Do you think you could recognize the signs of burnout in your own work? It isn’t always easy to identify. If you feel like your passion is gone or you can’t quite remember why you started in the first place, it may be time for a break. Even things like getting sick more often or constantly feeling tired could be signs that you simply need to slow down with your work.
Whether because you’re putting in extra hours to achieve your dreams, or from simply doing too many repetitive tasks, everyone has been burnt out at some point. We’re familiar with the exhaustion and negativity that come with doing too much. But if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you’re even more likely than others to experience burnout. Handling every task that comes your way and putting out the many fires that can show up can easily lead to exhaustion with your work. While there’s no doubt entrepreneurs benefit from the freedom of pursuing their interests, the high stakes and 63% longer work days can quickly lead to burnout.
If you’re the type of person to struggle with setting aside time away from your work, you may be surprised to learn that working less may actually help your venture in the long run. That’s because it’s estimated that burnout costs companies $300 billion every year. The loss in productivity and positivity associated with burnout is a good reason to make sure you’re not burning yourself out.
How busy solopreneurs can combat burnout
While being a solopreneur won’t always be a walk in the park, there are some ways to avoid burnout and keep your business successful.
1. Find a Mentor
Get someone with experience and outside perspective in your corner. Even if you only send them an occasional email for advice, or meet up weekly for coffee, having someone to validate your concerns and guide you in the right direction will be invaluable.
2. Rethink Funding
If you’re struggling to fund your business, don’t give up without exhausting every avenue available to you. It may seem like you have to be backed by huge venture capitalists to succeed, but in reality, the first round of funding for most businesses is provided by friends and family. Don’t stress if a major lender denies you, simply keep asking.
3. Have Confidence
Failures are inevitable in the world of business — that’s how you know you’re learning. Don’t let the low moments keep you down. Take time to remember your successes when you feel ready to quit.
4. Hire Out
While going it alone as an entrepreneur can be a huge point of pride, it’s important to know when you simply have too much work. If you’re overwhelmed with projects, or you have tasks on your plate that you aren’t an expert in, consider hiring a specialist or freelancer to make your life easier.
5. Focus on Your Strengths
As your business venture grows, so too will your list of responsibilities. You may have started as an accounting consultant, but now spend more time managing client relationships, updating your website, and paying for advertisements. Consider outsourcing tasks that aren’t core to your business to do more of what you’re best at.
6. Understand Your Audience
Take inventory of your clients and customers to figure out what aspects of your business they most value. Consider which services you offer as a solopreneur that don’t seem to really matter to them. Spend more time on the 80% of things that make your business successful to work smarter without working harder.
7. Don’t Rush to Hire
If your business is growing quickly enough to warrant a team, don’t jump the gun too early. Thoroughly vet each applicant to ensure they’re a good fit before you invest valuable time and resources. This will reduce turnover and save you time in the long run.
8. Hire Efficiently
Thoroughly vetting your employees doesn’t mean getting bogged down, however. Utilize tactics that eliminate candidates before you even have to read your resume. Asking for them to include a keyword in the subject line is a great way to immediately see who’s detail-oriented.
9. Ask For Feedback
Getting regular feedback from clients, customers, and even friends on how you deal with situations can be a great way to grow. It may be scary, but it is worth it.
10. Say No
Remember that you don’t have to take on every project that comes your way. Knowing which tasks are right for your business, and which you won’t excel in will help you gain back more of your free time.
If you do have employees, don’t be afraid to utilize their skills. Trust is essential when managing an employee or even a freelancer, so don’t preoccupy yourself with micromanaging others.
12. Get Organized
Clearing your desk of clutter can help you de-stress immensely. Plus, the time you save looking for lost papers and files will help you stop working earlier in the day.
13. Focus on the Process
While ensuring your business is turning a profit and showing growth, it can be easy to get caught up in far-off dreams of riches and success. Don’t forget to appreciate the every-day progress you make, and enjoy the work that you’re doing.
14. Give Back
To regain a sense of purpose around your business, consider giving back to the community. With a sense of how you can positively impact other’s lives, you will be more motivated to keep doing great work.
15. Set Working Hours
Emails may roll in at odd hours of the night, but that doesn’t mean you have to answer them. In truth, there’s rarely ever anything that can’t wait until the morning, or whenever your business hours are. Set your regular working hours and stick to them.
Exercise can help reduce stress and boost your mood. Even just half an hour of activity has been shown to increase happiness. So go for a run, do yoga, or ride a bike to elevate your mood.
Intentionally emptying your mind does wonders for an over-worked brain. Our muscles need breaks from constant activity, so it makes sense that your mind also needs quiet to relax. Meditation can be a great way to spend time away from a difficult problem.
18. Schedule Breaks
While working through lunch feels like a great way to find an extra hour in the day, uninterrupted work isn’t so great in the long run. Set a time for lunch and small breaks throughout your day to keep yourself accountable and feeling rephrased.
For a great summary of these ideas and more, check out this infographic by Fundera.
FREE Biz Planning Workbook
Download your free printable Business Planning Workbook for solopreneurs. Set your goals. Make your plans. Stay focused!