Managing Burnout And Work-Life Balance as a Pet Care Business Owner
Burnout is possible whether you manage your pet care business alone, or with a trusted team. No matter how good your team is, if you feel the need to micromanage and be involved in everything, you risk burnout. It happens when you can’t delegate and when you have poor boundaries. Here’s all you need to know about burnout and work-life balance.
What Is Burnout?
Prolonged work stress causes burnout; it makes you wonder, does this business work for my health and sanity? You may wonder if working for a corporation, despite the limitations, would leave you feeling more rested and energized. These questions are normal for any business owner.
However, burnout isn’t only limited to bad boundaries at work. It may also manifest itself by your overall attitude about work. You know you are on the verge of burnout at work when you feel drained, overwhelmed, cynical, and helpless about your business operations.
If you think your work burnout won’t affect your pet care business, you are wrong. Poor work-life balance can sap you emotionally and affect your “why”. It can affect the very reason you started the business; your passion for pet care. Not only that, but it will also lower your productivity.
Work stress and routine tiredness are different than burnout. Here’s what burnout is, what it isn’t, and how to know the difference.
Difference Between Usual Work Stress and Burnout
Your job is exhausting, you are frustrated with your position, or you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your pet care business; this isn’t burnout. When you are overworked, you are tired, which makes you hate your job; this might feel like burnout, but you need a vacation, a break at best, to make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Distinguishing between burnout and needing a break is very important. If you take ample breaks and refresh, you might never burn out. The first step of burnout is exhaustion. With a break, you can avoid burnout easily. One of the easiest ways to avoid burnout; allow yourself to consistently take days off, where you can completely disconnect.
Burnout doesn’t happen all at once; there are similar patterns that occur you may be able to spot so you don’t allow yourself to hit rock bottom.
The Steps That Lead To Burnout
Engaged and Energetic: This is the start of the new business. You have passion and energy, and due to that over-energetic attitude, you may take on more than you can handle. You are still very productive, very much into work, and are willing to juggle everything to make it all come together.
Overextended: You managed and loved what you were doing, but the pressure is getting to you. You are still productive and juggling, but the work keeps coming, and you find yourself overbooked.
Disengaged: This is the point where you are losing hope, you are still working and being productive, but the energy and hope are long gone. Your passion has become a tedious job. Disengaging most commonly manifests itself by attitude; despite your performance, are you feeling hopeless and empty at work? Do you find a lack of fulfillment in your day to day? These may be signs of disengagement.
Ineffective: You have started to slack, missed appointments, and your clients may be noticing an unprofessional attitude. You care about your business but because of the lack of energy, you find your operations starting to slip.
Burnout: This is the most obvious sign of exhaustion. You find yourself at a crisis moment; you may have desires to quit, leave, sell your pet business, anything to get it off your mind altogether.
Being exhausted can be dealt with, but when disengagement and ineffectiveness start to seep in, you need to take action. Understanding how and what causes burnout is significant.
Factors That May Cause Burnout In Your Pet Care Business
1.Never Ending Work Demands
Doing a job may cause exhaustion and frustration, but when you run a business, you must be extra careful how you handle the work demands. When you are the head of your business, you must keep an eye on everything, from the happy clients to your happy employees and everything in between.
The balance is critical. Understand your capacity, and don’t take more than you can handle. Finding an assistant or fellow staff employees allows you to rely and trust other people to execute on areas you simply cannot as a single individual.
Don’t take up more work when you have a limited number of employees, supplies, and space. Understand how much you can deal with and learn to say no. When you overbook your understaffed business, your clients may notice a drop in quality of services. Your employees may feel burnout as well; which may affect the overall morale of the team.
3. Lack of Delegation
A team you trust and have authority over is very important. You should always make sure that you have control over your books, employees, and finances, or delegate these levels of control to other individuals entirely. Allowing yourself to focus on the most top-level items, and depending on others to fulfill their position.
4. Employees not Valued
Recognition, monetary rewards, and paid time off are several ways to keep your employees satisfied. A happy team will be more productive than a grumpy and tired one. Recognize the work your employees do (in many ways your business could not run without them). Allow them space away from work, notice their improvement, and value them appropriately.
5. Lack of Community
Be one with your employees. Allow them to feel that they can address issues with you and they will be heard and validated.
Solving conflicts, being fair, and not being biased against any one of the employees is how you conduct good business. A workplace with unresolved conflict is a workplace with unnecessary stress.
You can still manage the exhaustion if your clients are happy with you and if you are somehow managing to stay afloat. But when you start losing clients, when your business isn’t bringing in the profit you need, and when you go home tired and dreading the next working day, the real burnout begins, and the red flags appear that something needs to change.
If you aren’t sure whether you are suffering from work burnout or not, here are the symptoms to look for.
Zero Motivation: Compared to when you started, you have no motivation to continue your work.
Irritability: You are always annoyed at your employees or criticizing them for minor faults.
Fatigue: Due to overbooking or poor management, you are never fresh and happy at work.
Hopeless: The exhaustion is causing you to lose hope that you can happily mantain a career in the pet industry.
Nervousness: You are always nervous when booking a client.
Loss of energy: The loss of energy is accompanied by loss of appetite and memory.
Enjoyment: You have stopped enjoying your work as you used to; you forgot that this was your passion.
Poor performance: Loss of performance comes with the loss of productivity; you have the clients, and they like you, but you are having a hard time keeping them happy with your service.
Now that you know what burnout looks like in the pet care business, here’s how you can manage it by managing work-life balance.
Tips and Tricks To Improve Work-life Balance
You can only have a work-life balance when you have a self-care plan. If you don’t prioritize your health over work, you will burn out quicker than you think. As a professional, you need to understand that there is life outside of work; you need to have a social life, have fun and see your family and work. The balance is highly important. Here are some of the professionals’ best strategies to manage their work-life balance. You can apply the same to your pet-care business.
Reduce Your Work Time with Every Successive Year
With each year ending, assess your work hours and cut back if you can. Think about all the important days you have missed due to workload. Do you want a repeat of the same year, missing special occasions with friends and family?
Find replacements, learn to turn away new clients you can’t squeeze in without messing with the schedule, get extra staff, and invest in new-age pet software and pet portal programs to help you with your products and services and keep the clients updated.
With a trusted staff and a trusted right hand or assistant, you can easily have flexible hours. It is what you need if you have too much going on. To manage the high demand of your work, you need a trusted team you can rely on.
Own Your Business
Managing a business is hard. You need all hands on deck. So, train more people who can become your replacement in need. Let your clients know how you run your practice and own your system. If you are confident in your team, your clients will feel the same confidence.
Learn To Say NO:
Most pet groomers and pet care businesses suffer because they overbook. Learn to say no. Yes, you will lose some clients, but they will return if they value your service. If they don’t, it’s okay to lose a client rather than your health.
These are just the tip of the iceberg; here are some boundaries you can introduce to keep your pet care business in check as well as your mental health.
Boundaries That Help Burnout At Pet Care Business
Having set policies can help a lot. Have your clients read your terms and conditions from cover to cover. Let them know you stand by what’s written in your policies. Have policies about everything your business has to deal with, such as cancellations, delays, walk-ins, holidays, weather uncertainty, etc. All these policies are there to help you keep a cordial business that no one can walk over.
Effective Communication Channels
Pet portals, emails, SMS, and other effective communication channels are great for keeping clients in the loop. These channels let your clients know about promotions, discounts, sales, and more. You will be able to take more clients, create a VIP client chain, and also work to reduce stress.
Have a professional phone and business number, do not entertain your customers through your number. If you give them your number, you permit them to text and call you at all hours. This means your work will stay open even after hours.
Set Office Hours
No entertaining clients’ calls after office hours. If there is an emergency, your pet clients can seek emergency care; you are off the hook once the office hours end. Communicate your office hours in the policies as well as on your pet portal.
When You’re Not Available
Yes, you have a life, and sometimes you will be unavailable to your clients. You can either help them seek another option or reschedule their appointment, but let them know in clear words that you will not entertain last-minute or walk-in appointments when you are not working.
Keep Extending Your Team
This is one of the most common mistakes most pet care businesses make. Once you start getting more than expected clients, extend your staff. When you first started the business, you cared for all clients.
However, when extending your business, taking care of every client personally isn’t feasible. So, train your team to become your replica, and explain to your clients how they will be taking over with you in the background; keep an eye on everything. It can become a hurdle, but with the right choice of words and a confident staff, you will win your clients’ trust in no time.
Implementing New Systems
Getting new software and pet portals to help your business grow is the smartest thing a pet care business can do. At DaySmart Pet, you get an array of new and improved software that can help you organize your business in no time. This software is designed to make your life easier and shed some workload off your back.
Having a full-time pet care business can be challenging. But you can’t get anywhere with poor mental health. If you have observed the early signs of burnout, you should take all the measurements to help yourself overcome it. Install apps, get new software, understand pet portals, and hire more staff if needed. Your pet care business needs healthy you to bloom and grow.