It feels nearly impossible to start a business and minimize burnout, but I promise it is doable. My plan isn’t one to avoid burnout completely as I think it’s part of the entrepreneurial journey. As a business owner, you will tap into a new kind of passion you haven’t had before. It feels like endless energy. Until it’s not.
I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2015 as a wedding planning business [insert: wait whaaat? here], and learned many lessons on the way. In fact, here’s my first blog post about a Thai-themed bridal shower I threw for my best friend. I let the business unfold organically, which led to endless pivots. So, after reaching burnout several times, I created a list of lessons to prevent it from happening again. I share these tips all of the time now with my advising clients.
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1. Set boundaries
Especially when your new business is a side hustle, it’s hard to start boundaries. However, it’s super important to practice setting boundaries as soon as you start a business. When you worked in a corporate setting there were office hours, right? Why don’t you have office hours today?
It took me YEARS (and, frankly, having Emmie) to set proper office hours. However, signing up for calendly actually made the biggest difference for me. By automatically linking my schedule to calendly and sharing it with clients, I share my true available times vs. trying to fit someone in off-hours.
2. Know your non-negotiables
What makes you happy? For me, it’s working out 4 times a week, catching up with at least 1 friend, and several family walks in the neighborhood. Knowing your non-negotiables keeps you happy. When you’re happy, you’re less stressed and it minimizes burnout.
3. Schedule downtime
My business partner, Jessie, always laughs at me for this one, but I have to schedule downtime. The concept of ‘start a business and minimize burnout’ didn’t pop into my brain until I was in the thick of it. I hadn’t heard of burnout before. Let’s get one thing out there now: Downtime has never been my strong suit.
However, I’ve realized over time how important downtime is to take care of myself. I know that if I’m not rested, I can’t be the best version of myself, and that hurts me, my family, my business, my clients, etc. So, I’m motivated to schedule downtime. Sundays is my day of rest, and I typically do not like any formal plans, work, or house chores on Sundays. I do my best to avoid it so I can just chill.
4. Respect that busy periods ebb and flow
There will be times that work comes first and you have to grind because it’s busy season. Or you’re working towards a new goal and it takes extra effort. That’s OK and it’s normal. When that happens, take a look at what you can take a break from in life. Can you order your meals from a healthy company instead of cooking? Skim back on social plans? Set a deadline to it though so you know when the finish line arrives.
5. Practice saying no
Eeek. This is another one that I’m not the best at [and Matt may or may not remind me of that all.the.time.]. Practice saying no. You can’t do it all. Saying no gets easier over time. It’s also easier because I practice what I preach. Let me explain… with The Marketing Greenhouse, we often work with business owners to solidify a roadmap that outlines their strategies and goals. We coach them that if it’s not in the roadmap, you put it in the ‘parking lot’ for a later date, and it works! So, I started doing it myself and it helps.
Affectionately known to her friends as Millennial Martha for her love of DIY and decorating, Jen can’t help but pour her heart + soul into everything she touches. She’s loved to entertain since acquiring a table and chairs, and giving gifts is one of her favorite hobbies. Jen is the creator of Girl Meets Party. Her dream is to share her passions with the world in hopes to inspire others by making the seemingly unattainable attainable.