How To Burnout Proof Your Business

July 3, 2018

navigating entrepreneurship

Today is all about encouragement, sweet friend. Because I feel like so many creatives are at the point in their business where they are pushing themselves to their limits, feeling tired, overwhelmed and simply burnt out. I want to send sweet notes of encouragement that it doesn’t have to look this way forever and you can learn how to burnout proof your life and business.

Over the past six years of building two businesses and launching tools and resources for designers, I’ve come face-to-face with burnout more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve learned this is a season I can absolutely avoid when I set strong, clear boundaries to keep me from this dangerous mental and emotional space of burnout.

Now maybe it’s because it’s summer and you have your kids home from school. Maybe this is a busy season for you in your business. Or maybe, you just have a lot going on in your personal life and you are balancing a lot at the same time. Whatever it is, I know I’m seeing more creatives in our industry on this edge of burnout. Recently, I’ve had conversations with my own mentoring clients who are struggling to be their most creative-energized self both in life and business. They have so much on their plate, but they don’t know how to balance it all.

Well friend, today I want to talk you through some of my best tips to essentially make sure that your business is not going to fall prey to this overworked-overwhelmed vicious cycle that leads to burnout.

As we dive into this conversation the very first thing I want to share in order to burnout proof your business is to create strong, clear boundaries. It’s one thing to set these boundaries, but it’s another to actually follow through. And today, I’m sharing my best tips how to build these boundaries into your business and avoid burnout. #creativeentrepreneur #businesstips

Create Strong, Clear Boundaries

As we dive into this conversation the very first thing I want to share in order to burnout proof your business is to create strong, clear boundaries.

Now, I know we often think of the term “boundaries” as a restrictive idea right? Boundaries doesn’t seem like something fun or life-giving, but I want to flip the script here. Instead, of thinking of boundaries as restrictive or something that can pin you in. Think of it as a protective, proactive force that keeps the bad stuff out.

When we set up strong boundaries in our business, we are guarding the things we hold precious to us (like our heart, energy, family and time) from the stressors of overwork, difficult clients and the daily hustle.

Now you may be wondering, how do I set up strong boundaries?

The best way to do this is figure out what kind of boundaries you need. If you find you are working late into the night Monday-Friday, then maybe you need to set up office hours. Creating this scheduled time of work hours vs. personal life can give you a clear idea of when it’s time to literally clock out of the office and focus instead on being present with your family and loved ones.

Maybe boundaries for you could look something like taking 30 minutes in the middle of your day for a creative break. Instead of diving deeper for just “one more email”, take your dog for a walk or sit outside for a fresh breath of air. Boundaries doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. They just have to work for you.

Tip #1 – Set up boundaries that protect your energy and your heart from all that stress.

Implementing Those Boundaries Through Accountability

So first and foremost, it’s important to identify your boundaries, but then we have to implement them.

I think it’s one thing to create office hours or to tell yourself that every work day at 2pm you are stepping outside for a walk, but it’s another thing to actually hold yourself accountable and act on them.

One thing I encourage you to do, especially if boundaries is a new concept to you and your business is to find accountability. Maybe this is in the form of a loved one, a friend, or a creative in your Tuesday’s Together group. Find someone you are comfortable sharing these boundaries with and who can hold you accountable in a kind and gentle way.

For example, if one of your boundaries is to only check your emails three times a day (9am, 12pm, 3pm) so that you don’t fall victim to your inbox. Maybe have a friend email you every day at 1:30pm to check in if you are following this boundary.

The more you start to implement these boundaries, whatever they look like for you in your business, the easier it will become over time. I can remember when I first decided I was going to set up some office hours for my business. I had no idea what it would look or feel like, but it definitely took a lot of practice. My husband had to hold me accountable to this idea that when he came home at 5pm every work day, I also needed to shut down my computer and shift into personal life mode.

Tip #2: Find an accountability partner to hold you accountable to those boundaries you’ve set within your business. And know the more you work within your boundary the more intuitive it will become.

Give Yourself Grace

I know I talked at the beginning about identifying your boundaries. But when I think about the creatives who are struggling the most with burnout, it’s because it seems to sneak up on them. Burnout is something we often come face-to-face with when we are in the thick of it and it’s hard to be proactive when we don’t see it coming.

If you recognize you are in a season of burnout or right on the cusp of it and you are feeling the pain, frustration and struggle that comes with it. I want to encourage you to give yourself some grace.

It’s always easy to recognize an issue when we are in the middle of it, rather than when we are about to stumble into it. So I want you to acknowledge where you are in this exact season. Validate your feelings and remind yourself this is a very real season of life. But also be encouraged that life will not look or feel this way forever.

I want to encourage you to take time and maybe journal or write down in a Google Doc what you’re feeling and where you are struggling the most. Then, I want you to go through and take a look at what parts of your current struggles you can create boundaries or structure around so that you don’t fall into this pattern again.

Tip #3 – It’s hard to be honest with ourselves when we are in the midst of struggle. So give yourself grace and navigate this in a gentle, intentional way. This is such a valuable opportunity for us to take a hard look at where we are in this burnout season. When we can look at how we got here and how the heck to get out, it completely changes how you do life and business.

You Are Not Alone

And lastly, I want to encourage those of you who are struggling to know you are not alone. Every entrepreneur faces these kinds of struggles at some time or another.

Don’t think because you feel burnt out that you are weak or doing a bad job at this whole entrepreneur thing. I personally think when you get yourself in this season it means you care so much about whatever it is you are chasing after. And maybe you briefly lost sight of the best ways to take care of yourself while you chased after those dreams.

I want to gently remind you it’s okay. Your well-being and sense of self-care is so much more important than your work or to-do list.

My husband likes to remind me that if I’m not taking care of myself and not prioritizing my sense of self-care through a season of hustle it’s not only bad for me, but for everyone around me. Without me, without Bonnie behind it all, there would be no b is for bonnie design (link to home page). He likes to remind me that if I hit this point of overwork and something were to happen to me, that my clients and business would suffer.

The things I care so deeply about would not look, feel or be the same. And for me, that’s the kind of accountability and the gentle kick in the pants I need to remind myself that above all, my sense of self-care comes first. And if I’m not taking care of myself or those around me, then I most certainly can’t take care of those clients in my business who I absolutely adore.

Tip #4 – Know you are not alone in this season of hustle. It doesn’t mark weakness or something you did wrong. It’s simply a learning opportunity to do things differently and care about your wellbeing.

How To Burnout Proof Your Business

Sweet friend, I know this season of hustle is hard. But know you aren’t alone and give yourself grace. I believe this season is an opportunity to learn and grow as a business owner and person. I would love to sit down with you and take a long hard look at your business, what got you in this season of hustle, how to get out and what to implement to create a work-life balance you deserve. But most importantly, I would love to be your accountability partner as we help you through this season and up-level your life and business.

If you are wanting to learn more ways you can streamline your business and chase after your goals with intention and heart, I’d love to chat with you 1:1 to see if mentoring could be just what you need. Head here to learn more about working together could look like!

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I'm Bonnie -- a designer, brand designer + strategist, writer, wife, and pet parent to the most rambunctious golden retriever this side of the Mason-Dixon! I'm passionate about building authentic brands, encouraging small business owners to chase their dreams, and spreading joy through design. It's a delight to have you here, lovely! Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair and stay a while, won't you?

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