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How I Recovered from Burnout While Building a Successful Business

It had been almost a year and a half since I started my company. The first year was great, as I was entirely motivated to become a successful businessperson. The enthusiasm lasted until we reached the first company anniversary celebration. It hit me hard when I realized my business had not reached the level I wanted it to get in a year. Doubts started arising in my mind that was the decision to leave a six-figure job to create a new company, right? Or did I give myself too much credit and was hasty in starting the business?

This incident pushed me harder, and I started giving in several extra hours at work, micro-managing all projects, and pushing myself to take some additional courses to improve my business knowledge. While my business started picking up well, I was exhausted. My brain was going into a zone where I was finding it tough to focus or finish a task. This was when I realized I had burned myself out in pursuit of the company’s success, and it was just the initial stage of my entrepreneurship journey.

I decided to become an entrepreneur because I had my 9 to 5 job and wished to be my own boss someday. Well, I was my own boss, but I pushed myself harder than my previous boss ever did. This jeopardized my mental well-being.

I started questioning if I could really handle the pressure of entrepreneurship. I still did not take this as seriously, but I got an expert’s opinion and was declared to be undergoing depression. I had heard this term before being used for others, but it seemed strange when it was used for me as I had always been ambitious. Maybe the hunger to become a high-achieving individual was putting too much pressure on me, and I had to deal with my condition before it worsened. I wasn’t sure what to do next, but I did know that my work style was compromising my mental health and something had to change.

Burnout Turned Out to be a Blessing in Disguise for Me:

As a high achiever, depression came at the wrong time when I was striving to grow my business. But the feeling of emptiness was exhausting me more than the work. Initially, I was trying to be strong and assumed I would get over it alone, but I was only focused on rationalizing it.

What worked for me was a long weekend break. I sat down with my thoughts and started penning down how I got to this point in my life. My personal life was exemplary, but I had no time for it. Work was going in the right direction, but I could not enjoy its perks. This made me realize I need to take it slow, but my business cannot take the hit. It was time to seek the right aid and guidance.

This was when I approached an Business Coach London who gave me the right business advice and guidance. The much-needed mentoring that I could get from him was an eye-opener. He helped me modify my business strategies to gain more profits. The primary teaching I got from the expert was balancing my life with work. I learned that stepping back before you reach the burnout stage is essential rather than recovering from it.

How I Changed my Business Flow Based on My Experience:

Burnout forced me to take better care of my mental health and change my vision to run my business in a better way. But I was also concerned about the mental well-being of my employees. Working in a start-up always means you are taking extra work on your plate. For my mental well-being, it was essential to have a stress-free work environment where my employees spread happy vibes in the office.

Offering more flexibility to my employees helped me achieve one part of it, as they were free to work from home when they really needed to. I also introduced an open-door concept at the workplace so that they could approach me anytime quickly and not make appointments to meet me or be apprehensive about it. This helped promote open communication and exchange of ideas, which is a bonus for any new business. Another change that massively helped ease the work pressure on my employees and me was off-sourcing any work we did not have expertise. I could use my resources to finish the more critical tasks, and we hardly had to do any overtime to grow the company.

I Never Ignored my Mental Health After this Incidence:

The above experience made me wiser. I knew I could not fall back into the same loop. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. The pressure and workload can challenge your mental well-being when you run your own business. If you think you have a low tolerance for this, you better stick to a salaried job that offers you mental peace.

But I consider myself a tough nut to crack so easily. Hence, I have continued running my business while assessing my stress levels often. If I feel stressed, I immediately jump into an assessment mode to figure out what is stressing me, and I handle it in the best possible manner. 

A few things that have worked wonders for me were getting 8 hours of sleep every night, cutting sugar, meditating at least 20 minutes daily, taking a quick morning walk before starting work, and ensuring I do not ignore self-care. If things still do not seem to be getting better, I reach out to my therapist immediately, which has helped me immensely.

As an experienced businessperson who has run a successful company for 7 years now, I can confidently say that not making those changes in the past would have shattered my mental health. Building a sustainable business that let me set my schedule helped me manage my mental health immensely. 

If you choose to build your own business, learn from my experience and build a business model with enough breathers to make it sustainable for your mental health.