How to Prevent Business Owner Burnout | Creative Ravens | Maryland Small Business Blog

preventing business owner burnout

How to Prevent Business Owner Burnout | Creative Ravens | Maryland Small Business Blog

We really wish we would have learned this sooner - running a small business is very rewarding, but it is also quite difficult!  Much more difficult than we ever could have imagined.  There are long hours, minimal support, and limited personnel.  In a business this small, the same person who replies to angry emails and phone calls from customers, is also the same person making merchandise, packaging that same product, and shipping it off.  Then we must not forget that this very same person handles hiring, marketing, social media management, scheduling events, maybe even maintaining a blog or website (or several blogs and websites, like us), plus bookkeeping/accounting, and ordering supplies!

Large companies have entire departments dedicated to each and every single thing we just mentioned above.  Can you imagine all of that being the responsibility of one or two people?  When considering all of that hard work, and keeping in mind that most business owners are not masters at every single thing that needs to be done to run their business, is it even surprising that business owners get burned out just like everyone else?

So, what can be done about this?  Keep on reading to see our list of great ways to overcome burnout.

Learn How To Say "No" Without Feeling Bad About It

sayin no

When first starting a business, the temptation is there to take every single job that presents itself, no matter what the job is.  There is a lot of excitement surrounding gaining your first clients, but there is also a slight tinge of desperation because you want your business to be successful.  The odd jobs you take on could be ones that pay what you're actually looking for, but often times, there are jobs that are priced way below what you'd ever expect to make as someone who is self-employed (particularly if you're doing a project for a family member or friend).  Do you know what I'm talking about (let's be honest, of course you do)?  The jobs that you take on against your better judgement that turn out to be absolute nightmares?  The ones where you charged well below what you normally do in order to gain "exposure" or during a slow period for your business? 

My friends, it is absolutely ok (and encouraged) for you to confidently, but kindly say "no" when the feeling just isn't right.  Some jobs just simply aren't worth the hassle for your business!  Taking on jobs that are completely out of your element, or pay way below what you're worth will lead to burnout faster than anything else on this list!  The beauty of having a niche, understanding your pricing and what you're trying to accomplish with it, and understanding your target audience will make it considerably easier for you to say "thanks, but no thanks" the next time your Uncle Joe asks you to cater his company's party for $20 and a case of beer.

Remember that Not Every Client is Your Ideal Client

target audience

Speaking of target audience, there is a reason why you have one!  Please, don't become discouraged if a client turns you down for someone else in your industry, or if you're struggling to find clients in the beginning.  With dedication and proper networking with your target audience, clients will come!  Marketing to people who don't fit with your brand or goals is exhausting because the connection just isn't there.  Save yourself the trouble (and the burnout), and know who you need to market to, and why you need to market to them!

Take A Break

take a vacation

You might be surprised to hear this (I know that I am), but it is totally ok to take breaks!  Who knew!  Take breaks throughout the workday to keep yourself energized, productive, and alert.  Listen to some music, or read some motivational quotes.  The blog, Gridcore, has some quotes you might enjoy!  Also, remember to enjoy your "weekends" (whatever days of the week they might include), and then take a darn vacation one of these days!  Even if it's a quick weekend getaway to a cabin in the woods, you'll feel like a new person when you're back in your workspace again! 

Know When to Ask for Help

support scrabble letters

The wonderful thing about networking is that you get to connect with others in your field who may have more experience than you when it comes to certain things.  This experience might include dealing with an upset client, how to get your work published, or having someone cover for you in the event of an emergency (wedding photographers know what I'm talking about, I'm sure!).  When the time comes, take a moment to breathe, then think about your amazing circle of business owner friends and reach out for advice.  Even if they are in totally different industries, they still might be able to offer you some valuable insight; thus, keeping you from losing your mind!

Outsource

Delegate tasks

Last but definitely not least - outsource!  Outsourcing is magical!  It is bittersweet when you're finally at a place where you have so much work that you can't keep up with it all.  On one hand, it is great to have security in your business, with scores of people lining up to work with you!  On the other hand, it is stressful as hell to have piles of work shooting out of your ears!  What should you do if that happens?  Hire an extra set of hands (and eyes), to help you get all of those tasks done.  The idea of this may not sound all that enticing to you because of the costs, but outsourcing (if done well), will increase your productivity, while decreasing your workload.  You'll actually be able to make more money in the long run because more tasks can be completed in a shorter amount of time.  If you're feeling like you could use some help with your business, please reach out to us!  We can be reached at info@creativeravens.com.  Burnout has no home here! 

There is our list of tips for how to prevent burnout as a business owner.  We thought we should mention that burnout is totally normal, and most business owners will experience it at some point or another.  When it does hit you, know that you aren't alone and that there are tons of things you can do to help alleviate it. 

Have you ever experienced burnout while running a small business?  If so, how did you deal with it?  Leave a comment to tell us about it!

Comments

  1. These are such great tips and they are also helpful for those of us that don't own small business to understand what those who do are going through. Just say no is so important for everyone. I try to go with the logic that if it's not "hell yes" then it's "hell no"

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    1. "No" is a magical word! I wish that I would have started using it sooner.

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  2. Starting your own business is a lot of work and many people don't realize what goes into it. Absolutely do not say yes to everyone even though your gut may be to get as much business as possible. Not everyone is for you. That's why I always like to say let's see if we're a fit before we take the next step. And definitely take a break. I am guilty of not taking time to recharge as often as I should.

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    1. Training yourself to take breaks is actually really hard work. Breaks really do help to prevent burnout, though!

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  3. Outsourcing is super important. Many times we feel like we need to wear multiple hats to get the job done, and often times this just leads to frustration and eventual burnout. If you don't have time to complete a task, you should find someone who can. That's what sites like Fivver are for! That way you can concentrate on one thing at a time and not stretch yourself too thin.

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    1. Fiverr, Guru, Upwork, and hiring a virtual assistant outright would all work!

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  4. Great tips! I'm experiencing this now and it isn't easy. I think it's also important to adopt a "marathon mindset." Success likely won't happen overnight, so you have to do whatever it takes to stay motivated.

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    1. Absolutely! I like your "marathon mindset" idea!

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  5. Oh the power of "no" please teach me your ways! It's so hard! I feel stretched a million directions right now and the burnout is real.

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    1. "No" is a hard word to say at first, but you'll get more and more comfortable with it as time goes on. I promise!

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  6. You are speaking my language with this post my friend! My husband and I own a sandwich shop and when we first began we ALWAYS found ourselves trying to take on every possible catering job/opportunity that came our way. Saying no is so important. We ended up working with some less than savour people and it caused us more stress than it was worth.

    Now, after a few years and some basic know-how we realise that it is just as important to pick and choose which jobs we feel good about and then simply do the best that we can with them in order to keep ourselves sane and our business working at top speed.

    This is a great and necessary article for anyone about to open a small business or already in the throes of it. I really look forward to reading more from you!

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    1. I hear ya! I photographed an overnight event once (I was literally locked into the building with a group of about 100 preteens). This was an event that I worked alone, and because I was "just starting" I foolishly charged the bare minimum for 12+ hours of work the night of, then another several hours to cull and edit the images. It was terrible, and not at all worth it! You live and you learn!

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  7. I work on a small business so I know exactly how it can be stressful sometimes. I work on the creative side so I don't take much the brunt of it but sometimes it can get really ugly.

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    1. It really can get ugly, especially on such a small team!

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  8. Saying No is one of the flaws of a business owner. All monies are not good money and one should be able to follow his/her guts sometimes when some offers are given.

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    1. Saying "no" is tough for business owners, but it is so worth it for your sanity!

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  9. Great ideas. You don't always have to do everything yourself or immediately. From outsourcing to support to just taking a break... it can all work to help you keep a handle on it. Thanks.

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  10. We have a small family business that I work at for about five weeks each year--every evening and all weekend (in addition to my teaching job). Taking a break is vital, even if it's just adding music when I'm working in the garage at night. Luckily, I know there's an end in sight and that my 14 hour days will eventually come to an end after about 40 days.

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    1. Congratulations on your much shorter work days ahead!

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  11. Running a business is not easy! Not by any stretch of the imagination. Especially in the beginning. I am in charge of my blog, which I think of as my business, because it is. Getting it going was rough, and still is at times. Because it’s time consuming and I’m one of those people who wants to be able to do everything. This article is so important to anyone starting a new business!

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    1. Running a blog is much tougher than I think most people realize! Seriously!

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  12. I think burning out is inevitable for all small business owner. But knowing how to handle it before it dominates your well being, is the key. And that is where your post is super helpful. To know how and when to outsource and delegate is pivotal. Thanks for sharing your insights on this.

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    1. It happens to us all, but it is how you handle it that really makes a difference!

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  13. Great insights for all small business owners.Breaks are essential to ensure burnouts.After all work is for pleasure.

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  14. Outsourcing can be a challenge! I definitely struggle to let go of control believing that nobody could do it better than I could.

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    1. There is someone out there who is the pb to your jelly. You just have to trust, have faith, and let go a little.

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  15. I want to own my own business. I enjoy reading and getting informed about things I not aware of. Thank you for sharing!

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  16. It is so easy to get burnt out when you have a ton on your plate, it is always good to remember to take a bit of time to re-collect yourself and spend some time on you (and remember to breathe) so you don't put un-needed stress on yourself.

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