SCORE Small Business Blog

Life Balance: How to Avoid Business Owner Burnout

Woman practicing yoga at sunriseWhen you have your own business and it is successful it takes over your life. As the business grows it takes more and more time. When you are in business a commitment to work long hours is a given. As you struggle to continuously build and grow your business, be aware of feeling overwhelmed and consumed by the business. It’s critical to take time off even a personal day to rejuvenate yourself. It gives you time to think about things without the stress of the day to day business. New ideas will come to you when you are away and have an opportunity to look at other businesses similar to yours in other cities and countries. Consider taking courses or seminars to enhance your skills and expertise that can be implemented to make the business more manageable and efficient. Send employees to courses and seminars to enhance their skills which will empower them. It is a perk that will be well worth the investment.

A problem many business owners face is the fear that something will go wrong when they are away and that their employees will not manage the business as well. With so much to take care of, how can an entrepreneur ever relax?

According to a survey conducted by American Express, 40 percent of the smallest business owners—those with less than $200,000 in annual revenues—plan no vacation time whatsoever in any given year. And even those who do get away regularly check in with their office and worry about the business and all the things that can go wrong.

In many cases business trips end up being the vacation. It is never relaxing and when the entrepreneur comes back to the office the work is piled up and catching up takes days.

Despite these concerns, you can schedule a revitalizing getaway with some careful planning. For example, empower those in charge with your major concerns and allow them to make decisions. In addition, offer a list of professionals that can be contacted for advice, if necessary.

Learning to delegate responsibilities is vital if you want the business to run efficiently when owners are away. Another option may be to close for a few days and allow everyone time off. A few days or a week during a slow time may be the solution to an entrepreneur that does not feel their employees are capable of running the business effectively in case a critical decision needs to be made.

Other ways to avoid business owner burnout is to never be alone in decisions, always ask for help from other professionals including SCORE Counselors with the expertise that you need. You can also talk to competitors in other parts of the country or within the trade association that you are a member of to come up with new ideas and ways to deal with business issues. Always make sure that your family supports your hard work and understands the time it takes to run a business. The harder you work the luckier you get. Balancing life and work is essential for your mental health and wellness.

For more small business management ideas, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. New Haven SCORE is located at Gateway Community College Call 203-865-7645 for an appointment or online at

Julie BranderBusiness Mentor, SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business. | @juliebrander | More from Julie

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Discussion (8) Comment

  1. mikeVisitor

    thank you for this great article, I love it.

  2. san diego yoga classes…

    The purpose of the classes is to help you establish or deepen your daily meditation and yoga practice and help you achieve your highest potential. I hope you take advantage of this opportunity to learn the wonderful arts or meditation, yoga and pranaya…

  3. Julie BranderAuthor

    thank you for your comments
    always remember to have fun in business
    when it stops being fun…it is time to get out

  4. Check out the books: The Power of Focus and The 80/20 Principle. Both get across the idea that shorter, intense bursts of concentrated focus yield the greatest results. A good point for working on the business not–always in the business.

  5. [...] some sort of get away during the year. You can express your main concerns with the one you leave in charge and allow them to make [...]

  6. Bill DueeaseVisitor

    Allow me to quote the author to reveal the key problem with why entrepreneurs do not seek life balance.
    “A problem many business owners face is the fear that something will go wrong when they are away and that their employees will not manage the business as well. With so much to take care of, how can an entrepreneur ever relax?”

    The reason most people start a business is to create the life they want by being their own boss. But they allow the business to boss them.

    An “entrepreneur” is someone who owns and operates a business where the business controls and runs the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs ONLY work IN the business, and feel the need to control everything in the business as described above.

    A “business owner” owns and operates a business where the business works FOR the owner. The business owner works primarily ON the business when the owner wants to. Business owners take care of themselves through having life balance so the owner has the time, energy, focus and health to enjoy running the business and enjoy and thrive in other parts of the owner’s life.

  7. Sharon WilsonVisitor

    The article is really good for business people who are workholics, that they do not have time even for their dearest family.

  8. first of all you have to see where you can cut your cost.


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