“Burnout is nature's way of telling you, you've been going through the motions your soul has departed; you're a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker. False optimism is like administrating stimulants to an exhausted nervous system.”
― Sam Keen, Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man
Burnout is real and happens during all stages of your life whether it be high school, college or once entering the workforce. While the usual advice is to assess what you are doing and make changes, what if burnout happens when you own a business. Obviously you cannot just up and leave as if it is just another job--as you ARE the business. Here are ways as a small business owner to work through burnout and come out the other end refreshed and ready to continue on.
Remember, you are human and this is normal:
Many of those who open small businesses (and assessed that they are the right candidate to open one) are very organized, determined and type-A personalities that enjoy putting a lot of time and effort into work. Unfortunately, when burnout hits, many times they take it as a sign of failure. It is easy to see burnout as weakness, but actually admitting you are human and have a breaking point is one of the strongest things you can do--and is needed to move through the process of a burnout.
See what can be changed (short term):
If you are dealing with burnout, maybe there are short term ways in which you can work through it. Sometimes, all you need is a way to clear your mind, so maybe a hobby such as yoga, drawing, running, etc. can be a quick change in your lifestyle to offer relief from the constant work and pressure of owning a business. You can also reach out to your mentor or find one that may be able to talk you through this slump without making major changes in your life or business. Lastly, a short vacation (even a day trip) can clear the mind without completely abandoning responsibility.
See what can be changed (long term):
A quick fix may not always be the best solution to your burnout and it may take a long term plan to come up with the solution. You may want to consider saving up to hire on an employee or two to divide the work and give each product or service the needed attention instead of spreading yourself thin. You may also want to consider looking at what you offer, assessing over a period of time what customers want and do not need and scaling back your offerings to give more focus on things that are worth focusing on. This is definitely a time to dust off the business plan and see what your goals were, see where you are now, and where you can make changes without disrupting your company.
Execute the change:
What may be the hardest step is actually making the change. It's great to see what short or long term work needs to be done, but its even harder to put it into practice. Do not be afraid to hire someone if it is needed--even if it will change your money situation. Do not be afraid to take a short vacation to rest. It is hard to go from being on top of everything to having to change your ideas as it seems as though you are taking steps back, but in reality you are actually moving forward to a more rewarding business.
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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.