3 Keys To Successfully Scaling A Small Business Without Burnout

Growing and scaling a business is top of mind for many small business owners – you’re always searching for a way to increase revenue, improve profit, and make more of an impact through your work! But often, that growth can come at a cost – your personal wellbeing. 

Most entrepreneurs are exhausted or burnt out. 

  • 44.7% of founders experience exhaustion,
  • 67% of entrepreneurs admit they see no other option but to continue working despite their exhaustion,
  • 96% of entrepreneurs have reported feeling burned out at some point and are unsure of how to achieve work life balance!

Hustle culture has become an epidemic in entrepreneurship.

We’ve been told that working harder, faster and longer will get us where we want to go. That once you check all the – never-ending – boxes, you’ll finally be successful. But God forbid you take a moment to rest – you’ll be left in the dust…

It’s no surprise then that most entrepreneurs operate their business in a constant state of anxiety, wondering what they’re missing, worrying about when it might all fall apart, and running at all the things as fast as they can, thinking it will guarantee their success. 

The truth is, what got you here, won’t get you there. 

At some point, most small business owners will reach a capacity plateau – a point where your business cannot grow any further because you’ve maxed out the resources it needs to operate (this includes you!). 

American culture valorizes overwork, but what I’ve seen to be true time and time again in scaling my own business (a multiple-six figure business I built working 20 hours a week MAX and traveling up to 5 months at a time) and with my small business clients (ambitious entrepreneurs that are making more while working less) is that your business growth journey doesn’t need to include burnout and scaling a business doesn’t mean working more. 

Not only is it possible to scale your business without sacrificing your work life balance, it’s faster and easier too! 

(If you didn’t know that prioritizing your happiness leads to greater success, read this article). 

Scaling a business

3 Keys To Successfully Scaling A Small Business Without Burnout

I’m going to explain the exact keys to focus on when scaling a business (without burnout!) so that you can grow your small business and live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

It starts with knowing why you even want to scale your business in the first place, after all, you’ve got a business that’s generating a good amount of money – why grow? 

Defining why you want to scale is critical to doing it in a way that actually gives you more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.

If you’re focused on scaling a business so that you have the freedom to travel more and be less in the day to day of the company, but you’re trying to get there by working 60 hour weeks and not taking a single vacation, nothing is going to magically change in the future.

Related Post: How to do a Life Audit

The way you build your business is how you’re going to experience your success. 

If you know why you’re scaling your business, you’re able to build your why into your day to day. 

This means you’re not delaying experiences you can have to some degree right now and you actually feel comfortable enjoying those experiences when the time comes. 

Scaling a business without burnout means intentionally integrating your values into the journey of building your business!

If you value pleasure & joy, ask yourself how you’re building that into your business and day to day life?

If you value calm & peace, start actually taking the time to meditate or do yoga in the middle of the day. 

Take time to define your core values so that you can scale your business in alignment with what’s truly important to you.

Your business thrives when you thrive, not the other way around. So if you want to scale a business without burnout, it’s critical that you know your why and build your business in alignment with your values.

Related Post: How To Manage A Team | 8 Management Tips For Small Business Owners

One of my coaching clients, let’s call him A, spent years being not just the CEO of his business, but also the Head of Sales and Business Development, and also the technical expert delivering ALL of the services. 

And I get it – when it comes to letting someone take care of what is essentially your baby (a small business you’ve built from the ground up!), all of our best limiting beliefs and fears will pop up. 

  • No one else can do it as well as I can
  • No one else will care about my business as much as I do
  • Managing a team is too much work
  • I don’t have time to hire
  • Does anyone even exist with this skill set? 
  • It can’t be possible that someone would actually enjoy this role, why would I burden them with it? 
  • I can’t afford a team right now
  • I don’t know how to lead a team

Sound familiar?

As a small business coach that helps high performers scale a business without burnout, I’ve heard it all!

But the truth is, once you’ve reached the capacity plateau (usually around the $100K – $200K annual revenue mark) like my client A, you can’t afford not to take the time, money, and energy to build a supportive team! Your business depends on it. 

Start by identifying what tasks drain the most of your energy and delegate those out first. A generalist virtual/executive assistant is a great place to start – they can take all the little things that eat up headspace off your plate so that you can focus on the big things. 

Related Post: 7 powerful ways entrepreneurs boost their energy and create motivation

And any time the thought “I can do this myself / it’s not that hard / it doesn’t take much time” comes up, remember that with every hour of your time that’s freed up in a month, you could go land another sale, which is worth so much more to your business than you clearing out your email inbox. 

Stop paying a CEO rate for something you could pay $25/hour for and start recognizing the value of your time!

Ana McRae

Scaling a business means making more money (aka delivering more products/services) without doing more work. If your expenses are growing at the same rate as your revenue, you’re not really scaling – your profit is staying the same. 

If you want to experience exponential growth with fewer resources, it’s important to streamline processes and automate with systems!

Again, it’s important not to get caught up in the trap of thinking “it’s not that hard” or “that doesn’t take me too long”! Instead, focus on anything and everything that takes up a shred of your headspace, and take it off your plate so that you can spend more energy on value-add tasks in your business (like sales or thought leadership or working with your clients!) 

I have a personal rule of thumb in my company: I will only work on content & clients. Everything else gets outsourced to a system or a team member.

As your business grows, your processes and systems have to mature with it! The messy way you figured things out in the beginning is NOT the way you want to scale your business long term. If your processes & systems aren’t ironed out, they will crack under the pressure of additional clients. 

So, make sure everything in your business works efficiently, and can sustain 10X the amount of business you’re doing – that’s how you know you’re ready to scale your small business, while maintaining a healthy work life balance!

Scaling a business

Growing and scaling a business can be a lot of fun, or it can be exhausting and lead to burnout.

But if you fail to put in place the foundations you need for scaling a small business, not only will you have unhappy customers, but you’ll be a miserable CEO. 

If you’re not sure where you should be focusing to grow your business right now, take this personalized quiz to find out!

If you’re ready to scale your business while freeing up your time, energy, and headspace to live a more fulfilling life, I’m here to help you! Book a discovery call to explore how 1:1 coaching will help you grow your business with ease – or hear it first-hand from my clients.

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