Entrepreneurship fatigue is something barely talked about. People focus on business success and sometimes on the failure that entrepreneurs encounter but seldom acknowledge or even notice the exhaustion that entrepreneurs go through. On both sides of the scale of success and failure are exhausted entrepreneurs. Exhaustion is a regular with startups and is something that I experience constantly with trying to build my business. Being a writer, I first went through writers’ fatigue and realized how real burning out was for writers. As I transitioned into entrepreneurship, I found that there was little difference when it came to the administrative aspects of running a business. There was always a lot to do and with my expanding goals came an overwhelming sense of exhaustion.
Entrepreneurship fatigue is real. As glamourous as building a business and leaving the gripping chains of corporate life and 9-5 might seem, starting from the ground up might not be any better except that you call the shots of course. So, what is entrepreneurship fatigue and how do you cope?
Entrepreneurship Fatigue: A Real Danger to Building Your Business or Passion Project
For many entrepreneurs, their business is a passion project. Businesses are so personal that an entrepreneur’s life can revolve around them. Every part of the business requires your involvement and this can tell on your health. You always want to keep things going so much so that you have no personal life. Your passion project can quickly become a constant source of stress. You want to take charge of both your business and your life. You want to perform at your optimum in both situations and this can feel impossible when you are constantly juggling multiple roles. You need a strategy to battle fatigue and you need to do it quickly. Because this is something that I go through also, I have the perfect set of tips for battling entrepreneurship fatigue and excelling with your business and your life.
Preventing Entrepreneurship Fatigue
You need some proactiveness to stop your business from getting in the way of building the life that you want. You have to act long before you even begin your business to ensure that it doesn’t burn you out.
Start with a safety net
The propelling force for entrepreneurship fatigue is financial stress. When your business is also your source of livelihood, you face the incredible pressure of making sales fast and consistently. It’s tough building a business under such circumstances especially when you have a lot of nonmonetary tasks to complete. Building a financial safety net before you venture into business can help you cut down the worry and stress. You can concentrate on your responsibilities at work without the pressure of making more money and doing it fast. Be careful how deep you dig into your emergency funds though. You do not want to get back to where you started.
When it comes to entrepreneur burnout and the financial stress it brings, transitioning quickly could be a culprit. Moving from your day job to entrepreneurship too fast can create enormous amounts of stress. While it’s great to leave your day job and start a business, you may be losing a much needed income. Unless your day job is particularly unbearable, it may be smarter to start your business as a side hustle. Transitioning slowly to business can reduce the stress. You can allow your side hustle to blossom over a fair amount of time. For me, I wasn’t lucky enough to have this option. I went from bad bosses, work abuse and job loss to entrepreneurship. If your day job gives you joy and freedom, then entrepreneurship should be something you approach on the side. You may want to go full time but building a safety net first by transitioning slowly can prevent the burnout.
How to Cope with Entrepreneurship Fatigue
For those of us who are already in business and struggling to scale our startups and handle the stress that comes with that, there are a few things we can do.
Effect lifestyle changes
Entrepreneurship fatigue can affect every area of our lives including our physical health. Most times we do not know how tired we are until our bodies start to force us to recognize it. The fatigue also dissipates into our mental health as well. If we adjust our lifestyles a little bit, we may be able to deal with entrepreneurship fatigue. We have to monitor our diet and exercise patterns which trigger fatigue closely. Track what you eat and your exercise routines. You may find that you begin to experience burnout after a certain kind of workout routine or after eating too much sugar. Once you find what is adding to your stress, you can immediately put an end to it. Begin adopting healthy lifestyle choices like meditation and improved sleep environment. It’s okay to have something other than your business to turn to. This could be a hobby or a new skill. Continually find ways to relax and regroup. Your sleep environment may be adding to your fatigue. Ensure that you are comfortable. Try turning off the lights and using clean sheets before you sleep. Keep all of your work tasks out of the bedroom. Retire from your devices an hour before bed and shut your eyes and your mind to allow sleep take over. Ruminating over everything that happened with your business that day, such as the sales calls you forgot to make, the prospecting meetings that went bad, can make your sleep disturbed and make you feel unrested the next day. You want to avoid this to make your fatigue more bearable.
Learn time management
When you are an entrepreneur, time is never enough. You have so much to do every single time! You need to learn to manage your time. Learn to divide your day between the tasks that are competing for your attention. Try to take your most difficult tasks first each day so that you do not spend the larger part of your day ruminating over how you were unable to get them done. You feel fresh the moment you start out each day assuming you rested well the night before. Use the early morning energy to get rid of tedious tasks. With proper time management, you will get more done and would even be able to allocate portions of your day to your personal life. Separating your business from your life especially your family life and me-time is something you should constantly aspire to.
Find your tribe
You need a support system to succeed at business. You need a group of people that believe in what you are doing. Sometimes that system might be your staff. You want people who believe your vision as part of your team. Likewise, you should try to get rid of people who exude negative energy as much as possible. This may be in your close circle including your friends and family. When people do not have the right energy, they can contaminate your vibe, dampen your drive, kill your spirit, and slow you down. For times when you are burnt out, you need a support system that totally understands. You may want to find other entrepreneurs in your community or online who you can share your experiences with, and who can pull you out of your fatigue by just listening or lighting up your day.
Put your health ahead of the opportunities
By becoming an entrepreneur, I was unleashed into a world of opportunities. The possibilities of what I could achieve became endless. I even find myself thinking why I did not take the plunge earlier. Entrepreneurship can be like that. The opportunities to conquer our world can be part of what causes our burnout. We have countless things to do. We want to do them all. Maybe taking every opportunity out there is not a good idea. Prioritize your opportunities. Determine which ones will jeopardize your health and decline them. You do not have to participate in every project or take every speaking engagement to succeed with your business. You just need to go for the right ones. Any engagement that imparts your health negatively or does not propel your business further to success is better declined. It can be overwhelming to decide which chances you want to take. Use your business goals as a yardstick. Create milestones and measure your progress with those milestones. When something presents itself that you have already accomplished, you may want to let it go. In the end, your health is what matters. The excitement of succeeding at something new is not really refreshing when it leads to extended fatigue.
Take regular breaks
Perhaps the best advice for coping with entrepreneurship fatigue is that you give yourself a break. You are already doing well enough. You are a champion. You are a superhero. Applaud yourself a little. But most importantly, take regular breaks. Create a routine for relaxation between your tasks. Get away from work for a few minutes each day and add this to your schedule. Taking breaks is essential to entrepreneurial success. It is within those few minutes, that hour, those days that you regroup for success. It is that period of rest that makes your success sustainable. Do something else that you love during your breaks and connect with other entrepreneurs. Create a vacation plan for yourself. Give yourself a sick leave like you would have gotten should you be working for someone else.
Entrepreneurship fatigue is more common than you think. In fact, I had been thinking of writing a piece on it long before I did. I was so overwhelmed by it all that I both needed to find a way out of it and to tell others about it. When you feel like the burnout is all too much for you to bear, remember that you are not alone.