We’ve been there. That sinking feeling comes over you, you can’t get out of bed and things you once enjoyed have just become too much of a chore. While this is natural for anyone, it becomes especially apparent in small-business owners who has a livelihood based on their ability to get up and do the work needed to make the money.
Before you collapse into yourself and try and find a new line of business, you should definitely evaluate why you are feeling the way you are. Maybe you aren’t over this business venture, but have just taken on too much. This is a classic case of a burnout, but alas, you can work through it and come out better than ever. Here’s how to work through a burnout:
Address that the burnout exists
The first step to getting help with a problem is admitting it exists. You are tired, unfocused and a little down. If nothing else is going wrong in your life then you may simply be burnt out. Just be open to admit it–it isn’t a failing at all.
Talk to a trusted confidant
A mentor, friend or family member is a good person to initially discuss your feelings with. Make sure it is someone who isn’t emotionally–or financially–involved in your business venture, as you may be hit with unnecessary new stress during the conversation if it goes sour. Getting advice and even talking it out may help you start the process of weeding your life of work and business ventures that may be hurting you more than helping.
Look at what you have to do and eliminate unnecessary stress
Do you have a client you hold onto just for extra cash, but they don’t serve you well? Or did you take on far too much work and you don’t think it’s worth the stress? Cut ties from this. Obviously, a professional discussion regarding your feelings is in order because burning bridges tends to not work out too well–especially for small-business owners, so take the high road, but realize you are doing this for the greater good of your business and yourself.
Eliminate any extra work that can be automated
Depending on the type of small business you own or freelance work you do, you may be able to cut some of the work out without having to ditch any clients. If you do social media, instead of manually scheduling posts, use Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule posts in advance and just click the word SCHEDULE. Need to write up client contracts or send invoices? Use AND CO to create contracts and send invoice reminders.
Also, organizing your work into a calendar may just be the simple step you need to take if your burnout is coming from disorganization.
Once you have eliminated all the obvious stressors, see how you are feeling now
Are you feeling a little less stressed? Hopefully, you are, but if not, then maybe another sweep through the list of work may be in order. Clearing out the obvious clutter can help you see clearer through the rest of your work. Now, don’t trim everything down to a point where you are losing money instead of making it, but it’s worth a second look.
Look at your business plan
It may be time to re-look at your business plan to see if maybe you took on more than you could in a specific amount of time. Just because you had a plan to do something in a set amount of time does not mean it cannot be scaled back to help you out. Taking longer to do work, or even hiring someone on sooner than planned can alleviate your stress levels. You are no benefit to your company if you are burnt out, so changes in your business plan to help you only help your business.
Go back to the drawing board
Maybe you are still stressed and may need to take time off from your business. If you have a physical location, this may not be as cut and dry of a situation and you may want to talk to a financial adviser on how to feasibly stay in business while taking a hiatus to re-evaluate your plans. If you are virtual with little overhead, it may be time to finish up loose ends, and remain dormant for a little. Maybe you are honestly over your business, but maybe you are still just burnout and need some YOU time.
It’s never easy to admit a small bit of defeat, but sometimes taking a step back will put your forward in the end–whether that means coming back stronger than ever or coming to a conclusion as to whether or not you wish to remain a small-business owner. You are not wrong either way.
Have you felt burnt out? How did you deal with it and did you feel like you came back better than before? Let us know.
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Socially Dedicated, a Philadelphia-based firm, provides marketing, content creation, public relations, business management consulting and social media management to small businesses. Check out our website or locate us on social media using the icons below.