The 5 Reasons Most Entrepreneurs Burn Out

07/25/2017 10:50 am ET

If you’re afraid of burning out, be sure to avoid these major motivating factors.

Entrepreneurial burnout is a real phenomenon, and one that’s hard to avoid—unless you know the major root causes that lead to it. Burnout sets in when an entrepreneur is overstressed, disinterested in their work, and unmotivated to continue; depending on its severity, it could compromise the startup’s potential success, or lead to your departure.

But what is it that causes entrepreneurs to burn out in the first place? In my experience as an entrepreneur, coach, and mentor, it’s been one or more of these factors:

1. Long hours with no breaks. It’s natural for entrepreneurs to work long hours, cutting into nights and weekends regularly, but when you do it with almost no breaks and no vacations, you’re asking for trouble. It doesn’t matter how excited for the project you are; you need to take time away from your work to decompress.

2. Life consumption. Burnout also frequently sets in when an entrepreneur’s business starts to consume their entire life. If you start skipping family time, avoiding hobbies, and neglecting friends, you’ll eventually find yourself resentful of your position.

3. Unexpected turns. Some entrepreneurs love the surprises that inevitably come with running a business, but for others, there’s a hard limit to how much uncertainty they can take. Having to see a fifth, sixth, and seventh iteration of design can be tiresome.

4. Leadership woes. Others burn out due to the demands of leadership. They have to make hard decisions about their employees, and have to bear responsibility for every major choice they make for the company. That can take its toll on you, especially when you’re unprepared for those demands.

5. No milestones. Every entrepreneur—and every business—needs regular milestones to feel accomplished. Without those little victories, any entrepreneur will eventually burn out.

If you can avoid these factors, you can keep yourself passionate, motivated, and healthy as you keep pushing your startup to success. The entrepreneurial lifestyle is a demanding one, but it’s manageable if you know what to prepare for and expect.

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