7 Tips To Avoid Burnout As An Entrepreneur Entrepreneurship can be an exhilarating journey, but it's crucial to acknowledge that burnout is a real and prevalent challenge in this pursuit.
- Great productivity requires great rest.
- Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, so consider a support group.
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Social media and the internet at large make entrepreneurship look sexy.
Remote entrepreneurs traveling the globe in private jets. XL Uber rides to rooftop bars, loads of free time and plenty of money on top.
But the promises of being your own boss, setting your own schedule and pure freedom of location are fabricated. Because the truth is entrepreneurship isn't sexy. Not even a little bit.
Getting a business off the ground and into a profitable state is demanding.
Late nights. Time away from family. Searching for new leads and fine-tuning every aspect of the business. Most successful companies start humble, with the founder working overtime to get operations going in the right direction. This leads to one, huge consequence. Burnout.
I've been running my coaching and consulting business since 2016. Through trial and error, periods of foregoing my health and jolting myself awake at 3:30 a.m., I've determined seven essential tips for entrepreneurs to avoid burnout.
Tip 1: Set boundaries
Using this one powerful word will make your life so much better: "No."
Protect your time with the intensity of a secret service agent. Don't allow work to bleed late into the evening or into weekends. Don't take the sales call on a Sunday. Don't spend your Saturday mornings optimizing your social media pages. Avoid the 5 p.m. espresso because a client has an "emergency," and you must keep working.
Great productivity requires great rest. And great rest requires time away completely disconnected from the business. Give yourself permission to take that time.
Tip 2: Eat healthy
I can't tell you how many times I've crashed at 2 p.m. during a fully booked day because of my choices in food. While it's tempting to opt for fast-food options or the doughnut plus coffee combination for breakfast — Avoid at all costs.
To keep your small business operating smoothly, the engine needs the proper fuel. As the founder, you're the engine. Your energy and efficient use of time is critical. Don't allow sugar crashes and junk to make the work day tougher.
If freeing up time to create a proper meal is tough, consider meal prepping so you have healthy and quick food options when you need them most.
Tip 3: Have a support network
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, especially for those in the early stages.
Only 55% of people start businesses at any point in their careers. And only a small fraction of those care enough to take it seriously. So, finding entrepreneurial friends can be a tricky endeavor.
But the journey to building a business is long, and having a support network can make all the difference. Do your best to avoid viewing other entrepreneurs and industry peers as competition. Join masterminds. Attend local networking events. Make friends through social media.
Being able to lean on those who can relate to your struggles helps relieve much of the mental pressure of entrepreneurship.
Tip 4: Practice gratitude
A growth mindset is required for success, and a positive mindset is, too. Giving our best to staff, contractors and customers is impossible when we're in a negative frame of mind.
One thing that helps me maintain an uplifting view is the daily practice of gratitude.
I take the time to write down three things I'm thankful for every morning. Whether it be a business opportunity or my dog's health, taking note of the good things going on in my life makes every down moment easier to swallow.
Tip 5: Delegate as much as possible
When I started my first business, I tried to do everything myself.
The good news? I developed an enormous amount of skills. The bad? I worked so many hours I would occasionally curl up in my bed and cry big, sloppy tears. The sheer amount I had on my plate was overwhelming and resulted in an uncontrollable release of stress.
But one day, I realized this was entirely self-inflicted. I was putting more on my own plate than necessary.
My best tip for any entrepreneur is to start delegating immediately. Get comfortable with passing on work to others. If you feel that giving up control is difficult, put processes in place where you have the final review before anything "goes live." Or lands in front of a client for approval.
The truth is you are not the best at every single skill. Nor do you need to be. Find others you can trust and share a portion of the work.
Tip 6: Remember your why
Every (good) business has a mission beyond making money.
It's to improve the standing of a particular demographic for a certain cause or so the founder can better provide for their loved ones. Whatever the reason, odds are you started your business with a vision that goes beyond money — a larger purpose.
When times get hard, you feel overwhelmed, or you're in the early stages of burnout: remember the reason you started your business in the first place. Tap into that burning passion and fire.
You'd be surprised just how much that small reminder can bring big levels of energy.
Tip 7: Prioritize exercise
There's an entire suite of science-backed reasons entrepreneurs should exercise regularly.
Some of the most important:
- Improved cognitive performance
- Increased ability to focus
- Lower stress levels
I also want to remind you that one of your goals as an entrepreneur might be to sell and exit your business one day. And with those riches comes the desire to enjoy them.
Make sure your body is capable of living your dream if the opportunity presents itself.