How To Survive Business Burnout: A Personal Tale

Come autumn 2016 I finally realised I was experiencing business burnout.

I was strung out emotionally and every day felt like walking on a tight rope. One gust of wind and I’d surely lose balance and fall to my impending doom. If it sounds melodramatic, I assure you that’s how it felt.

Because I’d been burning the candle at both ends in my business.

I hadn’t taken a proper holiday where I didn’t have to think about work for over 18 months. I’d travelled plenty, but mainly for business and never with the intention of just switching off. My mind was constantly on my business.

Conventional wisdom will tell you to take a break at the point of figuring out you’re experiencing burnout.

The problem was… I realised I was experiencing burnout during one of my busiest periods. I was already running my new 6 week online course Facebook Mastery; working on some really interesting projects with clients and had two exciting yet imminent business trips to New York and Rome.

I had a holiday in sight, but it couldn’t come soon enough.

I didn’t have any other choice but to motor on. I couldn’t and wouldn’t let my clients down and I couldn’t just opt out of life until my holiday.

So, I kept going because sometimes that’s all you can do.

I did finally stop in November, and took my long awaited holiday to Thailand. It was everything I needed – a complete change of scenery, true time out from business and lots of opportunity to sleep, rest and recoup.

And over Christmas, I continued to let myself unwind and relax and spend time with friends and family, not letting work dominate my thoughts.

Too Much Information?

I’ve questioned whether this is TMI and should be shared on my blog but my clients know I am in the arena with them when it comes to business. I’m not interested in pretending my life and biz are rosier or better than yours just to make you feel bad and sell you stuff.

I’d much rather be honest and tell you that:

  • Sometimes this self-employed stuff is HARD.
  • Sometimes you want to throw in the towel.
  • Sometimes you get mad at yourself for not being able to stop thinking about business.
  • Sometimes you wonder if getting a job would actually be easier.
  • Sometimes you forget to give yourself a proper break.
  • Sometimes you just want someone to call up and tell you you’ve won the lottery and can go live on an island and paint every day.

You’re not alone in feeling like this sometimes.

I also wanted to share my business burnout experience with you because if you care about your business and are actively growing it and pouring all your energy into it, you’re at risk of burning out like I did. Maybe you’re already there.

And if you are at risk, or you’re already there, then maybe some of the lessons I’ve learnt below personally will help.

How to Avoid Business Burnout

How To Survive Business Burnout

1. Accept where you are, even if you can’t change it immediately

I was in denial for quite a while, even though the signs of burnout were there. I eventually figured it out and whilst I couldn’t change anything immediately I could accept that this was were I was. Giving the feeling of being rung out and on edge a label was helpful.

2. Make a plan for true time off

Even if you can’t take time off from your business right away, schedule it in for as soon as possible

I luckily had a 3 week holiday coming up, so could keep focusing on that. Knowing it’s coming helps you get through.

And make sure it’s true time off. Turn off the phone, the email, the social media apps and notifications. Allow yourself time to sleep, rest and be with yourself or loved ones completely. Tell yourself it’s actually good business practice (it is!) and you’ll be more productive and focused when you return (you will be).

3. Reduce your commitments

Cut out anything that isn’t essential when it comes to your personal and business commitments. Give the energy you do have left to your clients and the most important activities. Everything else can be put aside for now.

4. Try to forgive yourself, you’re only human

If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel crappy about the fact that you’ve got yourself to this point. But beating yourself up for being burnt out isn’t going to change much. Try and forgive yourself, look for the lesson and acknowledge that you’re human. You can do anything, but not everything.

5. Plan time out in the future

This was the biggest lesson for me. The main reason I got to the point of burn out was because I hadn’t taken proper time off for over a year. So, over the Christmas break Tim and I got out our diaries and scheduled time out for 2017. Long weekends, holidays and breaks. I also threw in a weekday “day off” every month to do whatever I please away from business. (This month, I’m going to go and help look after little hoglets at a local animal shelter!)

If you’re experiencing burn out, or feeling like you’re edging closer to it, I want to finally say this:

It’ll be ok and it doesn’t mean you’re a crap business person. And, there’s light on the other side, just give yourself the break you really need as soon as you possible can.

Experienced Business Burnout? Join The Conversation:

  • If you’re struggling with burnout, when exactly can you give yourself time out?
  • If you’ve experienced business burnout, what helped you most?
  • Know someone who’s struggling right now? How can you help them?

Leave a comment below with your answers.

Awesome Manifesting Resource for Your Business

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If you’ve been hanging out with me online for a while, you know that I’m big into manifesting and mindset – staying focused on the positive and possibilities in the future, and moving away from fear and doubt.

My most popular webinar this year was all about how manifesting and mindset made the biggest difference to my business – and was the number one reason I made more money in one quarter than I did in the first year of business.

Maybe you’ve been getting on board with this manifesting lark and been visualising like crazy, writing down your goals in your journal every day, saying affirmations every day.

And then….

Nothing.

The procrastination sets in. The resistance screws up your plans. You get a bill in the post unexpectedly. Your website craps itself right in the middle of a launch. You get ill. You start wondering if this business is even the right one for you.

Maybe it’s not just the right time? Maybe the Universe is conspiring against you?

Nope.

It’s not that you suck at manifesting. You’re probably just missing a couple of pieces of the formula.

I want to share a new FREE resource with you from my friend and mentor, Denise Duffield-Thomas. It’s her very easy and practical Manifesting Formula.

Sign up here: http://bit.ly/2dTn5nA

Denise is an incredible money mindset mentor, AKA “The Lucky Bitch” whose best-selling books and courses have helped thousands of entrepreneurs step-up to create success and abundance, including me.

lbl-high-res-for-jen-02-copyDenise will share her process that will take you from “personal development junkie” into a manifesting MACHINE and money magnet.

She makes it easy, fun and totally chilled. There’s a free cheat sheet so you can play along too.

Just sign up here (it’s free):

http://bit.ly/2dTn5nA

You don’t need to be perfect, meditate five hours a day or chant naked under a full moon to manifest your ideal life! (Unless you really want to!)

But you DO need to CLEAR your mind of any blocks, get CRYSTAL clear on your goals, infuse every part of your day with positivity, take inspired ACTION and learn to RECEIVE (yes, it’s a learned process – women really struggle with that part. I know I certainly did in the beginning or if I take my eye off the process).

Play along here: http://bit.ly/2dTn5nA

What will you manifest for your business in the last 3 months of the year?

P.S I’m a proud affiliate of Denise’s work. If you purchase something from her in the future, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

6 Small Business Sales Lessons From The Double Glazing Salesmen Who Wouldn’t Leave Our House

blog-header-image-template-1Tim and I had a lesson in how not to sell on Wednesday evening.

We are doing work to the house at the moment, and need to replace some windows and the front door, so called a big double gazing company to come and quote to start getting an idea of what it’s going to cost and what we can get.

They booked us in for an evening consultation over the phone.

The salesman arrived on time at 7pm and was polite enough but proceeded to spend the next 3 HOURS taking us through a whole load of unnecessary technical bumpf about the products and bringing in demo after demo to ‘test’ and ‘try’.

We were so clear about we wanted and didn’t want at the start of the meeting but he insisted on showing us everything anyway and completely ignored us when we asked him to measure and give us an idea of price.

Now you’re probably thinking…. “Jen, why didn’t you just kick him out!” and now that I’ve slept on it, I’m wondering that too! But it wasn’t like we didn’t try. At first we dropped polite hints (like me going off to the kitchen to cook dinner) and asking him if he needed a hand getting the measurements to quote. After a while of not taking the hint, he started to showed signs of getting ready to wrap up and so we’d hang on and share a little look of glee between us! But he’d then start telling us more technical specifications and get us to test the demo windows, or he’d share a story from his time living in the local town Tim used to work in and ask Tim if he knew the people he knew…

Aside from the obvious fact that Tim and I will be MUCH firmer in our boundaries with people coming into our home in the future, there were some really good lessons and reminders about sales and talking to prospective clients that I think is helpful to share with you today.

Even if all it does is remind you that you’re doing things well!

❗️The salesman didn’t set the tone for the meeting. There was no suggestion of how long it would take, what we’d cover or expectations of what we’d like.

  • Always start a meeting or sales call by setting expectations. When I get on a discovery call or have a meeting with a prospective client, I always tell them what to expect and how it will go (including duration), and check in with them if that’s ok.

❗️He didn’t listen to our needs or wants and proceeded to show us EVERY product and option, even when we told him we didn’t want it because he “knows the products very well and always makes the best suggestions”.

  • When talking to a potential client, I get the information I need  and then suggest 1, maybe 2 options at most that I think would be a good fit. Sometimes they already know what service they want and we just go straight into talking about that. I never presume to know better than my client and even if I do feel a service would be a better fit, I try and find out why they want something else and see their perspective first!

❗️He slated his competitors products as a way of demonstrating theirs were superior.

  • For me, this has the complete opposite effect! It actually doesn’t make you look better, it makes you look worse! I choose to believe my potential clients are smart people who can research the competition if they wish and would never dream of slating anyone else to try and get the client! I would rather my merits speak for themselves (and there’s plenty of business to go around anyway, no need to be worried about your competition!)

❗️He didn’t read any signals from us. He stuck to his ‘script’ or way of doing things and didn’t deviate no matter how much we tried to get him to get to the point. He ruined our evening and for me, no matter the product or price I am very hesitant to go with them. However I’m also now put off letting any other company come and quote!

  • I try and listen to my clients and pick up on their signals and would never stick to a script out of pure belligerence. I do have a step by step system I follow to make sure I’ve covered the essentials when talking to a potential customer, but I listen and respond to their needs. I try to make the experience as pleasant as possible, even if we don’t end up working together, and I would hate for them to be put off social media in general after our conversation.

❗️When discussing the payment options, he wouldn’t give us any idea of price, and was incredibly vague about the next steps and how we’d get the quote. He also proceeded to try and sell us the finance option but wouldn’t answer our questions about how long the term would be and the interest rates.

  • Be confident in your prices and state them! Even if it’s a bespoke proposal that needs to be worked up, I will tell them a potential client day rate and an anticipated time that could be a little higher or lower depending on scope. I clearly share payment terms and keep it as simple as possible for both sides – no hidden costs or charges at any point. Although I don’t offer finance, I do sometimes offer payment plans and make them as simple to understand as possible.

❗️He didn’t tell us the next steps, didn’t say goodbye to me or thank us for our time. His parting words were “oh its nearly 10 o clock, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun” 😳 and just left!

  • I always make the next steps clear and thank my clients for their time, and part with politeness. No matter how you think it’s gone, it’s just plain courtesy!

Now I read it back, it seems laughable that we let this go on for so long, but alas we did! And I genuinely don’t think the guy knew what he was doing. He just had his way of selling and he was going to stick to it no matter what.

That can be a dangerous place to be in business – if you assume you know what you’re doing and there’s no better way or room for improvement, you miss opportunities for growth and getting even better!

The experience has made me take a good look at my process and I’ll be even more conscious of my potential client’s time and experience in the future!

Share Your Thoughts In The Comments Below

  • Have you ever encountered a similar experience and learnt anything from it to take into your business?
  • Have any of the above lessons helped you think about better ways of looking after potential clients and making the sales process as smooth and enjoyable as possible?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Jen x

How To Hack The Facebook Algorithm

blog-header-image-templateWhat gets seen by your Facebook fans and what doesn’t can sometimes feel like a complete mystery. Even if you think you’ve understood the Facebook algorithm (the formula that Facebook uses to decide which posts get seen by who) it seems to change without a moments notice and you’re back to square one.

Which is why I’m showing you how to hack the Facebook algorithm, by understanding what Facebook currently deems important when you create and share content on your Facebook page. Over the next 9 working days, I’ll be taking you through the 10 algorithm signals and how to use them to your advantage.

I’ll be sharing the hacks live on my Facebook page and in my group each day, or you can come back here and catch up.

 

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