Entrepreneur burnout is no joke. Entrepreneurship is an incredible journey — one that’s filled with great rewards, but also with uncertainty and stress.
For me, the years that I’ve run and operated my own business have been immensely gratifying. I especially enjoy the flexibility of being my own boss. And I’m not the only one — over 70 percent of small businesses in the United States are sole proprietorships, amounting to nearly 21 million “solopreneurs,” according to the Small Business Administration.
That said, it takes a little longer to learn how to create a good work-life balance and avoid entrepreneur burnout. Here’s how I split the difference between my personal life and my professional life.
Prevent Entrepreneur Burnout: Create a Schedule and Take a Day Off
Entrepreneurs always look forward to leaving the 9-to-5 routine and being in a position to work wherever they want, whenever they want. But they also need to know how to relax so that they avoid burnout.
Grayson Bell, a serial entrepreneur and owner of the company iMark Interactive, is a strong proponent of taking off one full day each week. “The free time allows your mind to gain balance, but also an insight into your problems and stress,” he says.
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Kathleen Celmins, a partner at Stacking Benjamins, feels the same way. She says, “We just started giving ourselves a half-day off. Meaning past noon on Tuesday, nobody in our business is working.”
“I’m learning that just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should,” Clemins continues.
Having structure and days off is not only good for you. It’s a good way to set boundaries with your clients, as well. “As soon as you work with a client at 7:30 p.m., guess what— that’s what time you’re available now,” says online business expert and web designer Liz Theresa.
Kim Studdard, a blogger and virtual assistant, agrees. “People may still try to get you to break the rules just for them, but you have to put your foot down,” she says.
All of these boundaries and restrictions are going to help you to avoid burnout. “One of the secrets to avoiding burnout is not to overschedule,” says busy mompreneur Sarah Brooks. It’s definitely hard to do when we have an automatic inclination to hustle all the time. It’s something that we have to control.
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Remind Yourself of Long-Term Goals
Carrie Smith Nicholson put it best: “If I planted a seed today, I wouldn’t expect to harvest fruit from it for at least five, or even 10 years. So why do I expect to see results from my business overnight?”
So long as you’re working saliently toward your long-term goals, don’t be in such a rush to see immediate results. Provided you have a clear understanding of why the work you’re doing matters to the world at large, you’re far more likely to confidently weather the highs and lows that entrepreneurship and self-employment brings.
Whitney Hansen, a millennial money expert and entrepreneur, has another trick to deal with stress: She thinks of her life in seasons. “When I changed my philosophy from one of a balanced life to a life of seasons, I began seeing better results and feeling more confident,” she says.
“Being open to a life of non-perfection and living in seasons has helped me tremendously.”
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Outsource as Much as Possible
“Automate as much as possible,” advises John Rampton, owner of the company Due. John spends the time that outsourcing saves him with his family — something that every entrepreneur can appreciate in the competitive world of small businesses.
Kayla Sloan, whose business grew faster than expected, struggled to find a balance until she started outsourcing: “Part of how I put more balance back into my life is by outsourcing as much as I can,” she says.
Avoiding Entrepreneur Burnout: The Bottom Line
Entrepreneurship is filled with many highs and lows, and your journey may not always be smooth sailing. But with enough awareness, discipline, scheduling, and outsourcing, it’s more likely you’ll have a very successful business career — one that doesn’t necessitate missing out on time spent with family and friends.