How to Prevent Burnout – 3 tips for designing the business you want to have.
(Start a Business Steps Series Week 2)
Start a business steps series: Introduction
Hi, I’m Mz Fitz. Domestic Misfit and dreamer and explorer of jobs that can be done without leaving the house.
After staying at home with 2 young boys for almost 7 years now, the countdown is on until my youngest starts Kindergarten.
So this is the documentation of my mission to start a freelance health and medical writing service by the time both my children are in school. Too many start up stories only include the highlight reel. I hope you find this real-time journey inspiring and uplifting.
Let’s Talk About How to Prevent Burnout in Your Business
Let’s chat about how to prevent burnout.
Getting clear on what your business does, what skills you will need and who you will serve is an important starting point (see last week’s instalment) but it’s not the whole story. The other side of the coin is working out how to get all the things done and still prevent burnout.
I think we can all agree that starting our own business is hard work. Otherwise everybody would be doing it (and you wouldn’t be here looking for tips on how to prevent burnout). Therefore I’ll be sharing with you my tips to prevent burnout, because I’ve made these mistakes soooo many times trying to start businesses before.
Remember, you don’t have to do everything right now.
But first, let’s catch up on what I did to work towards starting my health writing business this week. You’ll find tips for prevented burnout a little further down the page.
Steps I took to start a business: Week 2
If you’re following along wanting to start your own online business, this series assumes you already have a rough idea of the kind of business you want to have. Still in the dreaming and ‘finding your thing’ phase? Check out this blog post then sign up for the free resource below to start making some discoveries.
Still Figuring Out What You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
You’ve always wanted to have your own online business. This trouble is you don’t know where to start. Download the FREE “Find My Thing” discovery kit and begin your journey from dreamer to business owner.
Step 1. I continued practising my craft.
Those following along from last week will remember that I enrolled in a continuing professional development course with Health Writer Hub. This week we worked on what goes into writing a great health-related feature article.
Step 2. I reviewed how I spend time on social media.
I’m an introvert and showing up for social media can easily distract me, burn me out and leave me with no time for the more important tasks I need to work on in my business. Instead of trying to come up with each piece of social media content from scratch, I need to work on and publish my main form of content first. Then I can save time and mental energy working out shorter forms of content from that theme. (See my tips to prevent burnout below, then grab your free worksheet. This will help you identify focus areas and changes you can make to conserve energy and prevent burnout in your own business).
Step 3. I worked on my mindset
Follow any business owner on social media and most will have a story about a time they changed their mindset and their ideas and business went next level. I am by no means a mindset expert. In fact, I tend to shy away from the more woo woo concepts that come along with this topic. That being said I definitely found value this week in spending some distraction-free quiet time, creating a vision of what I want my business to be like and what I don’t want it to be (hence, this weeks theme of preventing burnout).
3 Tips To Prevent Burnout and Create the Business You Actually Want to Have
Over To You
Take some time to envision what you want your business to be (and what you don’t want it to be). Use the tips below to identify how you can save time, energy and prevent burnout going forward in your business.
Prevent Burnout: Introduction.
You can’t rely on motivation alone.
In the early stages of starting your business, you are full of excitement and motivation. You want your website up now, social media followers and an email list yesterday. You watch all the YouTube videos, sign up for all the freebies, the webinars; possibly even sign up for a paid course (thanks big data and your targeted ads). Valuable strategies and insights are gained. Late nights are spent fighting with tech. You’ll pour your heart and soul into social media.
Except that, with the exception of a few uber-talented or lucky individuals, most of us will see very little response or payoff for all the work and learning we put in at this stage. And without a clear idea of what working for yourself is going to look like it’s very easy to burn out, put all this business busy work on the back-burner and leave it for weeks and months until motivation strikes again. This has been my experience up until now. Being part of the online community for some time now, I know I’m not alone in this experience.
There will always be times of pressure and frustration in your business, but that shouldn’t be the norm. Otherwise why even bother?
With this in mind here are some tips I have learned along the way that will help you prevent burnout as you travel along your business journey.
Tip 1: Be realistic about how much time you have.
If you have kids, a household to run, study, another job, etc you may only have an hour a day or 20-minute blocks here and there. There are two traps here. Getting frustrated about lack of time, and putting things off until you think you have more time. This is a false economy in most cases. You will likely get more done by chipping away consistently than burning out doing a big marathon session of work and then needing to take another big break. Or you may start letting business tasks take over the time you need for other responsibilities. This is likely to cause friction in your relationships with others who rely on you, along with burnout from carrying the mental load of all those other tasks you know will need to be done.
Lighten Your Mental Load
Trying to remember all the things? It’s almost impossible to create with all that noise going on inside your head. Make room for those magic ideas with the Mental Load Lightener.
Tip 2: Work out what the most important tasks are in your business.
Channelling too much of your energy into busywork that doesn’t actually move the needle on your goals is burnout waiting to happen. If you want to be a copywriter, focus on writing copy rather than watching how-to videos about showing up confidently on video. If you want to be a coach, start engaging on social media, sharing value and showing up live to build your know, like and trust factor, instead of creating a month of inspirational quote posts on Canva. Selling physical products? Set up your shop and tell everyone who will listen that it exists. Don’t spend months agonising over logos and brand colours.
Tip 3: Spend more time creating than consuming.
Learning about business and the online world is fascinating and an important part of growth. It can be all too easy to feel productive watching training after training. The danger here is becoming mentally overwhelmed and losing sight of where to focus your energy. Or there may just be no time left after all that learning to get on with the doing. By all means, learn as much as you can, but not at the expense of putting into place your own systems and revenue-generating activities. Schedule a reasonable amount of time for learning each week to prevent burnout on the procrasti-learning hamster wheel.
Bonus tip 4: Automate and outsource when you can.
Doing everything in your business all by yourself long term is a recipe for mental and/or physical burnout. If you’re early in your business journey, like me, outsourcing probably doesn’t make financial sense yet. However, as you go along your journey keep an eye out for tasks you can automate. Also, keep a list, and create procedures for jobs that drain you or could easily be done by somebody else. That way when the time comes it will be easy to offload those tasks so you can save your energy for your own zone of genius.
Worried You’re Creating a Monster?
You knew creating a business would be hard work…but it’ll all be worth it in the end, won’t it?
The fear of your online business taking over your life can stop success in its tracks.
You can try and do all the things, all the time; trying to keep up with what everybody else ‘appears’ to be doing – a certain path to burnout.
Or you can download the Prevent Business Burnout worksheet and plan it your way from the start.
Those are my tips for preventing burnout and designing the business you actually want to have. Are you ready to give them a try? Do you have your own tried and true tips for preventing burnout? Please share in the comments below.
Great post, especially the social media tips. Creating more than consuming is a top tip! Thanks ?
Glad you found it helpful. You’re welcome 🙂