5 Strategies to Thrive as a Solo Business Owner — Without Burning Out A recent study revealed that 42% of small business owners have experienced burnout in the past month, with an additional 24% currently grappling with it
- Solo business owners should integrate these strategies, achieve harmony, and remain healthy enough to enjoy the entrepreneurial journey.
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Burnout is one of the most common challenges that small business owners often face.
While I love the journey of scaling my company, Marketcircle, I did not necessarily love every task that came along with it — especially in the earlier days. Burnout symptoms crept up on me.
Many small business owners believe they have to be the driving force behind all the activities in the business. The urge to juggle every task, including the ones they do not like or aren't their forte, can lead to an exhausting cycle.
Instead of turning to "work-life balance" to prevent burnout, I leverage a different framework: Personal Harmony. It's a concept I recently came across through a fellow entrepreneur, and it can be a powerful one.
It is a more holistic approach that integrates work and personal life. Instead of focusing solely on balance, the approach encourages you to find happiness in your work and tailor it to live in harmony with your personal life. This might vary depending on the stage of life you are in.
The key is to find ways for them to coexist, not compete. As business owners, we must set ourselves up for the marathon, not just the sprint. Here are five strategies to achieve personal harmony that have worked for me:
1. Prioritize health
Once I realized that my health is the foundation upon which everything else rests, I made health a non-negotiable. I would have likely burned out long ago if I hadn't started looking after my mental and physical health.
A few things I do:
- Take breaks: regular short breaks for a stroll or practicing conscious breathing.
- Dedicate time to exercise: working out for just 20 minutes daily can help you release physical tension and relieve stress.
- Journal: get things off your mind by simply writing them down.
2. Integrate relationships
Relationships aren't just about our customers; investing in our personal relationships is a direct contributor to our physical and mental well-being.
Extended hours overtake other parts of our lives, so carving out dedicated time for family is crucial.
One of the commitments I have made is to take frequent time off with my family. It's tempting to resist vacations when things get busy with our companies. I'm not alone in thinking that: Only 57% of entrepreneurs take vacations, and 67% of them remain connected to work the entire time.
While it's easy to see vacation time as a distraction or a luxury, I know today that I return each time feeling re-calibrated, rejuvenated and ready to lead my company the way it requires.
3. Do more of what you love
Pursuing work we genuinely enjoy is crucial to mental well-being. During the early stages of my entrepreneurial journey, I worked 16-hour days without exhaustion because I was doing what I loved.
As a business evolves, there may be tasks, projects, or facets of the business that you begin to realize are sapping your energy. Identify these - and design the company to ensure you're spending most of your time focusing on only the things you genuinely enjoy doing. Quality, creativity, efficiency - all of it will increase exponentially once we spend less time on the things that drain our energy and more time on things that boost our energy.
4. Leverage external partnerships
Owning the responsibility of the business is one thing - but owning the responsibility of every task in the business is another thing entirely. Learning the difference between those two was crucial to my well-being and the company's growth.
As small business owners, it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling that you must do everything yourself because the business is your baby. However, asking for help is a growth tool, not a sign of weakness. Delegating and partnering with experts to do the work you do not enjoy can lift the burden off your shoulders.
A tip that has worked for me is to delegate tasks and schedule regular check-ins to track progress. Many tools can help in this process, including Daylite.
5. Work smart
In my early days as an entrepreneur, I struggled to remain on top of all the moving parts of building a business. In time, I built a tool to help me stay organized, bring mental clarity, and increase efficiency while working fewer hours.
Breaking projects into smaller, manageable tasks, building lists and leveraging reminders and automation helped me stay structured and clear on my priorities. In the process, I was able to see my progress and celebrate the wins along the way. The achievement of smaller milestones were like signal to me, reminding me that progress was being made and I could (must) afford to take breaks and be present with my family, knowing I could resume work without losing track.