Becoming an entrepreneur has many benefits. It allows us to make a living doing something we enjoy. It gives us more freedom and flexibility than working for someone else. And it allows for unlimited earning potential. And yet many entrepreneurs have second thoughts about the path they're taking.

Why? It's usually because they are experiencing burnout. Burnout is something that can happen to anyone in any profession, whether they're working for themselves, for a small business or for a large corporation. It is most prevalent among those who have highly stressful jobs.

With all of the great things about being an entrepreneur, others may find it hard to understand why you would feel burned out. In order to make sense of it, they would have to walk a mile in your shoes. Entrepreneurs are a notoriously independent breed, often taking on multiple roles in their businesses instead of hiring employees or contractors to do some of the work. And since they see their businesses as an extension of themselves, any professional difficulties they have are also personal difficulties.

Even serial entrepreneurs, who start businesses, sell them, and then move on to something else, are not immune to burnout. The startup phase is the most difficult and stressful phase of a business, and they are perpetually in that phase. There's no moving into a comfort zone – as soon as the business starts doing well, the serial entrepreneur gets rid of it and starts all over again with a new business.

Symptoms of Burnout

“Burnout leads to accidents, arguments, breaks relationships and costs the bottom line.”
Ellen Kossek

Burnout is dangerous in more ways than one. It can undoubtedly prevent us from reaching our full potential. It can affect our outlook, leading us to believe that problems are worse than they actually are. It can even damage our health.

One of the tell-tale signs of burnout is emotional exhaustion. You start feeling like even the small stuff is just too much to bear. And when facing a serious problem, you might start considering giving up on your business, or even on being an entrepreneur.

In addition to emotional exhaustion, burnout can cause physical problems. And it's not just in our heads, either. There have been plenty of cases in which those suffering from burnout and other types of stress have exhibited physical symptoms. Their immune systems do not function as they should, causing them to get sick more easily. They may suffer from headaches. And they often get tired more easily than usual.

Severe cases of burnout can even lead to depression or anxiety. When we don't deal with stress, many doctors believe that it can cause a chemical imbalance in the brain. These chemical imbalances have been proven to cause anxiety and depression – they're the issues that antidepressants and anxiety medications treat.

How to Fight Burnout

“The number one cause of burnout is doing the same thing over and over again and not seeing results. You need to do something different, whether it's increase your weights or do a different exercise.”
Steve Kaczmarski

As with any problem, the best solution for burnout is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. If we do what we can to avoid stress, and deal with the stresses we can't avoid effectively, then burnout should never be a problem. Of course, that's easier said than done. There are few people (and even fewer entrepreneurs) who go through their entire lives without ever experiencing burnout.

So what can you do when you start to feel burned out? Here are some ideas.

Take a break. If you're working and begin to feel so overwhelmed that you're not sure you can go on, stop and collect your thoughts. Take the rest of the day off if you can, and reflect on the reasons you went into the business you're in to start with. Analyze what's bothering you, and try to work through it before you go back to work.

Take a vacation. A longer break and a change of scenery can work wonders for burned out business owners. But in order for it to be effective, you must leave your work behind, not take it with you. Leave someone you trust in charge, and relax and have fun. When you go back to work, you'll be better equipped to handle the day to day stresses.

Hire some help. The more successful your business is, the less likely you'll be able to handle everything on your own. If you have enough work to keep someone busy full- or part-time, hire an employee. If you need help on a specific project or just need a few hours' worth of work done a month, find a reliable contractor to do it.

Delegate responsibility to others. If you're intent on controlling every minute aspect of your business, this can be a very difficult thing to do. But being in charge of every little decision can quickly take its toll. If you can't trust your employees or contractors to do what's best for your business, find someone you can.

Celebrate your successes. Pessimism can be a symptom of burnout, but it also perpetuates it. Taking time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done will help improve your outlook and alleviate stress.

Ask yourself if you really love what you're doing. Burnout sufferers often feel that they have chosen the wrong path. In most cases, it's just the stress and exhaustion talking. But sometimes we do choose to do something we enjoy, only to find out it's really not for us. So some soul searching, figure out whether it's the work that's getting to you or the stress associated with it, and act accordingly.

Burnout can put an end to your career if you let it. But in almost every case, it is both preventable and reversible. If you nip burnout in the bud, you can keep your business going in the right direction.

To Your Success!
Jeremy Gislason
SureFireWealth INC

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Author's Bio: 

Jeremy Gislason is an entrepreneur, online business owner and marketer. He is also a philanthropist with over 12 years of offline and online business experience. Discover how to build a better business with the Mindmap to Riches series of self improvement books, audios and mindmaps.