Oct 3, 2018
4 min

5 Tips for getting out of a business rut

1. Do the hard things first

These are words I live by:

“What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head? […] You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a hundred and forty six other things.”

― Harvey Specter Suits

Often times as business owners we look for what’s easiest. We want to automate everything so that we can only do the fun things in business. As a result to this idea, we can find our business creativity stagnant. The best way to get out of the rut is to follow our humanly nature. We are driven primarily to survive. Please don’t go driving down some dangerous gang ridden street or some dark alley somewhere, but put yourself into a situation where you’re forced to experience the fullness of stress and anxiety.

In the business arena, especially where you are El Jefe and the one calling the shots, you can benefit from this without worrying about too much backlash in terms of personnel. This is advice to the CEO themselves to self medicate against business ruts. For the social anxiety affected owner, go to a conference where you’re forced to talk to other owners and booth managers. For the owner who’s been struggling to generate leads: go outsize and start knocking on doors and get rejected to your face. These are the things that will break your rut. They will make you a stronger person. Everyone respects the business owner who’s ability to suffer through the trenches exceeds their own. It becomes your story, “I cold called 300 people before I got my first piece of business. Then called another 1,000 to gain my second.” Do something hard, you’ll come out stronger for it.

2.  Find an enemy to chase

Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t just for neighbors. Businesses use friendly competition all of the time as the fuel to progress and innovation.  Let’s say you’re a photographer and you only shoot digital but you see these other /really/ talent photographers using medium format film cameras. Not only are they shooting on film for fun, but they are shooting whole weddings with it. It’s a risk for them, but it makes you wonder if you could do the same. Finding someone you admire and positioning yourself as their competition is great way to boost your self confidence. It puts you into a mindset to where you’ll be in the place they are (or better) one day.

We’re innately going to compare ourselves with other businesses. You don’t need to feel bad about that. You just need to let it bring your game up to the next level. The Creative CRM world changed quite a bit when we took the scene by storm. Our compositors took some of our features and ideas and implemented it in their own way. Likewise, when we see similar companies putting something out there that could provide value to our customers in someway you’ll be sure to see us incorporate it into our product in some shape or form in our voice, with our attitude, and with OUR flavor.

3. Take a risk

Sometimes doing something bold can be just what your business needs to breathe a little life into it. For instance, at Dubsado we avoid getting into ruts by constantly doing things that scare us. We’ve built a reputation around building new features quickly and securely. Public perception of new features, UI tweaks, and tickets coming into support are all products of new things in the system when launched. But it fuels us. We take the good feedback with the bad and continue to iterate on our process based on these experiences.

We’ll also take a risk on a new a series of videos where we put our creative efforts into. It might not turn into anything. But challenging ourselves with creative risks isn’t just something that we’ve learned to enjoy , it’s something that’s come to fuel us.

4. Take some time off to reflect

We don’t take enough breaks these days. Sometimes we go after a business goal we don’t even really want in the end. If we’re always on “go” and never take time to look back at our accomplishments and failings, then we’ll never get better at decision making going forward. Avoiding stress (for a little span of time) is a great way to build up a tolerance to what your business requires of you.

There’s nothing like getting outside of your normal routine of grinding to show you and remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing.  A fresh perspective is a great way to attack your workload. You’ll see more opportunity from the relationships you’re building or in design you’ll see different ways of doing things.

5. Take a breath and just ‘effing do it

Sometimes, okay, a lot of times I don’t want to do things. There’s that lazy voice deep inside that says “you can do it tomorrow”. You have to get aggressive with that voice and tell it to screw off. You have no idea if the risks you take today are going to pay off. We do it anyway because we’re business owners. The risk and the challenge is part of the territory when running your own business. That’s why we ditched our 9-5’s, for freedom! For creativity and self expression! Don’t forget that, now get back to work and keep crushing it.

PS. If you’re killing it in your creative business, you might want a better way to convert your leads and land bigger contracts. Dubsado helps you with software but also with a community of fellow creatives and killer customer support.

Co-Founder of Dubsado