I went for well over a month on our business social media channels and email lists without saying a word. While we worked on current client work, I did not do anything to attract new clients. No new client work was lined up, and now that the bulk of our current work is in the final stages—we have no work lined up to move onto. And that sucks, we will be fine, but this is also a great learning experience.
As a business owner, creative person, and highly driven female, I am prone to burnout. I should have seen the signs, and I should have gotten in front of it—it shouldn’t have gotten as bad as it did.
But here we are. And now, a few weeks later, I have put together a list of things I’ve set fire to, in a sense, in my business to reduce the stress and pressure I am under day-to-day, letting me get back to doing what I love—helping businesses with their social media and marketing.
So what is burnout exactly?
Burnout in entrepreneurs and business owners happens when the stress or pressure from business reaches a breaking point—it either all becomes too much, or periods of high stress goes on for far too long. While it would be nice not to deal with the things in our businesses that stress us out, that is often not a choice we have.
What things in your business can you minimize, delegate, or eliminate altogether?
For me, there were things in all 3 categories.
Some things I considered minimizing were:
- Are there services I am currently offering that I no longer feel the price I am charging covers the amount of work required to do it to the standard I require?
- Can I reduce the number of deliverables for these services?
- Can I charge more for these services to make them worth the time I spend on them?
- Are these services a loss leader for my business, and the value to my business is not directly based on the money I make from the service specifically?
- Do I just no longer like performing that service or making that product? My happiness counts too.
- A loss leader is a product or service you offer at a loss but use as a gateway to entice new customers to your business with the hopes that they will purchase additional services or products. Think the $1.50 hotdog and pop from Costco. It gets you in the building with the lure of a cheap lunch, but how often do you go for a lap of the store and end up purchasing something else?
Some things I considered delegating were:
- Accounting. I make pretty, I make engaging, I make things that sell. What I don’t do well is math.
- Lead and email correspondence. This really came down to context switching when I was in my flow. Having someone watch the inbox so I could focus on things that build the business let me complete tasks quicker and more efficiently.
- Sales calls and appointment setting. One task I put off to the last moment is making phone calls in general, especially when it comes to making cold calls or sales calls. Hiring an extrovert who thrives on phoning people has not only reduced my anxiety but is increasing the quality of the work we’re getting as a company.
- Cleaning, cooking, and generally existing. As a small business owner, I am sure you’re like me and must maintain a home and other living beings to some degree between running your business. While delegating small tasks like cleaning and cooking does cost money upfront, the time and reduced stress it affords me is worth it. It’s not something I always do because they are tasks I enjoy doing (Is anyone else an angry-cleaner? I freakin’ love putting on my headphones and going hard while cleaning! Absolutely cathartic!)
- For most of you reading this, your marketing and social media would be great options to delegate. Hint hint. The trick is finding a person or team who works alongside you, has your best interests in mind, and can meet you where your business is rather than feed you a system full of unsustainable bloat and process. This is something OKGN Co. does very well.
Things I am eliminating altogether from my business:
- Full website builds that do not include a CMS. While I can technically build full-out websites, it is no longer something that brings me joy. I love the useability and ease CMS’ allow for both me and clients to create engaging interactive high-performing sites.
- Social media account rescue missions. Essentially these are 6-month intensive deep-dives into an account that has bought followers in the past who now want to legitimize their following. It takes so much work and community building to make a dent into these accounts, and even then, recent results have been lackluster. Moving forward, our suggestion for accounts that have purchased followers who want to go legit would be to start over with a new account.
Is this everything I am doing to prevent burnout? No.
But these are the first steps I am taking to help ensure it’s less likely it happens again. I firmly believe that you can’t move forward and create something that you love and continue to thrive with if you spend half of your energy serving people and things that no longer serve you.
If you have or are currently dealing with burning out as a small business owner, hop on over to our Instagram to join the conversation with fellow business owners.