Written by: Rosalynn Robb, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I have been a business owner for almost 8 years. My business and I have both gone through seasons of change along the journey. Yet, even with all that I’ve learned along the way, I am almost a year into my second startup business and feeling a great deal of burnout. I felt that it was important for me to stop, reflect, and reorient myself in order to find solutions that best optimize my time and resources, and leave time and energy for myself and my loved ones.
Here are my ten top reasons that you as a business owner burn out and some tips to help you overcome burn out in the future.
1. You don’t pay yourself.
You’re having a hard time paying all your expenses. It’s downright tough starting a new business, regardless of whether it is self-funded or if you have a loan. When you have employees, their paychecks come first, followed by all the overhead costs you wish you didn’t have, but you still need to try and pay yourself, even if it’s just a little. Keep a log of how many hours you actually put into the business, and pay yourself at least a small percentage per hour.
You deserve to get paid, and as the company grows, you should pay yourself at least twice the amount that your highest-paid employee receives.
2. You don’t set boundaries with work.
You worry that if you don’t respond to a late-night text or weekend email, that your client will feel that you’re not providing great customer service.
Schedule times for you to check emails and phone messages, and block off times that you will not look at them. If your scheduled time is late at night or on the weekend, preschedule email replies to go out during normal business hours. Clients and customers need to understand that you are running a business and not at their beck and call.
3. You don’t have a weekly exercise routine.
You’re tired and have been working nonstop and the last thing you want to do is move your body at the gym or go for a walk.
Push yourself to exercise anyway. Consider it an opportunity to give yourself “me time” where you focus on something other than work for an hour. Your body and mind will thank you!
4. You don’t make your family’s events a priority.
You miss out on your kid’s school event or work late and don’t go on a date with your spouse. Spending time with your family will remind you of the unconditional love and support they have for you. It’s impossible to make everyone happy in business. When you invest time in your family, you’ll be reminded that your value is not in your numbers but in the love of those that mean the most to you!
Pick an evening a week you know you can be fully present without doing work at home.
5. You don’t know how to delegate effectively.
You don’t think you’re a micromanager, but to an extent we all are. You try to be in two places at once, and it doesn’t work. There’s only so much multitasking one person can do before things get missed, skipped, or done poorly. Learn your strengths and weaknesses, your passions, and your “hit your head into a brick wall” projects that you don’t need to be doing.
Pick one area you are ready to release to a qualified individual on your team who excels at it.
6. You don’t know how to hire quality individuals.
You get desperate because demand for your product or service is high so you hire people that aren’t right for the job. You think the best of people, rather than taking the time to check out their qualifications. Sometimes you end up with employees who don’t show up, don’t abide by company policies, or just plain don’t take their responsibilities seriously.
Always call work references, and talk with previous employers about your potential candidate's work ethic and reliability, and don’t be afraid to ask, “If you could find one weakness, what would it be?”
7. You don’t let go of employees that don’t align with the company’s mission and values.
You allow problem employees to stay too long in the company hoping the situation will get better and you keep giving them the benefit of the doubt rather than cutting ties.
Your company’s reputation and operations are at stake. It is your company; you get to decide who will represent your company to your clients.
8. You don’t lead with expectations, which allows the company environment and morale to fall.
You allow for gossip or disgruntled employees. It can devastate your business when loyal employees are unhappy and feel like they have been wronged. As a leader, it’s important to confront them with both empathy and humility. Your high standards for conduct can strategically lead the company upward.
Have an open-door policy to encourage your employees to speak with you. Allow them to make suggestions and give their perspectives, but ultimately make decisions based on what is best for your company. Your goal should be to help them understand your vision for the company and how they can be a part of it.
9. You don’t value your time.
You allow your business to take control of your time. It is okay to be selfish about time, because you only have a limited amount of it. It’s a great quality to be the person team members come to for help, but there are times when they need to learn to stand up on their own without constant input from you. You have a lot of demands on your time, not just in your business, but also in life. Don’t get caught up in the belief that you should be micromanaging every aspect of your business.
Ask yourself, “Will this be important in a week, a month, or a year from now? And could someone else accomplish this almost as well, or better than I could.
10. You don’t take vacations to recharge.
You think vacations are too costly financially. What if I told you the opposite is true? Stepping away from your business for a full week can recharge you. Even staying overnight at an Airbnb or turning your phone on silent on the weekend, can actually pay off in dividends. It can give you a renewed perspective and gratitude for the people you get to interact within your business.
If you cannot go on a vacation soon, you can go out to a new restaurant with friends or family and tell them you’re not allowed to talk about business at all for the night.
Or you can plan your dream vacation for the next year, start tucking away money in a jar each month, and put a picture of the destination on your desk where you can be reminded of the much needed vacation.
You are so valued from one business owner to another. Every point on this list I have had to wrestle with. Sometimes I just need a reminder to take one hour out of the week and eliminate work so I can breathe. Life is too short, and the people you love are too precious for you to get buried under a pile of paperwork and burn the candle at both ends.
Rosalynn Robb, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Rosalynn Robb is a passionate small business cleaning owner and consultant with the sole aim of helping others. Rosalynn caught a vision after engaging in several Louisville Human Trafficking Task Force meetings. She decided to create a business that would elevate domestic work and advocate for human trafficking victims while giving back to organizations helping the most vulnerable.
She believes to whom much has been given, much is expected. She has never forgotten her humble beginnings as an orphan in the Philippines, and how her forever family brought her home to Rhode Island at three and a half years of age. Rosalynn believes what touches the heart reaches the heart, and the best way to build a business is to be authentic and focus on relationships over money.
Rosalynn created CleanStart Consulting to help other small cleaning business owners worldwide become organically organized with practical tools and authentic understanding. In 2021, Rosalynn plans to launch the S.H.E Foundation (Seen. Heard. Embraced.). The foundation will provide mentoring and financial support to empower human trafficking survivors. S.H.E. grants will support women seeking a CleanStart with the counsel and tools they need to help launch their own successful businesses. Rosalynn married Andrew in 2018 and they have lived in Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas while serving in the United States Air Force.