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Category: Maker Life

How to Avoid Business Burnout

Business Burnout is a phenomenon that happens to many small business owners at one time or another. Let’s face it; we all start our businesses for different reason, but at the core there is a passion, a desire to make a comfortable living, and a dream.

When you begin as a small business owner, there is no doubt that you’re going to come blazing out of the gate. You’re excited, and motivated, and it’s this that will lead to success while you pursue with reckless abandon. It’s likely that you’ll be so enamoured with your new undertaking that you’ll stay late or start early. You’ll forego meals and plans will be put on hold while you’re busy realizing your business dreams.

Sooner or later, your long hours and dedication will slip into something else, as you lose steam. It’s only human; we only have so much to give. Your family will suffer, your social life will suffer and then suddenly you’re in it; business burnout has you firmly within its clutches.

The truth is that business burnout is even more dangerous than it sounds. It is a tiny spark of discontent that leads to physical illness, the loss of motivation and in some cases the demise of a company. You’ve put your all into this and the last thing you want to do would be to sabotage your success.

If business burnout is becoming a reality for you, or you’re worried that you may be headed down this road, there are a few helpful things that you can do to move away from the inevitable frustration of this common business issue.

Take Care Of Yourself

First, when looking to stave off business burnout, be sure that you’re focusing on your health wherever possible. It’s tempting to pour everything you have into your business, but it’s extremely important to take care of yourself first. Without proper meals, downtime and laughter, you’re going to be facing burnout in no time. Take time out each day to go for a walk or call a good friend. If you feel as though this is a waste of your precious time, be aware that some studies have shown entrepreneurs who exercise regularly have higher sales and better success rates. Why? Because people who create a healthy balance in their lives don’t experience burnout!

Delegate or Collaborate

There are some things that you have to do for yourself. For everything else, there’s delegation. Let your staff, family, friends or even a virtual assistant help you to get things done that you don’t have time to do. Work with colleagues to organize meetings and collaborations. Take some of the load off of yourself!

Focus

You don’t have to multitask. In fact, many in business today have shunned the idea that multitasking is good business practice. In reality, you should take the time to focus on one task to ensure that your attention is exactly where it needs to be at all times. Embarrassing mistakes happen when you’re divided between tasks.

How to Say NO and Why You Should Do it More Often

Isn’t life all about creating boundaries?

You need boundaries with your friends, boundaries with your children and boundaries when it comes to your business. As a business-owner, it’s tempting to hoard opportunity. You want to get experience! You want to get your name out into the marketplace. You want to be seen and cater to people who are clients or have the potential to one day be clients. In some ways, this is a clever approach to business, but if you’re not careful it can quickly slip into a matter of entrepreneurial suicide.

Let’s get this out of the way, shall we?

You cannot be everything to everyone. You can’t take on every invitation. You can’t do it all. It’s tempting to try, but this is not the way lasting growth is made.

So, now that we understand that, let’s take a look at how to start saying NO!

Identify What Works
Before you know what to decline and what to accept, take a step back and evaluate the events that you’ve seen as successes. Which events led to new clients? Which undertakings produced measurable results? Once you know which things work for your business, you can develop a list of criteria for future acceptance.

Don’t Lose Focus
When we say yes to everything, we become strained. When we’re strained, a few things happen to our business. First of all, we begin to dread getting up every day because we know how much work there is on our plate. We become discouraged when the work that we’re doing rules our life and doesn’t actually deliver us closer to our goals. We lose our focus, drive and passion, and it happens fast. Saying ‘no’ to things that aren’t directly beneficial will ensure that you have the time and energy for the things that will directly aid you in success.

Practice Makes Perfect
Saying ‘no’ isn’t easy at first, which is probably why you’re tempted to avoid it. Still, like most things, saying ‘no’ will become easier with practice. Design yourself a quick two sentence decline, thanking the inviter for the opportunity and asking them to consider you again in the future when opportunities arise. Becoming a master of this decline is an excellent way to make a good, albeit different impression on other entrepreneurs and marketers. You establish yourself as someone who values their time and who gives great consideration to your business, which is an admirable quality.

Have you found yourself taking on too much? Have you decided to say NO? How did you go about getting out of the rigorous grind and what was your experience once you said NO?!

Goal Setting for the Creative Maker

You know your final destination, but do you know how to get there? Goal setting is a BOR-ING task but oh so necessary if you want to actually get to the finish line of any dream.

You’ve most likely heard the common way to set goals is to make sure they’re “SMART” goals… (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) but the problem with those types of goals is that I get caught up with making sure the goals I set actually meet this criteria! LOL!!

The way that I set my goals to be achieved is to break them down into bite sized (or action based) pieces. Starting from the END result, work your way backwards.

Let’s break a goal down to show you what I mean.

GOAL
Create and Upload New Items to Etsy

TASKS
Research materials
– Decide whether to use fleece or cotton
– Design colour palette

Create items
– Cut materials
– Match patterns and quilt together
– Iron and sew
– Add labels

Write descriptions
– Research keywords and tags for listing
– Write descriptions

Take photos
– Set up backdrop
– Ensure lighting is adequate
– make sure all items are clean/ironed
– Edit photos if necessary

Come up with pricing (based on time & costs)
– Figure out timing
– Calculate costs
– Combine both factors to come up with pricing

Upload to Etsy Shop
– Go through all the steps to add your listing to your shop.

Wait for the “Cha-Ching” Sound 😉

Notice that each one of these tasks has a list of tasks in and of itself, this is the important part of setting goals as it makes the process not so overwhelming. The hardest part of goal setting is indeed the fact that it generally becomes too daunting and ends up falling by the wayside.

You can add dates and times to these if you want to be held accountable, but I find that adding dates and times doesn’t really help me. The bottom line is to make things as simple as they can be – you don’t have time (nor the want) for things to be overly complicated, but you do have to get stuff done so that you can move your business forward.

Do you have a system of goal setting that you use? Share in the comments so we can all be productive together 😉