5 Ways to Overcome the Home Business Blues, Blahs, and Burnout

Why the heck am I doing this? What’s the point? I’m so sick of this $%#@!

spinning-platesThere comes a time in every home-based business life when you reach the point of blah. It has happened to every single person I’ve talked to who runs a home-based business. I, myself, know it well. Maybe you’ve hit what I call the Futility Factor, the point where you’re busting your hump and not seeing any results – working 16+ hours a day, seven days a week, for months to get your business off the ground. Or you’re a few years into it, and things are just getting stale. There are lots of reasons why it happens. The key is to know what to do, when it does.

Just Be With It

Your first option is to do nothing. Just be with your mood – wallow in it, feel it, accept it. Now granted, this is not the usual kind of advice for this stuff. But sometimes, it’s nice just to be with your funk. Churchill called it his black dog. Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, used his melancholy moods to inspire his work. Don’t be afraid to be in a crappy mood once in a while – especially when it relates to your business. Running a home-based business is hard and you’re bound to get down about it. If it’s not a common thing, just sit with your cranky self. Sometimes it’s nice to give yourself permission to be in a foul mood. Enjoy it.

Go Back To Why

There’s a good reason why you decided to go into business for yourself in the first place. You set out on this road with a mission. During times of bad mojo, it helps to go back to that “why.” I’m guessing you’re a pretty smart person. You didn’t just jump into a home-based business without a plan. And even if you did, there was still a reason for it. Sit in a comfy chair, lie on the couch, or curl up in a ball on the floor, and think back to what it was like when you started. What drove you? Why did you make the decisions you did? Hopefully you are following your passion, so those feelings of excitement start flowing back in. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, and the BS that comes with running your own business. It’s important to regularly get back to that place of why you are here, and why you’re doing this. That initial spark can help get you back into full-flame mode.

Be of Service to Others

Many times, it’s helpful to stop making it all about you. I often find that the business blahs stem from the “poor me’s.” By stopping and thinking of how you can be of service to others, you interrupt that thinking, and start to see how what you’re doing is benefiting others. Again, I’m working off the assumption that you are doing something you love, that you have talent for, and that is providing value to others. If you’re running a pyramid scheme just to get rich, this ain’t going to help you. But if you are pursuing your dream, and contributing something of value, then chances are, what you’re doing is benefiting someone else. Ask yourself “how can I be of service to others?” That question alone is often enough to snap you out of your doldrums. Then follow that tread. Think of all the ways your business is providing a service to your fellow Earthlings. It’s a great feeling, and can give you a real boost to move forward.

Take the Day Off

If you’ve been working like mad, burnout is inevitable, even doing something you love. Remember to take time for yourself. Just taking a day to goof-off, see a move, or play with your kids is enough to help you get re-focused on your business. One of the wonderful things about working for yourself, is having the freedom to do this. Take a day off in the middle of the week, and if you need to make it up, work a little on the weekend. Rather than wait for a good day to take off, take a bad day off. Forget about it for a while, then come back refreshed with a new outlook.

Work On Your Favorite Stuff

Another pretty common reason for the business blues is spending a lot of time on the things that you have to do and not enough on the things you want to do. The reality of running a business requires a lot of things that aren’t fun, such as paperwork, filing, or cold calls (for some). These are things you have to do to keep things running smoothly. But if you need a boost, switch to doing the fun stuff – the things you associate with why you love doing what you do. It’s most likely true that you have to do the fun stuff anyway, that it’s part of your core business. So why not rearrange some things so you can work on them first. I’m not recommending putting off all the crappy stuff indefinitely. I’m a big proponent of the Eat that Frog strategy. But if you need a way to lift your mood, filling out tax forms probably isn’t going to do it (unless you’re a CPA and love that stuff – if so, that’s what you should do). You can always go back to that later. Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing.

Bad moods are a part of life, and running your own home business doesn’t make you immune. The bright side is that you are your own boss, so you don’t have to sit in a cube and just deal. You have the freedom to choose. Take advantage of it and learn to work with your moods as they come, and around them when you need to.

This post is part of “5 Things Week” over at Ben Yoskovitz’s Instigator Blog.


  1. I use all five of these. For me, the quickest way out of such a space is to do the first for a little while. Acknowledge the mood or feeling of burn-out while realizing that it’s mood that will pass. Avoid contact with other people as much as possible while it is at its worst to keep from making matters worse. As soon as it lightens up a little, start working with the other techniques.

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