FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020 VOLUME 4, ISSUE 2
T O P H ’ S TAX RESOLUT ION T I M E S
Facing Burnout as a Self-Employed Business Owner
I know from personal experience what it’s like to face burnout from work. Being self-employed comes with a long list of challenges, and one of those challenges is you often don’t have anyone else to talk to about work, at least not on a
attention is focused on your inbox or phone calls. Find blocks of time that make the most sense for your workflow. The rest of the time, keep your computer or phone at arm’s length — stay disconnected for a while.
regular basis. All the problem-solving sits on your shoulders, all the communication with customers, all the bills, and so on. I want to look at that first point for a moment. When you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of or to help you through work challenges, this can put you on a path to burnout. It’s a combination of feeling overworked and stressed, but you only have yourself to rely on. On top of that, you may be dealing with the roller coaster of cash flow— you have healthy months of cash flow, then the next thing you know, you’re struggling. Many of my clients, along with myself, have been in this exact situation. It’s hard.
Schedule a Vacation
When you need a break, be willing to schedule a vacation, or, at minimum, a day when you don’t look at emails, take phone calls, or respond to texts. It’s time away from work. Again, it can be hard, but you need to do it for your mind and body. A weekend away from the business can do wonders for your mental health. Like I mentioned above, you have to stay disconnected while you’re away.
When you’re self-employed, you’re constantly wearing every hat. To add to that, many of the small-business owners I know are perfectionists; they want everything done just right. As a result, they may not delegate and decide to do everything themselves. This by itself is a major recipe for burnout. But when you delegate (which can mean hiring new staff or outsourcing), you take a significant amount of pressure off yourself. It can be remarkable how much a difference it can make, even if you’re just delegating small tasks. Delegating has the potential to open up other parts of your day and let you turn your attention to developing new ways to generate revenue. I’ll admit, taking these kinds of steps to mitigate or avoid burnout can be easier said than done. As business owners, we get busy —we want to see nothing but success for our business. But you have to carve out time for yourself and strive to avoid overwhelming yourself day-to-day. Even starting small and taking minor steps to schedule email or call time on the calendar can make a difference. It adds up. But the more steps you take to mitigate burnout, the more successful you will be in both your personal and professional life.
What I can tell you as a self-employed business owner is that burnout is normal. It’s experienced by small-business owners everywhere. There are times where you might feel it’s time to close up shop and find a regular 9-to-5 job. But then, there are times when you feel like you’re on top of the world and that starting your business was the best thing you’ve ever done, which is a feeling we would love to have all the time. So, what can you do? While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to avoiding burnout, there are steps we can take to reduce the stress that leads to burnout. Here are a few examples:
Take a Break or Disconnect
You might be used to responding to customers ASAP, or you’re always checking your email or phone. But when you’re feeling the pressure, it’s okay to set boundaries. It might mean blocking off time on your daily calendar to respond to emails. For instance, between 9 and 10:30 a.m., your
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