Everyone Burns Out

Sometimes the view from the top is a little hot.
Sometimes the view from the top is a little hot.

I had lunch yesterday with a good friend.  Three and a half years ago he quit his job to start a company.  They’ve grown to 10 employees, seven figure gross revenue, and most importantly are finally making more money than they lose.  Cha-ching.

Side note – 3.5 years to become profitable.  Starting a new business? You’re lucky if you can be profitable [i.e. also pay yourself a salary] in less time than that.

Paraphrasing his words, “I’ve made it, but I’m dragging myself into the office everyday.” He’s finally reached the top of the mountain, but he doesn’t like the view.  He’s burned out.  Why?

Building things, solving problems, making sales – my buddy excels at this.  What’s wearing him down are the mundane, yet sometimes business-threatening, details of running a business: retroactively collecting sales tax due to new regulations, HR compliance with state and national policies. When you are El Presidente [or La Presidente], all that crap lands at your feet.

Running a software company was easily the hardest and most stressful thing I’ve ever done.  It happened concurrently with “life”: welcoming twins to the family, starting an MBA program, and moving to a new home.  I burned out.  Everyone burns out.

Fortunately for my friend, he sees a few ways out.  Hire a COO or President to run the day-to-day while he focuses on expanding the business.  That gets him excited.  Given his company’s upward trajectory, it’s also a good time to sell.

It doesn’t matter if you’re running your own business, running a team, grinding out your day job, or managing your family, you will burn out eventually.  Be me like my friend and use that as an opportunity to find ways to bring your life back under control.


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