How To Not Get Burnt Out In Your Small Business

Happy New Year! I hope the last few weeks have been filled with family, food and yummy wine! This may seem like an odd subject to tackle the first week of the year when everyone is all fired up for new beginnings, but I wanted to share a few tips for when the buzz wears off in a few weeks.

Being a small business owner is stressful and we’re human- we can only take so much. Between marketing, payroll, taxes, inventory, family, friends, holidays, taking care of ourselves and the million other things that are going on in our lives, there’s a good chance burnout will happen. But, what if we could do things to recharge and refresh to avoid it?

It happened to me recently, which is why I wanted to take a minute to write about it. If you’ve been reading my blog, there’s a good chance that you already know the last few years have been tough- both personally and professionally- and it finally hit me. HARD.

My shoulders were in a constant knot resulting in headaches, my skin was awful and I mean awful. I developed a mild case of eczema brought on by stress…on my face 🙁 I was irritable and tired and just overall, burnt the f out.

I knew I needed some time off, but as you know, taking time off as a business owner is pretty hard. Such a simple task, yet so often unattainable. But, I honestly knew if I didn’t, it was only going to get worse. So, I automated as much as I could, in my job I can’t completely walk away, but I can lighten the load and made sure that for a week the majority of things were taken care of. Plus, with it being the holidays, I knew things would be slow.

OMG. Y’all, it was amazing. I let my phone die (gasp). Multiple times (double gasp). I slept in until 10 AM a few times- it has been years (definitely pre-kids) since the last time that happened!

I ate way more than I normally do and didn’t feel guilty about it. I drank yummy wines that I got for Christmas, but really enjoyed them. I took the time to drink and eat slowly instead of rushing through a pot of coffee for breakfast and eating lunch in front of my computer.

If you haven’t taken some time in awhile, you NEED to. You deserve it! Figure out a way to automate as many tasks as you can or have someone close to you that you trust take over, even partially, while you recharge. I can honestly say that I’m refreshed and ready to take on 2019!

Here are some tips that I’ve found that really helped me:

Get Clear

Get really clear on what you’re doing and why. I spent a good bit of time reflecting these past few weeks on where I want my business to go, what I need to do to get there and why I want to do it. It was a great exercise that really helped me reduce stress because I now had a very clear goal and from there I was able to map out how to get there.

Take some time and think about your priorities. Then, think about your time. Are you able to achieve your priorities with the time you have available? If not, what needs to change? What can you improve? What do you need to add or let go to get there?

This helps you focus on what you really want to do in your business so that you can stop wasting time, energy and money on things that aren’t serving your purpose. Do you want to spend more time with your family? Do you want to make more money? Do you want to add new products and/or services to your business this year? Figure out what they are and write them down. Then, map out what needs to be done to get there.


Like I said above, I let my phone die multiple times and it was amazing. There wasn’t a constant urge to check my phone. I didn’t jump when I heard a notification buzz. I was able to be present with my family during the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I still checked my phone and responded to things if I needed to. But, I didn’t let it rule me- which I have a bad habit of doing. I knew there were certain times where I could just keep it off and I did. It was awesome.

Maybe try letting your phone die every once in a while or turn it off at 7 PM and just unplug for the rest of the night. Also- try to avoid checking it FIRST thing in the morning. I noticed a huge difference when that wasn’t the first thing I was doing in the morning. Seriously, unless you’re in a profession where emergencies happen quite often, try it!


Since I had been feeling so bad and tired, I hadn’t really been running or exercising. Let’s face it, who wants to go run when you feel like crap and have a pounding headache? So, to be honest, I maybe ran 3 times since my half-marathon in November. I wasn’t looking forward to it either. I knew it was going to be hard because it had been so long. But, I’m glad I did it. It sucked, but it made me remember why I do it. I felt like I accomplished something, broke a heavy sweat (thanks, Louisiana) which always feels cleansing and was reminded that it’s my space to get creative and dream big. Many of my ideas come when I’m running. It’s just an overall good experience- it also helps that knot in my shoulder loosen up a bit 🙂

Whatever you’re into- running, hiking, swimming, golf, etc. – go do it. Even if you can only squeeze it in for a short time. It is amazing how much better it can make you feel. It also helps your health in the long run. Has it been a few years? Start small. Been putting it off because it will be hard? Stop overthinking it and just go do it. You’ll feel and see results, not just in your body, but in your mindset as well!

Find Mentors

This is a big one because as entrepreneurs this road can be lonely at times. There are just things that we go through that others may not understand. Have you thought about hiring a coach? I’ve heard great things about having a coach to guide you, but I haven’t tried it. There are tons out there. Do some research and find one that would work for you.

Not everyone has the money to hire a coach though. If that’s the case, find some people that you can follow that provide motivation and useful information for you + your business. For example, two people that I closely follow are Gary Vaynerchuk and Lewis Howes. Both provide motivation, inspiration (which we can all use) and actionable business strategies that I do actually use in my business! They don’t know me, but that’s ok- maybe one day 🙂

Connect With Others

This is a big one. Sometimes we tend to work so much that we forget to just unwind and connect. Missed that annual camping trip because you couldn’t get away? Maybe you missed a fun trip to the beach for the same reason. It’s understandable that we have to miss certain things because we have a lot to take care of, but we need to take time to just be ourselves- not the entrepreneur.

So, try to schedule a fun activity with friends or family that you haven’t seen in awhile. Maybe plan a trip and what you need to do in order to be able to take that time off. Or maybe just some drinks to catch up. You’ll feel so much better after!

I hope that helps- you’re doing great- keep going!

Feel free to reach out with any questions or comments that you have- I honestly love talking about business and helping other entrepreneurs grow!

P.S. I’m happy to report that my eczema is clearing up!  


  1. Cassia says:

    This is great insight, thanks for sharing! I went through something similar in August and it just so happened to be right in time because the mad rush that my photography business went through in the Fall/Winter holiday season needed all of my energy!;) I’m excited to see all of your success in 2019 because you are off to an amazing start with this post!

    • nicole bernard says:

      Thank you!! So sorry that you went through that, but happy to hear that it’s better! Your work is amazing- can’t wait to see what the future holds for you 🙂

  2. Jamie says:

    ❤️❤️❤️. I really needed to hear that right now. From the outside looking in, you have everything in order and are always on top of your game. So to know that you can still get overwhelmed after being in this type of business for awhile, makes me have a sigh of relief. Of course, I am not happy to hear that you were having a tough time but the fact that you recognized it and did something about it makes it easier for me to allow myself to take a break as well. I’m very happy to hear that your break was a success. ❤️. You definitely deserve it.

    • nicole bernard says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read this, Jamie! Being an entrepreneur as you know, is the most rewarding job, but at the same time, the hardest job. EVER. It’s such a unique situation that can be seriously overwhelm us if we’re not careful. You definitely need to take a break sometimes- you totally deserve it! Seriously love your work!!

  3. Selma says:

    Good tips! We always need to notice when we need to take care of ourselves with things get crazy. It affects us mentally amd physically. Thank you for this post. I can see me referring to it.

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