March 8, 2024

Building a Business Without Burn Out

Starting a business is exciting, almost like embarking on an exhilarating voyage across uncharted territories. Excuse the word play: I just finished watching Netflix’s Damsel – definitely recommend.

Like the main character, Elodie, business is filled with highs of creativity and lows of challenges. Among the excitement and drive, it’s crucial to remember one thing: your well-being is non-negotiable. As someone who’s struggled and thrived in maintaining my well being, I want to share some tips that have been my anchors, and I hope they can guide you to thrive without burning out.


Tip 1: Set Boundaries, Seriously

I’ll admit when I started my business I suffered from over-achieving which is really defined as people pleasing. I found myself wanting to show up all the time and prove my dedication to clients. This left me feeling exhausted. Instead, I began to honor the defined work hours I set for myself and stuck to them. When your home is your office, it’s easy for work to spill into your personal time. I had to remain firm on my working hours and communicate these to my clients and team. During off-hours, you have to truly disconnect so that you’ll be able to be fully present in everything else that life offers.

Tip 2: Automate and Delegate

Identify repetitive tasks and use tools to automate them. For tasks that require a human touch, consider delegating. It might be hard to let go, but trust me, your mental health will thank you. I had a hard time letting go and learned my lesson when I hired a team of 4 people for a large project. Unfortunately I ended up taking over a few of the tasks because I couldn’t let go resulting in poor management and self induced exhaustion. Consider starting small and gradually expand based on where you need support – also highly recommend thoroughly vetting hires, but that’s a post for another day.

Tip 3: Cultivate a Supportive Community

Entrepreneurship can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Join local or online communities of like-minded individuals. These spaces are invaluable for sharing experiences, seeking advice, and finding mentorship. Remember, vulnerability within a supportive community is strength, not weakness. As Issa Rae once said, there is power in networking laterally versus focusing solely on the key players (loosely paraphrasing here).

Tip 4: Prioritize Self-Care

Self-care isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a crucial part of your business strategy. Whether it’s a daily walk, meditation, or a hobby unrelated to your work, make time for activities that rejuvenate you. Schedule these into your calendar as non-negotiable appointments. For me, it’s been illustration, prayer walks and writing.

Tip 5: Embrace Rest

I thought hustling was the only way to succeed, and while there is a season for everything it’s important to recognize the signs of burnout and give yourself permission to rest. This could mean taking a full day off, a short vacation, or simply a few hours in a day to unwind. Rest is good for the body and shouldn’t be treated as a reward system. Understand that rest also isn’t lost productivity; it’s an investment in your future capacity to create and innovate.

Tip 6: Reflect and Pivot

Regularly check in with yourself. What’s working? What’s not? Be willing to adjust your strategies, whether it’s your approach to work, your self-care practices, or your business model itself. Growth is as much about introspection as it is about action. I’ve created routines that allow space for me to check in with myself and how I plan to approach my business and clients for the day. At the end of the day, I reflect on the work day and shift as needed.

Building a business without burning out is not just possible; it’s imperative. Remember, the goal isn’t just to create a successful business but to enjoy the journey and emerge healthy, whole, and fulfilled. My hope is that you’ll not only implement these steps in your business, but that you find balance between pursuing your passion and preserving your well-being. Here’s to building sustainably.