In 2021, almost half of US-based business owners reported feeling burnt out and drained of physical or emotional energy. For many of them, burnout is what stands between them and the success of their business.
Burnout is usually caused by prolonged work-related emotional, physical, and mental stress.
Some common signs of burnout include exhaustion, low productivity and procrastination. And over time, it can lead to serious health problems.
Why burnout is so common when growing a business
For business owners, the day starts very early and ends…well it never really ends. There are no vacation days, no sick days. If the business fails - you fail. And even when you don’t actually have to physically be present, owning a business occupies your mind constantly - did you pay your suppliers? Will the delivery be there on time? Did the health inspector show up today? Is the schedule ready?
When expanding your business, things get even more complicated. To grow, you need to spend more money and more time on tasks that you aren’t used to doing - like advertising, marketing, renovations, managing freelancers, contractors and more.
All of these heighten stress levels and lead to burnout. But there are many things you can do to avoid it.
How to avoid burnout
1. Rely on others
Often, business owners have a hard time delegating. However, sharing the workload is part of being a leader. Rely on your employees whenever possible. For tasks outside work, lean on friends and family (protip: they want to help you). If possible, you can also outsource some things, like social media management or bill pay.
Figure out your essential tasks as a business owner and delegate the rest. This will allow you to expand your business and create more free time to spend doing what you love most.
2. Unplug once a week
This is probably the hardest thing to do on this list, but no person can ever succeed without rest. Choose one day every week that you can take off (half a day will also do the trick) and don’t work. Let your staff and clients know that you’re unavailable during that time and they’ll know to reach you only if there’s an absolute emergency.
3. Use tech wherever possible
According to a recent report, 65% of business owners in the U.S. have turned to technology to become more efficient. For example, De Maison East started paying all their bills online with Melio. This helped them deal with the shift toward remote work and they now save 45 minutes every day in the back office. They were able to eliminate much of the frustration that comes from the financial side of the business.
4. Make time for hobbies
Your business is run by your passion and you probably spend most of your waking hours on your craft. But there’s great value in making time for other things you enjoy.
Try to match your hobby to your mood. If you’re exhausted, try reading, writing or knitting. If you find yourself angry all the time, try exercising. Generally speaking, everyone can benefit from more exercise. Finding time in your busy schedule to work out can reduce your cortisol levels.
5. Set boundaries
Creating boundaries isn’t just about limiting your work hours. It’s about setting limits to protect yourself, your creativity, your client relationships, and so on. Set specific office hours, use a work phone, and never give away your personal number. It’s important to communicate those boundaries to your clients and your team.
It used to be taboo but since COVID, more and more people are publicly turning to talk therapy. As Richard Taite, founder of Cliffside Malibu says, “Not only do successful people not fear therapy, they embrace it.”
There are plenty of studies that show that talk therapy can not only help you deal with burnout, anxiety and stress, but can also prevent it. While you may not always feel comfortable talking to your loved ones about what you’re going through, therapists are there to listen and help you cope and strategize.
Don’t feel the burn
It’s in the best interest of you and your business to take good care of yourself. Relying on others, exercising, taking time off and using digital solutions can all help your mental state. Burnout won’t go away unless you’re aware of its dangers and are actively looking for ways to avoid it. For your business to grow, your mental health should come first.
*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.