Running a small business is rewarding and challenging in equal parts. On the one hand, you’re afforded the opportunity to build your business from the ground up, indulging your passions and delighting in the successes your hard work has achieved.

On the other, slightly less glamourous, hand, there’s the juggling of tasks and responsibilities, feeling overworked and overwhelmed, financial pressures and the toppling of the work-life balance scale to contend with.

So, with all that and more going on, it’s no wonder that ‘42% of small business owners said they have experienced burnout in the last month.’

Burnout, categorised as a state of emotional, physical and exhaustion, can be a serious cause for concern for small business owners. Not only does it have health implications for you, but it can also hurt the success of your business overall.

The good news is, however, that there are plenty of strategies you can implement to avoid feelings of burnout and continue enjoying the successes of your small business.


Burnout Prevention Strategies for Small Business Owners

Set Clear Boundaries

When you’re running a small business, there’s no one there to set boundaries for you. No one to tell you the office is closing for the day and to pack up and go home. Nothing from stopping you from popping open your laptop at 10pm to ‘just respond to that one email’. No one to tell you to keep your Saturday mornings free for self-care rather than catching up on work overspill.

It’s all down to you.

And that can be incredibly difficult when you’re relying on your hard work and dedication to make a success of your business, especially where finances are concerned.

But, when it comes to preventing feelings of burnout, setting clear boundaries for yourself is essential. Now, this doesn’t have to mean you shut the door on work at 4pm every day and banish it from your brain until 8am the next morning. But what it does mean is carving out dedicated time to switch off, unplug, and concentrate on relaxing.

This can be something as simple as switching off your email notifications after 8pm. Or having a strict ‘no work’ policy on Saturday afternoons. Saturday mornings? All yours, work until your heart’s content! But come Saturday afternoon, that boundary comes into play, and you know you can spend a few hours relaxing, away from work, free from ‘I should really be doing XYZ’ guilt.

Making small changes like this really can make all the difference when it comes to preventing burnout. It helps separate your work and home life and gives you a chance to catch up on some much-needed R&R.


Delegate and Outsource

When you’re running a small business, your to-do list is never-ending. You complete one task, and it gets replaced with another almost immediately. It’s relentless and it’s exhausting and, if not managed correctly, can quickly lead to feelings of burnout.

Delegating and outsourcing repetitive tasks or tasks that require a certain level of expertise can free up huge amounts of time. Outsource professionals like Virtual Assistants are skilled in a wide range of areas and can offer solutions tailored to your unique business needs.

For example, if data entry tasks are taking you hours per week, outsourcing them to someone else both frees up those hours for you and ensures the task is being done to the highest standard. Digital marketing, email management, accounts support, and general admin are all great candidates for being outsourced. They’re tasks that need to be done, but don’t necessarily need to be done by you and may be better in the hands of an outsource professional.

The hours you rack up in gained time can be poured back into your core business tasks if you wish, or they can simply help take the pressure off a bit and ensure you’re able to stick to those boundaries we discussed earlier.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload, start by picking a few simple, repetitive tasks to outsource and see how things go. You’ll be surprised by how much of a difference doing so can make!

how to avoid small business burnout

Seek Support

Running a small business can feel lonely and isolating. You’ll likely have given up some of your time for hobbies and leisure activities to make time for your business, and you may feel that no one else understands the pressures you’re under on a day-to-day basis.

Feeling this way can contribute to burnout, which is why it’s so important to seek out support whenever and wherever you can. This support can take many forms. It may be confiding in family or friends and asking for their advice and guidance. You may wish to join online groups or attend in-person networking events to chat with and learn from others in your position. You may even wish to employ the support of a small business mentor to help alleviate decision fatigue or pick their brains on strategic next steps for your business.

Whichever support network you choose to cultivate, you’ll benefit from reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation and will feel motivated and inspired by the advice, guidance and compassion of others who understand your situation.


Practice Stress Management

Running a small business is stressful.  In fact, it’s perhaps about as stressful as things get, particularly when you’re just starting out on your business journey. You may find that when stress levels are high, the smallest inconvenience can overwhelm you, leading to a cycle of negative thinking.

Of course, these negative thoughts can contribute to burnout, leaving you feeling disillusioned with your business and the world of entrepreneurship in general.

To help combat this, it’s important to implement some stress management techniques. When things feel overwhelming, try utilising gentle exercise, like a walk, or turn on a ten-minute meditation video to calm the mind. It may seem like an inconvenience or overkill to do so, but your stress levels really are a priority when it comes to running your business. Lowering your stress levels can help you think more clearly, make better decisions and form more positive thought processes.

When things get tough, resist the urge to push through – take some time to regroup and come back when you’re ready.


Small Business Support with The Edwards Company

Burnout is a real concern for small business owners. Financial pressures, workload overwhelm, and unmanageable stress levels can all result in feelings of burnout. But putting strategies in place now to avoid getting to that point can make a real difference.

If you think outsourcing may be the right strategy for you, please get in touch with our fab Virtual Assistants to chat about how we can support your small business.