Do you feel like your business has taken over your life, and you’re working around the clock just to keep things running? Does it feel impossible to take a moment to pause, rest and recharge? 

You may be on a one-way path to business owner burnout. 

As small business owners and service providers, there is a lot we need to do to keep the wheels turning. 

Sometimes this leaves little room to pause, reflect and recharge – or simply to enjoy life outside of business!

So, how can you find more space for work-life balance and avoid burnout in business?

Let’s take a look.

Firstly, what is business owner burnout?

No matter how organised we are, we’ve all reached a point where we’re doing more than we have energy for and it becomes difficult to switch off from work mode. 

And, while working as a small business owner is very rewarding, it also comes with a lot of processes, responsibilities and decisions that can easily leave us feeling exhausted.

So, when does feeling tired and stressed by work turn into burnout?

According to health and wellness research by Mayo Clinic, burnout is a specific type of work-related stress, often arising when we experience the following factors in our jobs:

Lack of control

Often due to an inability to influence decisions, or a lack of resources needed to do your work. For example: if you’re trying to manage all of your processes manually, without the right systems in place; or the technology learning curve is standing in the way of you being able to streamline your business and free up time – you may feel a lack of control. 

Unclear expectations

As business owners, we’re often testing new ideas and working with new clients. A lack of clarity around the expectations clients have, or the outcomes they’re expecting, can lead to discomfort, confusion and stress. In contrast, a clear and consistent onboarding and offboarding process can help to set the tone and establish clear expectations for your work together. 

Dysfunctional dynamics with clients or referrers 

Where there are issues with a client or referral partner, that leave you feeling micromanaged or undermined, this can contribute to stress and burnout. 

Having clear processes and terms can help to reduce these challenges. 

Extremes of activity

Have you been in a feast and famine cycle in business, where you’re either run off your feet or business is super quiet? This cycle requires you to be constantly on – either delivering work, or finding new clients and sources of income, and can contribute to fatigue and burnout. 

Lack of social support

Feeling isolated in our roles (or in life outside of work) increases stress levels and can contribute to burnout. 

Lack of work-life balance

If running your business is taking up all of your time and energy, you probably don’t have much in the tank to do those things that recharge you, like catching up with friends and family, and prioritising your wellbeing. For many service providers, it’s the repetitive administrative tasks and processes that chew heavily into their free time. Luckily, many of these can be automated, removing them from your to-do list!

Understanding how burnout can develop is essential for those of us who run our own show – when we know these factors, we can be mindful of how we structure our business processes and systems to reduce the load on ourselves and free us up for more work-life balance. 

How to recognise the signs of burnout?

Are you experiencing burnout?

  • Do you feel tired most days, or completely drained and overwhelmed by what you need to get done in the day?
  • Have you become irritable, cynical or critical about your work?
  • Do you find it more difficult than usual to concentrate, or to remember things? 
  • Are you sleeping a lot more or less than is normal for you?
  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?

These are some of the indicators that can suggest someone is experiencing burnout. 

What to do to beat business owner burnout

If you’re ready to ditch the overwhelm from your business and beat business owner burnout, it’s time to focus on enhancing your work-life balance. 

And the best way to achieve this?

  1. Prioritise your time
  2. Plug gaps in your processes, and 
  3. Build the systems that will streamline and strengthen your business. 

By taking the time to review and plan out the processes and systems you need to run your business smoothly and have more freedom, you can start to see the areas that need attention. Once you know what these areas are, it’s much easier to make a plan to address them (putting you back in control of your time and off the burnout path). 

To help you with this, I have created a free working guide, full of practical tips and strategies to help business owners like yourself, craft your business (and days) in a way that works for you. 

In Building Work-Life Balance into Your Business [And Avoiding Burnout], you will learn how to:

  1. Re-evaluate your time and effectiveness – to help you run your business more efficiently and ensure you have time to recharge and replenish your capacity
  2. Plug any gaps in your processes – so you can accomplish more while working less
  3. Build systems that streamline your day-to-day processes – taking care of the repeated tasks in your business, so you can spend more of your time and energy doing the things you love. 


Need help with your processes or systems, or unsure where to start? Let’s connect for an obligation-free consultation!

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