Avoiding Small Business Owner Burnout

Are you experiencing business owner burnout? Are you feeling like quitting and burning your business to the ground? 

Let’s talk about burnout and how you can avoid it. Also, and sometimes more importantly, what you can do if you are already in burnout. 

We are going to chat about what a brain dump is, boundaries, automations, and more. 

First, if you are already feeling burnt out, I wanted to share some tips in the beginning, and then we’ll move on to how to avoid it if you’re not there. 

Already in Burn Out?

Brain Dump:

If you’re already feeling business owner burnout, you can do what is called a  “brain dump”. I actually learned this from Katelyn James. 

A brain dump is essentially taking everything that’s in your head and putting it all on one piece of paper. It can be really exhausting to hold so much information in your mind.

It’s really helpful to just write it all down. 

So for an example, I had to do a brain dump for the month of August. I was just feeling a little bit overwhelmed, and I just wanted to get it all out there. I wrote down everything that I’m going to need to do. And then as you accomplish them or you get them done, then you just cross it out as you go. 

There’s a lot of moving pieces to running your own business and you never want to forget anything. And sometimes it can cause a little bit of anxiety if you’re feeling like you’re juggling too many balls and you don’t want to drop anything. 

So a brain dump is a really great way to put it all on paper so you can look at it, make sure you’re not forgetting anything, and it gives you a little bit of a peace of mind.

Just say no:

Another thing if you’re currently in burnout is to say no to inquiries that are going to add to your stress. 

It can feel sometimes like you want to say yes to everything because you’re trying to grow your business. 

It could feel like you’re missing out on an opportunity if you don’t say yes. But if you’re currently feeling burnt out, you really need to trust your gut. If your gut reaction, when you see the inquiry, is “Oh, I do not want to do this” or “Oh, that would add so much stress to my plate right now”, then say no. 

It’s totally fine. You have to give yourself some space to come out of the burnout. And it won’t be forever and new opportunities will come. I’m giving you permission. If you’re feeling burnt out, say no to inquiries that are going to add to your stress. 

That brings me to how to avoid business owner burnout in the first place…

How to avoid burnout

First and foremost is you have to implement boundaries. Strict boundaries in your business and in your life. 

What you want to do is you want to get a bird’s eye look at your calendar and blackout dates that you do not want to work or you don’t want to have any obligations on those days.

Then decide how much you want to take on. Decide when you’re in a good space, decide what a healthy amount of work is and be really strict about only taking on that amount.

Say no to inquiries that do not align with those boundaries. Looking at the blackout dates and looking at how much you want to take on, just be really strict about what inquiries you say yes to. 

This is my number one tip. 

Make sure to have strict boundaries so you won’t be feeling overwhelmed and burnt out later.

How to take on less but make more money

If you’re saying no to inquiries that do not align with your boundaries, that could mean that you’re taking on less. 

That could be scary sometimes to take on less, but this might mean that it’s time to raise your prices. 

The market is all about supply and demand. If you’re feeling burnt out because you’re getting tons of inquiries and you’re feeling like you’re stretching yourself too thin, that is an indicator from the market that you need to raise your prices. 

You have to balance the supply and demand. So if the demand is super high of your time and your energy, then you need to raise your prices to try and mediate that a little bit. 

You’ll continue to raise your prices a little bit in incremental marks, and you’ll see the demand will start to decrease. 

The demand will level out to that as you increase your prices and you’ll find that sweet spot. 

And that’s how you price yourself. 

That’s just a little free tip there. If you’re feeling business owner burnout, that could be a sign that it’s time to adjust your prices.

Strict Office Hours

Another boundary is to have very strict office hours. I know more than anybody how hard that is with children. When you’re a stay at home mom or a work from home parents, it is very difficult to have strict office hours. 

I wrote a whole blog series on it when I was in the thick of it called The Naptime Chronicles, when my kids were napping, that was when I built my business from the ground up! Now I feel like it’s even harder because they don’t nap.

I’m talking to myself when I say this that you really need to have some very strict office hours or you’re going to end up working all the time. 

I know that when I was sitting on the floor playing with my kids, that’s when all of my ideas, for some reason, started popping into my head. You can have a little notebook nearby where you just scribble it down really quick, or tell Siri to remind you to do something at a later time when you know that you will be working. 

I know that when I first started my business and when I had really little kids, it felt like working felt more like a break. 

But now that I’ve been in this for a while, my children are older, it doesn’t really feel that way anymore. 

Just giving yourself grace and figuring it out what your office hours should look like depending on the life stage that you are currently in. 

Use technology to your advantage

Instead of keeping everything in your head all the time, I want you to take advantage of automations in the world of AI. Not just Siri and Alexa, but automations can remind you to do things so that you won’t have to just constantly keep it in your mind or constantly writing it down.

I use a client management software called Honeybook, and it reminds me to do things for my clients along their client journey. I know there’s a lot out there that will allow you to create automations so you don’t have to constantly be thinking about it. 

You can also hire a virtual assistant. 

There’s lots of different things you can do to not have to be the one who remembers to do everything all the time because that’s exhausting.

Final Thoughts: Take care of yourself

Eat right, move your body, and take a break. Shut it all down for 24 hours and give your mind a minute to breathe. 

Get back to a space where you can think logically again.

Please don’t wait until you are in full adrenal burnout. 

Finally, there are two things I think are so important to avoid business owner burnout. 

First is, continue to play. Play is so important for your brain. It can help to destress you and get your creative juices flowing again. 

Second, is implementing a Sabbath day. A full day where you don’t do any work. This helps to give your brain a break. You are a whole person, you are not just your business. You have lots of other things going on with you. So take a day, just one day to just not worry about your business.

Whether you are currently in burnout or if you are looking for ways to avoid burnout. I hope this was super helpful for you. 

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More Resources:

Naptime Chronicles – Building a Business

How to Market a Photography Business – For Free

5 Lessons from 5 Years of Business

Photography Business Mastermind

How to Write SEO Blog Posts

meet amanda


My name is Amanda and I am a Light and Airy NH Wedding Photographer serving couples and families by creating authentic and classic images that they will cherish for a lifetime. Lots of people are anxious about getting their photos taken but I create a no stress fun experience that will leave you feeling confident. 

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