As an entrepreneur, it’s surprisingly easy to get addicted to being busy. After all, you survived the earlier stages of this journey—where most new ventures get dashed on the rocks—in no small part due your ability to out-grind the competition.
You know what it takes to stay disciplined. When someone like Dolly Parton says “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain,” you know what she’s talking about!
Here’s the problem with this mindset, though. You absolutely do need it during the beginning stages of a venture, when the model is still mostly theoretical and the cash flow fitful. But once you grow beyond, it can hold you back—and even kill your business.
Let’s First Do Some Diagnostics
Are you “doing too much, too quickly”? Here are possible symptoms:
- The quality of your product or service is faltering, as measured by a metric like increased return rates, more complaints from clients or staff, or shortened average customer lifecycle;
- You’ve begun to take back lower level work from your team, just to keep up with the workflow;
- You experience major and regular cash flow shortages, despite having more than enough revenue coming in;
- You’re still living and breathing a startup existence, even though your business has advanced well beyond startup.
The Dangers—What If You Keep This Up?
1. Entrepreneurial burnout. As the saying goes, being an entrepreneur is about living a few years of your life like others won’t, so you can live a life others can’t. But a few years is different than a few decades! Sprint too hard, too long, and something will break.
2. Some key business system will rupture. Maybe your customers will revolt in mass because of quality issues. Maybe you’ll face a staff mutiny. But a blowout of some fashion is coming.
3. Legal/financial catastrophe. For instance, maybe a burned out employee will steal from you. Maybe you’ll play fast and loose with some deliverable, inviting a lawsuit.
What Can You Do About It?
First off, admit that you have this problem. Nothing is going to change about your workflow—or how you interact with the business—until you consciously articulate your challenges.
Second, clarify the real reasons why you’re overwhelmed. Root causes are not always obvious! Maybe you’re working nights and weekends to bring in new business, because you spent so many years without enough work that you’re now irrationally terrified of scarcity.
Finally, get help from someone who’s qualified and smart and who’s been there. I would love to help you get the perspective you need. Please get in touch for a consultation, or download my ebook to get insights about how to end the overwhelm.