How to Avoid Business Owner Burnout

I started my own photo booth business because side hustling was the most practical way for me to create a life of freedom I was looking for. Plus, I love parties and I love having a good time. But, let’s be honest. Owning a photo booth business is not always parties and fruit punch.

There are all the responsibilities: marketing, managing leads, selling, customer service, fielding sponsorship requests, onboarding clients, invoicing, and bookkeeping.

And we do all that while juggling all the other priorities: maybe working a full-time job, running a household, and taking time off every now and then, to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

How do we do it all!?!

Well, first, don’t beat yourself up.

Don’t get so stressed about maintaining that work/life balance that you don’t even stand a chance. Keep your business humming along and avoid burnout with these five tips:

      1. Have Fun

In my experience, I’ve found that changing the way you think and feel about something can significantly change the way you perform and experience it.

In general, the way you feel about something is the way it will be. If you think a task will suck, it’s gonna suck. If you think you aren’t good at something, you won’t perform it well.

When you first start your business, all those different business tasks can seem arduous. For me, it was leads. I dreaded responding to leads because I wanted to be working ON my business, not in it. But I wasn’t there yet. Without any staff, it was just me and those potential clients. I had to change my attitude and shift my perspective about leads.

Instead of dreading different tasks or performing them poorly, remember why you started your business. Recognize that each and every single task you complete contributes to growing your business.

Find your joyful purpose in the business tasks you need to accomplish and get them all done. After all, that’s how you make the money!

     2. Follow the 80/20 rule

You might have heard before that 80% of your business should come from 20% of your clients. That’s because there’s a theory out there that this 80/20 distribution shows up a lot in business and economics. Turns out, it fits here too.

About 20% of your time produces about 80% of your results. What does that really mean for everyday business tasks? That most of what you’re doing isn’t significantly impacting your bottom line.

It also means that you want to identify those things that most impact your bottom line and make sure they get done and get done well.

Put mechanisms in place to track where your leads come from and which of your sales tactics are most effective in converting clients into bookings. They are the most important tasks to focus on. The rest, frankly, just don’t matter that much when you really think about it.

     3. Create Systems and Workflows

A workflow is like an automated, routine process that you can put in place to yield a particular outcome for your business. And a system is the way you get that workflow going and get it all done faster! There are online tools that can assist business owners in managing their systems and workflows, called Customer Relations Management Systems (or CRMs).

Instead of spending hours replying to emails, free yourself up to do other things in life, like spending time with your family, lying on the beach…or on the couch!

Create an effective workflow that does the work for you. Like whenever someone submits an inquiry, it could trigger an email workflow that is entirely automated. Creating this kind of workflow includes:

  • Mapping out the workflow
  • Creating emails that follow up and move your leads from stage 1 to stage 2, and so on
  • Develop questionnaire(s) that get you the answers you need
  • Set up the email system and test the workflow automation

     4. Hire Staff and Contractors

Before you rush to hire staff and contractors, think about your strengths and weaknesses. Remember what work you like to do and what work you are qualified to do, and be honest.

For example, I could work on my own website and get something out there, but should I? That’s not the best use of my time, especially if I have to spend too much time learning about how to build my own website. Hiring a web developer gives me more time to spend growing my business doing the things I am good at.

Know what you are good at, what you like to do, and what you contribute to your business. Hire out for the things that require a specialized skill, like web development or graphic design.

Also, hire competent workers to complete the tasks that aren’t your favorite things to do. You can train your staff and contractors in these sorts of tasks. Maybe eventually, you don’t want to work every single weekend, so hire and train staff to run the photo booth. Or, maybe you cannot stand cold sales calls or book-keeping. You can hire and train for both of these positions.  

     5. Create Boundaries Around Your Work

Determine how much time you realistically have to spend doing things, and then stick to that time limit. Yeah, it’s easier said than done, but you can do it! Take a little time to schedule how long you have and when you are going to get stuff done each week and you’ll set yourself up for success.

Consider batching your work to help keep boundaries in place and be efficient. Batching does take some additional time and a lot of discipline, but it pays off. Turns out that constantly switching between types of tasks wears out your brain faster. Batching similar tasks together can avoid brain fatigue and make better use of your time.

Instead of switching between tasks, like stopping to answer an email while you’re in the middle of doing some book-keeping, lump all those similar tasks together to get them accomplished more efficiently. Try scheduling days or hours for specific tasks, like sales calls or writing blog posts.

This new schedule might mean closing out your email inbox or turning off some alarms. But then when it is time to answer emails, set your timer, open that inbox, and respond away!

Also, schedule yourself in some downtime. Take breaks. Make a coffee date. Have a snack. Keep to those appointments too, and don’t let them get you distracted, but do pause for self-care in your day, every day. Or else you will get burned out! Your brain needs a break!

Avoid Photo Booth Business Owner Burnout

As a business owner, there will be times when you want to sell that booth and throw in the towel. Before you do, stop and consider what your options are to keep your business and grow it.

  • Remember your purpose. Have FUN! Shift your attitude towards the work you are doing for your business and remember why you started it all in the first place. Each and every task you complete gets you one step further in growing your photo booth business. Stick with it.
  • Work, but don’t overwork. Take stock of what you are doing, like how many hours you are working and the different tasks you are accomplishing. Can you do less work and still achieve the same results? Then do less!
  • Use systems and workflows. Put in a little more time to set up systems and workflows that will free up time for you to work on your business in other ways…or have some downtime.
  • Hire the right people. Identify your own strengths and capabilities, and hire people to do the work that is beyond you. Also, hire people you can train to do the tasks that you don’t want to do.

You do not have to burn out and you CAN run a successful photo booth business that earns you money and brings you joy.

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