Young Startup CEO? Here is how you can avoid burnout
Being CEO is amazing. But it could be the beginning of a downward spiral as well.
Wednesday May 24, 2017,
5 min Read
More and more young people are starting up their own companies these days. Even college students are always up and ready to learn something new and implement it for their own benefit. While the average age of CEO is getting lesser day by day, the responsibilities that the position brings are becoming bigger. When young people start new companies, the number of tasks to be accomplished are considerably higher than the number of resources available. As it is often said that a startup CEO is an employee, the cleaner, the office boy, the accountant, the sales developer and what not! With less money and resources, the startup guy has to accomplish a lot within the limited number of hours that each day has.
If one keeps this hectic schedule for longer periods of time, a burnout is inevitable. Gradually, the exhaustion level will rise and you will no longer be able to stay productive anymore. Here are some tips to avoid burnout while being the young CEO that you are:
1. Be the Chief ‘Execution’ Officer, not the other way round
CEO Full form is Chief Execution Officer, which means you have to ‘ensure’ that everything in the company is executed in the perfect manner. However, it doesn’t mean that CEO has to DO everything in the company. As CEO, it is your responsibility to get more done within the stipulated budget and time. If you have no money to hire an office boy, don’t work from a leased office. Work from a coworking space instead. If you don’t have the budget to hire an accountant, Don’t do everything yourself. You can always ask a reliable person to do it, like your dad or your best friend. Yes, these things take only an hour to do but they might divert your concentration and focus on running and growing the business. If you will let your focus slip away from critical tasks, you will end up executing nothing.
2. Use a Task Scheduler, Yes, for YOURSELF
Yes, I know that using a task scheduler for yourself is a lot like eating alone at a restaurant. But you are the boss of you. Using a task scheduler will help you stay on top of things. It will also help you to avoid frivolous things. If you have a beeping task scheduler, it is more likely you will not be wasting time on things that are not important.
3. Do only what YOU are good at
Always start a business that you know like the back of your hand. Once you have started the business, concentrate on doing the tasks that you are good at. Try to outsource the other tasks to someone else. If you do not want the hassle of hiring full time employees, then outsource things to a remote worker or a freelancer.
4. Get a reliable Co-founder with complimentary skills
Several businesses have certain critical functions on which relying on employees would not be the best option. For example, if your business has both tech and marketing as critical functions and you are a techie, you should consider getting a reliable marketer as a co-founder. If your business is primarily tech - oriented and marketing is not a critical function, then you can outsource the marketing to a freelancer or hire someone for the function.
5. Take vacations regularly
There is nothing more important than taking a break. Even if you are bootstrapping and cannot spend loads of money on vacations, you can simply take a Netflix and meet your friends kind of a break once in a while. Taking out 2-3 days off from work has more importance than you could ever realise. If you take a break from work every couple of months, you will be able to avoid burning out, and believe me burnout is not good at all.
6. Please discuss things with your friends/family
When you are the new CEO and are working 24*7, you start drifting apart from your friends and family. All your school and college friends are meeting up, going out to parties and you are always in the office, working. Your family doesn’t get to see your face for months. You don’t share what you are going through or all the struggles at work because you think nobody will understand. Frankly, even if they don’t just talk to them. Talking to someone is extremely important. Most young startup CEOs fall into depression because they do not talk to anyone about their struggle. Friends and family will be willing to listen to you, keep them close.
7. Don’t try to over-save money for at least the 1st year. Re-invest it in hiring people so that you can scale without increasing your man-hours
Several bootstrapped founders make this mistake. They try to save every penny of revenue for themselves. For at least 1 year since the beginning of your startup, re-invest the revenue to hire people and build technology. If your business has started doing well, good! Now start thinking of ways to scale and automate it. Keep a portion of it for yourself and re-invest the rest on people and tech so that you can scale the operations without increasing your man hours.
Here were some tips to avoid burnout if you are a new CEO. Being on top of things and going down under them are exactly opposite to each other. Keep in mind that you do not fall under the pressure of tasks while trying too hard to stay on top of them.