Are you suffering from burn-out? Do you have the contractor blues?In a recent conversation with a painting contractor the discussion turned to the lack of enthusiasm he was feeling about his business, his chosen profession, and life in general.
It’s easy to get in this place, I have been there many times myself as I struggled through challenges of running my own painting business. Juggling the balls of employees, customers, bids, deadlines, etc. can leave anyone stressed and frazzled.
So what are the symptoms of burn-out? Stress is the main culprit to causing burn-out. Another contributor is boredom. Do you see yourself unable to get excited about your business? Are you doing the same thing day in and day out expecting different results? Perhaps it’s time to step back, take a break and re-evaluate your situation from a fresh perspective.
Here’s a remedy for the contractor blues:
Take a Break
Take a well deserved vacation from all aspects of your business ( no cell phone, no email, ). Now I can hear you saying: “John, I can’t. My business depends on me. It can’t run without my daily support and guidance” This is probably the very reason you are so burned out. If every decision, every problem, every aspect of your business is funneling through you then YOU are the system for your business.
You are causing your own burn-out.
After returning refreshed and energized the first thing to do is to take a good hard look at what’s working and what’s not. This also includes things in your personal life that might be draining your time and energy. Ask yourself: “What do I love about my business?”, “What do I dislike?” “Why did I go into business in the first place?”, “ Where do I want to be 1- 3 years from now?”
Begin with Systems
Now that you’re refreshed and energized begin to put systems in place for every aspect of your
business. Estimating, accounting, employee manual, even the way your phone is answered.
Hold Them Accountable
With your systems in place, your employees can then work the system. Monitor their progress and
hold them accountable to working the systems. Stop micro-managing and learn to let go. Trust
your employees will do a good job ( perhaps better than you ) at executing the tasks they have been assigned. It might be time to get tough, remember that being a business owner is not a high school popularity contest.
Surround Yourself with Trusted Advisers
A big part of the stress you feel could be the loneliness many business owners feel. In the 20 some years I ran my own painting company I never once admitted to anyone that I felt isolated and alone. You can’t discuss problems with your employees, competitors, customers, and in many causes your spouse. So you are left to solve many problems in isolation unless you surround yourself with trusted advisers. Don’t go it alone. There are plenty of people out there to help you in all aspects of your business. Accountants, marketing professionals, consultants, business coaches, are there to offer their experience and expertise.
Schedule Time to Reflect and Plan
The winds of change will blow your boat of course, plan on it! Schedule at least 15 minutes every day to review your company’s progress making sure you are staying on task and on course.
Every week schedule 1 hour to review and plan in greater depth, perhaps with your key employees.
Then every quarter take an entire day to work on rather then in your business.
Stop being a Martyr! Schedule Fun Time
Recreation ( re-creation ) is an essential part of being a successful business owner. In order to be successful, you need to be at the top of your game all the time. No one is at their best when they are working 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Critical problem solving skills diminish, creativity often disappears. Learn to schedule fun and rest into your life. Spend time with your loved one’s and people that energize you.
So the first step is to be aware of burnout. The second is to face the reality about how it effects your life. The third is to make a courageous decision to do something about it. You owe this to yourself, your family, your employees, your customers.
John Stahl -The Growth Coach of New York www.thegrowthcoachny.com
2 thoughts on “Summer Blues or Burnout?”
Great post and the principals apply to all business owners. One other suggestion would be when reviewing your systems, take a look at the tasks that take the most amount of time, the ones that are highly error-prone, or the ones that are currently being done manually, and automating them.
Thanks Nancy, great advice!