3 founders share the self-care practices that strengthen their mental health and help them stay mindful

woman writing at home
Writing in a journal is one way founders can practice mindfulness.

  • When COVID cost him business, Isaac Rudansky looked back at his career successes to think more positively.
  • Altering your mindset can give you the confidence to push forward through difficult times.
  • Founders should also try identifying their emotions, seeking support, and taking time for themselves.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

After only six weeks of working in his company’s newly purchased office space, Isaac Rudansky, founder and CEO of AdVenture Media Group, sent his employees home to avoid the spread of COVID-19. He lost 35% of his clients in the first three weeks of the pandemic. “I’m actually an optimistic person, but this was a really dark period,” he said. “Oftentimes, when you’re dealing with feelings of depression and stress, it’s impossible to look at a longer horizon.”

So rather than look forward, Rudansky looked back at the past five years. Even through the peaks and valleys, he saw that his life and career had trended in a positive direction. That perspective gave him the confidence to move forward.

As Eve Lewis Prieto, the director of meditation and a mindfulness teacher at Headspace, said, “one of the best things about mindfulness is that it can be applied to every area of your life. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully engaged and present with a soft and open mind, also known as paying attention on purpose.”

As we pass the one-year anniversary of the country entering lockdown, founders shared with Inc. some of the practices that strengthen their mental health and help them stay mindful.

1. Identify what you’re feeling

When she looked at the options to confront her anxiety and burnout as a software engineer, Meha Agrawal, CEO and founder of Silk and Sonder, felt intimidated by therapy and was bored by meditation. Instead, she found that writing was the outlet she needed.

“There are a ton of benefits of bringing pen to paper,” she said. “It alleviates anxiety and stress, and it helps increase IQ and memory. It’s proven to heal trauma.” Agrawal created a journaling routine back in 2017, and soon after, she began developing her subscription-based journal company to help customers emulate her experience with journaling.

Aaron Sternlicht, a therapist and cofounder of New York City-based Family Addiction Specialist, endorses writing as a way of tracking your emotional mood throughout the day. This practice can help you understand which activities and times of day spark more anxiety, he said. Once you can identify the trigger moments, you can better prepare yourself to respond.

2. Lean on other people

Angela Ficken, a psychotherapist based in Boston, notes that maintaining personal relationships is a constant challenge in a founder’s life. The pandemic has only worsened this, she said, spurring more mental health challenges for founders. In recognizing the importance of community, Agrawal created the Sonder club, an online community where Silk and Sonder users can connect on their wellness journey.

Talking with people can be the best outlet for maintaining your mental well-being, Rudansky said: “It allows a person to express sympathy and empathy for what you’re going through.”

A couple of months ago, he said, one of his executives reached out to him to express that he felt overwhelmed at work. Rather than showing weakness, it showed strength and character, Rudansky said. The two ended up on an hourlong phone call together where they both opened up about their feelings and current struggles.

3. Make time for yourself – and start small

Last month, Tori Farley, cofounder of Better Than Belts, a unisex suspender company, joined a book club and read “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown, which teaches readers how to reorient their mindsets and explores the psychology of authentic living. Farley was hesitant about reading a “quasi-self-help book,” but “When I read it, it just clicked,” she said. “If I want to spend two hours in the morning doing watercolor painting because that is going to make me feel happy for the rest of the day, then that’s what I should do, and I don’t have to start my day by checking my email.”

Even if it’s just a short moment in time, doing something for yourself can help you get out of a workday slump, Farley said. And Ficken adds that the all-or-nothing mentality can be extremely harmful to mental health. If you can’t get in your full workout that day, she said, don’t give up on physical activity. Instead, walk around the perimeter of your house for a little while or even take a few minutes to walk to your kitchen to get some cold water.

Headspace encourages users to start with just three to five minutes a day, Prieto said. “Some days the mind is going to feel really busy and on other days much quieter, so you are not doing anything wrong if you find that it’s taking longer for the mind to settle,” she said. The goal is not to empty the mind, but to be at ease with where you are.

Read the original article on Business Insider

5 current and former junior bankers explain what their daily schedules are really like as burnout mounts: ‘Ninety-five hours a week, that’s nothing special’

Hello everyone!

Welcome to this weekly roundup of stories from Insider’s Business co-Editor in Chief Matt Turner. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday.

What we’re going over today:

wall street burnout young talent junior analyst 2x1

Here’s what’s trending this morning:

Confessions of Wall Street’s burned-out junior bankers

From Reed Alexander:

Wall Street is a picture of growing discontent among junior staffers.

In response to mounting accounts of burnout throughout junior levels, banks and private-equity firms have begun to elbow one another in a crush to offer young talent the most desirable perks and steer them away from defecting. You can get the latest on what firms such as Goldman Sachs, Apollo Global Management, and Credit Suisse are doing here.

Insider interviewed five current and recently departed analysts in investment banking to get the perspective of junior bankers during the early years of their careers. All these bankers spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about their experiences. Their identities are known to Insider.

“I’m working on a deal right now where some of my coworkers in the bank worked last night until 5:30 a.m,” one banker said. “Ninety-five hours a week, that’s nothing special. For the most part, everyone’s working those hours.”

Read the full story here:

Also read:

Female former employees say they faced sexism at Fine Brothers Entertainment

fine brothers fbe sexism 2x1

From Lindsay Dodgson:

Fine Brothers Entertainment, or FBE, is best known for its “react” videos, in which children, teens, adults, and FBE staff are filmed watching clips, listening to music, eating strange foods, and taking part in games.

FBE’s content has become a staple of YouTube, mirroring the trajectory of founders Benny and Rafi Fine themselves, who experienced meteoric success since their early videos. On YouTube, FBE has attracted 30 million subscribers, and in June 2020 it raked in 300 million views a month.

Yet interviews with 26 former employees and cast members paint a different picture. In addition to allegations that they experienced a toxic culture and racism when they worked there, some of these employees alleged that they experienced or witnessed casual sexism at the company that they said went to the top of management.

Read the full story here:

Also read:

Meanwhile, here’s the latest on the David Dobrik Vlog Squad scandal:

It’s actually a horrible time to buy a house

homeownership expensive trap

From Taylor Borden:

Just because all your friends jump off a bridge doesn’t mean you should, too.

This ominous parental warning seems apt for the times: Millions of Americans have taken the plunge into homeownership over the last year, but that may not be the right decision for everyone.

Home prices nationwide are hitting unprecedented peaks, propelled by low mortgage rates. The underlying problem is a grave imbalance between supply and demand. The infinitesimal number of homes for sale is outweighed by the enormous pandemic-fueled desire for a home of one’s own. Stay-at-home orders reminded people how much they crave bigger, better spaces to quarantine.

“Frankly, it may not make sense to buy at this moment,” said Scott Trench, the CEO of the real-estate-investing resource BiggerPockets. “Frantically trying to buy ‘something’ is a great way to make a bad purchase.”

Read the full story here:

Hedge funds are ramping up bets against Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPACs

iconq chamath palihapitiya

From Vicky Ge Huang:

The billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya says he loves SPACs because they level the playing field between ordinary folks and big Wall Street investors. The latter group is now pouncing on his three special-purpose acquisition companies amid a slump in performance.

Read the full story here:

Also read:

BONUS: Tech giant org charts

Lastly, don’t forget to check out Morning Brew – the A.M. newsletter that makes reading the news actually enjoyable.

Here are some headlines you might have missed last week.

– Matt

Goldman Sachs just vowed to improve conditions for junior bankers. But a newly leaked pitch deck shows analysts were pleading for changes since WFH started.

The Manhattan DA’s office picked up the pace of its investigation into Trump’s finances after he left office, a cooperating witness says

After almost 6 years and billions of dollars, Google med-tech spinoff Verily is still a scattershot jumble of moonshots

Dollar Shave Club has laid off all of its staff at men’s lifestyle site MEL, source says, and is looking for a rescue buyer

How ESPN became one of the fastest growing brands on TikTok by diving into metrics, tracking trends, and testing across platforms

This VC firm has invested in hot food brands like Oatly, Beyond Meat, and energy drink Bai. Here’s what they’re looking to invest in next.

Here’s the small but mighty pitch deck that nearly doubled legal tech Athennian’s Series A to $12 million.

The former co-head of one of Goldman Sachs’ most elite investing groups is making his own bets on banks and fintechs. He’s poaching ex-colleagues and angering his old bosses.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How burnout left Arianna Huffington with a broken cheekbone, forcing her to change her unhealthy work habits

Arianna Huffington Headshot
Huffington realized her phone addition had contributed to her burnout, and this was one of the first unhealthy habits she changed.

  • Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive Global. Marina Khidekel is the company’s head of content development.
  • The following is an excerpt from Arianna’s foreword in their new book, Your Time to Thrive (March 23).
  • In it, they discuss how changing damaging habits in small steps daily can promote wellness.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

We are, as the saying goes, creatures of habit. According to a study from Duke University, around 45% of our everyday actions are made up of habits. Our habits, then, are a fundamental reflection of who we are. “Habit is but a long practice,” Aristotle wrote, which “becomes men’s nature in the end.”

So our lifestyle is, in essence, the sum total of our habits. Change your habits and you change your life. But as most of us have learned, unlearning bad habits and learning new ones are not so easy. Even the most generous estimates show that half of us fail to keep our New Year’s resolutions.

That’s because most of us start off too big. We decide to launch into a whole new lifestyle all at once. Or we think we’re just going to get there by the sheer exercise of willpower. But that ignores the science of how willpower works.

In their book “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,” Roy F. Baumeister, a leading expert in the subject, and coauthor John Tierney show that willpower isn’t a fixed, genetic trait – it’s a muscle, and one that can be strengthened.

And the best way to use our willpower to adopt healthier habits is by starting small. It’s a common element of every successful behavior change program. “Make it easy” is how James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones,” puts it: “The central idea is to create an environment where doing the right thing is as easy as possible. Much of the battle of building better habits comes down to finding ways to reduce the friction associated with our good habits.”


For BJ Fogg, director of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford, it’s about making the minimum viable effort – going as small as you can. “To create a new habit, you must first simplify the behavior,” he said. “Make it tiny, even ridiculous. A good tiny behavior is easy to do – and fast.”

The benefit of even one small win goes beyond just the new healthy behavior you’ve created – it actually builds that willpower muscle to create even more wins and good habits.

“The more you succeed, the more capable you get at succeeding in the future,” Fogg said. “So you don’t start with the hardest behaviors first, you start with the ones you want to do and you can do and you persist.”

In one of my favorite passages of Fogg’s book “Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything,” he shows how our tiny habits can spark a positive impact beyond just ourselves:

Habits may be the smallest units of transformation, but they’re also the most fundamental. They are the first concentric circles of change that will spiral out. Think about it. One person starts one habit that builds to two habits that builds to three habits that changes an identity that inspires a loved one who influences their peer group and changes their mindset, which spreads like wildfire and disrupts a culture of helplessness, empowering everyone and slowly changing the world. By starting small with yourself and your family, you set off a chain reaction that creates an explosion of change.

In my conversations with Fogg and Clear, I have been inspired by how they have pushed our understanding forward and helped establish the scientific foundation for the power of taking small steps. “Your Time to Thrive” builds on this foundation of behavior change, sharing a practical system for exactly how to implement Microsteps into each facet of our life. When it comes to leading a healthier, more fulfilling life, most of us know what we should do. And yet, all too often, we fail to act on this knowledge. We need a little help moving from knowing what to do to actually doing it. That’s what our system is here for.

More action, more meaning

When we take Microsteps, we are not only moving forward, we’re going inward. By creating rituals in our day, we allow ourselves to get into the metaphorical eye of the hurricane – that centered place of strength, wisdom, and peace that we all have inside ourselves. We all veer away from that place again and again – that’s the nature of life. And it’s a place that we are too distracted to access when we are living life breathlessly and always “on.” But from that place we can tap into the inner reserves of resilience and wisdom that make behavior change possible.

You can see it in this Microstep, which happens to be one of my favorites:

Pick a time at night when you turn off your devices – and gently escort them out of your bedroom. Our phones are repositories of everything we need to put away to allow us to sleep – our to-do lists, our inboxes, multiple projects, and problems. Disconnecting from the digital world will help you sleep better, deeply recharge, and reconnect to your wisdom and creativity.

It’s one of my favorites because, for me, it is impossible to separate this Microstep from a very specific moment in my life – a moment when behavior change wasn’t just something I aspired to, but something I desperately needed.

On April 6, 2007, I woke up in a pool of my own blood. I was two years into building the Huffington Post. A divorced mother of two teenage daughters, I had just returned from a week of taking my eldest daughter on a tour of prospective colleges. And since she had insisted that I not use my Blackberry during the day (the Blackberry, if you’re not familiar, was a communication device used in ancient times), I would stay up each night working.

And so, the morning after we returned home, I woke up burned out and exhausted – and then I collapsed. The result was a broken cheekbone, several stitches over my eye, and the beginning of a long journey.

In the days that followed, I found myself in a lot of doctors’ waiting rooms, which, it turns out, are great places to think about life. And that’s what I did. I asked myself a lot of questions, like “Is this what success really looks like? Is this the life I want to lead?”

The answer was no. And the diagnosis I got from all the doctors was that I had a severe case of burnout. So I decided to make a lot of changes to my life. I started meditating again, which I had learned to do as a child. I changed the way I worked so I could be more productive, more focused, more energetic, and less tired and stressed. I started sleeping more. I knew my sleep deprivation was directly connected to my addiction to my phone – it was an addiction – and to my flawed definition of success.

I got deep into the growing body of science on the connection between wellbeing and performance, and how we can actually be more productive when we prioritize our wellbeing and take time to unplug and recharge. And – eureka! – a Microstep was born.

My 70h birthday, in July 2020, was a powerful reminder to me that we don’t need to wait to begin living our best life. At the time I was sheltering in place with my daughters and sister at our family home in LA, and while cleaning out the garage I came across dozens of old journals and notebooks filled with pages and pages of my thoughts and goals and worries and dreams from my twenties on!

And as I read back through half a century of notes, I was struck by four things. First, by how early I knew what really mattered in life. Second, how badly I was at acting on that knowledge. Third, how draining and depleting all my worries and fears were. And fourth, how little those worries and fears turned out to matter.

As I paged through my old notebooks, I wanted to shout advice at myself across the years – telling the younger me not to worry or doubt so much, or to just go ahead and take that risk. And that is one of my biggest hopes for this book: that instead of looking at those fearless and wise elders among us and thinking, “I want to be that way when I’m old,” we can use Microsteps to tap into what is wisest, boldest, and most authentic within us and live each day from that place right now, however young or old we may be.

Excerpted from Your Time To Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Wellbeing, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps by Marina Khidekel and the Editors of Thrive Global. Copyright © 2021. Available from Hachette Go, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books. In 2016, she launched Thrive Global, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.

Marina Khidekel is Thrive Global’s head of content development, bringing Thrive’s corporate and consumer audiences compelling multimedia storytelling and actionable, science-backed advice to help lower stress and improve wellbeing.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to spot signs of burnout as an entrepreneur

stress migraine
Stress headaches and constant tiredness are some physical signs of burnout.

  • Many entrepreneurs near a point of burnout eventually, so it’s important to recognize symptoms early.
  • Burnout occurs gradually and can manifest in changes in mood and personality or even physical symptoms like stress headaches.
  • Consistent tiredness, irritability, and reduced passion for work are also signs of oncoming burnout.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Entrepreneurship is challenging. Some days, it’s downright exhausting. For many entrepreneurs, there comes a “last straw” breaking point where the conditions are too stressful or too overwhelming to continue.

But for most others, the eventual loss of passion for entrepreneurship – better known as burnout – is something slower and more gradual. It’s a creeping feeling that grows from day to day and eventually begins to affect your work performance.

You won’t go from happy-go-lucky to ready to quit overnight. One day, you might be a little extra irritable. The next, you might wake up and dread the idea of going to work. Not long after, you might make worse decisions, rushing through projects, or you might seriously contemplate leaving.

It’s not a position any entrepreneur wants to find themselves in. The good news is, it’s mostly preventable.

Why it’s important to stop burnout

There’s nothing wrong with changing jobs, selling your business, or retiring. But burnout itself can be devastating. Not only will it force you to leave your business prematurely, it can also leave you feeling despair and exhaustion. Even more importantly, it can negatively affect you on a physical level; burnout is associated with higher stress, higher susceptibility to illness, and even a higher risk of heart disease.

These effects compound with time, so acknowledging and stopping burnout early can put you in a much more favorable position long-term.

The trouble is, burnout is difficult to catch, especially early on.

How to identify entrepreneurial burnout

We all feel stress. We all get nervous. We all experience anxiety or dread sometimes. So how do you know when this is just part of the job and when it’s an early sign of burnout?

  • You dread going to work consistently. One of the hallmark signs is dreading going to work. Everyone dreads going to work some of the time; there might be an awful client to deal with or negative consequences from a bad decision to manage. But if you dread going to work on a consistent basis, it’s a sign of developing burnout.
  • Your mood and personality have changed (according to others). It’s hard to notice the changes in your own personality since they often unfold gradually and beneath our notice. However, burnout often leads people to experience mood and personality changes. Talk to the people around you; do they notice that you’re more irritable, angrier, or less pleasant than you used to be? Chances are, something external is responsible for this.
  • You’re experiencing physical symptoms. As burnout develops, it tends to be associated with more and more physical symptoms. For example, you might feel more stress headaches. You might have trouble getting to sleep (or getting enough sleep). And you might even be more susceptible to contagious illnesses. Keep an eye out for these developments.
  • You always feel tired. No matter how much sleep you get, burnout will leave you feeling tired. You’ll be physically and mentally exhausted most of the time, even after a good night of sleep or a break away from work. It’s almost impossible to feel full of energy.

Solving the burnout problem

It’s tough to make a one-size-fits-all recommendation for how to get rid of burnout because there are many different types of professionals and many different types of burnout.

For example, your burnout might stem from your own over-investment, in which case, delegating more and reducing your workload could help. You might also be worn out from a specific type of stress, which might require you to change up your daily responsibilities. You might even feel under challenged due to excessive predictability and routine, in which case the solution is finding new ways to be stimulated, like learning a new skill.

In any case, one of the best steps to take to address your burnout is to take some time away. Use up a few vacation days or take an extended hiatus from your work; it’s a great opportunity to de-stress and get away from the burden of work. It’s also a chance to get some perspective. Once you’re away from the office, you’ll have a much keener sense of what’s actually stressing you out (and what you might be able to do about it).

You can also talk to the people around you for advice. They may have a better perspective on your work style than you do. Once you have a better understanding of your current position, you can invest time and energy into making an action plan. How can you change your environment and your approach to work in a way that relieves your stress?

The action plan will look different for everyone. But as long as you’re consistent and proactive, you’ll have a good chance of reversing the effects of entrepreneurial burnout in your career.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How silencing the ‘chatter’ in your head can make you a better leader, according to a professor

Ethan Kross, a University of Michigan professor and the author of “Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It.”

  • Ethan Kross is a University of Michigan professor and the author of an upcoming book on chatter.
  • He provides tools for turning negative chatter into something positive to help you regain control. 
  • Creating distance, avoiding social media, and getting outside will make you a better manager.
  • This article is part of a series called “Leaders by Day,” which takes a look at how prominent business leaders are tackling various challenges in today’s economy.

As humans, we may talk to ourselves at a rate equivalent to speaking 4,000 words per minute out loud. That’s according to Ethan Kross, a University of Michigan professor and the author of “Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It.”

For CEOs and small business owners alike, that torrent of internal narrative can be paralyzing, inhibiting those in charge from leading effectively.

“Part of what I find so interesting about chatter is that it is universal – we all have the ability to get stuck in our heads when we are dealing with negative events, and when we get stuck, that can lead to really negative consequences in an organizational or business context,” Kross told Insider.

In his book, Kross provides tools for turning negative chatter into something positive – which he said leaders will find especially useful when confronted with COVID-19-related business stress. They can be even more effective when used in conjunction with one another. 

“I’ll do three or four things when I experience chatter over the pandemic, and it’s the combination of those things that often helps me,” he said.

Employers should remember that workers may also be occupied by chatter regarding health and economic issues. In his book, Kross said that demonstrating your own experience with these issues can help to show empathy. Convening a group to discuss solutions to a topic you know is top-of-mind rather than just offering advice unsolicited can provide needed assistance while empowering workers to recognize their own resilience.  

According to Kross, the phenomenon of the “inner voice” has existed for thousands of years and was well documented by ancient cultures. In fact, the ability to introspect, of which the inner voice is a part, is thought to be a highly meaningful step forward in the evolutionary process, one of the things that distinguishes humans from other species. Chatter, according to Kross, is the negative manifestation of this inner voice. 

“When we’re experiencing chatter, one thing that does is occupy our attention, and we have only so much attention that we can focus on something at any one moment in time – so when you’re talking about work, which often requires intense focus, you’re talking about a serious impairment in your ability to do your job,” he said.

As a business leader, if you’re paying too much attention to the chatter in your head, you may be overanalyzing your decisions, for example. Or, at a time when most small business owners don’t anticipate the economy returning to anything approaching normal until late this year, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, perhaps your concerns are dominating your thinking to the exclusion of being able to take care of your day-to-day responsibilities. Either, or both, could take time away from important decisions you need to be making in the here and now and leave you feeling stuck and unable to function.  

Additionally, Kross warned that chatter can take a toll on how you’re relating to your team. 

“When we’re busy experiencing chatter, we can also be more aggressive with others,” he said. “We also tend to experience more social friction.”

Uncertainty and a lack of control are key ingredients that fuel chatter, Kross said. “We love, as human beings, to be certain about things,” he said.

Kross said the exact solution for taming the chatter in your head will vary from person to person. 

“I’m a big fan of advocating the diversity of tools that exist,” he said. “I think the beauty of the tools that I lay out in ‘Chatter’ is that most of them are really simple to use – they don’t take hours of practice, and they’re free,” he added.

Here’s a look at just a few of the solutions Kross offers. 

Create distance

Convert your chatter to third person, using your name and the pronoun “you.” Research showed that this led to less activation in the brain in areas associated with overthinking, which may in turn lead to wiser decision-making.

Reframe your perspective

You’re facing an adverse event at your company, such as having to decide whether to lay off some employees.

Try reframing this as a challenge for your business to surmount – “I’m going to find a way to keep these two employees on the payroll,” or, “I’m going to operate my business with a leaner staff” – and look for unique ways to solve the challenge. This may get you out of the flight-or-fight stress response that can trigger an excess of chatter. 

Create order in your environment

“When we experience chatter, we often feel as if we are losing control. Our thought spirals control us rather than the other way around,” Kross writes in his book. “When this happens, you can boost your sense of control by imposing order on your environment.” 

This may not necessarily mean cleaning up your office – it could be as simple as making a to-do list to organize what you need to get done or taking some time to journal out everything that’s in your head. 

Minimize passive social media usage

Unsurprisingly, Kross recommended limiting “doomscrolling,” suggesting the use of social media mainly as a networking tool to gain insight from others who may be in the same situation. 

Increase your exposure to green spaces

Science shows that nature is a good healer, expanding and refreshing the brain’s capacity for attention. 

Kross found in his research that when leaders put a combination of these strategies to work, they were better able to recognize the limits of their own knowledge and be open to others’ viewpoints. 

“When you’re experiencing chatter, you’re not in that wise state, but when you break out of it, and use some of these tools, we see evidence for enhancement in how wisely people can solve problems,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to avoid burnout and enjoy being your own boss again as a business founder

business owner
Business owners should strive to scale effectively without sacrificing their family or social life.

  • David Finkel is a founder, business coach, and author of 12 business books including new release, “The Freedom Formula.”
  • To avoid burnout as a self-employed business owner, he says it’s crucial to hire a hardworking team. 
  • Design a smooth onboarding process and focus on creating a consistent lead generation system.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

I talk to thousands of business owners every year and the stories are all too similar. The owner of the business is consumed by his or her day-to-day management of the business. They work 80 to 90 hour weeks and while they are able to support their family and their lifestyle, they feel trapped.

They are burnt out. And depending on how long they have been in the business, they grow to hate the business they once loved.

In fact, many business owners only last a few years before calling it quits because they feel like their business owns them, instead of the other way around. It’s something I like to call the self-employment trap.

That said, here are a few ways that you as a business owner can beat the odds and escape this trap.

Hire a workforce that delivers to your high standards

One of the main reasons that business owners feel trapped in their business is they feel like no one on their team can deliver to their high standards. This is how a business owner then falls into the role of catching many last-minute mistakes or “fires” that they have to rush in and fix – often at a high price to their family and personal life.

Now, finding people who can service your customers to a high standard is doable. But creating a system or a process for finding, hiring, and on-boarding your team is the preferred method. Because at the end of the day, staff will move on and you will need to find their replacement.

Begin by being really clear on the various role descriptions within your company, and deciding what your “must-haves” are. These are the things that a candidate must possess before you move forward with them in the hiring process. By laying it out on paper ahead of time, you will have a much better chance of finding the ideal candidate. 

Next, look at your onboarding process. Every new hire will have a set task list that needs to be done before they join your team. This could involve technology setup, education, position-specific training, access to documents and files, etc. Put everything down on paper and build on the task list every time you on-board a new employee. Over time, you will be able to speed up the onboarding process with your procedures.

Systematize your lead generation efforts

Many businesses fall victim to sporadic lead generation efforts. You see a lack of sales and start scrambling for fresh leads. Then you get caught up in servicing and managing the new batch of leads and your lead generation efforts fall to the wayside. And then you rinse and repeat.

This cycle is a recipe for burnout and makes it almost impossible to manage cash flow and scale your business. 

If you want to escape the cycle, focus on consistent, systemized lead generation efforts. Set up automated funnels, lead capture pages, and advertising campaigns that can run in the background to keep your leads fresh. Don’t be afraid to outsource this portion of your business to a third party, if you lack the skills or capacity to do so in-house.

With a stronger hiring process and consistent lead generation effort in place, you can begin to scale your business without sacrificing your family or social life. Over time, as you get better with these two pieces, you will find yourself putting out fewer fires and having more time to spend looking at the bigger picture and the things that will help your business scale. 

Read the original article on Business Insider