November 2, 2023

Got Burnout? Let’s Talk About Entrepreneurial Exhaustion And How To Overcome It

November 2, 2023

Have you ever gone through a period in your entrepreneurial journey where you felt as though you're just not functioning?

Bedtimes are great but you possibly don't even hit the bed until the early hours of the morning. And then when morning comes, all you want to do is pull the duvet over your head and go back to sleep.

When you do eventually get to your office and open your computer, you remember all of the things you need to do to make your business a success, but you have motivation for none of them.

I've been there!

I may not have cried, but I was distracted, disengaged, bored and at times darn right ready to throw in the towel and go back to corporate.

The only thing that stopped me getting a regular job back then was knowing that what I do is a calling and not just a means to make money.

And whilst being an entrepreneurial woman has its own set of unique challenges, it also has some great rewards. We just need to learn how to juggle and prioritise our many roles and put an end to our hustle mentality when it comes to building our businesses.

It's true, the excitement of hustling to build a business and striving for success can be exhilarating but it can also lead to burnout, especially in the startup phase.

So, what does burnout looks like for entrepreneurial women? How do you identify it? And how do you overcome it... and if at all possible, prevent it?

First things first, let's look at the definition of burnout...

"Burnout is the emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged and excessive stress. It occurs when an individual feels overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands, leading to a decreased sense of personal accomplishment and detachment."

The term burnout was coined in the 1970's by the American Psychologist, Herbert Freudenberger who used it to describe the consequences of severe stress and high ideals in "helping" professions.

Since then the concept has been expanded to include any profession so naturally entrepreneurs are not excluded. 

Understanding Burnout in Entrepreneurial Women

As an entrepreneurial woman you might find you're having to build your business whilst balancing other responsibilities, such as being a mother, partner, caregiver, or even working in a corporate job whilst building your business after your 9-5 day job.

This constant juggling act can take its toll on both your physical and mental well-being. But the real danger is when we think this is the norm and feeling a total failure if we drop a ball. 

And then there is the comparison trap. If someone we admire can do it, why can't we? But I constantly remind myself that all I'm seeing is the outcome of someone else's business. I have to recognise that I have no idea what goes on in the background or even the mindset that was necessary for my hero to be where they are today.

Someone once said that we're not to compare our chapter 1 to someone else's chapter 20, and it's so true!

How to Recognise if You're on the Verge of Burnout

I wouldn't have said I was burned out, but now I appreciate that burnout manifests in various ways. I can say with certainty, I've been on the verge of burnout several times in the past.

Take Notice Of Feeling Overwhelmed

So the first thing I'd suggest is that you take notice of your feelings of overwhelm. Whether that overwhelm is constant or you get overwhelmed by certain tasks.

I know for me, the minute I have to even think about a thumbnail for my YouTube video, I'm overwhelmed. I can't call it burnout because I'm not doing it regularly, but I get so stressed it could easily cause me to disengage and not do videos at all. This in turn causes stress and then it's the feeling of failure... and you see where I'm going with this right?

This regular kind of overwhelm can affect everything else in your business and indeed your life. 

And even though we're naturally driven, as entrepreneurial women it's not unusual for us to struggle with setting clear boundaries between work and personal life. There is no 9-5 and if you've set up shop in your spare room, it's easy not to give yourself a cutoff time.

Take Notice Of Feeling Like A Failure

And what about the feelings of inadequacy or feeling like a failure? Do you have high expectations of yourself and you never feel as though you're quite hitting the mark?

Yeah, me too!

It's crazy when you think about it though... many of us left corporate and a team of 20 or more to work for ourselves. We have a team of one and we're still trying to do the work of 20. 

Let that sink in for a while. 

The worst part about this is that all too often we put these expectations on ourselves. No one is asking us to do it all, we just forgot we're not superwomen and try to do it all anyway!

So let's stop beating ourselves up over what we shoulda, coulda or woulda done differently. Let's turn our focus onto what we can do in the future to create an environment and a mindset for success without burning ourselves out.

How To Overcome Burnout

Reflect and Realign

  • Take the time to reflect on your priorities and goals
  • Ask yourself, "Am I truly passionate about what I'm doing?
  • Identify and address the things that make you feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied
  • Consider whether your current activities align with your long-term vision

This is where vision boards really do make a difference.

Leverage Your Skills

You may have a variety of skills and talents you've acquired throughout your career, life and education. But instead of trying to excel in everything, try focusing on what you're truly good at and enjoy doing.

If certain tasks require expertise outside your skill set, consider outsourcing or collaborating with someone else to lighten the load.

Embrace Technology: 

Ouch! I know this one can be a biggie and I'm 100% with anybody who says that technology can be both a blessing and a nuisance. But when used wisely, the tech can significantly enhance your productivity.

Focus on tools and software that can automate repetitive or time-consuming tasks.

However, my suggestion is to exercise caution with software purchases and consider whether they will truly reduce your workload or if the learning curve is going to outweigh the benefits. In other words, it's going to catch that digital dust on your computer because the first and last time you'll look at it is the day you purchased it.

Here Are 3 Ways You Can Prevent Burnout

1. Set Boundaries 

  • Establish clear boundaries between work and your personal life
  • Create a schedule that allows for relaxation, self-care, and spending quality time with loved ones
  • Communicate your availability to clients, team and family members
  • Don't be afraid to protect your personal time. 

2. Practice Self-Care: 

  • Prioritise your physical and mental well-being
  • Engage in activities that bring you joy and help you recharge (exercising, cooking, dancing or indulging in hobbies)
  • Make time for yourself

You'll appreciate your work and others more when you feel rested and relaxed.

3. Get Support 

Building a business can be a lonely journey.

As I've said, it often makes you feel like you're "consulting with self." It doesn't have to be a lonely old journey to success though.

Seek support from like-minded individuals, those who understand the entrepreneurial journey. Consider joining communities such as IW Unleashed, where you'll feel a sense of belonging, be able to ask questions, and receive valuable guidance from experienced entrepreneurs.

If you have experienced burnout, remember that it's not a sign of failure or weakness. But by recognising the signs, taking proactive steps to manage stress, and prioritising self-care, it is possible to overcome burnout and continue thriving as an entrepreneurial woman.

And whilst I know there is a lot of "rah rah" on the internet forcing many to believe that they're trailing behind, keep in mind that success is not just about achieving goals and making a million. It's also about maintaining a healthy balance and finding fulfilment in all aspects of your life.

You want to have joy and peace on your way to your wealthy place so work hard, but play harder as they say. It sometimes takes a situation like burnout to make us realise that when those older than us were telling us that, it's not because they're old, it's because they know some things and they care.

Remember to go check out IW Unleashed. We can learn to work, rest and play together.

Ciao for now!

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

  • Castmagic - This is AI at its finest, especially if you have a podcast but it's great for podcasts and more
  • 1stSale2Scale - Get my 1-Page Funnel Training for just $7
  • Asana - If you've tried all the other confusing productivity tools out there, now try Asana.
  • IW Unleashed - My NEW community membership for entrepreneurial women

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About the author 

Trish Jones

Trish Jones is an online marketing coach to content creators, coaches and course creators, specialising in funnel building strategies that get you noticed online so you build an audience of buyers and make more sales.

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