If you want to be successful in your life and business, you need to know how to safely set both on the balance beam. Two years ago I started an online business. I was thrilled and scared at the same time; the thought of strangers paying me to implement solutions I recommend was far from what my 5+ years of college education taught me.
But that excitement was short-lived. While I was inaugurating my online business, I started a new life as a graduate student in an accelerated nursing program. Now my life consisted of these things: writing blog posts, social media promotion, interviewing guests, studying for classes, going for clinical rotations, working my almost full-time job, and launching an online business.
For the first time in my life, I was diagnosed with critically low vitamin D levels. My memory suffered as I could not keep up with the demands of school, running a blog, and creating a course. Finally, I crashed. It has taken me 2 years to regain my mind-body balance and get back in the game.
Here’s 5 things that I’ve learned about the recovery process after burnout:
1. Check where your intention is coming from
With the number of online entrepreneurs closing down shops, pivoting to other business ideas, and just getting burned out in general, it is important to address your WHY.
Making money is cool but ask yourself why you’re really doing this. Are you in business to cash in on the next marketing fad or organically working your way towards building an audience? Are you just concerned with conversion tactics and traffic instead of selling with integrity?
This sounds very trivial, however, the only thing that would keep you from pulling the plug on your business on days you don’t feel like showing up is your WHY. Your intentions for starting your business will always find a way to become relevant when you’re stuck with indecision. When you feel like you’ve lost your voice in the sea of entrepreneurs who operate in similar niches like you, checking in with your intention will give you a boost in clarity.
“Self-awareness is your most important attribute.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
2. Don’t go gung-ho with your passion
Before you jump on the next popular challenge to create a video or audio series, know your body and mind more than anyone else. At some point during my burnout period, I was sitting in front of my laptop for 12 hours straight.
There were social media posts to schedule, lead generation systems to automate, CSS and HTML to be learned, and tons of webinars to sift through. If anything, what your passion needs right now is serenity. Delete the multiple checklists on your desktop to allow serenity to prevail.
3. Pivot to a business model that works for YOU
In July 2017, I exited the online copywriting scene with relief. Prior to that, I listened to some coaches and online mentors who want you to do things exactly the way they envision them, with their exact blueprints, in their exact language. If this makes you cringe or makes you want to claw your way to freedom, I’ve got good news for you.
It is okay to only do work that excites you. It is absolutely okay to be brave enough to hold pause on a product that seems like a cash cow but locks you in an unsustainable lifestyle. If producing monthly content for a membership site gives you anxiety every month, you need to examine why you think you need this in your life. You should never sacrifice your health or relationships for money.
4. Develop tiny sustainable habits instead of to-do lists
For the longest time, I hated to-do lists and always found procrastination more fascinating. To me, these lists were never ending and was always a sign of busyness and lack of freedom. So I did away with all lists and what every marketing expert said I should do.
This sounds like a controversial way to be productive but it soon paid off. Instead of sticking to lengthy to-do lists and schedules, I focused on little incremental changes I could manage and track.
For example, waking up an hour early than my usual time made me realize that my thoughts flow better when there is less chatter around me. Before I wasn’t aware of this but this realization now comes handy when I need to schedule time for content creation.
So, ask yourself, “Would I be able to do this thing for the next 21 days, unhindered?” Commit to little tiny steps to get in the habit of respecting your time and energy. As a result, you will know where your margin is and how you can optimize this creatively and productively.
“Meditation is not about stopping thoughts, but recognizing that we are more than our thoughts and our feelings.” – Arianna Huffington
5. Seek a community that embraces and supports the entrepreneurial spirit
If you are currently navigating the space between being an employee, a hustler, and a full-time business owner, the realities of what it takes to be an entrepreneur can be frightening. There are days when you will question your calling and be tempted to quit because you aren’t making sales. Maybe your most recent promotion flopped despite all the careful planning and expenses on a strategy coach.
In moments like this, I have found membership in a community that embraces the fragile dynamics of the entrepreneurial life to be comforting. Sharing and marketing your work can be scary, soul-draining, and make you want to hide under the covers. Yet, as an entrepreneur, you simply can’t do it alone. Just as you would feel compelled to share your wins and successes, you need a community of like-minded people who will rally around you and encourage you to take the next adventure.
Recovering from my burnout has taken over two years but it has now equipped me with the strategies I need to thrive as a creative entrepreneur.
Have you ever experienced an entrepreneurial burnout? How have you recovered from one? Please share your thoughts below.