Restore Your Passion for Your Business

5 Ways Business Owners Can Keep Their Enthusiasm Alive

October 2014


Just as in any long-term relationship, a business owner is bound to experience frustration and waning passion, especially when going through periods of high stress or lulls in growth.

While what lights a fire for one entrepreneur may not work for another, there are a few common ways fellow successful business owners have been able to reignite their passions.

Search for Another Job

Joe Garvey is the founder of San Francisco–based CLASH Scavenger Hunts. CLASH started out as a sports league, and Garvey says that model felt like it worked effortlessly. But, when they began offering scavenger hunts to companies as team-building events, he realized that he needed to change the company’s approach to running the business. With this new model, he found there was an endless amount of paperwork that came with endless deadlines.

“When you’re a smaller company, you tend to wear many different hats, and it’s on you to learn the skills necessary to succeed,” says Garvey. “It’s a time-consuming process, but it’s an important key to learning your business inside and out. The only problem is that the job that once kept me out in the world is the same job that now keeps me at my desk most days. I found myself feeling stagnant. I’ve created a business that’s all about getting people excited about the work that they do and the people they get to do it with, but somehow, I couldn’t find that same feeling for myself.”

Garvey decided to do what anyone else who was unhappy with his or her job would do he put together a résumé and looked for another job.

“I needed to take a breather and I wanted to see what my options were,” says Garvey. “This was probably the best decision I ever made. It made me realize that I will never find a job I love more than a job I created myself. With that being said, I went back to CLASH with my head clear and I reconnected with what I had created. I’ve sat down with people from companies that I’ve always admired. Doors have opened that have led to greater opportunities for me and the company, and we’ve seized every opportunity. We’ve expanded our reach all over the United States and overseas, and we’ve created exciting new products. Reconnecting with what you've created can seem impossible at times, but moving forward and creating something new is a great way to feel that excitement again. Come up with a new project, surround yourself with new people in other industries, and remind yourself that the work will always be work, but the work will always be worth it.”

Rise to a Challenge

When the real-estate market took a tumble a few years ago, Ann Hambly, founder and CEO of the Grapevine, TX–based commercial real-estate advisory firm 1st Service Solutions, said the crisis strengthened her commitment to her business. “The turbulent economy over the last five years may have led me to change the business model, but it never changed my enthusiasm,” says Hambly. “I built this business because I care about commercial real-estate owners, so when the commercial real-estate market crashed in 2008, it just fueled my passion to help these owners.

Weave Creativity into Your Business Functions

Based on her love of design, Paola Moya has founded three start-up companies architecture firm Marshall Moya Design, product design firm inNuevo, and website design agency inNuevo Digital. Moya has managed the executive responsibilities of the businesses since their inceptions, including the strategic planning, human resources, financial management, business operations, and business development. As time went on and her businesses grew, Paola felt she was becoming detached from the design process she loved. “I enjoy the management aspects of my business; however, I often wished I could have more time to sketch, draw, create, color, and work directly in the design process for our projects,” says Moya. “I longed to research and sculpt our projects; to set the tone for the design.”

To reengage with her love and passion for the core of her businesses, Moya established a daily morning meeting with the designers. Now, she begins each day with the essence of her businesses, and that gives her inspiration to use throughout the day. “Now, not only do I make time in the mornings to meet with the designers and edit their work, I challenge them to think big, take chances, and grow their talents,” says Moya. “I trust my team to deliver excellent designs and I give feedback and edits along the way. It is inspiring to see the development of my team and partake in the designs we produce. I also bring my creative mindset to management and business. Strategic planning, financial management, writing business plans . . . all of this is an art form in its own way, and I love integrating design into the business side of the companies, as well.”

Talk About It

“Yes, I have found, in my own business and with the business owners I consult with, that our initial mission and passion has often taken a backseat, but it's never completely lost,” says Laura Rubinstein, founder of Transform Today and president and cofounder of Social Buzz Club, LLC. “In the day-to-day running of a business, there are so many aspects to manage and often we get consumed with the mundane. Having a lean staff myself, I often get caught up in putting out the fires, dealing with technology issues, and other distractions that take me away from the original purpose of my work.”

Just one of the many ways Rubinstein stays passionate about her business is to talk about it. She seizes any opportunity to give presentations and keynote speeches about marketing. “Getting into the creative zone while preparing a presentation about a topic I am passionate about is very inspiring. Then, giving the presentation is another highly energizing way to get back into the passion zone. Interacting with audience members who ask questions, tell you their stories, offer challenges, and even request to work with you is reinvigorating.”

Change Your Goals

Rob Infantino, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Openbay, the Cambridge, MA–based nationwide online auto service marketplace, is drawn to entrepreneurship because of the freedom and independence it provides and the opportunity to create that it presents. He values charting his own course, with or without the guidance of others, and realizing his ability to have an impact on an industry.

Infantino says that he stays passionate about his business by maintaining a constant state of improvement. “I wouldn’t say I’ve felt de-motivated by running the day-to-day operations; instead, I look at it as an opportunity to learn about any inefficiencies within the organization and make decisions to improve a process, and then the progress will serve to motivate,” says Infantino. “It’s important to be in a mode where you’re continuously setting goals, measuring, making adjustments, and then measuring again. Everyone in the company, every single day, must move the ball forward and eventually past the goal line. It’s never boring when you’re in a fast, nimble company that’s changing every single day.”

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