Anyone who runs their own business can tell you that burnout is a very real problem. Entrepreneurs are often guilty of taking on far too much responsibility, doing everything they can on their own, and not being adept at asking for help when they need it. After all, striking out on one’s own is a very independent action. However, this approach to business can cause burnout, which can lead to some dire consequences not only physically and emotionally — but financially.
Raquel Gomes, founder of Stafi, knows well what burnout can do to someone, especially to business owners. She not only owns her own company, but is also a licensed psychologist, MBA, and a wife and mother. She is familiar with proverbially burning the candle at both ends. “When you’re burned out, it’s difficult to focus, think clearly, and make decisions,” Gomes offers.
What are the financial implications of burnout, and how can learning to delegate tasks help?
The financial risks of burning out
Burnout can lead to many issues that can plague one’s business profitability. “Burnout can lead to decreased productivity, decreased quality of work, and a lower motivation to get things done,” says Gomes. “It can also lead to absenteeism and high turnover, which can be costly for your business.”
Entrepreneurs who experience burnout can easily fall out of love with their businesses. They lose that drive that urged them to begin the business in the first place. With less drive comes less creative output and fewer ideas, which may cause entrepreneurs to eventually decide the grind just isn’t worth it.
According to one report, 75% of workers have experienced some level of burnout. When we are running ourselves ragged doing every task for our business, there is no room for self-care, rest, or quality control. We become focused on simply completing tasks, not necessarily completing them well. This fact holds true not only for business owners, but also for employees of the business. It is typical for a startup to have some growing pains, and many of that may include a staff that is taking on a lot of work over and above their job descriptions. This in turn leads to turnover and could lead to the eventual failure of the venture.
The real numbers that reflect the cost of burnout — whether by owners or employees — are staggering. According to recent studies, burnout and stress from jobs have contributed to a $1 trillion loss globally. The same study found that disengaged and burnt out employees can cost employers up to 34% of that employee’s annual salary.
The end goal of most, if not all, business enterprises is to generate profit. If burnout is standing in the way of this goal from the outset, it needs to be addressed swiftly.
Delegation to relieve burnout
Because burnout can be so detrimental to a business’s bottom line, there must be some processes in place to avoid burnout for both owners and employees. One of the best ways to relieve burnout is delegation.
Entrepreneurs who effectively delegate tasks that they are not adept at completing or have no time to complete will create more space to do what they are best at doing — creatively running their businesses. Likewise, business owners who allow tasks to be delegated that would have otherwise been heaped upon overworked employees will ensure their employees can avoid burnout and are more likely to be retained.
Virtual assistants can be a significant benefit for entrepreneurs, and can have tasks delegated to them that range from administrative work to paralegal or marketing tasks. “Outsourcing parts of your business can help reduce workload and allow you to focus on what you do best,” says Gomez.
No entrepreneur is fabulous in every area or aspect of their businesses. Perhaps they are great at marketing, but not so great with bookkeeping. In that instance, by outsourcing that bookkeeping work to a virtual assistant, the entrepreneur can better focus on the area where they thrive.
Outsourced virtual assistants can help with various tasks that can cause burnout when piled onto one employee at once. These include, but are not limited to: correspondence, data entry, billing, social media management, calendar management, and even customer support. Many people who work as virtual assistants are highly trained, degree-holding workers who can be easily integrated into your organization.
Outsourcing and delegating tasks can bring in fresh ideas and a new level of expertise to one’s business. Though there is a cost to outsourcing and virtual assistants, it is nowhere near the detrimental costs that burnout can bring.
Burnout is very real and can have significant negative effects on one’s well-being — and one’s business. By considering options regarding delegation and virtual assistants, entrepreneurs can successfully build their businesses without fear of burnout, with an eye on increasing productivity and profitability in a healthy way.