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In 2017, I found myself in constant burnout for almost six months. I loved what I did and I was excited that my business was growing, so the burnout didn’t seem real for quite a few months. And then, in July, I found myself having constant panic attacks, insomnia, and the dreaded feeling of “again?” every morning when I woke up.
I get it, being an entrepreneur is hard. Being an entrepreneur and doing it all by yourself is even harder. And then, if you throw kids and other obligations into the mix, it’s downright exhausting. Adding up all of your obligations, work, and tasks can either make you dread what you’re doing, or worse, can make you give up altogether.
Do you want to know one of the most common reasons people quit their blogs and businesses? Nope, it’s actually not burnout (although that is a symptom). In fact, it’s the constant working in your business that can cause burnout, dread, and the thoughts of quitting. So, instead, I’m telling you how to work on your business, so you can continue to grow it, without all of the negativity and stress.
What’s The Difference Between Working On Your Business and Working In Your Business?
First, you might be wondering “What’s the difference between working on your business and working in your business?”. I’m glad you asked. Basically, when you work in your business, you’re working on the day to day operations of your business. When you work on your business, you are thinking “big picture” and focusing more on the growth and scalability of your business.
Examples of working in your business:
- Going on social media and posting manually every day
- Constant back and forth with clients
- Scheduling last-minute deadlines because a client asked you to
- Pushing off long-term projects because you’re too busy worried about the short-term tasks in front of you
Examples of working on your business:
- Setting and reaching quarterly goals
- Focusing on creating a big-ticket product or service so you can bring in more revenue in less time
- Creating systems that do the work you’d rather not do, so you can focus on the bigger and better projects you have lined up
As you can see, working in your business isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you’re constantly working in your business and not working on your business, you can’t scale your business or even take a step back to just breathe if you need to.
How To Work On Your Business
Now that you know the difference between working on and working in your business, let’s talk about the steps you should take to start working on your business.
Notice The Signs Of Burnout
Burnout is a real thing, and it can happen to anyone. I didn’t even realize it was happening to me until everything just hit the fan. I’ve always been a go-getter and an overachiever, so I felt like something was wrong with me when I started feeling unmotivated and uninspired. However, I thought it would pass. I was wrong.
So, I did what any sane person would do — I quit everything but client work and being with my family for almost three months. I stopped blogging. I stopped posting on social media. Hell, I even said no to going out. I did the bare minimum to pay my bills and take care of my family. And the rest of the time? I focused on relaxing and renewing my mind, body, and spirit.
When you’re brain is tired and stressed out, your body reacts in some crazy ways. For example, I would shake after a few hours of working at my computer. And I’m not just talking about post-coffee jitters. My body would break out into full-blown tremors. It was terrifying, especially because they would just start out of nowhere and I couldn’t make them stop. After realizing that I was severely burning out, and taking three months off, all of the shakings stopped.
Working in your business is necessary, especially if you’re a solopreneur. But, it’s not necessary to neglect yourself and your health, and the constant “catching up” instead of getting ahead. Burnout is real and common, especially among those who find themselves working in their business more often than working on their business. Seriously, just Google burnout among entrepreneurs and you’ll see how a multitude of them write about burning out because they’re constantly working and can’t seem to get ahead.
Automate What You Can
The next step to take to work on your business is to automate anything and everything that you can. I’ve written a ton of different blog posts on automation, like automating your social media, and automating when you don’t have a team. Some people ask me why I talk about automation so much. The reason why is because it’s one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself as an entrepreneur and business owner.
Not everyone starting out in business has money to hire an assistant. You may be just starting out, trying to scale, or don’t even know how to hire an assistant to help you. That’s okay. I ran my business solo for a little over two years before I hired an assistant, and even now, I do almost everything myself. Why? Because I’ve set up the systems and automations to help me run my business without running myself into the ground.
Did that happen overnight? No. But you bet your ass I worked hardcore on my systems after I got over my serious burnout because I never wanted to burnout again. And now I want you to do the same, so you don’t have to experience the burnout at all.
Outsource Tasks Outside Your Zone Of Genius
I know, I know, I just said that you can automate your business and don’t have to hire an assistant. But, hear me out on this. Even when I didn’t have a lot of money, there were a few things I outsourced to save me time and energy.
For example, the graphics you see on my website and social media weren’t created by me. I bought templates from Creative Market and tweaked them to fit my brand. The videos I create are edited by someone that I found on Fiverr And yes, some of my tasks are handled by my virtual assistant.
I’m not saying you need a whole team helping you in your business. I want to have a 7-figure business, but I don’t want a huge team. It’s not because I’m a control freak (although I am a little bit). It’s because I want the freedom to do whatever I want with my money and my time. If I had a whole team working on every aspect of my business, I’d be responsible for paying them, giving them work, and figuring out the ins and outs of having multiple employees and contractors. No thanks, I don’t want that stress.
However, I will outsource the tasks and projects that I’m not good at. In the end, this saves me time, energy, and yes, even money. The time that I don’t spend on tasks that are outside of my zone of genius (like designing, website work, etc), the more I can focus on the items that I’m good at (consulting, writing, etc).
So, if you really want to work on your business instead of in it, you need to take the time to think about what your zone of genius is. Do you love writing blog posts, and can you write them fast? Are you a boss at graphic design? Choose the tasks that you’re really good at, and automate or outsource the rest. Trust me, you’ll notice the difference in the quality of your work, and you may actually start making more money too.
Level Up Your Education
It’s no secret that I don’t have a college degree (yet, I’ll get there one day). However, I’m constantly learning. I purchase products, courses, and ebooks fairly regularly. Why? Because in my line of work, I need to know what the hell I’m doing. I can’t expect people to pay me money when I have no idea what I’m talking about. I can’t expect to run a scalable business if I don’t even know how to create systems and products that can sell themselves. Education is important, but you don’t have to go to college to know how to work on your business.
Instead, take courses and classes from sites like Udemy, Skillshare, ed2go, or the like. Buy that ebook you’ve been eyeing from your favorite business blogger. Invest in yourself and your learning, and you can then use the information you learn to work on your business.
For example, I took a project management course from a website a few months ago. Am I a traditional project manager? Nope. I don’t even have a degree or certificate in project management. But I took the course so I could learn the basics of strategy, development, risk management, and planning. These are all skills that I can now use to uplevel my business and teach my clients. And all it took was investing in a course and spending a few weeks delving into the material.
Focus On The End Result
The biggest key to working on your business and not working in it is to focus on the end result. Are the tasks that you’re currently doing lining up to your vision and goals? Are those projects you keep working on getting you any further to making more money and being passionate about what you do? Are you putting off what you could finish in less than 48 hours because you’re scared?
Stop allowing the little day to day tasks get in your way of achieving what you want. Stop letting your imposter syndrome tell you that you’re not worth earning $100k this year. Focus on what you REALLY want, and go for it. Trust me, when you make your vision clear, you won’t even need motivation from anyone to work on your business. You’ll just do it. Because you know that you have something worth showing off. And that is an amazing feeling. So, focus on the end result, and only focus on the tasks and projects that are going to get you there.
It takes time and effort to start working on and not in your business. But, if you really want to scale your business and escape from the constant work mentality, it can be done.
What are some ways you can work on your business starting today?