LawnSite member Tanum suffered burnout for what he describes as a long time.
“I got pretty low at one point in 2012,” he says. “I guess being the managing director, contracts manager/health and safety officer/the machine repairman/accountant/ credit control/supervisor/ large machine driver/garden designer took its toll. I would go into the office and look at the endless to-do list. My day starts at 6 a.m. and now finishes at 3 p.m. but before was 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. — 78 hours per week.
“Finally, in August 2012, I erased all my contacts from my phone and all email addresses,” he explains. “From that moment on, if someone wanted me, they had to phone me. I didn’t (couldn’t) call them. I unplugged myself from all multimedia. It was liberating. On an average day, I was receiving 70 to 100 emails and texts and 40 to 50 calls. I now do less working in the business and more on the business.
“I’ve been at this game a long time and needed something else to focus on. I am in the process of setting up another company but with partners,” he adds. “I am an ideas man. I can’t do everything and that is why I have brought others on board. It’s fantastic having other professional people to bounce ideas off of. The landscape business can be a lonely one.”
Beverly Jones, a leadership and transitions coach, Clearways Consulting, Washington, D.C., agrees with this strategy.
“Most business owners love the independence that comes from running their own show, but leaving the corporate cocoon often means learning to manage without, say, an on-site IT or legal department,” she explains. “It’s easy to get burned out trying to handle ancillary duties, like tech problems and contracts, yourself.
“Instead, look for ways to replace organizational resources with an entrepreneurial ecosystem made up of individuals whose success is tied to yours,” she advises. “Think of the people you know whose expertise could help your business develop smoothly — from your personal accountant to other entrepreneurs you can brainstorm with at lunchtime. Then, engage them and perhaps hire them as contractors.”