Do you often burn out and find that you’re working all the time, including some nights and weekends? Do you wonder how some agency owners and freelancers can make just as much as you do, if not more, while working half the time or less?
Most agency owners and freelancers often make the mistake of thinking that working longer yields better results, and then beat themselves up when they can’t keep up with it.
The real truth is that being burned out and overworked is hurting, not helping your earning potential. You are more productive, and more creative when you give yourself enough time to rest and are able to perform at your peak.
Building a business is mostly about one’s intelligence, not about how hard one works. First, we’ll cover some signs to watch out for which indicate that you may be burned out, and then I’ll share a few things you can do to remedy it while actually growing your income.
5 Signs You’re Burned Out
Burning out is potentially serious, and will set you back sooner or later. When you’re burned out you’ll struggle to concentrate, and you’ll start hating your work. More procrastination and more negativity will come in, and you’ll struggle to even maintain your current income. Here are 5 signs that you may be burning out – watch out for them!
1. You’re Working Evenings
Evenings are to relax or spend time with your family (or loved ones). It’s not a time to work and hustle, regardless of what Gary Vee is telling you. Not giving your brain time to cool off and relax will just destroy your creativity. At best, you will become like a robot, mechanically doing tasks because you have to.
It’s OK to work an evening every now and then, but if this is a common way of life for you, then it’s likely a symptom of a problem. You have to do something about it before it leaves you completely drained out and frustrated about your life.
2. You’re Working Weekends
Just like evenings, weekends should be spent on activities that refresh you. Sometimes that can be work-related, but it should be something that inspires you. If it’s just a rote task, forget it. But if it’s working out an inspiring vision that you have for your business, that’s a different story.
Put some fun activities on weekends that make you come alive. This will sparkle your creativity and renew you so that you’re more creative and more productive.
3. You’re Working More Than 60+ Hours a Week
No freelancer or agency owner should need to consistently work 60+ hours a week. I’m telling you from personal experience… the only reason why you’d be working more is because you’re building your business in a very inefficient way. And that’s what’s holding you back. In the section below, you’ll see how to address this.
In the meantime, just know that if you spend 60+ hours working inside your business, you simply do not have the energy and creativity required to figure out what is required to go to the next stage. Straining yourself is just getting you to burn out, it will not change anything.
4. You Don’t Have Time for Family
This is a big one. If you find that you don’t have time for family, or if you don’t have a family yet, you don’t have time for friends, relationships or pursuing non-career-related goals, then you’re probably overworked.
If this continues, then stresses will only increase as your life continues to go out of balance. We can be out of balance for short periods of time, but doing so in the long term can leave you exceedingly frustrated, lonely, and unable to meet your needs.
5. You’re Unable to Hit Your Goals & Feel Tired All the Time
Some people are working very hard, they set goals, but somehow they always fall short. And they always feel tired about what they do, without seeing a way out. If this is you, it’s likely that you’re trying too hard, and failing to see the forest for the trees. As Einstein said, you cannot keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.
You must be willing to step back, look at what you’ve been doing, and consider alternative strategies. If you keep persisting, then that’s only going to make you burn out faster.
What Smart Freelancers & Agency Owners Do to Avoid Burnout
If you’ve got this far, you’re probably concerned about what you’ve learned and curious what you can do to change it. Here are a few things to consider.
Increase Your Prices
The biggest reason why you’re having problems is because your economics just aren’t working out. That’s why you have to work so hard at it. So the first thing you need to do is raise your prices.
Raising your prices will not be easy for some of you. You will feel that your new price is too big, and somehow unfair. This is due to low self-esteem, which will cause you to sabotage yourself.
If this is the case, then you need to undertake a consistent effort to raise your self-esteem at the same time as you raise your prices. This means becoming habituated to the idea that you really do deserve to charge that much. Low self-esteem is probably the number one reason for failure in business.
Fire Your Bad or Low Paying Clients
Many freelancers and agency owners keep bad clients, who either are too demanding, or simply don’t pay enough. This is a big mistake, as they will suck out a lot of your time for little reward.
You have to understand that it’s not your responsibility to satisfy your clients at your own expense. Business is about creating win-win deals for everyone. If the deal is a loss for you, then simply don’t do it. Refuse, and if you have to, quit those toxic relationships with your clients.
Work will always extend to fill all your available time. This is natural. Knowing this, you have to create boundaries. Then work will remain only between the boundaries that you’ve set.
You want to set your working hours in advance, and then develop the discipline to never work outside of them. You can make some exceptions from time to time, but remember, those are exceptions and should have a very good reason for why you’re making them.
Once you’ve set your boundaries, you’ll see how work naturally restrains to just the time you’ve allotted to it.
Of course it’s not enough just to have boundaries. You also need to get rid of the meaningless tasks that are fighting for your attention. Listen… 95% of what you do in a day is meaningless and insignificant. You may feel that if you stopped it the world would come to an end, but believe me, it wouldn’t.
Freelancers and agency owners who build a great income while working few hours do so by ruthlessly prioritizing what is important, and hence deserves their attention, and what is not. Then they simply don’t pay attention to what isn’t important. Yes, this does mean that emails sometimes go unanswered, calls go unreturned, and so on. But it’s absolutely necessary, otherwise, you will simply not have the time to do what is actually important.
Ideally in a day you shouldn’t do more than 3 work-related tasks (and a task is anything that takes you longer than 10 minutes to do). So choose those tasks carefully, and make sure that they matter and are important.
Build a Team & Scale
Finally, if you’re doing this all alone, you’re doing it wrong. If you make $10K+/mo, you should be investing part of that money to build a team and scale. This will, over time, free up even more of your time while exponentially increasing your income. You’ll start doing more exciting stuff, and actually focus on working ON your business instead of inside of it. The end result is that you’ll be able to serve a lot more people and feel proud of your work.
If you’re at this stage, I highly encourage that you fill in this short survey and book a call with me. We have a proprietary system called the Agency Ascendancy Program™ with guaranteed results for scaling agencies from $10K/mo to $100K/mo, and I can introduce you to it and help you determine if it would be a good fit for you.