If I’ve learned anything from working with dozens of entrepreneurs, it’s that all entrepreneurs are wired the same. They’re incredibly driven, multi-talented, and often bite off more than they can chew.
One of the greatest things about entrepreneurship is the freedom it provides and the ability to have more balance in our life. So, why do so many of us entrepreneurs fall into the trap of taking on too much, too soon and all by ourselves?
I, like so many entrepreneurs, left my corporate job to focus on my health. For the first few months of entrepreneurship, I felt my health improve drastically, but as my business grew, I started to feel my health start to slip again.
I was so excited to scale and serve my clients that I let myself become overwhelmed and overworked. I had more projects and clients than I knew what to do with, and I didn’t have anyone to assist me. I found myself working too much. It’s hard when you love what you do to know when to step away, but it’s essential to set boundaries for yourself so you don’t burn out. I’ve now learned the importance of having some skills in your back pocket when stressful events come your way.
Avoiding That Overwhelming Feeling
Sometimes we can’t run from the overwhelming feelings, but there are a few things we can do to set our self up to avoid the avoidable.
- Determine Your Capacity: If you know how long a task takes you or how many hours realistically you’ll spend per client, calculate what is a realistic number of project or clients you can take on per month given the amount of time you want to work.
- Learn to Say No: Once you determine how much work you can take on, it’s important to stand your ground. Things change and you may need to have a more full week here or there, but saying no is so powerful. If a client asks to add on something more or another person in your space wants to hop on a call or ask you market research questions, you can say no for now. You have to protect yourself, too.
- Surround Yourself With the Right People: We’ve all had a client we didn’t click with or a co-worker or boss who drove us crazy, right? As an entrepreneur it’s no different. When you are pouring your energy into a short list of people, they better be worth it. If you have a client that is draining your energy or anyone else in your circle making things more stressful than they need to be, let them go.
- Give Yourself Grace: Rarely are important tasks SO time sensitive that they can’t wait an hour or even a day or two. If you are having a bad day or a busy week, feel free to move things around, tell your client you need an extra day or take a week off from social media. Most people will understand and your business will continue to run while you’re not working if it’s set up right.
What About When You Can’t Avoid It?
And then there are the things that are hard to avoid. Technical difficulties, miscommunication, stressors outside of your business, a “failed” launch, an upset client, you name it.
Stuff happens. It’s how you respond that matters. When you are feeling overwhelmed in your business here are some things you can do:
- Step Away: Take a few hours, days or weeks off to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t. Get to the bottom of the issue.
- Ask For Help: Is it too much demand? Do you feel lost? Getting a helping hand can be the difference between success and failure, whether it’s bringing on a team member, reaching out to a mentor or asking friends and family to just talk with you, it will make you a better entrepreneur.
- Breathe & Know It Will Work Out: No, not all business are huge successes, but there is only so much you can control. It’s best to just breathe through the hard days, try your best and at the end of the day know you gave it your all no matter the outcome.
- Face It: When things become overwhelming the reaction is often to hide from it, avoid it, run from it until it goes away. Often this can make that anxious feeling even worse. Taking action on what is making you overwhelmed can make a world of difference. If your to-do list is stressing you out, start checking things off. If a client is unhappy, open up a conversation. These things might be overwhelming initially but for me, taking action always makes me feel so much better.
If you are going though an overwhelming stage in your business, know that you have more control than you think. Remember, you’re the boss. It’s so important for all of us to care for ourselves as much as we care for the people that we serve. Now, do yourself a favor, pour a glass of wine and celebrate where you are at today.