Feeling the burn? Top 5 Tips to Prevent Burnout as a Business Owner
Small business owners everywhere share a lot of the same experiences when it comes to running and managing a business. Often times it can feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. This feeling makes a lot of sense as many know it is not easy running a business. Multiple hats are worn and problems have to be solved. But before you can solve everything else you first need to solve this one thing: burnout.
From stress to stress about stress, many things can pull your attention away from the tasks and the reasons you got into business in the first place. No matter the business you got into, there is much to be said about managing stress and reducing the pressure of burnout. In this post we will cover the 5 tips you can implement to help curve your burnout. Let’s get started!
Not an athletic person? No need to be when it comes to doing a few things here and there to help decrease stress-exercise being one of them. By engaging in just a few minutes per day, you can implement a exercise routine in no time. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, increase heart health, and gives your body an activity to exert some pent up stress. Simply taking a walk, doing a 5 minute routine at the start of your day, or hitting the gym for a dedicated work-out session can all help reduce stress and clear your mind.
4. Take a “one day at a time” perspective
Ok this is not what you might be thinking. Businesses often take a “where are we going” or a “what does the future look like” approach- which is all good. What we mean here is to take a one day at a time approach to tackling an aspect of the business. For instance, if you layout what needs to be done in the week to meet a goal, break it down to a task or sets of tasks a day. If you can execute a task each day, by taking on no more or no less, you breakdown the workload to a more manageable view. One day of accomplishing tasks added up equates to a full week of being productive and ahead of the curve.
3. Take unwind time
Notice how we didn’t say “you” time? It’s for a reason- unwind time is actually time to unwind, not focus on other things. When people take “me” (or you time), they often do things that add more stress. The pressure to capitalize on the the time you a lot adds less than perfect outcomes. So, instead of focusing on “you”, focus on doing something that helps you unwind. Reframing the time as unwind time, sort of gives you permission to do something different. It forces you to focus on decompressing and not so much on maximizing your time. Read a book, go on a walk, binge a funny show, or write a silly story that you throw away at the end. Something that takes your mind off the business and on something that is freeing.
A lot of business owners have trouble handing over tasks to others. Many people in fact have a case of the “I've got its.” It’s key to find people in the business, or life, that you can delegate tasks to. If other people around you can email out the newsletter, can follow up after a service was performed, or can sign work orders- let them do it! People will feel more empowered, you will feel less pull in multiple directions, and overall burnout may subside. Go ahead-delegate a little.
1. Learn the art of “no”
One of the most critical lessons we all learn is the ability, and freedom, to say “no.” For some, saying no is like hurting someone or something you love. Saying no does not have to feel this way-nor should it. Saying no is the ability to recognize what you can or can not commit to and feeling empowered to be true to that. By saying no to projects, deadlines, or duties, you can feel more empowered when you do say yes. If things are not right, saying no can help you reshift focus and find what areas you can commit to and how to meet those expectations. So, try saying it aloud: No!
Burnout is a real thing. It can sneak up on you, fill your mind, and eventually take you out of your game. Or, it can be something you embrace and find ways to minimize its impacts on your or your business. By following some simple tips, you can give burnout the cold shoulder and move through the ups and downs of business like a pro. So, go ahead and give yourself permission to blow-off burn-out!
Have a side hustle? How to handle taxes as a Freelancer in the Gig Economy
Freelancing, or in newly coined terms “Gig Economy” has taken the US by storm. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report stating that 16.5 million people now make up the gig economics and approximately 59% of U.S. companies are now using remote workers and freelancers. Some predictions indicate that by 2020, over 40% of American workers would become independent contractors.
It’s not surprising why the gig economy or freelancing has become such a trend. With flexible work schedules, variety in projects, demand for skilled contractors, and more mobility with technology, freelancing is taking over the workforce.
With such a major shift in the ways in which Americans earn their income, much has been asked about how to manage reporting, filing, and preparing for taxes. As more people get away from employer issued W2’s and more responsibly for tracking expenses and revenue become the task of the Freelancer.
The more a freelancer works and begins bumping up the income from their side hustle, the more important it is to understand how to handle their taxes.
Freelancer Tax Basics:
For any freelancer or side hustler who makes $400 or more in any given year, they are expected to cover their self-employment taxes of 15.3% on that earned income. This covers your Medicare and Social Security taxes. The IRS views you responsible for this because in that situation you are both the employee and the employer. If freelancing is a side hustle, and you receive pay stubs from an employer, they typically are covering those costs through your withholdings in the year. You can utilize a Schedule SE tax form to help calculate your self-employment tax, which then gets reported on your standard Form 1040.
What should you save?
Because the self-employment tax that gets assessed (15.3%) is in addition to your regular income tax rate, it’s advised to set aside at least 25% up to around 35-40% to be extra safe. It may seem like a lot considering it’s close to have of any earned income, but you need to cover both taxes throughout the year.
In addition, since taxes from the freelance work are not being withheld throughout the year, you may need to estimate taxes for the upcoming year and pay the IRS quarterly (typically every three months).
A general rule to follow:
If you make $2000 or less each year in freelance income, you can probably skip estimated tax payments and report your freelance income when you file your yearly tax return.
Tracking your Income
In most cases you will receive a 1099-MISC form from each client once you hit the $600 mark if earned income from that contract/gig. In some cases, you will not be given the 1099-MISC, rather you may receive a 1099-K instead. One kicker: clients are not mandated to send the 1099-K unless you earn more than $20,000 or more than 200 “payments” to you. It’s important to note that not ALL contracts will issue the 1099. Programs like UpWork for example, do not issue out 1099, rather you are issued a summary of earnings. At the end of the day, it is you sole responsibility to track income earned from contracts throughout the year.
While this is general advice, it’s important to consult with a tax professional to ensure you are filing on the correct forms when it comes to tax time.
What to keep records of
It’s important to track the earned income you receive as you go, to ensure you capture all of the revenue you will be reporting out on taxes. In addition to revenue, tracking costs out of pocket, or in other terms “deductions” is important to help lower that taxable income. As a freelancer there are several deductions you can take.
According to the IRS, you can claim deductions or expenses on things that are "ordinary and necessary" for the operation of your business.
These often include:
*Key Tip: open a separate banking account for your freelance work to keep your personal transactions separate.