With a limited amount of energy it is easy to succumb to freelance business burnout. Many of us have been programmed to work 9-5 jobs with the salary or hourly paycheck arriving in our checking account every two weeks.
Suddenly set free from our 40 hour work week we go on over drive. We have to get stuff done. We have to get paid. Like, right NOW!
If you are just starting out with your freelance writing or photography business don’t be depressed if you don’t make as much money from your 9-5 job the first year. Don’t be depressed if you don’t make a quarter as much money in your 9-5 job the first year.
Your first year in business for yourself will be one of mainly education. You will be learning the ropes of running and maintaining a successful business. Think of all you have to learn: marketing, finance, organizing, etc. I’m sure you can think of many other things.
I was reading in my local newspaper that entrepreneurs are on the rise in Michigan. This doesn’t surprise me since we have the crappiest economy in the nation.
The article talks about how it is no small trick staying sane while developing comprehensive business skills. And if you don’t have a business background, like myself, it is even more challenging. The trick, I guess, is staying sane while you figure it all out and are trying to make ends meet. Because now you aren’t just thinking of just a couple of things, you’re thinking of everything.
Signs of Burnout
There can be a change of personality and behavior, and are a lot like the symptoms of depression which include:
- loss of appetite
- increased anxiety
- can’t sleep at night
- don’t want to get out of bed in the morning
Ways to Combat Business Burnout
Put things in perspective
Recognize that there will always be difficult situations and people in your life. The only thing you can change is how you relate to the situation. Don’t let it suck energy from you. Become the captain of your own ship, not the sailor of your buffeted emotions. In other words, don’t get blown away.
Give Yourself Rewards
If I have been working non stop on some tedious task like cataloging photos, or writing an article that I just want to be completed, I will promise myself a small reward when I finish. Sometimes it is as simple as visiting a Website I really like, or getting a diet Coke.
Let Yourself Be Free
No one owns you anymore. You are the master or mistress of your time. But don’t enslave yourself to periods of procrastination or frenzied work, either. I know this is easier said then done, especially with writing projects with a deadline that suddenly require you to work 10-12 hours a day. No one can maintain that type of overdrive. Instead, develop a healthy schedule you can stick to for the main, with revisions if need be.
What do you do to keep from getting burned out in your business? Is is a problem for you?
Photocredit: © Ellen Wilson