Burnout affects hard-working people in all walks of life, especially today—and especially in this country. Americans, in general, work themselves too hard in the pursuit of whatever their ultimate goal is. It might be a big promotion, a raise, or creating a highly successful business as an entrepreneur, but whatever the reason is, we tend to lead unhealthy lifestyles in our individual journeys to that brass ring.
This article focuses on entrepreneurs in particular because they are a certain breed of professional who is among the most at-risk for burnout, due to their personalities and line of work. To explain why entrepreneurs are more susceptible to burning out from work, let’s look into the causes of it.
Entrepreneurs Put More Pressure on Themselves
Firstly, entrepreneurs typically have a certain personal makeup that is different than the average professional. They tend to be more driven, more headstrong, and more determined to reach their goals than most people. It doesn’t even necessarily make them inherently better than other people; they just have a specific personality type that causes them to devote themselves to a pursuit more fully.
And unfortunately, this causes entrepreneurs to sacrifice a lot of their own time, health, and personal well-being in order to get ahead in their careers, their businesses. As they are creating the business usually by themselves, at least for the most part, they have an understanding of the urgency to make sure everything gets done, even without help, if necessary.
They Inevitably have to Work Longer Hours
There’s really no way around it, unfortunately. If you are running your own small business, especially during the early stages, then there will be a lot of work to do. At the beginning of the venture in particular, a business owner will have little to no help because they’re building something new from the ground up.
God forbid, if it also happens to be a completely new idea with no existing precedent or competitors to learn from or copy, that can make it even more difficult. This means that the owner will have to do the work of multiple departments, many times without a working knowledge of those departments.
It can be extremely stressful, and in any case, it will require a lot of hours to complete it all. This is why it’s so important for entrepreneurs to always temper their work with much-needed rest at every opportunity and recruit help whenever possible. Burnout should never be taken lightly.
Tendency to Disregard Stress or Burnout Warning Signs
This is one of the main elements that can put you at a higher risk of burnout. Most people will take a step back when they start to feel very worn out or see that their work is causing them to lose sleep or adversely affect their health, in general.
A business owner has tunnel vision and sees nothing but the ultimate goal, sometimes completely blinding them to the signs that they are headed for burnout. When it’s your business, you might just push through those impedances and put yourself at risk of health problems, burnout being the very least of them.
That’s another key to remember; burnout is one of the first warning messages your body gives you to let you know that it’s on the verge of shutting down. Very driven professionals have the mindset that their bodies will just catch up to the level they’re working at, but it most certainly has a breaking point that you ignore at your peril.
Finances can be a powerful motivator. Though entrepreneurs are driven mostly by their own ambition, the desire to make money is definitely a significant part of it. Pretty much anyone will do things they might not normally do, to make sure they make enough money, but this is especially true for entrepreneurs because there is more at stake when running a business, or even multiple businesses, which is not uncommon.
It’s actually very typical that, for the first couple of years with a new business, an owner isn’t even concerned with turning a large profit; they are simply trying to keep the business open. When you know you have to hit a certain mark every month, or else the business goes under, that can easily push you to burnout due to the extreme urgency of bringing in a certain amount of revenue.
Heightened Stress Level Adds to the Problem
Not only is reaching the point of burnout detrimental to your health by itself, but there are also factors that can make it even worse. If you already have habits that can lead to burnout, then the added stress of running a business (not to mention anything else happening in your personal life) can aggravate the condition further.
So, on top of overworking yourself, an entrepreneur’s general stress level from other factors is always going to be higher than the average person. That means you can end up burning out faster and more severely, as the extra stress level exacerbates it.
We have said this quite a few times already in this series, but it absolutely bears repeating: Please don’t take burnout lightly, and address it immediately if you start to notice signs of it in yourself. Americans and entrepreneurs abroad have lofty goals and a lot to do before they can reach those goals. The last thing you want is to break down and hurt yourself unnecessarily before you get there.
You can avoid burnout and still continue in the pursuit of running a successful business, as long as you have a healthy respect for it and understand that, as an entrepreneur, you are more susceptible to it than others. Stay with us as we go on with this series, and learn how you can avoid and combat burnout.
Check out all of the articles in the series, Understanding & Dealing with Burnout:
- Recognizing the Warning Signs of Burnout
- Why Entrepreneurs Are More Susceptible to Burnout
- Avoiding Burnout: Our Top Tips
- How Creating To-Do Lists Will Change Your Life
- Why Setting Reasonable Deadlines is Essential
- Taking Mental Health Days and How to Manage Them – Coming Next Monday
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.