There is a 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 –
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 most 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 an 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.
When did you last feel the singe of dream burnout? What was your reaction?