According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 20% of start-up businesses fail during their first year, 30% during the second year, and 50% within the first five years of being in business. Although there are a lot of reasons why businesses fail, including not fitting into the market or insufficient working capital, burnout or complete mental and physical exhaustion remains one of the top causes of business failure and closure.
Solopreneurs differ from other entrepreneurs in a way that they manage every aspect of their business alone. They usually don’t have any employees. Since they don’t delegate tasks to other people that often, solopreneurs always have a lot of things on their plates. With that, they become more prone to experiencing burnout than others.
Being a solopreneur isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Fortunately, there are ways to keep yourself sane and avoid burnout while building and leading your business to success. Here are five ways to do it:
1. Connect with Other Solopreneurs
If you’re a solo entrepreneur, one of the most helpful things you can do is to meet and connect with other solopreneurs. It’s one thing to have your friends and family support you in your venture. But when you meet and network with other solopreneurs from the same or different industries as you, you’ll have the chance to connect and relate to them.
Sure, your friends might be there to listen to your struggles, but connecting with other solopreneurs hits different. In reality, no one but another solo entrepreneur can understand and relate to your struggles in managing a business alone.
One of the best ways to meet other solopreneurs like yourself is participating in events for solo entrepreneurs or attending business seminars. Once you’ve connected with another solopreneur, you can shoot them an occasional email or text to meet up. You can either ask for business advice or just catch up. Nevertheless, making friends with other solo entrepreneurs can have a big impact on preventing burnout while running and growing a business by yourself.
2. Outsource Tasks
As a solopreneur, you will have to handle almost all of the tasks related to running a business – accounting, marketing, sales, you name it. Often, you’ll have to deal with tasks you’re not an expert at, and sometimes, you may fail at it, which can then lead to you becoming frustrated and stressed out.
When going at it alone, you have to know when too much work becomes difficult to handle. Piled up work can become messy and disorganized which eventually leads to costly mistakes. When going at it alone, you have to know when too much work becomes difficult to handle. Piled up work can become messy and disorganized, which eventually leads to costly mistakes.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to outsource tasks. If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution for writing, you can hire a freelance writer. If you need more organization in your day-to-day schedule, hire a virtual assistant. If you need help with your business finances and taxes, outsource an accountant. Leaving specific tasks to the experts eliminate the chances of mistakes and will help your business survive and flourish.
3. Prioritize Self-Care
When running a business alone, self-care isn’t an option. It’s a must. Being the only one to handle all of your company’s errands and tasks, you could easily forget to spare a few hours to take care of yourself. This leads to stress and, eventually, burnout.
When working on your business alone, paring a few hours for self-care is vital. Making this a routine is what will help you stay sane as you tackle the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. There’s no recipe for the perfect self-care for every solo entrepreneur. But some of the things that you can do to take care of yourself include activities such as:
- Working out
- Limiting screen time
- Setting working hours
- Eating healthy, balanced meals
- Taking a time out for rest and vacation once or twice a year
Simple as they seem, but these can actually help slow your busy day down, thus allowing you to rest and restore your energy levels for the days to come. If you aren’t prioritizing self-care right now, there’s a big chance that you’ll get burned out.
4. Have a Financial Buffer
Lack of cash flow and capital can cause stress to solopreneurs. The struggle to maintain a steady income stream can take a toll on an entrepreneur’s mental health, eventually leading to burnout. To prevent this, consider having a financial buffer.
Financial buffers can come in many forms. For some, it could mean emergency funds that could cover around six months’ worth of business expenses. You can also build a passive income stream or money that you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time generating income. It could be an office space you’re renting out or an eBook you published and are selling.
The more financial buffers you have, the less stress you’ll have to deal with when it comes to maintaining business cash flow. With that, you’ll also have lesser chances of experiencing burnout.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
It can be tempting to take every business opportunity that comes your way while you’re still building your business. After all, more work means more income. However, if you’re a solopreneur, you won’t have enough manpower and other resources at your disposal. The amount of work that you can do at one time may only be limited.
When deciding on which projects to take on, take time to evaluate what your business can do at the moment. If you think your business currently can’t do the work, don’t hesitate to turn it down. Not only will this help you save time, but this will also avoid disappointed and unsatisfied customers. Be sure to take on big projects only when you’re confident that your company will have the resources needed.
Final Thoughts on Avoiding Solopreneur Burnout
Building and running a business is never easy. But it becomes even more challenging if you always push yourself to the limit to the point of burning out. Although occasional stress is normal, if stress isn’t relieved by sleep or sleep, it becomes chronic. As we all probably know by now, chronic stress leads to burnout, which could mean bad news for any solopreneurs’ productivity.
As much as possible, create a healthy balance between life and work. Running a business alone can become overwhelming, but knowing how to manage stress and burnout can go a long way in ensuring that you’re staying on top of your game as a solopreneur.