It's inevitable: everyone who owns his or her own business at some point experiences "small business burn-out," that malaise and fatigue that hits you when your brain has just been working too hard and you are just sick and tired of constantly being occupied with thoughts of "your business."
Because after all, it's your business and your business alone. If you're not going to do the work, no one else is. And there's no such thing as a "day off." It often feels like a 24-7 job, constantly requiring attention, ingenuity, creativity, and forward-movement...stagnation is the enemy of the start-up. You can't let those small business muscles atrophy or you could find yourself in a dangerous downward spiral of sloth.
We at Water Gallery are no different. Like all of you small businesses owners, we experience burn-out. We experience the exhaustion and the overload. We are incredibly dedicated to our business-- we literally eat, sleep, and breathe it. At times it seems like there is no end to the tasks one needs to do to not only keep a business going, but also growing, expanding, and progressing.
It occupies our morning time, nighttime, middle-of-the-day time, and sometimes even our (attempted) break time...it's hard to take breaks when your mind is constantly occupied, isn't it? No amount of yoga or meditation can completely negate the obsessive thoughts of a small business owner!
How does one reconcile their mental and emotional exhaustion with the nagging to desire to work on one's business at all times? There's always something to be done, a stone un-turned, a task awaiting your attention, a road that hasn't been taken.
So, there's no easy answer to the conundrum of reconciling the nurturing and growing of a small business while also allowing your mind to take its much-needed breaks. I think when one has his or her own business there just has to be a degree of acceptance-- you can force yourself to take physical breaks from your work, but taking mental breaks are virtually impossible.
And if you're not cut out for the constancy of the maintaining, the creating, and the DOING, perhaps a small business is not the right choice. We at Water Gallery have learned that while we are in the process of growing this thing, a true break has to wait...for now. This time of growth is just too crucial, regardless of the waves of burn-out. So, onward and upward, fellow small business owners! The journey may be arduous, but it's worth it.