. Those who “have made it” can serve as your mentor or role model, whether you know this person personally or just follow their work. An entrepreneurial idol can help you generate a new idea, see the world differently and revive your entrepreneurial spirit.