How to run your own business without burning out

Photo-Illustration: El Corte; Photo: Getty Images

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A record number of Americans are quit their jobs to work for themselves, and Patrice Washington is here to help. She started his first business, a real estate company, when he was a senior in college, only to go bankrupt during the Great Recession a few years later. He now runs a seven-figure company that helps other people recover from financial disasters (or, better yet, avoid them) with his best-seller books, podcastand Educational programs. We talked to her about how she learned to avoid burnout as an entrepreneur and as her own boss, and how she teaches her clients to do the same.

In the past year, millions of people they have started their own businesses or have become self-employed. That can be great, but sometimes running your own store is harder than people anticipate. What is your advice for people who are just starting out?

I believe that even when we run our own businesses, many of us will re-create the same toxic cycles that we didn’t like in our previous work environments. People will say, “I don’t want to work these hours. I don’t want to be around people who don’t respect or value my talents. I don’t want them not to pay me what I’m worth.” And then they will create a business where they are underpaid and overworked and have flexible limits, if they have limits at all. Especially in this Great Resignation, I am seeing many women quit their jobs just to create the same work environment they left, this time without benefits. I think it’s important to be clear about what you want, both in your personal time and in your business.

Can you give an example of when you did that in your own business?

I run group coaching programs online. And I thought I had to do them at night because people work during the day. That meant I would work a full day and then perform live from 7-9pm to train people from all over the world, which takes a lot of energy and commitment. I did it several times a week throughout the year. It was very exhausting and it was not good for me because it would disturb my sleeping pattern: I would get nervous at night and could not sleep and still had to get up early to take my son to school. . It made me cranky and tired because I worked all day and night and didn’t sleep well.

So I decided to try taking a day off during the week. I know many people don’t have the luxury to do this. But I’ve found that it’s important for me to have time when no one else is home, to not talk to people or schedule anything. I call it my time to think. I’ve been doing Wednesdays off for two years and it’s been a game changer. My Tuesdays and Thursdays are very full and busy, but I have the energy for them because I have Wednesdays to myself.

I think a lot of people worry that they can’t afford to say no to their clients or certain opportunities. How have you managed to do this?

I found that it actually helps me serve my clients to draw boundaries. For example, when my daughter was transitioning from middle school to high school, I really wanted to spend more time with her. But he was busy in the afternoons because he had to do these group training programs. Then one day I was like, Who said you had to do it like this? Is there a rule somewhere? I realized that not only was I burning out, but I was not giving myself the opportunity to have the relationship with my daughter that I wanted to have. So, just a year ago, I decided that I would only train on Fridays at 11am and 3pm. TikToks all night because that’s what my daughter likes to do.

Changing my training schedule improved my relationship with my daughter. But I also found that my clients actually got better results. I realized that in my quest to serve my clients and coach at night, I was actually tying them to the idea that in order to serve their clients, they had to be on at night too. And it kept them up at night and kept them away from their families. I didn’t even see it.

Many of us create stories that contribute to our burnout and frame them as: “This is the best thing to do; it’s better this way.” But a lot of those stories aren’t even real. When we own a shift, everyone changes with us, and we don’t get the pushback we expected.

How did you personally find the line between working hard and burning out? Can you tell when you’re getting close?

When I feel like I take on too much, I can feel it in my body. Sometimes I think that I can’t say no to something, because it is linked to many other things. But I also know that without me, none of that happens. I used to think I could make more energy from sugar and caffeine, but now I know that’s not real energy.

If you’re burned out, your job suffers and ultimately your finances suffer. When you think about the cost of burnout, it’s not just that you’re physically or mentally fatigued and can’t take it anymore. It also affects your spending habits. If you’re trying to fill a void, then you think maybe a new bag or a new car will do it. Or you can spend a lot of money on alcohol to numb or cope. But a new bag is not going to fix the fact that you are worn out and tired. Now you can be nice and tired, but you are still tired.

I have had clients who were so burned that they had to go to mental institutions. And if you find yourself in a place where you have to tell your boss or clients that you’re taking an indefinite leave of absence, that can have a much bigger impact on your finances than if you were more proactive about taking a break or a few weeks. vacation before.

When you run your own business, dealing with the financial side of it can be exhausting. How do you recommend that people handle the money part without becoming overwhelmed?

Many people start their own business because they want to do what they are good at, and they say: I am not a money person. But if you are a business owner, you are now a money person. If you are an adult, you are a person of money. You have to be.

You need to be aware of your financial life. That doesn’t mean you have to handle it all yourself. robinhood recently did a study which found that 73 percent of women have retirement as a primary financial goal, yet only 19 percent say they are confident in their ability to invest. But things like investing don’t happen to anyone in isolation. You need support, and there are tools and services that make it easier. Nobody does it on their own.

Even with what I know about money, I still have a business manager, I have a financial planner, I have a wealth planner. Those are people that I brought along over time to continue to support me in making wise decisions, so that I can continue to do what I love to do. Wherever we are with our finances, we could use support. It doesn’t matter if you make $10,000 a year or a million a year. I think if there’s any shame in that, or in this idea that I should know better because I’m an adult, we just have to get over it.

When you are self-employed, you are often paid for your time. And when your time is money, it’s hard to know when to stop working. How can you get out of it?

I used to believe that you had to exchange dollars for hours, but I guess that’s not true anymore. I believe that our income is directly affected by what we choose to spend our time with during the hours we allot. Many of us spend our time being busy, not productive. We spend hours searching for things on YouTube or thinking, I have to listen to more podcasts or read more books before I’m ready to take the next step. Our time is so consumed with gathering information. Instead, we should probably use resources like Fiverr or Upwork to find someone who is more versed in certain things instead of trying to figure them out ourselves.

An exercise that I recommend is to make a diary of everything you do in a week, just for a week, from Monday to Friday. Like, “Okay, I posted this on social media. I sent proposals. I wrote an email. I followed that.” Then highlight everything only you could do and no one else. That doesn’t include things that someone else could do only 80 percent as well as you. Eighty percent is good enough to get the job done.

For example, only I can record my podcasts and only I can attend a media event. But write my newsletters, someone else can do it. When I first delegated my newsletters, I freaked out because I thought, “She might make a mistake.” But who cares? No one checks my newsletters. I had to learn to break free and let it go, and that really helped speed up the business because I was completely focused on the things that I was really best at.

I built my team in small steps. I like, Can I get five hours a week of help? I can put up $75 a week to support this. When I freed up that time, it actually allowed me to think about working in the business and not being so involved in it. That’s where a lot of the creativity came from, to create more things that have been very successful and helped us get to more than seven figures.

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