How to avoid burnout as a Black female solopreneur?
Small businesses go under for a multitude of reasons – lack of funding, poor timing, inability to meet demand, poor economic structure, etc. For a solopreneur wearing multiple hats, the pressure to succeed can be weighty, and burnout can feel like an inevitable result. This month is Mental Wellness Awareness Month; I’d like to help you avoid burnout. We already face a deficit as a Black female solopreneur: being Black and being female. Being business owners on top of that creates an intersection that is rife with overwhelm, stress-inducing health issues, and an imbalance between life and work.
Here are 10 ways to avoid Burnout of the Black Female Solopreneur
1. Be Selfish
I know it sounds harsh, but you genuinely have to do it. It’s not all the time. While you need to set boundaries for how and when you will work, you also need to remember to schedule breaks throughout the day, month, and year. This could include your daily exercise or meditation time, weekly lunch with a colleague, monthly trip to the salon, or your annual girls’ trip to Essence Fest. Whatever it may be, schedule this time and be selfish about it. Once you’ve set your hours, breaks, and boundaries, say no to anything that does not fit within that sacred space.
2. Community – Find your tribe
Having a group of like-minded individuals who understand what you’re going through can be a reprieve from the daily stresses of balancing life with work. Finding time to unwind with those who “get it” can be the salve you need to push into the next week, project, or client. A bonus to being in a group of solopreneurs on a similar journey is that they are also looking to alleviate the same stresses. You can lean on each other for social and business support. Via bartering, your tribe is a great place to exchange services. This brings me to…
3. Delegate – Because multitasking is a myth
As a solopreneur, you wear many hats. That is okay. But you can’t do all the things all at the same time (and who really wants to anyway). Consider hiring a subcontractor or a Virtual Assistant on a short-term contract to get you through that busy season when you have a project that will take up more of your time. Let them handle the mundane tasks that usually slide to the backburner (i.e., email, social media, invoicing, etc.)
4. Emergency Fund – For rainy days
When you are the only one working in your business, it can be stressful to think of just how much the growth depends on your level of productivity. To alleviate some financial stress, it could be in your best interest to have emergency capital for your business when you are less productive. In less lucrative seasons or times of extended illness, it will be good to have at least 3 months of operating capital sitting in the bank as a backup. Your stress level will thank you.
5. Let Go of Perfectionism – Make mistakes
Striving for perfection leads to dissecting every slight detail until you are more focused on getting it absolutely perfect than serving your business/client. Understanding what it is your audience truly wants can help. Deliver on that first, then improve upon that offer before moving on to another. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. Tell your audience about the incredible journey and what you learned.
6. Location. Location. VACATION.
As a solopreneur, do you have the option of being remote? If so, consider switching up where you work. Changing your location to a cafe, library, or coworking space is an excellent local option for a daily injection of newness. Try booking a hotel or house in a remote location and working from vacation for a supercharged jolt. Nothing says recharge like sun, sand, and surf.
7. Balance – Have fun
It can be easy to forget the fun woman you once were when you’re on the hustle and grind. Date nights diminish. Ladies’ night is a fond memory. Bring ‘em back by inviting your beau or BFF to lunch or the latest conference. Try to find opportunities to include them in your schedule if slots for fun seem to be in short supply. Even within our work schedule, finding time to play is paramount to balancing out stress created by the demands of solopreneurship.
8. Automate – Let go and let the algorithm
Consider the daily tasks you repeatedly do. Many jobs can be delegated via automation with the various apps and platforms available. Sites like Calendly, Asana, and Trello all have automation. These tools integrate your email, website, eCommerce platform, and calendar to make your business run smoothly. With a quick Google search, you can find just the right app to relieve some pressure on your To-Do list.
9. Reward Yourself
In Corporate America, bonuses are handed out quarterly to annually. Being a solopreneur, you can create a similar reward system. When goal-setting a project, plan rewards at each milestone. The rewards can be as large or as small as you like but should be something you would only give yourself for attaining the planned-upon milestone. It will provide you with something to look forward to at each stage.
10. Rinse, Reduce, Repeat
Take a look at what has worked and what hasn’t. When you look back at the previous quarter, did it help to add evening hours to your schedule? Did your audience like your Instagram lives? Did it help to tell your family you were unavailable from 9AM to 11AM? Let go of what doesn’t serve you. Keep what does. Your business is yours to adjust and make work for you. What works best for you will better serve your clients/customers and prevent you from burning out sooner.
Burn out is avoidable and we can hold it at bay with a bit of planning and some workstyle changes. Balance work with people, places, laughter, and getting out into the sun.
If you’re a Black female solopreneur and looking for a tribe to call your own, check out the She Runs It Facebook Group or the Afro Business Cookhouse for more like-minded solo- and entrepreneurs. Come sit with us.