The Consistent Coach Podcast

Pre-TCC: Entrepreneur burnout and your side hustle

April 05, 2021 Stacie Mitchell Episode 18
The Consistent Coach Podcast
Pre-TCC: Entrepreneur burnout and your side hustle
Chapters
The Consistent Coach Podcast
Pre-TCC: Entrepreneur burnout and your side hustle
Apr 05, 2021 Episode 18
Stacie Mitchell

What is entrepreneur burnout and why do you need to be worried about it with your side hustle? Because it can totally get in the way of growing your business and quitting your job!

This episode digs into the research on entrepreneur burnout, and specifically talks about the difference between obsessive passion and harmonious passion, and why it makes all the difference for building a business and a life you love.

Article about the study: What makes entrepreneurs burn out 

Ready to create your unique Burnout-Proof Blueprint for growing your business and quitting your job (and actually loving your life in the process)? Come check out Simple Success Collective before enrollment ends on April 9, 2021! 

Show Notes Transcript

What is entrepreneur burnout and why do you need to be worried about it with your side hustle? Because it can totally get in the way of growing your business and quitting your job!

This episode digs into the research on entrepreneur burnout, and specifically talks about the difference between obsessive passion and harmonious passion, and why it makes all the difference for building a business and a life you love.

Article about the study: What makes entrepreneurs burn out 

Ready to create your unique Burnout-Proof Blueprint for growing your business and quitting your job (and actually loving your life in the process)? Come check out Simple Success Collective before enrollment ends on April 9, 2021! 

Hello and welcome back to a new episode of Burned Out to Biz Boss! Y’all, I can’t even tell you how excited I am for today’s episode all about entrepreneur burnout.

This topic is so important for every entrepreneur, but I think it’s especially important for anyone building a business alongside their full time job. Because side hustle burnout CAN happen, and in many ways, I find that folks start businesses when they’ve burned out on corporate already, so it can become a big old mish-mosh of burnout and nobody wants that!

First, I want to dig into the research on burnout. This is a bit interesting to me but burnout in its most technical terms, and most researched form, is classified as a syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress. 

According to the International Classification of Diseases, “Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

Which I’m just going to go ahead and say: that’s just silly. I personally think there are many, many ways to burn out that don’t necessarily have to deal with your workplace.

You might be surprised to know that there is very little research on entrepreneur burnout because the causes of job burnout tend to be things that entrepreneurs don’t have as many issues with like lack of control, or toxic work situations. Because entrepreneurs have way more freedom to choose their work and their clients and their schedules, and that’s the draw of it for most people, it can be strange to think that burnout can happen for entrepreneurs. But it can, and it can be just as hard to handle as job burnout.

There’s this really hard part about being an entrepreneur that very few people talk about. That’s especially true when it comes to business coaches, because...we’re sort of selling the amazingness of entrepreneurship, right? Why would we tell the truth about something when we’re trying to sell you the dream of it? 

But here’s the thing: When you build a business you really, really love that revolves around a mission you’re passionate about, it is SUPER easy to subconsciously tie your business success to your self-worth. You may not even be aware of it until you realize how crappy you feel when things inevitably don’t go right in your business, which by the way, happens to every entrepreneur.

And when you even subconsciously attach your worth to your business, it can bring back all the bad habits you wanted to avoid by leaving corporate-like working crazy hours or having a terrible boss -- meaning yourself. I swear that people talk to themselves WAY worse than any boss ever would. It’s like we’re all our own personal Miranda Priestlys -- which if you don’t get that reference, for the love of all things go watch the Devil Wears Prada right now.

I actually think passion is a lovely but dangerous thing. We want it in our work, it gives us purpose and helps us keep going.

It can also backfire and can be used against us. Several years ago, in my most favorite job I’ve ever had, I was a career coach and taught career development courses for a fashion college in NYC. I freaking loved it. I could tell you all kinds of stories about getting to visit MTV studios, and all the cool fashion magazines, but that’s for another podcast. 

But I noticed something then that has proven itself to be true over and over again: If you’re going into a creative, passionate field like fashion or theatre or dance or anything like that, it can also feel like you’re signing yourself up for burnout. There’s the whole “You have to pay your dues” and “This is what it takes to succeed”, and everyone does it because they love the work and they want it so badly to pay off. They want to be the success story.

And I hate to say it: But I see this in entrepreneurship too. It’s the dark side of “I’ll do whatever it takes to succeed.” And that’s hard because, on one side of the coin, you need that commitment, but on the other side, it can very easily turn to obsession. And especially if it’s your livelihood that’s on the line and you don’t have a solid fall-back plan like savings or a partner that makes enough money to cover your bills.

In fact, I read about a study I really want to talk about more today. I’m going to quote some of this so I don’t lose the meaning or the context of the study. The study used a “sample of 326 individuals involved in entrepreneurial jobs, and tested the link between job fit and two forms of passion—harmonious and obsessive—and the role of entrepreneurs' destiny beliefs about work (i.e., the belief that a successful career is ‘meant to be’).”

Harmonious passion was defined as being motivated by the work because it brings them satisfaction and is an important part of who they are, and obsessive passion, meant the work is important to someone because of the status, money, or other rewards that it brings. We’ll come back to this in a minute.

The majority of the entrepreneurs answered that they’d experienced burnout at some point. They also found that the entrepreneurs had a very high job fit of 4.26 on a 5 point scale, job fit is defined as “how well the person thought their current job matched their ideal job.” The point is that the majority felt happy with the work they were doing.

But the important discoveries here, which I’m going to quote from this article: “We found that the entrepreneurs who reported high scores of obsessive passion were more likely to say they experienced burnout than those who reported high scores of harmonious passion. The obsessively passionate entrepreneurs reported feeling that work was more emotionally draining and that working all day required a great deal of effort. They indicated feeling frustrated by their work and even that it was breaking them down. For some entrepreneurs, their burnout caused a constant state of anxiety and stress. We also found that among entrepreneurs with obsessive passion, those with a fixed mindset were even more prone to burnout.”

And just a quick note, a fixed mindset means this idea of destiny: meaning it’s either meant to be or not vs. a flexible mindset is believing that entrepreneurship can happen over time with learning and growth.

For some additional context on obsessive passion, the entrepreneurs experiencing it couldn’t imagine living without their work, whereas entrepreneurs with harmonious passion saw their work as just one part of their multifaceted lives.

So why am I talking about this and how is it important for individuals building their businesses on top of their jobs?

Here’s why: Most of my clients really want to be full-time entrepreneurs. And normally when we first start working together, there’s a sense of impatience to quit their jobs. They see quitting their jobs as the solution for making their lives better. Quitting their jobs means they’ve made it. And honestly, most business coaches market around this idea because it’s really compelling and helps people buy coaching, right? And I get that because I help my clients create plans to grow their businesses and quit, but honestly -- the quitting is meant to be a side effect, NOT the goal.

But what can happen is that they can become obsessed with their business and its success. They get so wound up in making it work, that they forget that the end goal is NOT to quit their job. The end goal is to create a life they actually enjoy living. And the really mind-blowing piece of all of this: That you can create a life you love before you ever quit, and doing that makes the entire entrepreneurial journey so much easier on you.

It’s so interesting that so many of my clients or potential clients forget the deeper reason for why they want to be entrepreneurs. And the overwhelming majority of them want it for freedom. They want the freedom to choose their schedules, to choose their clients, to choose the work they do and to love that work, and to have time for all the other important aspects of their lives that working a corporate job doesn’t currently give them.

But instead of working towards THAT goal, which is building a business they absolutely love running and can step away from without anxiety, instead, they focus so hard on making it successful quickly that they start doing things they don’t even like doing.

They choose strategies they hate because they think it’s the quote “right” strategy. That it will help them grow faster. But here’s the thing: If you build your business on strategies you hate doing, you’ve basically just created a new job you hate.

And this goes for the services you offer too. If you offer services based on what you think other people want instead of on what you really want to be doing, you’re just creating a job. You’re forcing yourself into a predefined role for no reason. It’s like you’re writing your own job description based on what you think’s going to work vs. what you really want to be doing and what you want your ideal life to look like.

And this is where I think it’s so important not to follow a cookie-cutter approach or a formula. Because however you’re growing your business, you will need to keep doing those things for a while - even after you quit your job. So if you have the stuff you have to do to grow your business, you’re not going to love running your business after you quit. You’re focused on the wrong goal. 

You don’t actually want to do anything it takes to be successful, you want a business you love running and that doesn’t take over your entire life, that allows you to support yourself financially. And I think that is the difference between obsessive passion and harmonious passion -- you know the difference.

The business is a means for having the power to design a life you absolutely love. Your business is not your life.

And I know there are some of you out there going, “Duh!” but I also know that some of you are going, “Uh-oh…”. And I’ll say to you: When you stop obsessing about your business, and you start loving the life you have now instead of wishing it away, you have the energy to keep going for however long it takes to build the business and the life you dream of having. 

It’s not about who reaches the so-called finish line of quitting your job first, because quitting your job isn’t the finish line anyway. When you quit your job, a new goal will take its place, and then another, and then another. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be waiting forever to enjoy my life. Because we only ever actually have the moment we’re in. We only have today. 

If you’re not enjoying being an entrepreneur right now, whether you’re already full time or doing it with your job, I want you to really reflect on why. Is it because you’re trying to force it to happen on your timeline? Because you think “there” (meaning success and money) are better than “here” and now?

And what could shift in your business to allow you to enjoy the work? I think we forget when we build our businesses that we have 100% control over everything we do -- all of our marketing strategies, services, commitments, clients -- it’s easy to forget that they’re all decisions we can make every day. So if you’re feeling burned out or unhappy, you have the power to shift. You have the power to do something differently.

You have the power to let it be easy for yourself and to stop stressing over it every second of the day. You have the power to enjoy your life today, before you quit your job, before you have loads of clients.

Because your business isn’t worth burning out over. And I know from all the clients I’ve worked with that you can have fun while building your business. And when you find balance, you can stop obsessing over your business and start having fun with the experiment of it all. 

When we obsess, we push away the fun and the silliness, and honestly...the clients too. Have you ever gotten on a sales call with someone who REALLY wanted you for a client, and you wanted to run the other way? 

Yeah...graspiness and obsession are not fun energies to be in y’all!

But a totally different approach is possible. And you can enjoy your life while you grow your business. It doesn’t have to be stressful. 

And if you want to figure out how to do this, I recommend checking out my new mastermind program, Simple Success Collective, where you’re create your unique Burnout-Proof Blueprint to grow your business and quit your job, while still loving your life in the process. You can check it out at staciemitchell.com/collective. Enrollment closes on April 9 of 2020. If you’re listening after, you can also apply to work with me 1:1 at staciemitchell.com/business.

And if you loved this podcast, please go rate and review on iTunes. Or take a screenshot and share this to your Instagram stories and tag @staciemitchell. This helps spread the message and it also just totally makes my day too! 

Have a lovely week ahead!