Learning to Say NO: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Avoiding Burnout
One of the greatest misconceptions amongst entrepreneurs and small business owners first striking out on their own, always seems to be that you must say “yes” to everything and everyone. I used to wear my exhaustion around like a badge of honor, convinced that the bags under my eyes meant I must really be making progress. But once I went from hearing “Oh my god, I don’t know how you do it!” to “Oh my god, you look so tired!”, it was clearly time to re-evaluate.
Being ambitious and driven is great, but there is definitely more value in learning to work smarter, rather than harder. Recognizing and correcting these all-too-common misconceptions will help you to do just that. Take it from me, a former “yes (wo)man”, starting your own business can feel like an uphill battle, but it doesn’t have to end in an early burnout.
Create boundaries by deciding early on what your core values are, then only accept those invitations which truly align with what you’re looking to achieve. Your talents are best showcased when you function in terms of quality, not quantity.
As is the case with personal relationships, not everyone is meant to be together, and the same sentiment applies in business. You can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time. Chances are, with the amount of time you’ve spent catering to one difficult client, you could have taken on two new ones.
Define the specialties that you’d like to offer clients, and then stick to the plan. There is no shame in telling a prospect that you simply don’t have the time, expertise, or manpower to properly fulfill a request, but that you’d be happy to refer them to a colleague who will knock it out of the park. Not only does this show real couth, but more than likely, that colleague will think of you for a project in the future and return the favor.
We’ve all been there, and even though the road of entrepreneurship can feel like a lonely one, it doesn’t have to be. By creating boundaries, sticking with your strengths, and accepting your weaknesses, it just might be possible to avoid an early burnout!
FROM THE EDITOR
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