Being an entrepreneur is exciting and dynamic. It can also be draining - physically, mentally and emotionally. After the initial boost of activity, some entrepreneurs realise they've simply created a job for themselves - one they work harder in than any job they've ever had before.
Unlike a regular job, you also have more responsibilities, fewer days off and more stress. I've been speaking to an increasing number of entrepreneurs who are burnt out. "I just don't want to work so much, all day, every day, at all hours of the day," one told me in desperation. So how do you overcome this?
There's no magic bullet for entrepreneur burnout. But there are certainly steps you can take to alleviate some of the pain.
1. Use technology to automate as much as possible
It goes without saying that you need systems in your business. I've written about this many times before. You need clear, documented procedures for all your processes. This applies to everything from how to answer the phone to how to pack and send widgets. In addition to this, remember to consider how you can use technology to automate any processes. For example, use email autoresponders to deal with standard product/service enquiries. Automate payments where possible - both incoming and outgoing. Use technology to batch process as much as possible.
2. Outsource or hire someone to do low dollar-value work
Your time is better spent being an entrepreneur than it is on administration, book-keeping or answering the phone. If you're still in the early days of your entrepreneurship journey, you might be hesitant to invest in staff. Or you might simply not be ready to let go of control. However, ask yourself whether you are making the most of your time. The bottom line is that if the work you are doing could be done by someone else at a lower hourly rate than what you can charge per hour, then you should delegate or outsource the function. I used to spend countless hours on my book-keeping until I finally outsourced it. Now, my book-keeper does a better job at my accounts than I ever did - in a fraction of the time.
3. Rethink your business model
This might be a radical idea but it could be worthwhile to rethink your business model. If your income is a direct function of your time, then your business model definitely needs an overhaul - or else you will burn out. Where do you start? Look at other people in a similar business to yours. Talk to a business coach about what you want to achieve. Force yourself to consider other opportunities and ways of structuring your business. This is your chance to be an innovator.
If you don't take steps to avoid entrepreneur burnout, the joy of entrepreneurship can get sucked out of your business. Don't let it happen.
Posted by Valerie Khoo