Many entrepreneurs enslave themselves. They build a hamster wheel – even though they don’t have to. Whoever gives 100 percent will eventually collapse. Then there is no one behind it who catches us. Employees report being ill for half a year with burnout and are paid through. Almost every entrepreneur goes bankrupt in such a situation. Our guide and tips will show you how to avoid entrepreneur burnout.
Many entrepreneurs work “in” their own company. But they don’t work “on” their company. This means that you help one customer after the next. But they refrain from improving their own work processes and better controlling themselves. So they crank up their hamster wheel even more and don’t know how to avoid entrepreneur burnout.
We are entrepreneurs. We have a great responsibility – and we have a great responsibility for ourselves. We have to organise our work in such a way that we are well off and to avoid entrepreneur burnout. Only then will we be successful.
How to avoid entrepreneur burnout: 14 tips
- Pat yourself on the shoulder. What did you do well this week? Write it down every Friday. At the end of the year you have a nice list. Every time you have a low, you can read this list to help you to avoid entrepreneur burnout.
- Throw customers out. Disconnect from customers who are annoying, pushing, complicated, paying badly. Invest time in something better. For example, in good customers. Or into marketing
- Expand your perspective. When a “big” problem is in front of you, expand the perspective: What role does this problem play in retrospect in five or ten years? Is it really that big? Then start to solve it.
- Beware of negative people. People who think only negatively are lurking everywhere. They destroy your dreams and your passion. Go at a distance. Switch to pull-through when they’re squealing you. Don’t let yourself be dragged down.
- Clear your desk free. At the end of each working day, all work materials are removed. And completely. Either they are filed or thrown away. You’ll notice: It feels good.
- The most important thing first. Put the most important task on your desk every night for the next day. Work on it the next day, one hour at a time. Do not open your e-mail inbox until then.
- Work on your language. Replace “I must” with “I want” or “I can”. Say it loudly to yourself. We “must” very little. Often we just put pressure on ourselves and this makes it harder to avoid entrepreneur burnout.
- Make bigger plans! Yes, the tasks for today are urgent. But what is really important? Where do you want to be in 3 years? What do you want to achieve? Start dreaming. Write it down!
- You bear the responsibility! No matter what happens to your business, don’t shift the blame onto others. You are your own boss. Take customer criticism and feedback as clues to improve. Work on the problems!
- Produce results. If you have too much to do: Take a project and set yourself a very short deadline. For example, until tonight. You don’t have to invest 100 percent in all tasks.
- Get out. If you feel bad, take a walk. Sit on a park bench, hold your face in the sun and have a coffee. After that, the work will work better.
- Deliver easy solutions to your customers. Explain to them the benefits of your work. Does your work make your work a little better, easier, cheaper? The acquisition is already easier.
- Nothing remains as it is. You continue to develop. Your work, the industry, your customers – everything is in flux. That’s why the central question is: How do you want to shape your future?
- Give yourself time. Large, new projects take 1000 days to succeed. Don’t give up too soon. You need to allot the appropriate amount of time to avoid entrepreneur burnout
Advice from a coach
Marion Lang coaches entrepreneurs who ask themselves “sense questions”: Where is all the passion I once had? How do I get out of my own company’s hamster wheel? In the interview, the consultant talks about how entrepreneurs suck themselves out, get sick – and how they can find themselves again.
Some entrepreneurs simply feel empty after a few years. Every day they have to do a thousand things, but the passion is gone. How come?
Marion Lang: For every entrepreneur, the greatest danger is when the fulfillment of a professional dream becomes a hamster wheel. One is in the founding phase full of optimism and euphoria and after a few years the air is out. I experienced it myself: I set up my own business with an advertising agency at the age of 24. The company grew fast and I worked a lot. At 27, I was on my nose.
What had happened?
Marion Lang: I have had a severe rheumatism, which is inherited in our family. I was in a wheelchair for a year. It was a full stop. I was not able to continue my successful company. Looking back, the disease was very good for me. I’ve learned to deal with myself.
After a year I came back. Luckily, I had many loyal customers. I rebuilt my company and sold it to a successor 20 years later. The agency has been successful on the market to this day.
Many entrepreneurs suck themselves out. They take their energy away. At some point, they get sick of it.
But how do I know if I’m sucking myself out?
Marion Lang: There is a fundamental difference that is at the very beginning: what whips me up and what do I do out of passion? To give an example of a “whipper” or “driver”, many think they have to do everything perfectly. But it becomes a scourge if I take every little step 100 percent right.
Another whip is a strong sense of security. Of course, everyone wants to have security. This is a basic programme of nature. But the question is whether we can be completely controlled by it.
Many men also have the idea that they always have to be strong. So they are under constant pressure. For women, it is a typical theme that they want to please everyone. They place insanely high demands on themselves. This is how you take all your energy away from yourself. At some point you get sick, tired, frustrated.
This is the nature of man! When we have a crisis, we switch to Survival Mode. We are afraid and start rotating. Although we are doing badly, we work even harder, even harder and have even higher demands. Then there is the real crash.
But what is the alternative?
Marion Lang: You have to consciously stop yourself and first become clear about how to break yourself. Then it’s about looking for positive basic motives. There are such basic motives in every human being.
For example, I recently advised an entrepreneur who has a strong need for innovation. He wants to try and develop new things – that excites him. But he must run a family business in a traditional industry, preserve and defend old production mechanisms. He’s been doing this for eight years now and it’s a complete impasse for him.
So there are positive basic motives and self-destructive drivers. Why are the drivers so strong?
Marion Lang: Such drivers are stuck deep within us. Often they were practically inorated to us as a child. And now it is internal blockages that have us firmly under control. The behaviour has also proved its worth over the years. They survived.
When you inotop yourself with new sentences, it’s like a trampling path that you don’t know. For example, if you throw the phrase “I always work hard” in the ton and instead say, “I will always make good money, even if I only work with half my strength”, many shrug. But if you work successfully for several years according to this principle, the trampoline path has become the right way to give new security.
And why is there so much power in the basic motifs?
Marion Lang: My positive basic motives are a permanent source of energy. Everything is easier for me if I work in accordance with my basic motives.
But then I realize that my three main customers in my company are completely against my basic motives.
Marion Lang: Yes, it usually happens. And then it says: Clean up! Of course, you can’t throw out all three customers right away. But you can make a plan and work on it piece by piece.
But it’s not just the customers. Some also find that they have the wrong employees. Maybe even the employee fits the customer, but neither suits me. To change something like this is to get to work courageously.
I often see that the entrepreneurs who have discovered their basic motives and live after them are flourishing anew. If the runway is free and you know what inspires you, then you fly too. The passion and enthusiasm from the early days is back. You have dismantled your own hamster wheel and are starting to live new and self-determined.
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