How To Avoid Burnout As An Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Burnout
‘Entrepreneur Burnout’ – is that really a thing? 

You might not think so because it’s not really talked about.  I hear it because of the work that I do; but when was the last time you turned up to a networking event and, when asked how you’re doing, responded with something like this?

- How are you, how’s business?

- Actually, I’m exhausted, I dragged myself here today but I can’t be bothered to speak to anyone (including you), and all I can think about is how much work I have to do, but I have no energy to do it, when all I want to do is sit on the sofa and watch Homeland, but I can’t do that, because that’s not going to bring the money in is it!

- Oh dear, I’m sorry I asked now. (finds excuse to walk away)

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Maybe that’s not what we say, but it’s how we feel sometimes right?

Burnout is real, and it’s a powerful signal that we’ve been going about things in a way that doesn’t work in the long term.

 It’s a bit like carrying around a stress bucket that gets more full as we go about our week. If we don’t take time to empty that bucket, it get heavier and heavier, and eventually begins to spill over. There comes a point when we have no spare capacity for anything or anyone because - well the bucket is already full.

Burnout tends to show up in five different ways, and here’s how you might recognise the feelings in day-to-day life.

  • Exhaustion – can’t get out of bed, cancelling plans, not eating properly     
  • Overwhelm – unproductive days, can’t seem to make decisions
  • Feeling tired but wired – can’t get to sleep, waking in the night, can’t focus
  • Anxiety – racing thoughts, poor memory, all or nothing thinking, poor digestion
  • Apathy – impatient with clients, lose passion, stopped marketing

The thing is, as small business owners, we are our businesses, and so how we feel directly affects how successful our businesses are.

 Of course, when we are feeling energised, passionate, and eager to be of service to our clients, this reflects well on our business.  When we’re open to opportunities, and we’re driven to get our message out there, then we know we’re on the road to a thriving business.

 So how do we get to that point, (and not just now and again), but actually feel like that, most of the time?

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 The Burnout Antidote Framework is loosely based on the work of psychologists Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell, and works on the idea that when all of the following needs are met, we can overcome any burnout, and practised regularly, we are effectively inoculating ourselves from any future relapse.  These needs range from self-care, and setting boundaries (emotional & physical), to creativity, and having meaning & purpose in the work that we do.

 You can get a copy of the Burnout Antidote Framework HERE, where you can rate yourself from 1-10 in each of these areas. There are ten in total, so wherever you score lowest, start with that one and begin making small changes.

 Creating a life and business, free from burnout doesn’t happen immediately but with the right steps, and a plan in place, it is possible. The key here is baby steps + consistency. As tempting as it is, there’s no point going on a mammoth self-care mission that’s not going to be sustainable, but instead - developing healthy habits one step at a time is the path to real long term success.


Sarah Swanton is the Founder of Happy Healthy Entrepreneur, which is all about helping business owners and entrepreneurs successfully navigate their way through the ‘inner journey’ of being self employed, so they can do their best work with clients, and build a business that supports them, not exhausts them! 

For more information go to or find us on Facebook @HappyHealthyEntrepreneur

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