There is great risk with any entrepreneurial venture, along with many ways to view a possible business failure. When you execute a start-up venture you obviously plan for success . . .
- How big will it be?
- How many employees?
- How much revenue by year 1 or 5 or 10?
- Focus on the positive, right?
So when are you going to quit?
Deciding when to quit is not a question you typically ponder right out of the entrepreneurial starting gate. Planning for the end of a business venture is never something you want to think about. Seth Godin makes the point in his book, “The Dip” that you should think about when to quit.
You’ll know when you’re there — because you feel like crap.
I’m not referring to the feeling of needing to take a break — or knowing a long weekend away will recharge your batteries. I am talking about the kind of feeling where a great, inspirational movie (or song) can give you perspective. My happy song is literally titled “Happy” by Natasha Bedingfield.
Pay attention to the lyrics on this one –
I’m talking about the bone-deep exhaustion (and borderline depression) that comes with knowing you are REALLY in need of a change. I’m talking about real burnout — specifically job burnout — entrepreneurial burnout.
How do you know when you are burned out?
1. Have you become cynical or critical at work?
HA! Oh, sorry. Does sarcasm count? I am mostly cynical and critical a good part of the time. But since I work alone, I’m usually only picking on myself. Or the cats.
2. Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
Nope. Always working so it’s hard to tell the difference between stopping or starting.
3. Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
Yes, yes and yes. Again, mostly irritating myself, and I am fairly confident I irritate my clients on a regular basis.
4. Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
Totally. This could be from my new habit of waking up at 4:30 am and the lists starting in my head. Just one of many reasons why I may be lacking energy.
5. Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
If you can count the 10 second high I get from completing a project successfully. Otherwise, not so much.
6. Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
Not really. My illusion is pretty well out in the light now so I can face it full on now.
7. Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
No. I used to drink all the time – wine with dinner, a cocktail on the weekend. Now I work too much to take the edge off.
8. Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
Sleep habits are the same. I just get up at a odd time now. And my appetite vacillates between feeling too nauseous to eat, and wanting LOTS of sugar. And no, I’m not pregnant.
9. Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints?
I sit for 10-16 hours a day. So the answer is yes.
How did you do? Obviously I am applying my sense of humor toward all of this. I need my sense of humor because I am currently faced with the reality that my full-time business isn’t paying me full-time dollars. It may be time to look for a paycheck that is signed by someone other than me. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing what solving this problem will look like.
I’ve got to know . . . when did you last feel the singe of dream (job/career/business) burnout? What was your reaction?
Heather’s dream is to have multiple streams of income, starting with launching an e-commerce website that showcases her couture jewelry, which are crafted by her. You can find Heather online at For Your Adornment; Etsy.com; and Twitter And Beyond Dot Com. She also teaches Social Media tactics for business, besides being CEO of her own web design company. Heather’s post day is Friday.