Why Do Business Owners Burn Out?

What Causes Burnout?

Burnout in business is an extremely dynamic occupational phenomenon that can affect everyone differently. According to the Mayo Clinic, “individual factors, such as personality traits and family life, influence who experiences job burnout.” As such, many things can contribute to burnout. Here are some of the most common causes of burnout in the workplace:

  1. Lack of Control: As a business owner, there are many external factors that you have no control over. This may include the economic environment or an evolving market. Worrying about these factors can be an enormous source of stress that can continue to build up. 
  2. Lack of Social Support: Building a business can feel isolating – your friends and family may not understand its complexities which can make it hard to rely on them for support. At the same time, the time commitment to building a business can throw off your work-life balance and increase your feelings of isolation. 
  3. Heavy Workloads: It’s inevitable that building a business takes a lot of work. However, working long hours is a significant contributor to burnout. This can be more prevalent for business owners without the appropriate number of staff to delegate tasks to. 
  4. Activity Levels: Whether your work is highly repetitive or extremely chaotic, these factors can influence your feelings towards work. Requiring constant energy to remain focused can encourage burnout. 

How Do I Know If I’m Burnt Out?

Identifying that you have burnout can be difficult, especially when it can appear similar to depression. However, understanding the signs of burnout will help you find a solution to this common occupational phenomenon.  

Think about how you feel when you’re at work. Do you feel cynical? Do you have trouble starting tasks that need to be completed? Are your energy levels abnormally low? Do you feel unsatisfied? Is it harder to concentrate? Answering yes to these questions could be indicative of burnout. 

Also, consider the way you feel when you’re away from work. Do these feelings begin to dissipate? Since the trigger for burnout is work, this is normal. It’s also a good sign that your feelings may not be attributed to something more serious, like depression. 

How Many Entrepreneurs Burn Out?

Surprisingly, entrepreneur fatigue is more common than you may think. An enormous 63% of business owners report feeling burnt out. While regular employees can experience burnout, it is much more common for entrepreneurs because they are often required to wear many hats in the day-to-day operations of their business while also being directly responsible for the growth and success of the business. These feelings are driven by many factors, but the most predominant include financial concerns, work-life balance, and day-to-day stress. 

This syndrome can be difficult to overcome, especially because entrepreneurs feel that there is a negative stigma surrounding burnout. According to the same survey, an overwhelming majority – 84% of business owners – agreed that there was a stigma associated with mental health. In turn, this often causes business owners to avoid seeking help, suffering from burnout in silence.

What To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed With Business

When dealing with business burnout, one of the first things you should do is to remember that you’re not the first (or last) entrepreneur to deal with these types of feelings. Try talking to other entrepreneurs to see how they’ve dealt with similar challenges–advice you can use as inspiration to transform your current situation.

Additionally, identify your best methods for combating stress. Since stress plays a central role in burnout, keeping these emotions under control can ultimately help you manage burnout effectively. In this regard, what works best for someone may not work best for you, so it may take some trial and error to get right. However, a good place to start is by taking time to disconnect from work, focusing on things you enjoy doing and prioritizing healthy habits, like getting enough sleep or eating healthy foods. 

These strategies can help you overcome current burnout and avoid it in the future. Ultimately, prioritizing stress reduction can have an extremely positive impact on your business. Not only will you be less stressed, but you’ll be more productive and will be able to drive your business further towards success.