We all feel it from time to time. The pull of too much work. The strain of a difficult client relationship. The lack of a work-life balance.

While it’s common for small business owners to carry the burden of daily operations and long-term strategy, there are certain signs that it has become too much

Recognizing when you’re stressed, overworked, or burnt-out usually comes at a painful price and a minute too late. 

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Pinpointing your weaknesses and stressors can be a challenge so I want to share three sure signs that you are past the point of just another “tough week.”

Number 1: You’re working 24/7 and still feel behind

The research shows (and yes, we know!) that working long hours and overtime is bad for our health. Do you still find yourself awake at 3:30 AM to finish work for a client because once again, you ran out of time?

Time management is a learned skill and comes more naturally for some. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It also doesn’t mean you’ve failed if you just don’t have enough hours in the day for everything you need to do

If you find yourself checking emails all weekend or working late into the night, it’s a sure sign that you should hire help or delegate some of your work. Period. 

Number 2: Your personal obligations and leisure time are almost non-existent

You don’t ever see the neglect coming. 

But one day it’s just there. Sneaky and subtle until suddenly you realize there is some serious damage to your personal life. 

And we’re not just talking about neglecting family members and relationships (though these are of utmost importance!), but also your professional skills, education, physical health, finances, hobbies, and FUN. 

The hard truth is that when you ignore these areas for too long, they eventually disappear all together.

Don’t be this person. Remember to honor the parts of your life that make it special.

Number 3: You’ve lost your passion

What you do for a living is no accident. If you find yourself wondering why you are pushing so hard and for what, it’s time to take action. 

To keep the spark of creativity that inspired you in the first place, you need a balance of input and output. Like a runner in a long race, you must rely on strategy and skill over sheer exertion. 

This is not about feeling supercharged every single moment of every single workday, but it is about clarity and purpose. 

When you lose sight of why you started and can no longer pinpoint your motivation, it’s a sure sign that something has to change.

Time for transformation

When you find yourself facing one of these crises, don’t wait to take action.

If you said “Yes, this is me!” to even one area of concern I mentioned, now is the time to work smarter, not harder. 

Delegate, pause, take a break, re-prioritize, reach out. 

Your clients will thank you for making this change. 

Your family will thank you. 

You will thank you.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to do it all. And you don’t have to do it alone. 

If you are experiencing one of these common (yes, common!) signs of burnout, it’s time to ask for help. From application support to coaching, there are so many options for business owners and entrepreneurs seeking support. 


Detroit Girl Friday