At one point, you probably hoped and dreamed for the creative career—whether it be part time or full time—you have now. You probably had thoughts like, “Once I can do what I love every day, I’ll be happy, fulfilled, and motivated to work and create every day.”
Then, before you knew it, you had what you thought you wanted, but a busy schedule, too much work, life, and other factors left you feeling unmotivated, less passionate, and simply struggling to enjoy the work.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, there’s a chance you’ve experienced burnout in the past or are currently experiencing burnout. But, there’s good news.
Krista Marie Lynch is a photographer, business coach, and the creator and host of the She Calls Her Shots Podcast and Membership. Krista is no stranger to experiencing burnout, which is why Krista helps photographers and creatives recognize burnout in their own lives and offers practical guidance for how to overcome it.
What is burnout, & how do you know when you’re burnt out?
As a creative entrepreneur, more than likely, you’ve had a few run-ins with burnout, because according to Krista, burnout is—to a point—inevitable. Now, don’t let this intimidate you. We’ll talk about how to overcome and combat burnout shortly, but before we do that, we need to discuss what burnout is.
In this episode, Krista defines burnout as a period of time where you’re feeling drained of all creativity. You’re finding it hard to create content, run your business, or even just show up. Krista emphasizes that burnout is not just feeling unmotivated to work or do what you love; it is a deeper issue and shouldn’t be ignored.
Krista explains that these feelings of burnout can feel very surface level at first, and many creative entrepreneurs will ignore them or try to brush them off. However, burnout is more than just a bad day. It is when you’re beginning to doubt if you’ll ever create anything good again and you’re afraid you won’t ever get out of this state of burnout.
Friend, I know that’s a heavy definition and a lot to take in, but I want to encourage you to keep reading, because whether you’re burnt out right now or have been in the past, burnout does not have to be a permanent state; there’s good news ahead.
Is burnout inevitable for creative entrepreneurs?
Okay, I know I said there was good news ahead, and yet, here I am about to tell you that burnout is basically an inevitable experience as a creative entrepreneur. So, I get it if you have doubts, but hang with me; I promise this episode gets more positive.
First, we need to discuss why burnout happens. According to Krista, burnout typically happens for one of two reasons or a combination of both:
- You’re going through a growth or launch phase in your business, which requires all of your energy.
- You’re in a creative mode with all the ideas flowing, but there’s so much going on that you get overwhelmed and can’t move forward.
Basically, being a creative entrepreneur requires a lot of work and comes with a lot of pressure. And, while you’re excited about new ideas, you can’t do everything at once, and that can feel overwhelming and defeating. As a result, burnout can’t be avoided entirely.
Alright, that makes sense, but why is knowing burnout is inevitable good news?
Krista explains that when you expect burnout to happen, you can better prepare for it and create priorities and put boundaries in place that help you navigate through seasons of burnout. Without this expectation, when burnout hits (sometimes out of nowhere), the response is often a “just push through it” or “just keep working” mindset, which only keeps the cycle of burnout going.
Need help creating boundaries or defining your priorities. Tune into “Episode 001: Are You PRIORITIZING What’s Most Important in Your Personal Life & Business?”
Bottom line? It’s OKAY to experience burnout. When you accept the fact that burnout is inevitable as a creative entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to do more than just “weather the storm.” Instead, you can prepare.
How can creative entrepreneurs overcome burnout?
Alright, hopefully you have a better understanding of what burnout is, because now comes the positive part of this episode: learning how to get back on track with your goals when you feel burnt out.
1. Get comfortable with burnout, & give yourself grace.
I’m guessing this sounds easier said than done, but Krista shares that when you’re in a season of burnout, it’s important to be intentional about honoring that space and not just push through it.
For example, honor your season of burnout by practicing self affirmations and self love and by being intentional to take care of yourself each day.
Krista adds that self-care will look different for everyone. For you it might include listening or reading a book, getting out of the house or not feeling guilty about taking a day to chill out on the couch.
Regardless of how you choose to get comfortable with burnout, the main thing to remember is to not push yourself through the season of burnout; embrace it and honor that space.
2. Find out what triggers your feelings of burnout.
In addition to accepting burnout, it’s also important to determine what triggers burnout for you. While you may not realize it, especially when you’re in a season of burnout, there are likely things in your life or business that are leading to these feelings of burnout.
For example, maybe you’re regularly comparing yourself to others in your industry, wondering why you’re not doing what they’re doing, and feeling that you should be doing more to keep up with them. If that’s the case, perhaps social media is a trigger for you, and you might need to take a break from Instagram or small business Facebook groups.
In this step, Krista encourages you to dig deep and identify those things for yourself that are triggering feelings of self doubt. When you understand what triggers burnout, you are better able to give yourself grace when seasons of burnout can’t be helped, as well as make changes in an attempt to avoid burnout.
3. Find someone you can talk to who is going to encourage you.
In addition to giving yourself grace and identifying triggers, it’s also helpful to seek out someone who understands what it’s like to own a small business and create a mutual exchange of support for one another. In other words, find another small business owner who’s willing to be your accountability partner.
For example, Krista shares that she has an accountability partner she checks in with regularly. This relationship has been so meaningful, because it’s given Krista a chance to talk to someone who knows what it’s like to own a business and understands the feelings and struggles that come with being a creative entrepreneur.
Is there someone in your community you could have this kind of relationship with? Chances are, that person is closer than you think and would also value such a relationship.
Need help building industry friendships? Tune into “Episode 046: How to Foster Community in Your Industry as a Creative Entrepreneur with Courtney Cannon.”
4. Release the pressure off of yourself.
As a creative entrepreneur it can be easy to think that the business goals you have must be accomplished immediately and then make back-to-back deadlines to meet those goals with no room to breathe.
But, before you know it, you’ve packed so much into your schedule that you’re not able to handle everything, and those feelings of burnout come creeping in. This is why Krista stresses that you need to be able to release yourself from your timelines and goals. Because, at the end of the day, there are some deadlines that you have to keep and there are some you don’t.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer and you’ve given a wedding couple a deadline for delivering their gallery, that’s a deadline you have to keep. Whereas, if you have an educational blog post that’s only scheduled on your calendar that no one is expecting, you can change the date and adjust that deadline.
In this episode, Krista suggests taking a look at your self-imposed deadlines and goals and finding the balance between what needs to happen now and what are bigger picture goals that don’t have to be met immediately. Then, intentionally release yourself from the things on your timeline that you can, and revisit your timeline when you’re able to with realistic deadlines that you can actually meet.
5. Find material to watch or listen to, & build yourself back up.
Okay, before you start buying up a bunch of self-help books and saving podcast episodes about all things being a small business owner, hang on a sec.
Krista shares that this step is about finding materials—business related or otherwise—you can watch, listen to, or read that are inspirational and motivational. In other words, you are purposefully filling yourself up with content that builds you up.
That said, there’s a reason this is the last step. Krista emphasizes that you don’t want to force yourself through this step, and you want to be in a space where you can consume content that truly lifts you up.
For example, if you’re just starting to work through the feelings of burnout, it most likely isn’t the best time to consume more information that adds to your to-do list, because this kind of content can add to the pressure you’re already feeling. Instead, seek out positive and inspirational material when you feel ready for it.
To reiterate, the goal of this step is not to simply trade one overwhelming feeling for another. It is about being intentional about choosing something to watch, listen to, or read that you can truly absorb and help you move forward from a season of burnout to a season of drive and creativity in a positive way.
Burnout may be inevitable, but you can overcome it!
Well, I think we know by now, burnout is a part of the creative entrepreneurial journey and of owning a small business. But, I hope that your perspective on burnout has changed and that you’ve come to realize that it’s okay to experience burnout, that these feelings are something you can talk about, and that you can overcome burnout.
Seasons of burnout will come, and when they do, use the steps Krista shared: honor the season, determine your triggers, lean on your accountability partner, let go of unnecessary deadlines, and build yourself back up.
And, don’t be afraid to take a break, give yourself grace, and take time to rest when you need it. You’re a small business owner—which is a superhero in my book—but you’re still human.
Want to hear more from Krista Marie?
If you loved hearing Krista share how you can get back on track with your goals when you feel burnt out, you’re going to love her other content and resources!
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
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