Struggling with side hustle burnout? Listen to one of the most popular episodes of my podcast: Grow Your Side Hustle – Without the Burnout! Find the Burned Out to Biz Boss podcast on your favorite podcast app today!
This episode was recorded in August 2020 while I was still working full-time in my 9-to-5! I’ve since quit my job, and now coach others on how to grow their side businesses and create a tangible plan to leave their corporate gigs behind. Side hustle burnout is REAL and can keep you from growing enough to quit your job, so you definitely want to prevent it from happening!
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Hello my lovely listeners! I’m super excited to be recording this episode today. The idea for this episode came to me after a couple of weeks of pure struggle in my coaching business, and I thought it could really help those of you who are entrepreneurs and especially those of you who have jobs and businesses on the side.
As most of you know, I still work full time. And I talk about it alot because I think that so many coaches and entrepreneurs act like there’s some kind of shame in that. But there’s zero shame for me. In fact, I’m proud of it. I have managed my brain well enough to do both and do both successfully which is pretty awesome. But I think so many entrepreneurs with jobs are made to feel shame about it – there’s this idea that if you still have a job you’re not successful yet. Which — NOPE! – that’s wrong. And in fact, if you set a goal in your mind that you won’t really be successful until you quit your job, you’ll most likely make yourself so miserable in both your job and your business — and that is really not a fun place to be at all. And it might actually slow down your growth.
I also call myself a woo-woo realist. I love magic, I love the law of attraction, I love going after dreams. But I also live in a world where I have to pay rent, and root canals and crowns cost $3000 WITH insurance. And I don’t know about all of you in my audience, but I can’t eat affirmations and mantras. And this woman loves to eat. There is nothing wrong with having a job while you’re building your business and don’t believe anyone out there who tells you that there is. In fact, I think it’s one of the smartest things you can do — to have regular income as a foundation while you’re building your business and creating sustainable income for yourself.
But sometimes I forget why I’ve built my business. And the #1 reason for me is freedom – my freedom and my clients’ freedom. It’s the ability to create something I love and that my clients love too. It’s the ability to create new income streams while allowing my clients to break out of a cycle of burnout that is far too easy to fall into in our culture. I’m allowed to create whatever I want in my business and help as many people I want and that to me is the real reason for it all. It connects with a deeper purpose.
But it’s easy to forget. It’s easy to forget with business coaches droning on and on about their 6 figure launches and how easy it is and how they can teach me how to do the same. Or when they tell me that I’m doing it all wrong – that I give away too much, or too little, I’m too nice, or I send too many or too little emails. Or that if I’d just follow their 4 step formula, I’d have more clients in my DMs than I could ever imagine. For those of you building businesses while working, I’m sure there have been moments when you were desperate for a roadmap to follow. When it felt really hard. And when you wondered if it was all worth it.
And to build a sustainable business, I believe it takes time. Yes, there are businesses out there that grow super fast, but also – at what cost? Are they slaving away late at night and every weekend? Are they taking on clients they really don’t like because they just want the money? Are they being authentic and selling their products ethically?
I’ll tell you that I’ve watched a few service providers hustle really hard to grow — while losing hair, while losing sleep, while gaining weight, and while burning out – big time. That kind of success is not the kind of success I want for myself or for any of you.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather grow a business I am really proud of, that legitimately helps people, than have a 6 figure launch that feels out of integrity. Which by the way, I’m in no way saying that a 6 figure launch with integrity isn’t possible — it totally is! It’s just that so many people will have you believe that it’s easy or that there’s something wrong with you if you’re not making that happen in your business. And that’s just not true.
I’ve been making a lot of discoveries in my own business and learning how to have fun while growing and I wanted to share with you some of my greatest lessons in growing a business while working full time – without burning out.
1. The first lesson I want to share is this: There is no formula you have to follow to be successful.
Everybody on the internet is going to want to tell you different. They will say they have the secret to making hundreds of thousands far faster than you could ever imagine, and with just a little bit of effort. That is total BS. I have taken a lot of courses and had several coaches and done so much action taking and the biggest takeaway is that building a successful business is hard, messy work. It takes a lot of failures to get it right. And what works incredibly well for one person can be a total flop for another. And it’s because you are unique – your clients are unique – there is no way you can follow a formula and get the same result as someone else.
Now this isn’t to say you shouldn’t invest in education. I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t invested in courses and coaches. Knowing how to market yourself and what you do is super important, clear messaging is important, knowing what problem you solve is important. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a whole lot of failures on the road to your success. And in all honesty, above anything else, you need a mindset coach to get you through that. I have a few clients who decided to go into entrepreneurship after burning out in their careers. And I love coaching clients through what kind of entrepreneur they want to be and how to strengthen their minds to go the course. So if you have very little to invest, I recommend getting your mind right first, but it will take you the furthest when it gets really hard.
2. The second lesson to avoiding side hustle burnout is to use social media strategically.
Full disclosure: a couple of weeks ago, I was helping a client to put in restrictions on her phone to avoid the overuse of a certain app. And while doing this, I had the total shock of realizing that I had spent a little over 3 hours on Instagram that day — and it was about 5 pm. Those of you that follow me on Instagram know that I post throughout the day to my stories – sometimes just on life, sometimes with mini-trainings or new offers – but I never, ever thought I was wasting that much time there.
And that’s what I was doing: wasting time. It maybe takes me an hour max a day to engage with followers and post my content. What I was doing was numbing out and getting sucked into how I wasn’t good enough — this is NOT how I want to spend my time.
Since then, I’ve put my own restrictions where I can’t spend more than an hour a day on Instagram. Because here’s the thing: It felt like work being on Instagram for 3 hours. It felt like I was “doing something” in my business. But all I was really doing was consuming more and not creating value of my own for my own business.
All this to say, be super careful of where you’re accidentally giving away your energy. After putting that restriction in, I have been way more productive and I’ve felt way better too. There is lots of research out there that social media can increase depression and anxiety -not to mention that it completely overwhelms your brain with information. You just don’t need to spend that much time on it. And your clients don’t expect you to respond in 30 seconds. And if they do expect that, you definitely don’t want them as clients anyway.
3. My third lesson for avoiding side hustle burnout is to keep regular business hours.
When you love your business it is very easy to fall into the trap of spending all of your spare time on it. You find yourself setting out to do one thing on Saturday morning and then walking away in a stupor after doing all the things until it’s time for dinner.
I highly recommend figuring out what you want your schedule to look like and being strategic with how you spend those hours each week. How much time do you have to keep the admin and marketing side of your business running? How much time does that leave for clients? Be realistic about your life when you do this. Do you have other commitments? What about giving yourself time to watch Netflix or read or hang out with friends? What about having enough time to sleep every night?
If you want to grow enough to reach your goals, you have to make it sustainable long term. Others will tell you to hustle and push through, but I think that’s why so many side hustlers give up. It’s just not a sustainable way to live. It’s important to grow in a way that feels good which means allowing time for fun and rest along the way.
4. My fourth lesson is to price strategically, realistically, and ethically.
This one is a hard one. It’s sort of like Goldilocks — you don’t want to charge too much or too little for your services and your value. A big mistake I see new business owners make is to do either one or the other. You either just want clients and will do anything to get them, including charging next to nothing for what you offer, or you go completely the other way and charge the big bucks right away. I think we all know those coaches who have been around for 6 months and are suddenly charging $10,000 for their 1:1 coaching. You have to find a balance here. Part of this is knowing the value of your services – how big of a problem do they solve for people – along with knowing for sure you can solve them. Those two pieces are so important. If you’re worried about whether you can solve the problem — as in you’ve never helped anyone else before with it – you shouldn’t be charging the big bucks yet. If you have years of experience helping people with that problem, you can charge more because you absolutely know you can help them. That’s just the right thing to do when you’re calculating your pricing.
You also need to calculate for your admin time and your marketing time and all the education and experience you’ve had prior to starting your business.
For example, I came to coaching after 7 years of career coaching professionally along with a master’s in counseling and a bachelor’s in psych. I didn’t just come out of nowhere and promise results and charge a ton of money. And even in the beginning with that amount of experience, I still knew that I needed to create social proof and a following before I could charge more. That’s just good business!
5. My fifth lesson for avoiding side hustle burnout is to make it FUN.
Does it make sense to grow a business you end up hating? I don’t think so! Think of products or marketing or really anything with your business that would make it super fun for you. Why does it all have to be so serious? I think it’s easy to get sucked into the struggle of growing a new business. It can feel like the business is taking so much and not giving much back, but the best thing about it is that you have the power to make it whatever you want. You don’t have to follow the rules. You can make it fun for you, and why not? You want something you’re excited to work on and in – not something you dread putting your time and energy into!
6. The sixth lesson I want to cover: Know business will ebb and flow.
What I mean by this is that your business will have periods of growth — you’ll gain followers and traction and clients and feel awesome — and it will have periods of slowness — and you’ll wonder what you’re doing wrong and why no one cares anymore.
That is a totally normal part of the process of building a business. Nothing has gone wrong. Potential clients can lose interest in summer months or over holidays. You can lose steam too, where you just need a little break from it. And when I say break, I don’t mean that you quit for two months. I mean that you take a few days off and get back into it again.
Prepare now for this and it won’t feel so hard when it happens. This is the nature of all things — practically nothing in the universe grows and grows and grows and grows without some periods of rest. Trust in the process and use the slow periods as a time to reflect, recharge, and strategize.
7. My final lesson and the most important for avoiding side hustle burnout: Know your deeper why.
Why did you start this business in the first place? What’s your bigger picture mission? And I want to warn you: don’t make your deeper why escaping your job. That is a lot of pressure and as I mentioned earlier, it’s likely to cause huge resentment towards your job. You don’t have to be miserable in your job to grow in your side business. It’s not a requirement.
And honestly, when you think you have your answer here, dig deeper. Many clients think they want to make a lot of money, but what they really want is freedom. Take a good look at what you really want. Ask yourself over and over: What do I really want from this business? And then make sure you’re actually getting it.
So many clients want freedom and then end up building businesses that don’t allow for freedom at all. They have nightmare clients and feel tethered to their laptops. That’s why your deeper why is so important – it’s the ultimate guidepost for making decisions related to your business. Does it get you closer to your deeper why or further away?
To summarize, these are my top 7 lessons for avoiding side hustle burnout, while still growing your business and working full-time:
- There is no formula you have to follow to be successful.
- Use social media strategically.
- Keep regular business hours.
- Price strategically, realistically, and ethically.
- Make it fun.
- Know business will ebb and flow.
- Know your deeper why.
Finally, if you found this episode helpful, I would love it if you would leave me a review on iTunes and share with your friends. I’m giving away a $50 gift card to the store of your choice for anyone who reviews before August 31st. Just send me a screenshot of your review to firstname.lastname@example.org to enter.
And in case you want more, I’d love to have you join me in my free Facebook group Burned Out, Much? I may be biased, but I have some of the best people in the world in my group, and I haven’t found another group quite like it. I’ll link in the show notes if you’d like to join.
I hope you all are doing well and staying safe and healthy out there! Bye friends! All content © 2021 Burned Out to Biz Boss.
Love this post and want more? Check out: Why we don’t need to hustle: Why I hate the hustle mindset over on the blog! And if you’re struggling with side hustle burnout, come join my free community and get some support!