5 Ways to Avoid Startup Burnout

Let’s face it: Starting up isn’t easy.

If creating and managing a startup were easy, everyone would be doing it.

At your best, you may feel like you’re on top of the world. At your worst, you may ask yourself why you even bother running a company. The key is to find the perfect balance while also keeping a close eye on your personal well-being.

Check in with yourself. When you’re your own boss, that’s your job.

Confession: When I owned a startup, I didn’t always follow this advice. But if you’re a startup founder, read on and learn about the top five ways you can avoid startup burnout:

1. Know your limits

As a startup founder, you need to be able to set boundaries for yourself. It may sound silly, but it’s always a good idea to establish limits right away. That is, before you get carried away and pull one too many all-nighters.

Does turning your computer off no later than 7 P.M. sound reasonable to you? Good, then make it a goal and don’t let yourself break it.

2. Check in with yourself

No, I’m not saying that you should carry a conversation with yourself. I’m talking about a mental check-in.

Are you accomplishing what you want in life in and out of work? Are you getting enough sleep on a regular basis? Are you keeping up with family and friends? Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in work, so these are important questions to ask yourself.

3. Disconnect

It’s OK to disconnect at times. Learn how to properly delegate and let your employees handle the work while you’re gone.

If there are things that ONLY you can do, that your employees are in the dark about, then this is a recipe for disaster. Not only will you never be able to take a break, but it’s just not the kind of philosophy that should be a part of any company’s culture.

Ideally, things should be able to run smoothly without you.

Ultimately, what I’m saying is: Don’t forget to take a vacation. Or two. Or three. You deserve it.

4. Know how to recognize signs of pre-burnout

The best way to avoid burnout is to catch it before it occurs.

Only you will be able to recognize all of the signs. Maybe your pre-burnout tip-off is constant irritability. Maybe it’s fatigue or binge eating. Whatever it is, know how to spot it and then recharge.

I love this article by Erica Diamond about founder burnout–she says feeling truly burnt out means feeling uneasy and just plain uncomfortable. She describes this as being more of an anxious feeling, where the real challenge is relaxing.

Caring about your business naturally causes some healthy worry–but if you find that you’re constantly frustrated, thinking about your business 24/7, and truly can’t take a break or relax, then it’s time to seriously take a step back and evaluate (and go on a vacation!).


Startup burnout is real–very real. Luckily, if you pay attention to yourself and set boundaries, you’ll be able to avoid burnout more easily.