How to avoid burning out in your business

Starting and running a business can be stressful. Whether it’s the financial element, the putting yourself out there thing or simply the volume of ‘stuff’ you feel you need to do – all of these things can lead to you feeling pretty frazzled around the edges and heading for burnout if you don’t support yourself in the right way.

Running a coaching business is amazing, and I still believe the benefits outweigh the negatives for me – but yep, sometimes it can be hard and every day, week and month I’m learning more about how to manage it all so that my health and wellbeing is still a priority – I am a self care coach too after all!

However, one of the hardest things is that as a coach, we all feel like we should have our shit together 100% of the time – when that’s just not possible. Life is full of ups and downs both business related and non business related. The pressure we put on ourselves to show up perfectly is just not sustainable so letting go of that from the start is helpful. I always say that as a coach it’s not about being perfect, but it is about showing up for ourselves and making changes when they’re needed.

Like I said, it’s not easy even for me, but I have learned a lot in the process of starting and growing my business so I thought I’d share a few tips with you to help you avoid burning out in your business…

Don’t try and do too much

I am the Queen of doing all the things (hence the two businesses but that’s another story!) I’m also creative and quite often motivated. But when you match that with an avoidance of certain business areas – ahem, marketing (more of that in a sec) you’re on a road to stress and burn out. Whenever you get an idea for a new programme or new product or marketing activity you should be doing, think hard about whether or not it will help you reach your goals or whether or not it’s just going to spilt your time and effort. Also ask yourself if you’re simply creating new things to sell to to the same group of people rather than marketing your existing services to new people.

I’ve recently closed and cancelled two programmes / products because as much as I enjoyed doing them, I had a big wake up call in terms of how sustainable my business is time wise going forward and I knew something had to go. 

Another thing to consider on this is that it’s not always about how much time you have to spend on something, it’s the headspace you have to give it even when it doesn’t require actual hours.

Leave enough time for marketing

Trust me on this – if you’re spending all your time on 1-2-1 clients and not leaving enough time for marketing your business is going to get difficult. You need to be marketing to new people (not just the same people over and over) on a consistent basis to keep getting clients. This is why you need to be charging a decent rate for 1-2-1 work or considering leveraging your time via group programmes or courses so that you still have time left over to market yourself.

Outsource when you can

If you’re in a financial position to do so, outsourcing can save your sanity. I outsource a few tasks each week to my VA and it creates so much extra time and headspace for me. 

Whether it’s outsourcing a one off job you’ve been procrastinating on for ages, or working with some one on a regular basis, it can be a sound investment to outsource.

Know your warning signs

When I’m approaching burn out I have certain signs I know to watch out for. For me, it’s waking up feeling anxious, getting to the weekend and then only wanting to crash out and do nothing exciting or interesting, dreading opening my inbox etc.

Often a big sign is feeling like you want to just jack it all in. It’s natural to feel like that in your business from time to time, I literally have never known anyone I’ve met in business who hasn’t had moments like that – even my own coach who has a six figure business admitted she had thoughts of getting a 9-5 again! 

Feeling like this is very often just a sign that you need to step away from your business (more on this in a sec) and get your head sorted before making some changes and coming back to things feeling refreshed.

Have boundaries and time out of your business

It’s so, SO important to have boundaries in your business. When you will and won’t respond to emails. How you work with your clients. When you’ll be on social media. I could go on – but your boundaries need to be in place to support your own self care. You can’t support others when you yourself are not supported. The trick I’ve found with boundaries is to communicate them. I have a very clear out of office responder on my emails that lets people know when to expect to hear back from me. I’m about to create better boundaries around social media in terms of not being on there over the weekend.

Likewise, having time off from your business completely is also really important. It might seem feasible to work non stop and in holiday time, especially when you’re getting going. But give it a few months and years and this habit will come back to bite you! Make sure you have a way to take proper, restorative time off.

This might mean scheduling social media in advance, but as much as being consistent on social media is good business sense, your mental health is more important. Taking a week off your blog, Facebook and the ‘gram isn’t going to end it all.

What I’ve done to make my business more sustainable from a personal wellbeing perspective

You might be able to guess that this post has been inspired by my own realisation that I was heading for burnout. My warning signs were blazing so I knew it was time for things to change. Here’s what I’ve been doing over the last few weeks and what I have planned to support myself and my business going forward:

  • Closed down two products / programmes that I enjoyed running but that I simply couldn’t sustain. My quarterly journal and my year long Wholeheartedly You programme.
  • Decided to make May a ‘clear the decks’ month where I plan to finish off a lot of projects so I can start fresh next month – this means that I probably won’t blog here much for the rest of the month or post on my business Instagram till June.
  • Making myself have a full week off at the end of May with no work or checking of emails at all.
  • Try and work on a 20 minute a day Instagram routine and no social at all on weekends apart from posting on Stories if I’m doing something fun / during a launch
  • Realised as much as I’d love to start a new podcast, that’s just not realistic for the foreseeable future and crossed it off my list.
  • Changed how I work with my 1-2-1 branding and web design clients going forward so that I’m only working with 1 or 2 clients at a time max.

These changes feel so damn good, I can serve all my current clients and customers in a really great way going forward while also making sure I don’t burn out. I’m also laying the foundations for a more sustainable way of working going forward so I don’t end up feeling stretched again.

Sometimes we can have the belief that to have a profitable, successful business we need to be working ourselves into the ground when that’s just not true. There’s always ways we can tweak how we work to reduce stress and overwhelm and avoid burnout. 

I’d love to know if any of these tips have been helpful to you, leave me a comment below!

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