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How to Avoid Burnout as an Online Business Owner

While I don’t necessarily believe in a work/life balance, I do believe you can achieve a level of harmony and cooperation between the two, and I believe this harmony is crucial in avoiding burnout. Work, life, relationships, thoughts, feelings, emotions… These things all ebb and flow as we move through life, and if we aren’t vigilant in giving our mind, body, and soul what they all need on a consistent basis, burnout can sneakily and silently creep up on us and overtake us.

Here are my suggestions to help you navigate this:

1. Establish routines and rituals

First thing in the morning, leave your phone on the nightstand and pick up your Bible or a personal development book instead (preferably both!). Wash your face, sit in front of a window, drink some coffee, journal, write down gratitude + affirmations, take a few deep breaths, and take control of your day rather than your day controlling you.

When we immediately pick up our phones first thing in the morning and start scrolling social media, responding to text messages, or checking our email, we start our days in a state of reactivity rather than proactivity.

Think of a thermometer versus a thermostat – a thermometer reacts to the environment around it, while a thermostat sets the standard, and the environment reacts to it. We want to be like the thermostat, setting the standard for our days, not the other way around!

2. Unplug/disconnect

Take a full day (or two!) away from the mindless scrolling, stop comparing yourself to other people on the internet, and do something you truly enjoy that is NOT work-related (i.e. read Harry Potter, knit, go for a hike, garden, paint, etc.) to let your mind reset and recharge.

When we work really hard at something for extended periods of time without prioritizing rest and recovery, our once beloved work becomes a monotonous chore.⁠ Just like in physical fitness, a person can actually stall their progress if they are continuously overtraining and not resting. Our muscles need time to repair themselves between workouts. This goes for our minds as well.

Rest is necessary for us both physically and psychologically, as it allows our mind, body, and soul a fresh start, so we can begin anew with even more strength and focus than before – this goes for anything!⁠ Without rest, it is more challenging to show up in our lives, in our relationships, in our work, etc. with excellence. Keep in mind that, as a creative, your brain needs that time to refresh, so it can come up with fresh, new ideas!

If you aren't proactive in your rest now, it's only a matter of time before it's no longer a choice. Your body will force you to take that break, and it's really hard to come back from once you reach that point.

3. Set boundaries

For most entrepreneurs, business + social media + our personal lives all tend to bleed into each other. Without proper boundaries, our brains are “turned on” around the clock. It is important to set work hours and honor those, meaning when the time comes to be done, you close up shop regardless of if you finished the task or not. Having clear boundaries will allow you to turn off, relax, and recharge regularly!

Some examples of boundaries: ✨not picking up your phone for the first hour of your day ✨not using social media on the weekends or after 7pm (or both!) ✨taking one full day to completely unplug ✨setting 15-20 minutes aside in the morning + in the evening to check/respond to email and/or DMs ✨turning off all notifications ✨deleting the email app from your phone ✨using your desktop to do business-related activities when it comes to social media

4. Nourish your body

Drink enough water every day – at least half an oz for each lb. you weigh (i.e. if you weigh 150lbs., consume 75oz. of water). Eat enough food (a good balance of tasty food that brings you joy as well as micronutrient-dense foods). Sit outside and get some sun for 10-15 minutes a day. Move your body 20-30 minutes a day – this could be a walk, a jog, stretch, HIIT, etc. You could essentially kill two birds with one stone and do your movement outside, so you are also getting some sunshine in the process. Lastly, SLEEP a minimum of 8 hours every night.

We don’t think about these things as being needle-moving, but if your body isn’t being taken care of, everything else ultimately suffers.

5. Track your habits + daily actions

We think that by achieving the goal, we will have "made it,” but how many times have we achieved a goal in the past only to wake up the next day and feel just as miserable as we always have? It’s because we think that achieving the goal will make us feel different than we do now, that there is somehow better than here. We get so wrapped up in hitting the next metric that we forget that life is happening NOW, and it is the NOW that determines the NEXT.

Rather than being laser focused on achieving the end result or hitting the next metric, utilizing a habit/productivity tracker can help to keep you focused on the daily actions instead. This allows you to take each day as it comes, keeping you grounded in the present moment, and eliminates the overwhelm you might feel by looking too far ahead.

It is important that we learn to enjoy the daily work and the process. Otherwise, without that purpose and enjoyment in the day to day, we begin to work from a place of striving because we “just want to get there already!”, which causes us to feel frantic, hurried, and pressured. Being in this state for extended periods of time ultimately leads to burnout and fatigue. So instead of looking ahead for what’s next, let’s choose to focus on the day to day and be grateful for the season we are in now and the work we are putting in today. If we don't embrace the now, the next will mean nothing.

If you're looking for a business-specific habit tracker that also takes into account the bigger picture, I created one for you! You can find it here.

6. Create automated systems for your business OFF social media

Let’s be honest… you can only trade so many hours of your time before you cap out. The good news is there are plenty of areas in your business you can automate (i.e. lead generation, relationship building, selling, onboarding, etc.). The beauty here is that you create the system ONCE, and it works for you forever and ever (without you needing to be present 1:1 for every little thing).

For example, to automate lead generation, create a value-packed lead magnet (a free resource like a PDF, training, ebook, email course, etc.) that helps your ideal person solve a specific problem. Start driving all your traffic to that one piece of content. You can “advertise” this through Pinterest or even through a paid IG ad (I’d recommend charging $9 or a smaller fee for the lead magnet to help cover your ad spend). Collect the prospect's email in exchange for the freebie/lead magnet. When the prospect opts into your email list to receive the lead magnet, they will automatically get subscribed to an evergreen, dripped email sequence (3-5 emails that you create in advance to send out automatically at whatever interval or frequency you predetermine). Use this email sequence to educate, nurture, and add value, and end the sequence with a specific call to action (inviting them to join your community group, booking a call, or buying your product). If you are looking for an email service provider, I have used Mailchimp for years and love it!

When I worked in direct sales, I automated my onboarding by creating a video training series that dripped out to my new teammates week by week via a course hosting platform. I used Loom to record my trainings and uploaded them into Podia. Another option is to drip out the trainings via email or text. Project Broadcast is a great tool (use code erindecuir for 500 additional credits) if you're wanting to utilize text automation, and again, Mailchimp is a great option for email automation.

Automated systems are a great way to streamline your business and protect your mental health.

7. Be realistic with your posting schedule on social media.

When it comes to social media, the pressure to show up every day can be exhausting. I have the unpopular opinion that you don’t need to post every day to have a thriving business, and let’s be real… posting every single day multiple times a day is not a realistic strategy for most people.

Now don’t get me wrong – consistency is important, but consistency is going to look different from person to person. What works for someone else might not work for you and vice versa. Figure out what consistency looks like for YOU, and stick to that!

Here’s an example of a posting schedule:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: engage and/or show up on stories

Wednesday: post a value-based reel

Thursday: engage and/or show up on stories

Friday: OFF

Saturday: OFF

Sunday: OFF

Maybe you don’t want to be on social media at all. As long as you have a way to generate leads (whether that is Pinterest, referrals, or paid ads) and a system to nurture and sell your offer (like a sales funnel and/or an evergreen email sequence), you really don’t need to be on social media!

Now all of that said, I think the toughest thing is how mindful you have to be on a daily basis. It is much easier to let your brain do whatever it wants, think whatever it wants, etc. It is much harder to pay attention to (and honor) what your mind, body, and soul truly need.

The one thing all these suggestions have in common is rest. I think that rest is sometimes the most productive thing we can do, and for a lot of us, rest can feel challenging. Our brains are always going to find a way to remind us of all the things we “should” be doing instead. But what if we actually made taking time off a priority each week? What if resting 1-2 (or 3!) days each week was a nonnegotiable for us? I bet we would feel less stressed and less overwhelmed throughout the week.

While I am not perfect in this, I have noticed that, when I do prioritize my time off, when the start of my work week rolls around, I feel refreshed and motivated to tackle the week ahead (so I can fully relax and decompress by the time my next rest day rolls around). I end up getting more done as a result!

I am encouraging you to calendar your rest into your schedule and honor that. Stick to that consistently for 6 months and see where your business, your relationships, your mental health, etc. all land after consistently making rest a priority. Can’t wait to hear about it!

Disclaimer: If you buy something through my links, I may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. I only feature things I use and truly love. Thanks for your support.

If you are an online service provider who wants to grow a simple, sustainable, and profitable business, subscribe to my email list here to receive weekly tips, tricks, and encouragement.

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