Unlocking Relief: Strategies to Overcome Burnout As A Marketing Agency Owner
Burnout. I know it seems like a jaded topic – especially as it received so much attention and discussion during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout 2023, there was a shift in work styles that showed many professionals and entrepreneurs reverting to pre-pandemic work-life boundaries…or rather the lack thereof.
And, for many of us entrepreneurs, we stay in denial about burnout because we love the work we do or we just accept a “grind because someone’s gotta do it” mentality.
Recognizing the Signs:
I’m not a therapist, mental health expert, or burnout guru but I am a business owner managing client requests, developing a team, and navigating a home life with a 4 year old and almost 2-year old… so I’ve experienced my share of overwhelming, what the heck is happening, I need a break days. Personally, what I’ve discovered is that burnout is a creeping stalker and it’s stalking way more people than you might think.
The sucky part is that ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. Instead, it takes a toll on us physically, mentally, and professionally. Let’s delve into the warning signs – those red flags that might be waving right in front of you, affecting not just you but your team and client relationships too.
Common Causes and Collaborative Solutions:
You’re Passion Has You Overcommitted
Remember when you started this journey fueled by creativity and passion? As your agency grew, so did the workload. It’s time to clearly define where your genius is needed most. This doesn’t mean you have to fully step out of client work, but you do need to understand where it makes sense for you to jump in and where your time might be better, such as developing your team or closing sales. Even if you hire more staff, you can’t reduce the number of hours you work if you won’t reduce what’s on your plate. Having clear work-life boundaries and effective time management strategies will also help you reduce your commitments.
Your Team Doesn’t Have The Support They Need
Are your team members turning to you for everything under the sun? Whether it’s having processes in place or having the actual staff count to support the capacity of work, your team might be coming to you for too many things because you don’t have the right resources in place for them. Consider chatting with them to understand where the real pain points are and begin redesigning your processes to better equip them for their day to day work. You can still be a resource for them…but you don’t want to be their only resource.
You Can’t Let Go
Your commitment to excellence might have you pushing on the limits of perfectionism and micromanagement. Teams thrive when they have a certain amount of autonomy and when you can trust them to do the job. Spend time determining where you can give your team decision making power and where you can step out of the implementation.
You’re In Fierce Competition
The intensity of competition in the marketing world is clear – from new wannabe social media marketers to industry trends to AI, you’re never short of things you need to catch up and capitalize on. Your resilience and ability to be confident in your brand messaging will play a big role in navigating these pressures. Your action step here is to try and block out the noise by scheduling specific time to research your competitors and study trends – outside of this time block, you’re focused on bigger and better things.
You’re Letting Scope Creep Run Your Day
No is a beautiful word and it’s a word meant to be used more often than just telling your kids that they can’t eat cookies for breakfast. Clients have high expectations when it comes to anything branding or marketing related and they often don’t grasp the depth of work needed on seemingly simple projects. It’s your job, as the marketing expert, to guide your clients into realistic expectations, set the boundary, and say no when necessary.
You Don’t Have Control Of Your Numbers
Numbers might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re the heartbeat of your business and provide operational clarity. If you’re not staying up to date on your KPI’s, then you’re running your business with off-the-whim ideas and you likely have hidden stress from being in a constant state of confusion of where your business actually stands. Consider setting up project management boards, like with Monday.com, or getting your CRM reports cleaned up so that you can start keeping better track of your KPI’s to make strategic decisions.
Your Team Is Running With Ambiguity
You gotta love the everyone pitch in mentality of startups and small teams. Though, there’s an appreciation in defining everyone’s lane. That’s not to encourage a stay in your lane culture but instead to find alignment and synergy in your team. When job descriptions and roles aren’t clearly defined you end up with overlap that leads to frustration or gaps that lead to missed work. Neither of which are good for you, your team, or your clients. Take the time to clearly define who is responsible for what.
Holistic Approaches to Preventing Burnout
The list above identifies strategic action you can take in your business to reduce your potential for burnout. Yet, there’s a plethora of personal development and self-care options you can also explore. These might include daily mindfulness routines, new exercise habits, or even seeking professional support. Often, as entrepreneurs, our work day doesn’t stop when you leave the office or close our laptops – our gears are always turning with ideas. It’s important we find ways to balance our personal and professional lives.
Move Forward Without Burnout
Think of these strategies not as mere solutions but as keys to unlocking a door to a more balanced, resilient, and successful you. Remember, this journey is yours, and we’re here to be the partners you can lean on as your client load and team grow. We’re with you every step of the way toward excellence.