As a female entrepreneur, your passion, dedication, and vision have propelled you forward, but they also come with challenges. The long hours, financial stress, and uncertainty of running a small business can all contribute to burnout. It is important for small business owners to be aware of the signs of burnout and to take steps to prevent or manage it.
Why female entrepreneurs should prioritize burnout
Burnout, an all-too-common consequence of tirelessly pursuing your dreams, can silently creep in, affecting your personal well-being and the success you've worked so hard to achieve. Preventing burnout isn't just about preserving yourself; it's about ensuring the sustainability and longevity of your business, allowing you to lead with resilience, creativity, and a lasting impact. Your well-being is intricately woven into the fabric of your business's success, making it imperative to recognize the signs of burnout and take proactive steps to preserve your vitality and purpose.
Burnout and Small Business Owner Work Conditions
42% of small business owners have experienced burnout in the past month.
24% of small business owners are currently experiencing burnout.
Small Business owners work an average of 52 hours a week
57% of small-business owners say they work six or more days a week weekly.
Causes of Burnout
The causes of burnout for entrepreneurs are different than for the average worker. Burnout is technically defined as a work-induced phenomenon because of unmanageable workloads and a lack of agency. Entrepreneurs, in general, have a much larger sense of agency in their work, but because of the passion for their jobs and the difficulty in separating their identity from their work life, entrepreneurs do need to pay attention to the signs of burnout.
Female entrepreneurs may be more likely to experience burnout than their male counterparts. This is because female entrepreneurs often face additional challenges, such as:
Multiple roles: Women experience burnout more frequently because of their many responsibilities. They take on multiple roles, such as CEO, caretaker, and marketing manager.
Lack of support. Female entrepreneurs may have less support from their families, friends, and mentors than male entrepreneurs. This can make it more difficult to cope with the business’s stress.
Unequal pay. Female entrepreneurs often earn less than male entrepreneurs for doing the same work. This can make it more difficult to afford to run a business and care for their families.
Gender discrimination. Female entrepreneurs may face gender discrimination from customers, suppliers, and employees. This can make it more difficult to succeed in business.
The pressure to succeed in a competitive business environment can be overwhelming and lead to feelings of despair. Unfortunately, women's self-care needs are often forgotten during this quest for success, resulting in burnout and exhaustion.
Burnout doesn't just impact your personal life. It can also have serious consequences for your business. When burned out, you're more likely to make mistakes, miss important deadlines, and have trouble focusing on the task at hand. This can lead to decreased productivity and even lost revenue.
Impact of Burnout
Female entrepreneurs should care about burnout for a number of reasons.
Burnout can lead to health problems. Burnout can cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, stomach problems, and sleep problems. It can also lead to emotional symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and irritability. In the long term, burnout can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Burnout can lead to financial problems. When burned out, entrepreneurs may make poor decisions that can harm their businesses. This can lead to financial problems such as decreased profits, missed deadlines, and even bankruptcy.
Burnout can lead to relationship problems. When burned out, entrepreneurs may have less energy for their relationships with family and friends. This can lead to conflict and resentment, and it can make it difficult to maintain healthy relationships.
Burnout can lead to a loss of self-confidence. When burned out, entrepreneurs may start to doubt their abilities and worth. This can lead to a loss of self-confidence, making it difficult to succeed in business.
How to recognize burnout
Some of the signs of burnout include:
Physical symptoms: fatigue, headaches, stomach problems, muscle tension, sleep problems.
Emotional symptoms: anxiety, depression, irritability, anger, detachment.
Cognitive symptoms: difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, decision fatigue.
Behavioral symptoms: withdrawal from friends and family, increased alcohol or drug use, procrastination, risk-taking.
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to take action to prevent burnout. This might mean taking a break from work, seeking support from friends and family, or engaging in stress-reducing activities like yoga or meditation.
To help you keep track of your burnout warning signs, I've created a free download for my checklist "Signs of Burnout: A Checklist for Women Business Owners." This checklist will help you identify when you're starting to feel burned out, so you can take action before it impacts your business. Remember, taking care of yourself is key to the success of your business.
“Inflation Not Dampening Small Business Confidence.” Capital One, Capital One, 3 May 2022, www.capitalone.com/about/insights-center/small-business-confidence-2022/. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.
Gallup, Inc. “Work Is Labor of Love for Small-Business Owners.” Gallup.com, 23 Aug. 2005, news.gallup.com/poll/18088/work-labor-love-smallbusiness-owners.aspx. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.