Burnout is one of the leading causes of death to small businesses and the #1 killer of our passions.
Have you ever loved something so much that you decided to turn it into a business only to find yourself feeling constant frustration and guilt? Then you found yourself never wanting to do that thing ever again? Yeah, me too.
1. Start saying, “no.”
You know this. The knowing isn’t really the issue though, is it? It’s the implementation. It’s the fear that everyone will think you are difficult or mean or uppity. It’s the fear that you’ll miss out on an opportunity that could have unlocked the right doors. It’s the fear that they won’t ask you again.
It begins with working past that fear. Ask yourself if you are trying to get to the bedroom and you open the door to the bathroom, does that opened door get you to the destination you had in mind or does it take you to a destination you weren’t trying to reach in the first place?
Then, repeat after me, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a NO!” If every fiber of your being doesn’t light up at the thought of it, if you can’t see how the doors it could open could take you steps closer to your desired destination, then it isn’t for you.
2. Over-communicate with your customers.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive to add something to your list. However, what you want during this time is peace of mind. What your client wants is feel like they’re informed and supported. If your client feels supported and informed then you are giving yourself the gift of peace of mind.
If you have an inbox filled with requests and you have too much on your plate, the worst thing to do is to just ignore those e-mails and let them hang in the air for days on end.
This will make your client feel like you’ve abandoned them and those e-mails will remain in the back of your head for days or weeks or months until you get around to completing those tasks.
The guilt will bleed into every area of your life. You will be eating lunch and the e-mails will be tapping you on the shoulder calling you a failure.
Instead, at the end of everyday, if you can’t get to an e-mail, shoot them an message letting them know when you will be getting to them and then schedule that on your calendar.
3. Under promise and over deliver.
A lot of times we have the tendency to say what feels better in the moment. Instead, switch your approach to setting the tone in advance and then wow them with a better result then they expected.
Think about it this way: If you are meeting a friend for lunch and they text you saying they are almost there but then they show up 20 minutes later, you are going to be frustrated. You’re going to keep glancing at the door every time it opens.
However, if they text you saying they’ll be 30-minutes late, you’ll open a book, grab a drink, pull out your phone and respond to e-mails, you’ll be prepared to settle in for a moment. Then, when they show up 20 minutes late it’s a pleasant surprise that they got there sooner than you expected.
It’s the same with our clients. (Except you should never be 20 minutes late to a client meeting.)
If you think you will have those photos edited in 2-weeks then prepare your client for 3-months. That way, when life happens or you get sick or you end up more swamped than anticipated and don’t get those photos to them until a month later, you’re late is still early for them! You are more relaxed and they are impressed!
4. Charge enough money.
The fastest way to burnout is working full-time hours with part-time pay. We think it makes sense to book as many clients as possible. So we price ourselves at a place that guarantees we will sell our product or services.
I want to encourage you to shift your thinking. Determine what your hourly rate should be and do what you can to get your rates there.
If you are just starting out, you may need to start lower and gradually increase your rate over time. But, don’t get comfortable over-working for minimal wages. This will kill the joy you have for the work you do.
5. Streamline your systems and increase your productivity.
I know you feel guilty when you’re not working. I get it. But, I want to encourage you to stop thinking in terms of hours worked and start thinking about tasks accomplished.
Move your focus to being as efficient as possible. Automate as much as you can and adopt habits that support your productivity.
Work less and get more done! Work less and get more done. Work less and get more done. Sing it from the rooftops y’all, this is burnout prevention gospel.
I know you have excuses for why everyone else can work less, but you can’t. I want you to find your most honest and straightforward friend. Pass your excuses over to them and have them shut them down one by one.
We can all work less than we are. We just have to get creative, navigate our fears, and learn a few tools to make it happen.