The Post Launch Slump (And How to Recover)

Earlier this week, I was staying in a multi-million dollar mansion outside Phoenix.

I mean, this place was insane. 8 bedrooms, a pool, putting green, and some of the most incredible desert views you could ever hope to see.

I was sitting in the hot tub by myself around sunset drinking a Corona, and was having trouble articulating exactly what I’d been feeling for the past few weeks.

By any standard, it should have been an unbelievable month (and honestly, it was). It was my highest grossing month ever in my business, I’d just played 4 of the best golf courses in the country, and now I was spending a few days hanging with fellow entrepreneurs in what was probably the biggest house I’d ever been in.

Yet, I’ve found myself feeling oddly melancholy.

Not depressed by any means, I don’t know, I guess flat.

I just couldn’t seem to get myself motivated to get back to work. I have plenty of projects going on that need to be moved forward, yet I was finding myself incapable of focusing long enough to get any work done.

Over the years I’ve learned one of the most unexpected effects of finishing up a big project is the complete lack of motivation for starting and working on something else.

You’d think it would be the exact opposite, right?

You’ve got a ton of momentum, and you should want to carry it over and keep it going.

That wasn’t the case for me, this go around.

I’ve talked to a couple other entrepreneur friends of mine like Karol Gajda and Andy Drish who have experienced very similar things in their own business.

So why is this?

Personally, I believe it’s for a few reasons.

1) Establishing a Motivator Other than Money

Historically, I’ve always done my best work done when my back is against the wall, and I feel the stress of needing to make more money.

Well over the last few years business has done well enough so that money isn’t necessarily a huge stress factor. I mean sure, we all want more money, but when you don’t have that “do or die” factor, there has to be something else that keeps you going.

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into this, and will explore it in a future post.

2) Lack of Concrete Goals and “Whys”

While I’ve got a lot of projects I’m working on, I haven’t necessarily had a lot of concrete goals and timelines to go with them – making it much easier to continue putting them off.

More importantly than that is really knowing the “why” behind those projects.

Why try and play all the best golf courses in the country? Why invest more time into new content for Location Rebel members? Why start a new conference for independent entrepreneurs?

During this past month I’d lost focus on why I was so excited about doing all of those things – and when that happens, you feel like you’re just going through the motions.

3) Not Having the Right Conversations

For the first couple weeks of my slump, I was spending a lot of time by myself, which was great at first, but slowly I just kept moving further and further into hermit mode – which isn’t good.

The conversations I found myself having were often superficial and I wasn’t pushing myself to figure out what that next step was going to be.

This is what was so great about my time in Nevada and Arizona – I finally got to have those conversations. I finally got to talk to people who “got it” about what I was dealing with, and start looking towards the future, rather than residing in this mental purgatory I felt like I’d been in all month.

4) Neglecting Basic (Healthy) Routines

As anyone who has found themselves in a funk before knows, motivating yourself to do things like go to the gym, drink water etc. can be a real challenge, and it was for me.

Between the travel, a social life that was focusing too much on happy hour, and my already dwindling motivation level I wasn’t doing the things that lead to momentum. 

Whenever I go to the gym, I find myself ready to go out and get stuff done.

If I go to the gym and make a healthy breakfast, then it’s like nitrous oxide for my day.

It was a vicious circle, I wasn’t doing those, so I was less productive, and the less productive I came, the less I felt the need to take care of myself.

So all of those well intentioned business and personal goals I made last month got a bit sidelined because of the post launch slump.

Recovering and Looking Forward

That’s what the last couple weeks have looked like.

I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not I should post this – but 5 years ago I made a promise to you, to always talk about both the positives and the struggles of being an entrepreneur and building a business.

No matter who you are you’re going to go through phases like this.

Sitting here today, I’ve found myself more motivated than ever to get back out there and do amazing things.

On top of focusing on some of the things above that I’ve been thinking about, there’s one important thing that got me out of my funk.

I took a trip.

This trip had an interesting evolution to it.

The first few days I was able to fully enjoy myself, relax, and have fun.

The middle few days of the trip I was stressed because I knew I should work, but wasn’t able to motivate myself.

Then the last few days saw everything come full circle. I began slowly getting things done. I put together a plan for my return. And the simple act of removing myself from a familiarity and detrimental routine allowed me to hit the refresh button and come out swinging.

This doesn’t just apply to launches either.

This can happen (and probably has) after any major transition or ending. It could be a relationship, a vacation, a class, a job – you name it.

It’s stress, stress, stress, relaaaaaax. And once you get too far into that relax mode, it can start causing stress again until it’s addressed.

Moving forward this month, I’m really excited about a project I’ve had in the works behind the scenes. Within the next two weeks I’ll have something to share, but in the meantime just keep an eye on this space.

I actually recently installed a free Chrome Extension called Momentum. Every time you open a new tab it shows you the time, a pretty picture, and few customized things like your goal for the day and a to do list.

Momentum App

I thought the quote I got today was particularly fitting:

“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity mo matter how impressive their other talents.” – Andrew Carnegie

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Pura Vida Nick January 30, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Sean, thank you for being so candid. I have recently been thinking about what it’d be like to be financially independent (and therefore location independent), and it’s interesting to hear your perspective after a few years of “the good life”. Life is a process, and a journey, right?

Reply

Scott Asai January 30, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Sounds like a letdown or an exhale. Although I haven’t experienced the same kind of success you have, I can relate to the “why” factor. Sometimes you get in these highly focused, busy stages similar to an athlete being in the zone. It’s almost like after the peak, you get a little stale. Also, the isolation thing doesn’t help either. At least you recognized it, chose a new target and moved on. I think it’s almost a necessary phases, like the “recovery” stage after a hard workout.

Reply

Mike Goncalves January 31, 2014 at 11:14 am

Sean,

Great post. Your honesty is awesome. Focus on #4 (Neglecting Basic (Healthy) Routines) which is the key foundation to all success and happiness and the rest will fall in place.

Reply

Martin February 1, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Thanks Sean for your great article! I can relate more to the “do or die” part than the “having done it” but it’s good to be aware of all of those points no matter where we’re at. I’ll keep the “why” in mind to ensure that I stay on course with my life project!

Reply

Rebecca Ness February 2, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Great post Sean, and very helpful for people to see the reality of what’s involved in being an online entrepreneur. We all have ups and downs and I think having a motivator bigger than money combined with a healthy lifestyle are key. You have inspired me to log about this myself:)

Reply

RenegadePilgrim February 3, 2014 at 2:21 am

I know whenever I am feeling like I am in a slump, I take off by myself for a quick overnighter in the woods. There’s nothing like the wilderness to bring it all back into perspective for me. In your case, you needed to be around your people. It’s good to recognize that. Thanks for sharing! I appreciate it when people share the good AND the bad. It makes you human! :)

Reply

Chas February 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Sean, we all feel that ‘funk’ from time to time, no matter what situation we are in, in life. I find this quote to be helpful when I find myself feeling those emotions.~ “We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” ~Frank Tibolt

Reply

Will Gibson February 6, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Hey Sean,

Great article, loads of useful advice and information on here.

I noticed that the hyperlink for your EnterChina project is broken (it loads as “.co” instead of “.com”).

Keep up the good work

Will

Reply

Leave a Comment

« »