We small business owners are hard workers. It comes from being truly passionate about what we do, as well as that nagging thought that we need to prove ourselves.
The problem comes when creatives hustle too hard. When you stop working out and eating properly to meet deadlines. When you can’t fathom booking social outings until you finish a major project. Okay, that isn’t always the result of hard hustle, but it can happen to the best of us!
These scenarios result in the worst kind of creative burnout. It differs from the 'static' of the Hype-Static complex because you still have the motivation and tangible goals but have no energy to make them happen.
Consider this: your creativity is a muscle. The burnout you feel means you’ve pulled it. (Click to Tweet)
Here are the most common causes of small biz burnout and what you can do to avoid them:
CAUSE = Social Media Overwhelm
SOLUTION = Treat it Like a Job
Treating your social media activity like a job means you have on time and off time. It means you have systems to make things more efficient and you aren’t checking in a billion times a day. Those systems could include saving hashtags in your phone notes or scheduling time for social media. If you schedule this activity you won't be tempted to procrastinate with it later.
CAUSE = Working with Sucky Clients
SOLUTION = Targeting + Saying No
Being able to figure out what to do when a client isn't the right fit is such an underrated skill for a business owner. The solution is rooted in knowing who your ideal client IS. Spend time to truly understand your target client so that when red flags come up before booking you know what's worth avoiding.
You should also have systems in place to set expectations for your clients. Create an FAQ or Process Walkthrough for new clients to understand how you work. Set boundaries in advance through your client onboarding.
CAUSE = Lack of Creative Freedom
SOLUTION = Start a Personal Project
You can only get so creative with certain client projects. Ultimately, what the client says goes. When you start to feel muted as an artist, start working on a personal project. Make the commitment to create something that is just for yourself. Find inspiration outside of your regular lurking avenues. Be true to your style and, once you’re finished, publish it for the world to see. This will help you book clients that are already attracted to your artistic style. These clients are more likely to trust you and let you do your thaaang!
CAUSE = Being Spread Too Thin
SOLUTION = Raise Prices + Be Selective
If you find yourself juggling too many clients at once, it’s time for a drastic change. You are not giving your clients your 100% if you’re overwhelmed with your workload. You can remedy this by either saying no to clients or raising your prices! Be true to the fact that you can’t work at your current pace and need to take on less and make more. If the demand is there, don’t be afraid to up those prices.
BONUS SOLUTION: Delegate + Automate
Saying “I can’t do it all” is not sacrilege. Get REAL with yourself and what you’re capable of doing. If you can’t do something anymore (or hate doing it), delegate that bad boy. You should also look into the many automation systems you can use to make things easier for yourself.
When the excitement and romance fade in your business, it’s up to you to analyze what's really causing the burnout. Choose to hop off the conveyor belt without compromising the experience of your clients. Self-care comes first, always. Avoid what you know will cause burnout and you will fall in love with your business all over again.
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