Small Business Owner Burnout and How to Avoid It

As a small business owner, you’re wearing many hats and juggling a lot of things in your hands (no, you’re not a clown). There’s a lot that comes with being a business owner, and when you’re the only one running the show, it can be hard. 

Business owner burnout is real (and maybe you’ve even experienced it yourself). You’re dealing with product, customer service, shipping, and let’s be honest; there are always fires to put out. 

When you’re doing it all, you can get worn out, leading to business owner burnout. But we don’t want that to happen to you. In this post, you’re going learn what burnout looks like for business owners and how to avoid it from happening to you.

What Burnout Looks Like for Small Business Owners

How do you know if you’re experiencing burnout? Well, sometimes when you’re so focused on your business, you don’t see what’s happening to you. 

Check out these symptoms and take a moment to reflect on how you’ve been feeling. Maybe you’re already showing signs of business owner burnout.

Passion turns into frustration and anger

You used to wake up every morning excited to start the day and work on your business. Do you still have those feelings? Of course, as time passes, you’re not going to wake up every morning feeling excited but are you at least feeling joy from your job?

If you’re starting to feel like you want to quit what you’re doing and that you’re lacking purpose, then burnout is kicking in.

Procrastination begins

While we all have our moments of procrastination, you’re not replying to emails, engaging with customers, and putting off tasks. And like I said, we all procrastinate, but when it becomes a habit, then it’s a problem – especially if you’re ignoring your customers. 

You just don’t want to work anymore.

You’re chronically exhausted

We all get tired—especially in today’s go, go, go world. But as a business owner, it can feel that your work is consuming you. By trying to juggle everything and cross off every task on your to-do list, at the end of the day, you’re exhausted. No matter how many extra hours of sleep you squeeze in on the weekend or whether you get everything accomplished or not, you’re tired.

You can’t remember anything

Burnout affects your body in different ways. Maybe you’re chronically tired or maybe you can’t even remember what you ate for breakfast this morning. 

When you’re experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression, it can cause difficulties in concentrating, forgetfulness, and confusion. In other words, it works against your memory.

How Small Business Owners Can Deal With Burnout

You know the signs of burnout and I have a feeling that you’re experiencing some of them or at least feel you’re on your way there. 

Let’s stop burnout from happening and get you back on track. It’ll take some time but, trust me, knowing how to deal with burnout is something all business owners need to know and implement for their mental health.

Identify the triggers

I have a feeling that there are some things within your business that stress you out. You’re not alone on this – everyone has them. Do you know what they are?

For example, it could be posting/engaging on social media (there are business owners who can’t stand social media) or replying to emails. Identifying what tasks or responsibilities stress you out can help you find a solution.


If you’re finding social media stressful or you can’t stand doing administrative tasks, then prepares to work with a virtual assistant and outsource those tasks. 

While it may cost you some money, you’ll reduce your stress and be able to focus on aspects of the business that are important to you, like product.

Find ways to streamline your working day

What does your work day look like? What are your daily tasks? Knowing how you spend your time on your business can help you determine changes that need to be made. 


Are you posting social media posts by hand every day? Why not use a social media posting app to do all the work for you? Finding apps and other ways to streamline and reduce your workload can help you prevent burning out.

Learn to say no

You have a lot of things on your plate and it’s easy to add more to it, especially if you don’t have a firm set of boundaries. As a business owner, it’s easy to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way – I get it, you want to build your business. 

But sometimes, it’s just too much. And that’s when you need to learn to say no.


Saying no is one of the hardest things I’ve learned as a business owner but will help you out immensely. Rather than saying yes to everything that comes your way, listen to your gut – what is it telling you?

If you suddenly feel stressed or overwhelmed, say no. In the long run, saying no will prevent you from burning out.

Allow yourself to take breaks and rest

Oh, even I have a problem with this one. When you get into the zone and you’re working hard on a task, you don’t want to stop in the middle of it and take a break – you just want to get it done. I feel ya. 

But, with that said, this can wear you down physically and mentally, leading to burning out.


There’s no other way to say this: you need to take breaks and rest. If your body is telling you it needs a nap, close your laptop and take a 20-minute power nap. Your body will thank you and you’ll feel energized to keep working.

If you don’t have 20 minutes, turn off your phone for five minutes and do some deep breathing. Whatever time you have available, take that time and disconnect from your business. 

Take time to celebrate your achievements (big or small)

Recognize the positive events happening in your business, no matter how big or small. You’re running a business on your own; that alone is amazing. While doing the day-to-day tasks can feel like you’re on a hamster wheel, you need to acknowledge all the small achievements you make during the day.

These achievements should be celebrated, whether it’s getting a sale or gaining more followers. Treat yourself to a dessert or just give yourself a pat on the back – celebrating your achievements doesn’t mean you need to do something big (but you totally can). By acknowledging all you do, you’ll feel more appreciative of your work in your business.

Over to You

Small business burnout is a thing and definitely something you want to avoid. However, by using the tips and solutions above, you can help yourself become more self-aware and reduce stress and anxiety.

Ultimately, you want to have fun being a business owner, and while every day can’t be perfect, you want to at least feel joy in being a business owner.


The information provided on this page is for information, educational, and/or editorial purposes only. It is not intended to indicate any affiliation between Tailor Brands and any other brand or logo identified on this page.

Natasha Ivanovic is a Vancouver-born creative writer that started her writing career as a freelancer while studying for her Master’s in Investigative Psychology. On the weekends, she writes short stories for her blog, TheLonelySerb, and cuddles with her bulldog, Bob.