How to Manage Your Energy While Running a Wellness Business
It should come as no surprise that small business owners experience burnout at a higher rate than most people.
In fact, “hustle culture” and stories from many entrepreneurs will have you believe that working yourself to the bone is a “badge of honor.” Thankfully, the culture is shifting. Business owners are realizing that the negative impacts of burnout far outweigh the benefits of short-term business growth.
Still, a recent study claims that 42% of small business owners currently experience burnout or have experienced it within the past month.
Wellness practitioners have a unique problem: they can experience burnout while helping others reach their spiritual, physical, and mental bests.
Here’s how you can manage your energy while running your wellness business.
Stick to a Set Schedule
Putting together a schedule may seem like a pointless activity for many wellness practitioners.
After all, don’t many people enter this field to get away from the 9-to-5 and somebody else dictating when you get your work done?
Unfortunately, many wellness practitioners end up working all the time. There will always be more work to get done, but there are other things in life to prioritize too.
First, take stock of what’s important in your life. This could be your partner, family members, or friends. Consider your favorite out-of-work activities like sports and hobbies. Think about what you want to commit time for in your life, and what you can do without.
Then, establish a goal for hours worked per week. Break that total down day by day, and be realistic with how many hours you can handle. Nine to ten hours a day are doable for some during “crunch time”, but committing to this ahead of time may show you have unrealistic expectations for yourself.
Take time to review how your schedule works for you. There are many different time-management styles out there, and your schedule will likely require many rounds of tweaking until you hit the sweet spot.
Paying someone else to take on your books or manage your marketing campaigns can be a tough decision to make.
You will need to spend some of your hard-earned money, and it can be difficult to know whether this person will do reliable work. But there is an alternative to this that is much more concerning – holding off delegating your tasks for too long, and working yourself to a point of exhaustion.
As a business owner, you need rest to do your job well. In addition, having someone to cover for you when you need time off is extremely important. Unexpected life events will happen, whether it comes at a good time for your business or not.
Your personal and professional networks will be useful when you are looking for hired help. This removes the daunting task of posting a job opportunity online and sifting through resumes.
Spend time thinking about and writing down your expectations. In a recent blog post on the challenges you will face when you start your wellness business, we discussed the importance of documenting your tasks. Part of this is so you can improve your own processes, but the most important aspect is that it allows others to do the job effectively too.
For tasks where you don’t have as much expertise or visibility, like managing your social media advertising, discuss your expectations for reporting and results early on – and don’t be afraid to sever the connection if it appears that your expectations are not being met.
Set Aside Time to Unplug – and Protect it
When most business owners think about “unplugging”, it usually means a long-awaited vacation. However, these breaks are often few and far between.
It’s tough to justify from a financial perspective – not only are you spending money to get away (even if it is only a short, local getaway), but you are also losing money by not servicing your clients while you are away.
In addition, it can be difficult to know exactly when to take time off. There will always be more work to catch up on, or a chance to get ahead. Unexpected life events will also push the goalposts further.
What we are getting at is that most wellness practitioners need a totally different approach to unplugging.
These methods of unplugging are essential for managing your energy levels, and you must protect them by committing them to habit, and carving out time in your calendar.
Take breaks throughout the day: Many wellness practitioners make the mistake of waiting days between legitimate moments of relaxation.
It’s easy to stay glued to your phone until a few moments before you sleep (they are designed to make you do that).
Commit yourself to at least 30 minutes of non-work related activity every day to manage your energy. This doesn’t mean doing a mindless work task while listening to an ambient music playlist.
Activities like walking in nature, stretching, meditating, practicing yoga, and cooking are all great ways to do this. How do you know if an activity is helping you relax? If work thoughts keep running through your mind, you aren’t fully relaxed.
Planning extended time away: There is no magic number for how much vacation time you will need to give yourself every year, but there is a smarter way to plan it.
Give yourself a set amount of time each quarter to unplug. That means no work emails, no booking appointments, or anything else that can lurch you back into “work” mode.
One three-week long vacation every year may seem like a much-needed escape, but you are only exposing yourself to more burnout throughout the year.
Learn How to Say “No”
This is one of the hardest things for a wellness business owner to do.
“No” can mean no more new clients. Or not to a professional development opportunity, networking event, or speaking gig.
A lot of the time, saying no means fighting against the fear of missing out –that you should always be ready to take on anything that will better your business.
But at a certain point, saying “yes” becomes detrimental to your business.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs may have said it best.
“People think focus means saying ‘yes’ to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying ‘no’ to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Build a Support Network
Running a wellness business can be an isolating experience.
Sure, your work will involve people. Helping people reach their physical, mental, and spiritual peak can be an especially fulfilling experience.
But you can’t talk to your clients about your business woes.
There are so many new experiences and tough questions that come with running your own business, and even though there are many resources available online (like the blog you are reading now), there’s something special about getting advice from someone you know and trust.
What most wellness business owners need to manage their energy is other business owners. A sense of community helps lift you up when things get tough, and sharing practical knowledge helps everyone be a better marketer, practitioner, and money-smart business owner.
One way to approach this is to find a mentor. Look for formal mentorship programs in your community, especially if they are specific to your field of practice.
Another way to approach this is to reach within your professional network and ask someone straight up: “do you want to be my mentor.” You will be surprised how many people will say yes, in many cases, this is because they received valuable help from someone else when they started out.
Another option is to join a community. Symmetry Collective is just one example of what this looks like. We don’t just offer rental spaces for wellness and therapeutic practitioners, we connect our members to build skills and grow their professional circles.
Our mission is simple: to increase world happiness through the power of touch and connection. Our team has learned what kinds of support wellness practitioners typically need, and we want to use these supports to grow new communities of nurturing practitioners.
If you practice in and around Denver, Colorado, Symmetry Collective may be right for you.