This article is for entrepreneurs and solopreneurs interested in building confidence and preventing burnout with proven methods and techniques.
Business owners need to deliver results and grow their start-up or business whilst strengthening relationships with their teams, contractors, and clients. Striking this balance can be very stressful, but rest assured: there is a solution!
Entrepreneurship: freedom, responsibility and many stressors
Entrepreneurship is a demanding and high-pressure endeavor, often requiring:
- long hours,
- intense decision-making, and
- the responsibility of running a business.
The metaphor of someone wearing many hats and having to be many things captures the challenge well. As is that of a juggling street performer who can’t afford to drop something that can damage their reputation. The one we like best is someone building a railway who also is needing to drive the train.
The early stages of entrepreneurship can be very demanding and overwhelming.
The pressure of earning every pound or dollar, with no holiday or sick cover, and no automatic pension contributions is heavy. What’s more, every spare penny often needs to get reinvested into the business. And, every potential client a brand new interview. There’s simply a lot (often too much) to do, many areas to focus on, and little help.
It’s perhaps not surprising that burnout levels for small business owners are high. Managing multiple aspects of product development, sales, business operations, finances, marketing, along with balancing a personal life, is stressful. There’s also the pressure to succeed and the potential financial risks associated with failure.
Solopreneurship: laying the tracks and having to drive the train
Solopreneurs and entrepreneurs face countless tasks and often have little help or budget to support their activities. Instead, their top resources are often their stamina and healthy mindset. With countless daily decisions about where to focus and pressure to hit the ground running, people who start their own business are at high risk of burnout.
Those who have the budget to hire help can delegate work to others, but they quickly take on equally demanding strategic and business development roles. Not to mention the complexity of people management.
Put simply, if you’re an entrepreneur or solopreneur your responsibilities and roles keep growing as does the pressure to make everything work.
High workloads, short deadlines, and quickly changing priorities to adapt to a business that is essentially in development will also be shared by any team members. It’s certainly not for everyone.
Whether you’re a solopreneur or an entrepreneur, caring for your mind and body, plus carving out time for a personal life, can be a huge challenge.
Burnout: a risk to you, your business and all those close to you
Some of the signs of burnout in this group include:
- lack of results,
- difficulty making decisions,
- short temper,
- performance challenges,
- difficulty with focus,
- putting important work off, and
- suffering creative blocks.
This means that losing confidence and self-esteem is easy on a daily basis. Solopreneurs are especially vulnerable here if they work “solo.”
Paradoxically, this independence can also be one of the biggest advantages. With inner motivation, self-agency, and self-focus, a person can design their life on their terms. One can utilize entrepreneurship as a vehicle that adds value and meaning to all areas of life. However, this desirable outcome needs that on learn important habits of balance which are often counter-culture to what we’re shown.
This is where the Grid – Be Well Do Well, work-life balance method can support the entrepreneur in building confidence, achieving results and preventing burnout.
We’ve divided the entrepreneurship road into early and middle stages to highlight how executive and personal coaching can help, and why money invested here can literally save the business and your own sanity.
Early stage: from idea to action
The new entrepreneur is usually really excited because many entrepreneurs are creating their business to make a difference, to create the lifestyle they always wanted, to pursue their passion, or simply try their hand at offering a service or product they feel is missing.
Some may be scared because they haven’t tried this before or taking the entrepreneurship route may come out of a layoff. They may also be overconfident, thinking that their expertise is easily transferable to being an entrepreneur. Often, what they need at this early stage is a great deal of advice, mentoring and coaching to support their excitement and drive with tangible early successes.
People at this stage often feel ready to take on the world without understanding or appreciating how quickly they can be prey to burnout if they approach entrepreneurship without health habits that can sustain them over the longer journey. What we often see are people working very hard in pursuit of early wins that are wonderful and thrilling without realizing the toll on the body, sleep, relationships, or personal life. Money resource management challenges or a blind spot to the person’s own weaknesses can also amplify these issues.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 9 years.
When I started my entrepreneurial career, I really thought it would be easy. I used all my skillsets, including marketing and business skills, to create my Consulting Marketing Firm. In the area of marketing execution things were easy because I have the expertise I can provide to my clients and do the work.
However, there was much to learn at the same time, such as sales, technical tools to automate my business, and even online marketing which is rapidly changing.
There was also an emotional experience connected with me making a sale or not that required me to learn to deal with what I saw as personal rejection, money management and sales cycles. Some of this affected my confidence, especially during setbacks.
However, I found tools, mentorship and support made me realize that growth and change were a natural part of entrepreneurship. This knowledge shifted my mindset.
As my entrepreneurship journey continues to evolve I stay flexible, open-minded and ask for help when I need it.
Virginia is an entrepreneur and mentor to others. She supports The BoA (Bank of America) Women Entrepreneurship Certificate program at eCornell University as a facilitator. She is also a business coach, strategist, and marketer. Her Grid journey began when she met Magdalena at a women’s leadership conference and learned more about the Grid method.
The Grid method can help burnout prevention for entrepreneurs
Grid can help you in the following ways.
- It will force you to be clear about your goals and prioritize them within a specific timeframe
- It will help you balance these goals along with your life and self-care which is vital to your confidence and wellbeing
- It will help you evidence and see that you’re doing a lot!
A Grid coach will help you:
- Stay focused and accountable for your goals
- Understand yourself better so that you don’t get in your way
- Give you valuable feedback and safe space to process the many emotional, physical and psychological demands this career path will place on you
Middle stage: several years into entrepreneurship
While an entrepreneur further along their journey, will no doubt have a wealth of knowledge about what to do and what to avoid, they will nonetheless come across new and unexpected challenges.
Many of them center around human relationships and communications. This includes hiring people for projects, making expectations clear, giving feedback in an effective way to fuel motivation and confidence in others and building teams.
Many of these skills are core to high-level leadership that has less to do with business tactics and much more to do with mastering the fine balance of getting results through and with others.
This stage often tests the entrepreneur’s confidence and self-belief in their leadership capacity and skills. But things get harder still. The more established the business, the more the entrepreneur needs to communicate to different stakeholders about what’s happening in the business and for the business, develop influence and grow authority while also developing others in their team.
I’ve been growing my company, Make Time Count, for over 8 years. I adopted a very organic approach that focuses on bringing practical neuroscience and psychology research to enrich people who need it, their teams and fellow professionals who support them.
Looking back I feel like building a business is as complicated as getting a PhD. It is filled with blind alleys, intense learning, countless mistakes and the necessity to find your own path.
Now that I have a small team helping me, I can see how important shared values and trust are to our success and effective teamwork. What’s also key is good mental health and wellbeing.
My journey is teaching me is the importance of communication and visibility especially when it comes to talking about my business in public. I really struggled with doing that until I realized that I need to tell people what we do and how we can help them.
Today my biggest challenge is to transition from a small operation to a larger company where our team can deliver impactful learning interventions.
How the Grid method or a Grid coach can help established entrepreneurs
If you are an established solopreneur or entrepreneur using the Grid method can help you:
- Be crystal clear about how to become the leader you aspire to be.
- Stay motivated through the tough times and recognize when you’re showing up and doing your best.
- Appreciate the people who support you including your family, friends, clients, and team.
Ready to go the extra mile? Then a Grid coach will help you:
- Give yourself credit and realize how far you’ve come.
- Celebrate wins and stay focused on sustaining growth.
- Nurture your creative ideas and help them be realized.
Get in touch to find out how 1:1 coaching with a coach trained in the Grid method can help you.
Building confidence and preventing burnout with the Grid method
While the pool of entrepreneurs may seem passive, each entrepreneur’s journey is quite unique. For both of us, using the Grid method has been crucial to keeping our confidence high, preventing burnout, and remembering that every step counts. With each highlighted step as the Grid technique recommends and each result come greater self-confidence, trust and agency.
What we both noticed in reflecting on our separate journeys has been how often entrepreneurs miss seeing all the steps and achievements they have made. From the moment of decision to step onto this path, to each and every decision that follows where they work to develop their business and themselves along with it.
Parting lessons for other entrepreneurs
- Get to know yourself so you can appreciate your strengths and talents, and know your blind spots and weaknesses.
- Create boundaries for all areas of life, including your business and pay attention to holding them steady. This creates important habits for later.
- Pace yourself by being hopeful yet also realistic for yourself, the people in your team and the unexpected stresses that will no doubt come your way.
- Celebrate every step and who you are as you take them.
- Explore the Grid method as a way to support yourself, your vision and your daily, weekly execution.
Virginia is an entrepreneur and mentor to others. She supports The Women Entrepreneurship Certificate program run by BoA (Bank of America) at eCornell University as a facilitator, business coach, strategist, and marketer. Her Grid journey began when she met Magdalena at a women’s leadership conference and learned more about the Grid method.
Using the Grid has helped her see, appreciate, and love all areas of her life that focusing on entrepreneurship alone had made difficult. Regular Grid practice has helped her balance out, implement healthier boundaries and use time more effectively. Gridding helps her stay motivated, intentional, and organized.
The Grid is now her entrepreneurial companion, best friend, and an entrepreneur’s “right hand.”
It’ a bit like having an executive assistant that is on your back and reflects back to you, the CEO what is important while keeping you accountable. The only difference is that it’s your self-agency.Virginia talking about the Grid
Are you ready to transform your entrepreneurship?
If you’re ready to discover how you can lead your business in a way that delivers results for you and helps you feel good about yourself then discover the Grid: Be Well Do Well Method today