How to defeat burnout?

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Hi all,

Bit of a recap first (although please skip to the bold part if you're not interested in what I've been up to)...

It's been almost two years since I last posted here and received some extremely helpful advice with regard to starting out.

Following the initial advice received I attempted to run an affiliate site for a certain niche, but ended up failing miserably. Fortunately though, I came out of the process learning how to build and run a site.

I was then forced to take a break from escaping corporate drudgery when my employer forced me to finish off a masters degree. Begrudgingly, I went back to uni for a year and completed the course. While I hated it at the time, in hindsight I'm now grateful for accepting my employer's wishes as I now have something to fall back on should any future endeavours turn sour.

A few months after finishing the course I started to become frustrated as I couldn't think of another idea to explore, despite racking my brain virtually everyday. This frustration soon turned into a mild depression as my life slowly morphed into Groundhog Day; the monotony of the 9-5.30 and my inability to think of a new idea began to take its toll. This lasted until up to about two months ago, where, completely out of the blue, I thought of an idea related to my day job whilst working on a project for a client.

Following my epiphany I launched a service-based business last month and it's going rather well - I have so far landed six clients! But now I have a new problem... I'm starting to feel burnt out already. I'm working ~70 hour weeks, which entails the 9-5.30 job, and then working a couple of hours before and after work, during my work lunch break, and most of the weekend. My worry is that if I don't keep grinding away I'll never earn enough from the business so that I can quit my job and work on it full-time, yet at the same time it's getting to the point where I loathe working on it - How can I push through when all I want to do is throw in the towel everyday?
 

CCarter

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Delegate; In your scenario I would hire an assistant, VA, or low-wage "doer", South America is a good source for me, that you delegate the service-based business to. That way you already are in "boss mode" instead of "solopreneur" where you do everything for as long as possible.

By hiring an employee you'll also be able to expand your operation and grow during the 9-5.30 job times and not just when you have spare time (It's easier to grow a business during business hours).
 
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Delegate; In your scenario I would hire an assistant, VA, or low-wage "doer", South America is a good source for me, that you delegate the service-based business to. That way you already are in "boss mode" instead of "solopreneur" where you do everything for as long as possible.

By hiring an employee you'll also be able to expand your operation and grow during the 9-5.30 job times and not just when you have spare time (It's easier to grow a business during business hours).
Thanks for getting back to me.

However, the issue is that the service requires technical knowledge and a solid understanding of a particular area of British Law; the only people I can delegate to are people who work in the same field in the UK. I suppose I could attempt to hire someone who works in the industry, but I'm reluctant to do this at the moment in time as its early days for the business.
 

Calamari

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Thanks for getting back to me.

However, the issue is that the service requires technical knowledge and a solid understanding of a particular area of British Law; the only people I can delegate to are people who work in the same field in the UK. I suppose I could attempt to hire someone who works in the industry, but I'm reluctant to do this at the moment in time as its early days for the business.
There are no tasks in your daily routine that could be delegated?

Automation is an option too. Are there any parts of your daily process that can be done by software? You may have to have custom software built but it will be worth it if it turns a couple hours of work into a button press.
 
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CCarter

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I suppose I could attempt to hire someone who works in the industry, but I'm reluctant to do this at the moment in time as its early days for the business.
Then quit your job and go all in. Otherwise you will burn out and either your job or the business will suffer or both.

The work has to get done, yet you seem burnt from doing it.

70 hours IMO is not a lot, but it is when you are dividing attention to one or two operations and you can’t stand a particular one.

Most businesses owners starting out do 120 hours easily when getting a business, they want to be in, off the ground. I’m going on 5 years in a business where I just did 18 hours Friday, 18 on Saturday, and 20 on Sunday. It was hard work, but I still loved every moment of it.

Going all in by yourself is already more difficult, hire someone to take some load off...

If starting/running a business was easy everyone would be doing it, 1% attempt it, and of that 1-5% succeed. When you have odds like that against you then you’ll have to put in more work or work smarter. You have got some serious decisions to make.
 

Ryuzaki

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You need some mixture of the following:
  • Automation
  • Employees
  • Partner
  • Quit your day job
Operating a service based business, like any other, entails risk. You can't play it safe and expect to climb far enough to quit your day job if the business requires your involvement during all moments of operation.

You'll have to off-load some of the work either way, through automation & outsourcing or with employees or a partner. If not, you'll burn out even if you go full time on it.

But realistically if you want the business to explode, provide a full time income for you, and make you rich, you're going to have to be in the trenches and making that happen. Hard to do with a day job.

I'm repeating myself and what everyone else said. Find help or go full time (and then find help). That's the answer.
 
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It's not healthy long term to have a job and work lots of hours on your own project.

Your employer demands your effort, passion and time, how can you find it for your own business afterwards.

I've seen more than one people in my network burn out like that.

It's been suggested to hire an employee, you could also get a partner. That's a model I've seen work well. One full time, doing more grunt work, one part time doing more high level stuff. Need to be matching personalities for that kind of role and a clear agreement on who gets paid what.

When I was late 20s, I had a job (part time, 20 hours), part time university studies and part time working on my own projects. I actually made it work, but truth is I only got anywhere with my own stuff when I worked full time. You need to put in the hours. Can't sell them to your boss.
 
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Thanks all, really appreciate the replies.

Quitting the job isn't going to help in the short-term as I have a two-month notice period.

I've automated the business as much as I can, so I think you're right and I'll have to end up hiring someone. I guess my main concern is that I'll hire someone who isn't as competent as me and I'll end up having to correct their mistakes - hopefully my hiring process should siphon out the weak!
 

TGZ

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I'm doing affiliate marketing and working a 9-5 job so I might have some insight to provide. I tried working an hour before work and two hours after - wasn't very productive. Now I get up at 5:30am and work in the morning before work and do domestic duties and gym (also sometimes work on my site for an hour or two) in the evening. I'm gradually pushing my wake up time back to 4:30am.

I still feel like I'm not doing as much work as I want to do for my site. I cannot imagine trying to balance a real business and a 9-5 job. Also I echo everything @Ryuzaki said.