If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you started your business with hope and optimism—but, as time went on, have your feelings changed? Does running your business feel increasingly difficult? Are you tired and unmotivated, looking for a way out? If so, you may be facing business burnout. Here’s a look at how to tell and, then, what to do about it.
Top 5 Signs You’re Burnt Out
It happens to the best of us—you’re tired, unmotivated, and now, looking for a way to jump ship—and maybe you don’t even know why. Business burnout can come on slowly or suddenly, but its symptoms remain the same. To discern if discouragement is getting the better of you in your business, check out these top five signs of business burnout and see if they describe you:
Apathy – When it comes to business goals or objectives, you just don’t care. The things that used to motivate you no longer hold any weight. You have a hard time caring about the details of the business anymore. None of it seems to matter.
Anxiety – You find yourself worried about numbers, to-do lists, or business plans. You’re overwhelmed by all the tasks on your plate and all the jobs that need to be accomplished in your business. You’re stressed out and tired and ready for a break.
Procrastination – When it comes to accomplishing a task, you find any excuse to put it off. You used to love tackling new projects; now, you’d rather clean the office bathroom. As a result, your list keeps getting longer…
Discouragement – You went into business with high hopes, but lately all you feel is disappointment. You aren’t seeing the results you hoped for with your company, and now you can’t get over it. You’re discouraged and want to give up.
Constant Comparison – Nothing is more demotivating than a case of the grass being greener somewhere else. You’re focusing on all the other companies in your industry and what they’re doing well, letting that create panic and fear in your own heart. You feel like you’ll never do well enough, so why bother trying? You constantly compare yourself to others and feel the weight of it adding up against you.
How to Deal with Business Burnout
If reading through the above list felt like reading a description of yourself, what should you do next? Once you realize you’re dealing with business burnout, what then? Here are a few ideas for dealing with the worst of business burnout.
Option #1: Wait It Out. Business burnout is a feeling, right? Everybody knows feelings come and go. So before you jump ship like your head is saying you should, wait a bit. You might feel differently in a few days or weeks.
Option #2: Keep Working. Take a page from the great artist Pablo Picasso who said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working,” and push through the burnout with an even greater push for productivity. Keep working, even when you don’t feel like it, and you might find that your feelings change.
Option #3: Take a Break. If it’s possible to delegate necessary tasks and step away from the others, do it. Sometimes a short break to recharge is just what you need.
Option #4: Get Help. Solopreneurs tend to want to do everything themselves—even to their detriment. Could part of the reason you feel so worn out be that you need help? Don’t be afraid to ask for it. Whether this means enlisting a new assistant or team member, hiring a marketing firm, assigning blogging to a contractor, or something else, look for ways to lighten your load while also freeing you up to stay inspired.
Option #5: Reevaluate. One reason for burnout is trying tactics that don’t work. So as hard as it may be to admit, ask yourself if you’re worn out from spinning your wheels on ideas that should be abandoned. Take a look at your numbers, your online analytics, etc., and reevaluate what is and isn’t working in your business. When you focus on the tasks that matter, you may find yourself inspired again.
Which of the above steps you should take in dealing with business burnout will depend upon your unique situation, personality, and business needs. As you read through them, one or more probably stands out as a choice that makes sense—start with that and see what happens. Most likely, you’ll discover a renewed passion for your work, but if you don’t, at least you’ll know you gave your business your best before moving on.
Can you relate to this idea of business burnout? What have you done about it? What helps you find new inspiration? And if you’ve been stumped about how to break free of the business blues, could trying one or more of the suggestions above make a difference? Which makes the most sense to you and why?