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How to avoid burnout

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by Tracy Harris in Blog, Guest Post
July 1, 2016 0 comments
How to avoid burnout

Written by Kasia Bourke

avoid burnout

avoid burnout

If you work in the creative field, whether you’re an artist, blogger, crafter, run your own business, or something in between, at some point you might feel burnt out. From my own experience, it usually happens when you’ve spread yourself thin, when you’ve poured too much love and passion into something too soon, when you don’t see results as fast as you’ve hoped for, when overwhelm hits.

In a way feeling burnt out can be good, because it will make you stop in your tracks, and re-evaluate your business, perhaps even change focus, or slow down and allow yourself to rest.

However if you don’t use it to help you shift, feeling burnt out can very quickly be the end of your business.

I’ve had many small, creative businesses of varying degrees of success, and most of them never got a chance to be amazing, because I burnt out, and didn’t know how to return back from it. Over time I have learned that an oncoming burnout is usually telling me that something isn’t right in my business .

In this post I want to share, tips on how to use the feeling of burnt out to make positive changes in your business and to avoid total burnout .

avoid burnout

1. You can’t Wing it! – You need a plan

If you start your own business, you need to know where you’re going with it, or you will get nowhere and you will feel completely burnt out. You can’t run a successful business by just winging it! Trust me on that one! I’ve been there, done that! In the past I thought I can just make whatever I felt like making at the time, take a quick, yucky! Photo, just so I can share it like RIGHT NOW! And people will buy it! Ehm! No! All I heard was the sweet sound of crickets. No one was interested in what I was doing and I genuinely had no idea what I was doing wrong.

Needless to say, I hit a dead-end, and my then business came to a standstill. This made me feel major burnout and I could no longer even stand the sight of it, let alone enjoy creating.

You need to know what you want your business to be, where you want it to go. You need to know what you’re doing, and Yes! You need a plan!

If you hate making plans, because they are so ‘grown-up’, if you’re not a planner, like I never was, just sit down and imagine you’re being interviewed. Write up questions that a potential interviewer might ask you. Questions like;

  • Who is your Ideal Customer? 
  • What is the reason you started your business?
  • What are your core products?
  • What is your niche?
  • What are your business goals?
  • How much time do you spend on your business?
  • Do you sell solely online, or wholesale to shops or sell at markets?
  • What Social media platforms do you prefer?
  • And how many? And how often?

If you turn it into something fun, you won’t dread writing a plan.

Even a loosely written plan, will be like a road map, that you can refer back to when you have days where you feel the burnout come on, and when you doubt yourself it will help you see the big picture, and why you started it in the first place!

2. Be Patient! – It’s a Marathon not a Sprint!

Often you may feel burnt out because you’re working so hard, and hustling intensely and the results aren’t coming! You might have heard the business gurus say: that running your own business is a marathon, not a sprint, and I agree. Are you ready for this?

YOUR BUSINESS WON'T BE AN OVERNIGHT SUCCESS!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it may take a couple of years, and more hard work before you start gaining traction, and start seeing a regular flow of money. If you see other Mamas whose businesses seemed to have become overnight successes, while for you, it’s been months and you’re still not seeing any sales, or you’re still not gaining as many followers on Instagram as XYZ, don’t get disheartened! Aside from the fact that we never know how much work, and sacrifice went into those businesses that appear to be ‘overnight successes’, they are NOT THE NORM! THEY ARE THE EXCEPTION!

Not to say your business won’t be an overnight success. It may well become, but don’t start a business believing this. Your best bet is to prepare yourself for a lot of hard work and at least a year or two before your business gains momentum. Consistency is the key, so work on your business every day…. Be inspired by other successful businesses but don’t compare yourself to them! And remember running your own business is a Marathon not a Sprint.

3. Grow a Thick Skin

Whether it’s your first Customer complaint, or a Copycat, you’re bound to have negative experiences when running your own business. If you focus on it too much though, if you dwell on it too much, you will find yourself on your way to Burnout-ville. The sooner you grow a thick skin the better!

It can be absolutely heartbreaking when you put something out there, that is your art, your passion, your hobby, and it gets pulled apart, criticized, or even copied.

Unfortunately you will have some people, whether it’s family / friends or customers who will disapprove something. You may get Customers complaining, and you may even encounter Copycats. It’s just the way it is when you have your own business. Not everyone will love it as much as you do, and you are bound to have those negative experiences. Don’t take it personally, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad business woman or that your business is doomed to fail. It’s all part of the game. Just adjust your crown, deal with the problem and carry on. Don’t dwell on it too much, because giving too much focus to the negatives will lead to burnout. Just acknowledge that it’s part of it, and shift your focus to the positives of your business.

Perhaps read all those great reviews, or lovely comments, or have a vent in a safe, understanding environment amongst peers. Personally, I like to go to my folder with all my positive comments, emails and reviews. Reading them all one after the other always helps me get over my negative feelings quickly.

Also celebrate your wins! But I will talk more about this later.

4. Curb your Enthusiasm

When you turn your hobby into a business, it’s easy to get too consumed with wanting to spend every waking hour…well quite frankly EVERY Hour, working on your business. However too much too soon can drive you straight to burnout! Because you’re exhausted, because you’re overwhelmed, because you’re spreading yourself thin.

Especially in the beginning when your new business is still gaining traction, and you’re trying to establish yourself, there’s so much to do! I mean; you have to make things, photograph them, work your favourite social media, set up a store or website… It’s easy to get so consumed with your new venture that you forget that there is a world beyond your business.

Hustling can be great and can really help you get things done, but if you’re also a busy Mama, and have a partner who also might like to spend some time with you, and if you have all the other things on top of this new venture to worry about, you’re bound to feel burnt out somewhere.

If you can, curb your enthusiasm for your new business a little bit, and plan your work ahead, by writing down what you need to do each day, you will not only get more done in less time, but you will beat burnout by killing that feeling of overwhelm. Just take a weekly or monthly planner and write it all up, you will feel so much better seeing it there in front of you, knowing that you will get things done, because you have broken it up into in smaller, more digestive chunks.

And sometimes all you need is to take a little break from your business, especially when you’ve been running it for a while, and it’s been full on. Take a few day sabbatical from your business, and do the things you like, that have nothing to do with your business…So literally stay away from your business! Turn off any notifications for a few days, and stay away from Social media, emails, your website, your craft. Just enjoy being, resting, indulging in some guilty little pleasures. You may find that a few days away from your business, will help give you a different perspective, shift your focus, and you will come back refreshed and ready

5. Be Grateful! – Celebrate even the smallest wins!

Sometimes a burnout can show its ugly face, because we get so consumed by not kicking our big goals…yet. And if you get too focused on the goals you’re not achieving you will no doubt burn yourself out.

So, stop and smell the roses, and acknowledge the smaller wins.

Whether it’s finishing that blog post that you’ve been putting off, or making a connection with another business owner, or getting a lovely comment on your post, or gaining a new follower…or losing one that clearly wasn’t your ideal customer, or finishing something quicker than expected, or taking part in your first group give away…ANY SMALL WIN IS A WIN!

Being grateful that each small win brings you one step closer to your big goals, will make what you do so much more meaningful. Sometimes when I have one of those weeks where my ‘bread and butter’ business consumes all of my time, leaving me no time to work on my knitwear label, I take a step back. And I think how lucky I am that my ‘day job’ my ‘bread and butter’ business is also my own business. That I work from home and that I have the flexibility to set my own hours. That without this ‘bread and butter’ business I wouldn’t have the money to work on my label.

Being grateful not just for the small wins in your business, but also for the things that make it possible, even if it’s a dreaded 9-5 job that you want to eventually quit, puts it all into perspective again.

Be grateful, and celebrate every little win, every little goal brings you one step closer to your bigger dreams.

Do you have any tips? What do you like to do to avoid or deal with Burnout?

Connect up with Kasia

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