Running an online business can sound like a dream come true; and when executed successfully, it can be. However, reaching that point can be tough with a lot of barriers in your way. It’s easy to reach your burnout point.
Whether its having to go through the same routines over and over again or becoming inundated with tasks, many online professionals have fallen prey to a breakdown.
In fact, more than 90% of online businesses fail within the first 4 months.
Not a great statistic to be a part of. But with these elements in place, we believe you can hit that top 10% success rate by preventing the dreaded biz burnout.
1. Establish Your “Why”
They say that prevention is better than cure. And the best prevention to an online business burnout is by establishing why you are going into that business to begin with.
Passion and love for your niche should be the foundation of your business. Whether it’s designing, corporate client servicing or selling crocheted baby mittens, when you love what you do that it doesn’t feel like a job doing it then you’re already ahead of the game.
- Why do you want an online business?
- Why do you have an online business?
Really explore your reasons as to what brought you here in the first place. It may be that you wanted to work from home so you could spend more time with your children. Or perhaps you were not allowed to nurture and grow your creativity in your last place of work that drove you to trying it on your own.
Have you “why” in place. Write it down and make it your mantra. Display it at your workstation or set it as your wallpaper. Because there are going to be difficult periods on your journey, which will leave you questioning why you got yourself into this situation to begin with.
Never forget your why, even when you lose sight of where you’re going.
And really, if you’re doing something you love everyday it makes things that much easier to succeed, and that much harder to ever reach a “burnout” point.
2. Know Your Limits
There are only so many hours in a day and so many tasks that can be completed in that time frame. Know your capabilities well enough to set realistic deadlines for yourself and your clients.
Don’t be afraid to lose out by not being able to pitch a finished project in the next 5 minutes. If you’re worth your salt (as we’re sure you are!) you can negotiate a time frame that keeps you working smoothly and without unnecessary pressure.
Be aware of the situations you put yourself in. Recognize when you’re facing a potential burn out and work out ways to resolve it before it reaches that point. It could be that you need to extend a deadline or ask for outside help to get things done efficiently. For example many online businesses struggle managing the tech side of things. Getting a VPS that’s fully managed for example might help reduce that component of your business’s stress.
Constantly working from 12-hour days, even when it is your own business, can and will take a toll on you.
3. Claim Your Annual Leave
Even though you’re working from home, being your own boss and running your own business, that doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to a vacation.
The common pitfall for all business owners, both online and offline, is overworking. The idea of being your own boss is so compelling to many because it means working the hours you want, when you want. In reality, being in the thick of running your own business can often see you working overtime you can’t claim. Long hours, late hours, weekends and bank holidays…
Do yourself and your business a favour by scheduling time off. Take a break. Whether it’s a regular weekend, a long weekend or a one-month getaway.
During your time off, clear your head of thoughts on your business. Easier said than done. But this is essential. Spend your time doing something else, learning something new, spending time with important people in your life.
When you come back with fresh eyes and renewed energy, you’ll find that feeling of a burnout has disappeared.
4. Set up a Routine
While falling into a routine may have negative connotations, in this respect we recommend setting a routine that plays to your strengths.
One of the many perks of having an online business is that you are in charge.
Create a routine that works for you. If you’re more productive in the evenings, plan your day so you only start work in the afternoons, taking on only simple tasks that don’t take up a lot of effort. Then leave the more time-consuming, tricky tasks for your evening productive hours.
Set up a system that you feel comfortable with on a daily basis. It could be checking and replying to emails for an hour first. Followed by simple tasks that are necessary but mundane. Next you tackle the bigger tasks that require more thought.
If you have to meet with clients, set aside a certain time that is dedicated to this for every day of the week, rather than scheduling meetings throughout the day.
Keep in mind that sleep deprivation is a key factor that leads to burnouts. It may sound too simple to be effective, but allowing yourself a full 8 hours at night will keep you energized and excited to work. So sleep at around the same time every night to ensure you wake up at around the same time every morning.
Make a list of all the things you need done the next day before you go to sleep. That way when you wake up, you know exactly what needs to be done and have a clear idea of how to go about it.
If you handle tasks and deadlines in a haphazardly manner, this will only cause further stress and feel like a burden. So get organized and stick with it.
5. Network with Like-Minded People
Being a sole business owner can feel lonely. Even more so when you’re doing online. Ironically talking to a loved one can sometimes be more depressing than uplifting. Especially if they don’t believe in online businesses and have little to no experience in entrepreneurship. What often happens is the people who care about us the most are the ones who end up sabotaging our best efforts, out of genuine concern for our wellbeing!
Rest assure that there are many people like you at different phases of their growing business.
Whatever problem you’re facing there’s likely thousands of people who have already faced and overcome it. If you’re feeling burnt out, know that these people have gone through the same thing.
By networking with like-minded people, you’ll feel rejuvenated and motivated to get back to work and implement new ideas. Sometimes just by talking to the right people, you’ll break out of that low and remember what it was that got you excited to start in the first place.
Attend seminars, trade shows and conferences that are in your niche. These are the best places to be if you want to meet people like you. Being at live presentations and feeling the energy of the room will not only give you the boost you need to keep going, you may find that you’ll learn a new trick or two that could drastically improve your business.
6. Celebrate Every Success
Success is subjective. What some people view as success, others may label as mediocrity. Don’t be part of the latter.
Get in the habit of celebrating every success you have, no matter how small.
You likely have a grand vision that you’re working towards and that only once you achieve that will you consider yourself a success. But the truth is, it’s a long journey to get there. And if you feel like the end is nowhere in sight despite all the steps you’ve taken, you’re going to be burnt out before you reach your destination.
Often we take our knowledge and skills for granted. We have a tendency to brush things aside as unimportant or simply “not a big deal.” Well, make it a big deal. Not everyone can set up a website. Purchasing a domain and getting it hosted sounds like a foreign language to many people.
Yet for you, it could be a walk in the park.
Every time you take action and do something that brings you closer to your final goal, celebrate that event. You set up a squeeze page? Go out for a drink with a friend. You made your first sale? Invite your family over for a nacho party.
By consistently breaking down large goals into smaller milestones, you’re setting yourself up for success. And every time you see success, a celebration (no matter how tiny) will keep you from feeling like you’re stuck in a rut.
7. Learn Something New
Don’t rely solely on your old tricks. Pick up new ones.
By learning a new skill, not only can you implement it into your business to bring it to greater heights, it also empowers you and makes you feel good.
Never underestimate the power of feeling good.
Join a class or pickup a solid how-to guide on skills that you are either lacking in or want to learn from the start. By choosing to learn something new, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when you are able to produce results in your business.
And this is a fantastic way to keep you motivated and out of a rut.
If you’re not interested in picking up a new skill, focus instead on expanding your mind. Read up on different business models and marketing strategies. Listen to lectures and online training programs for insights into your industry. Then inject new ideas and innovations into your approach to keep things fresh.
8. Have a Mentor
It often takes time to see the fruits of our labour when it comes to setting up an online business. Sometimes you may question if you’re on the right path and whether or not it’s even possible to accomplish what you set out to do.
Having a mentor will definitely help ease this feeling.
We don’t mean that you need to go out and hire someone to mentor you. But rather listen and learn from the people who have already done what you are trying to do.
It could be the person who is at the forefront of your industry. Learn from them, understand their way of thinking; if they have written books, read them. People like Sir Richard Branson and Robert Kiyosaki are both well-established entrepreneurs whose lives have inspired millions of people.
Viewing things from their perspective could give you a new perspective on your own business.
Or you may have a stronger inclination towards motivational speakers who are known to help people find purpose and drive in their lives. People like Tony Robbins and Mark Victor Hansen are great examples. Listening and watching motivational speakers live, on video or through audio can breathe new life into your work.
By keeping things fresh and your mind focused and energized, there’s a smaller possibility of feeling that burnout.
9. Live Your Life
Work to live, don’t live to work.
Remember to have a life outside of your work. Spend time with friends and family. Do things that you love whether it’s rock climbing, yoga or setting up a punk rock band in your garage…
Whatever floats your boat, just as long as it takes your mind off work and you’re having fun.
Creating activities that give you a deserved break from working on your online business serves as a great reminder why you are striving for success in the first place. It will keep you feeling fresh and alive physically, mentally and most importantly emotionally.
Don’t stay cooped up in your study, staring at your computer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Have things to look forward to. Welcome breaks that will reignite your passion. Schedule these things into your life and you’ll find that work is that much more fulfilling.
So there you have it, our top tips to preventing a burnout. Remember that prevention truly is better than a cure. Before you reach the boiling point, go ahead and implement the steps that resonate the most with you.
Even small changes can bring about a huge positive effect in your mentality, productivity and general state of mind.
Soon you’ll find that nothing can hold you back or bring you down!