entrepreneurial burnout
Burnt out entrepreneur
Dear fellow entrepreneurs,

Do you feel something seems always wrong with your business, even yourself? Do you feel tired and could use a break over and over again? Do you feel that you have lost a sense of direction toward your and your business’ future? Do you feel like giving up? Do you feel the urge to quit and stop trying?

Well, congratulations – you are at an important stage in your entrepreneurial journey where new entrepreneurs are forced to choose over two different entrepreneurship paths: The grown-ups and the quitters.

Like many things in life, entrepreneurship’s early life is full of excitement – fears, anxiety, hope, dreams and ambition – all in all, we are all hoping for the best to happen in our life. Financial freedom is one of the most common visions in entrepreneurship.

Unfortunately, somewhere within two or three years into your entrepreneurial journey – sooner or later – you
will most probably feel burnt out. All of a sudden, the ‘fire’ within you is no longer there; you feel that your life energy is being sucked right into your business.

There could be plenty of reasons contributing to your burnout: Struggling business, unmet expectations, wrong business decision making, the recession, the competition, the whole management-thing of your business, and many more.

Are you happy?

All in all, within the two or three year’s period into entrepreneurship, you start to evaluate your success. Are you successful in achieving your goals? Is your startup growing well? And this is the most important question you should ask yourself: Are you happy?

Obviously, if you feel burnt out, you are not likely to be that happy. I mean, those achievements and stuff are great, but something is bothering you, whatever that is. Something seems wrong, and you know it – you feel the urge to discover it but you are either too tired or too lost to do so.

You feel that you need to do something – but what?

This is probably the typical issue for a burnt out entrepreneur: You know something is wrong, and you feel the need to fix things up – but what?

If your business is struggling, you are most probably doing something to fix the situation. But what if your business is doing fine, but you feel something is bothering you?

But wait – how can I say all this?

Well, I’m right in the middle of my burnt out period – my ‘ship’ is right in the middle of a storm. I’ve been there for about 4 months and to say the least, I feel that I will see clearly soon enough.

I felt tired and struggled to love what I do; I lost the excitement in doing business (mainly online) – in fact, writing for Noobpreneur.com and my other blogs is never been so much fun – writing makes me feel… alive.

I know I’m not an expert in this, but I do have some suggestions for you to navigate your ship in the stormy seas from my own experience so far:

1. Don’t stick your head in the sand

Never deny the fact that you need all the help you can. Consult with your mentor and colleagues who have been there; also consider consulting with a psychiatrist to learn how to cope with your burnout.

2. Seek the excitement

You should try to do new things, and who know? That new things can start you brand new business ventures! I heard some success stories in where off line entrepreneurs have found new ‘life’ as online entrepreneurs or webpreneurs.

3. Get a life

Don’t be an ‘entrepreneurial nerd‘ – working 24/7 to grow your business; you need to pursue something that might not be entirely related to making money to yourself, but might still be related to entrepreneurship, such as joining a charity helping others successful in entrepreneurship, e.g. joining kiva for microfinancing endeavours or becoming a mentor and offering free advices on business forums.

4. Never go for a vacation; go for a retreat

If you feel burnt out, don’t go for a vacation – that what people are doing when trying to ‘recharge’ themselves; the recharges won’t last long – believe me. Instead, go for a retreat – ‘kill’ your mobile phones; ‘exile’ yourself from your business. The key is not stopping there – while you’re at it, you need to construct a plan that is doable immediately after you are back from your retreat.

5. Cast all your worries

I remembered a friend’s opinion regarding entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs are a bunch of sad people who are self-centered, money-worshipper, and taking benefits from others’ misery. While some entrepreneurs do resemble to what my friend describes, you need to see another group of entrepreneurs: Those who are anxious and feel insecure. You need to learn to cast all your worries to God – no matter what you believe about God.

I wish you good luck in your endeavour in conquering entrepreneurial burnout.

Ivan Widjaya
Light at the end of the tunnel