Cara Barone, Business Coach for Female Entrepreneurs

Repeat after me. I can be a successful entrepreneur WITHOUT burning out.

My entire corporate career was built around hustling. Long hours, high stress and living to work. Until I got sick. My body decided for me. I was pushing myself too hard and it took its toll. I was living abroad and jumping around on weekends, I thought that was enough “balance” but it wasn’t. I was burnt out. 

Over the last 4 years, as I’ve started my road to healing, I also have created a multi-6-figure business on top of my corporate 9-5. You may be thinking, how can you focus on your wellness when you are balancing entrepreneurship on top of corporate life? Well, after coaching hundreds of women on how to grow their businesses (150 this year alone!), I’ve learned a thing or two about productivity. I’ve learned that being successful isn’t about longer hours or running yourself into the ground, it’s about balance and finding pockets of time and making them as productive as possible. 

Burnout does not have to be an inevitable part of being a successful entrepreneur. Here is my advice on how to avoid burnout as an entrepreneur without sacrificing sales. 

Assess Your Priorities

You have unique goals and values that directly influence your business, we all do. One of the most important things to reflect on as you start your business (and ask yourself continually as you grow) is what do I want this to become? Do you want it to just be a side hustle or passion project? Or, do you want to leave your 9-5 and work full time in your business? Whatever your answer is impacts the choices you will make going forward. 

In addition to business priorities, you need to consider your personal/life priorities. There are only so many hours in a day, what are your non-negotiables? Do you want to run everyday? See or talk to a friend daily? Do you value time outside? What about self-care rituals? Being an entrepreneur is all about the juggle. You have to decide what you want your schedule to be and what is important to you. 

Set Boundaries 

Boundaries are the key to almost everything in life. The boundaries we set for ourselves and for others set the tone, choose them wisely and set them early. Are your evenings or weekends sacred? Do you want no technology in your bedroom? What about working on vacations? Decide what your boundaries are and stick to them. When you break your own boundaries, even a little bit, it is a slippery slope. 

As your own boss, it also means you need to set boundaries with the people you work with. Having clear boundaries with your clients is essential. When you sign them on make it clear when and how you are available to them. This allows you and the client to have a clear understanding of how your working relationship will go without any unrealistic expectations. Make it known to them that you are unavailable on weekends. I know you want to over-deliver but you CAN and WILL Monday-Friday.

Lastly, let’s talk about your team. Being your own boss is one thing but being other people’s boss is a whole other story. When you bring on a new team member whether it’s for a project or its for the long haul, have an open conversation about your boundaries and theirs. It’s a two way street and both of you knowing what the other person’s expectations are will allow you to a) work well together or b) decide quickly if it’s not the right fit. 

Protect Your Energy

It may sound very *woo woo* but your energy is your most valuable asset. It is also the first thing to fall to the wayside when we become overwhelmed or our confidence gets bruised. I always advise my clients to find ways to protect their energy, write them down and implement them. This will look different for everyone but there are a few things that you should consider. 

Be mindful of the people you surround yourself with

This is important no matter if you are an entrepreneur or not, but nonetheless, who you have around you impacts more than you may think. If any friend, family member, partner, colleague, client or team member constantly makes you second guess your worth, doesn’t support you or just leaves you with an icky feeling after spending time with them, it’s time to reevaluate. You only need to hold space for those that are willing to do the same for you. 

Set Boundaries On Social Media 

For those of us who use social media for business, finding a healthy balance can be extremely challenging. As you know it’s so easy to let 5 minutes of checking DMs turn into 2 hours of scrolling on your personal, engaging on your business account or doing a deep dive on your discovery page. Social media can be like quick sand so it is important to set boundaries and separate work and leisure. Some tips on how to do this: set social media time limits on your phone, turn your phone over when you are with friends or on calls as to not distract yourself and lower your cortisol levels, only scroll on your computer (it’s not as user friendly as your phone which makes it less addicting to keep going and going), set aside designated time each day for your business social media and don’t go on to your business account at all the rest of the day, batch and schedule content so you can be on the apps less. Social media can amp up our anxiety and can make it so easy to compare ourselves, do yourself a favor and set those boundaries early. 

Know Your Limits

Just like with social media, there is only so much we can take. As an entrepreneur knowing when to say no is essential. You have to be able to prioritize your health over a client, to say no to a new project because you know you don’t have the capacity even if the money is great, to have an honest conversation with friends and family on respecting your time, the list goes on. It’s up to you to determine when something is too much or where your line is, you can’t expect other people to know it if you don’t. 

Create a Soothing Environment

Your workspace is so important. A lot of us assume that our mindset and work ethic is what determines success but having a space that promotes productivity, creativity and a sense of calm is key. All of us need different things to feel soothed, figure out what spaces feel good for you and emulate that in your work space. Creating a soothing environment doesn’t require a full HGTV-style renovation. It can be little things like lighting candles, using a diffuser with essential oils, hanging some art or photos, draping a fuzzy throw on your chair or adding plants.

Incorporate Movement 

There is a reason why doctors and therapists will tell you to get exercise, beyond the benefits to your body, it does so much good for our mind. With my health journey, hard-core workouts have not been on the table, however moving my body daily is essential. I walk, stretch and just began doing QiGong to move stagnant energy. Movement helps us center ourselves, refocus and get our blood pumping, this is when the best work gets done. Every single day, you have to  make moving your body non-negotiable. Do a handstand (my signature move these days), go on a walk around your neighborhood, do morning or night time yoga, spin your until your legs can’t anymore, whatever it is, just choose something that lights you up! And, you get bonus points if your movement involves nature. Take in the sea breeze on your walk, do yoga in the park, we could all use a little more fresh air and open space. 

Burnout is not a necessary side effect of success. You can build your business, your life and maintain your mental and physical wellness at the same time. If you are feeling burnt out already, it’s not too late to start over, try implementing the steps above and moving at a slower pace. Burnout free entrepreneurship is what we all should be working towards. 

For more resources and trainings check out my Free Facebook Group here.