After running Honest Biz events consistently for nearly two years now, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a lot of business owners and hear their many stories. I’ve noticed common themes amongst the stories but also the people that come together around the table, too.

More often than not,  business owners are high-performing people. Entrepreneurial life definitely lends itself to a certain kind of personality. Through our discussions I notice an undercurrent of self-imposed pressure throughout all aspects of business to constantly be productive and make the most of your time. I know this intimately because I certainly feel it, too.

The problem with constantly needing to DO without allowing ourselves to be is that we don’t prioritise rest. As humans we need restorative rest and time to repair. Without this we start to feel the effects of small business burnout.

Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up

On the flipside – just about every business owner stumbles upon a time where they’ve taken the pressure off. Sometimes because they were forced to (like through illness), or because they felt utterly burnt out. I’ve yet to hear of someone who has taken time out from the hustle that has ever regretted it.

Being a solo business owner feels all-consuming and taking space to exist outside of business is hugely beneficial for mindset, mood, creativity and motivation.

What happens upon return from a biz-hiatus, is a renewed sense of energy and focus.  And this contributes to us making positive shifts in the needle of business growth and success.

Even knowing this, it always puzzles me why as business owners, we aren’t cultivating more spaciousness in our days/weeks/months.

We seem to wait until it’s absolutely necessary.

Then you throw in things like the proliferation of AI. Suddenly we need to be creating 90 pieces of content in one sitting, making an Instagram reel or TikTok a day and seemingly selling our souls to social media for a buck.

…Like, who is actually going to use 100 pieces of content? 

When less is actually more

There’s a general vibe of more is more. But when we actually tune into what works for us, we realise less is more.

Periods of spaciousness, keeping things simple and doing less actually leads us to be more productive. We become more in flow, and actually moving in the direction we want. 

You may have heard the saying ‘you need to slow down to speed up’. I feel like we’re really losing touch with the essence of this in the online world. Everyone is so exposed to everyone else’s lives and we forget it’s not reality.

What we see online, especially on social media is a snippet of someone’s life and business. It’s not the entire story. And because we’re spending so much time on our phones, scrolling endlessly, we’re not learning how to tune into ourselves. We don’t pause to focus on what’s happening for us, how we feel about it and which direction WE want to be heading.

How do we cultivate more spaciousness and help prevent small biz burnout?

Two words: self trust.

Affirming to yourself that creating space is giving yourself room to grow.

Space also grants us time to to take stock and fill our cups. It’s important to prioritise rest and nervous system regulation, away from the need to be productive – otherwise you’ll end up burning yourself out.


1. Take a break from perpetual masterclasses, workshops and group coaching programs

It’s okay to take your foot off the business accelerator and the need to be constantly levelling up.  The online world is one big marketing machine and we forget that it’s a vacuum in terms of what we’re seeing. Many businesses are following other business owners who are often selling a program, product or service.

You only have so much space in your brain for consuming and processing new information. We need time to allow things to integrate and settle. We’re wired to be drawn to ‘silver bullet’ solutions and big marketing promises like ‘ways to 10X your follower count in 10 days’.

We find ourselves thinking, ‘Ah, that’s the thing I need…” When really from what I’ve experienced first-hand, the only way to move towards your goals is to do the damn thing and take imperfect action. This can look really messy and uncomfortable – but this doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong!

In fact, if it looks like that, you’re probably doing it right!  Don’t get me wrong, there’s a role for training programs and upskilling in certain areas of business. But I don’t think it’s helpful to be doing them on repeat. 

Step away from the business coach

A really common marketing message I see on repeat is that you need to have a business coach.

And it can seem like all these really successful business owners are themselves forking out thousands on a business coach, so if they need to do that, you need to do that too. 

Business coaches are a helpful resource but it’s unhelpful to buy into any rule that you always need to have a business coach. 

Repeatedly buying into a story that you don’t already have everything you need to succeed in business stops you from leaning into the power of self trust and intuition. Because at the end of the day, you are the only authority on your life. 

You already have what it takes to make things happen. 

A good coach will teach you how to find the answers within yourself, which comes back to that messy and uncomfortable progress.

It’s really scary to trust yourself and take action – because more often than not you’ll make mistakes.

But making mistakes is where the biggest lessons are found. And only you can do that for yourself.  A business coach is not the silver bullet solution to your problems.

2. Choose events that fill your self-care cup, not drain it

I may be biased here, but it’s worth getting picky about the sort of events you are choosing to go to as a business owner.

Networking is a really powerful tool to help grow your small business. Meeting other entrepreneurs is valuable for increasing referrals, word of mouth marketing and brand recognition.  It also helps you to feel an important sense of belonging and community – which is something humans are primed to thrive with.

Not all networking events are created equal. Larger, more transactional events where you’re meeting multiple people and you’re having multiple superficial conversations can be incredibly draining. It can also contribute to ‘comparisonitis’ similar to what appears with lots of time spent scrolling online.

Sharing experience and vulnerability are powerful in establishing genuine connections with others. If you’re having multiple surface-level conversations, you aren’t really scratching the surface and you can leave feeling alone or invalidated.

This is why I created the Honest Biz Brunches and Mastermind. They’re a space where people can have deeper conversations, and as the name suggests, a more honest sharing of stories and experiences.

Hearing the unfiltered, messy versions of other people’s businesses helps validate your own experiences. And when you see other people in a similar boat – this can be incredibly inspiring. In turn motivating you to take inspired action in your own business.

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3. Schedule more white space in your calendar

When I say whitespace– these are those chunks of time (or days, or weeks if you’re lucky!) where you have absolutely nothing scheduled. 

For me this is not having any appointments booked, no pressure to clean the house or do the grocery shopping. Because, let’s face it –  if you’re anything like me and you’re a mum, those jobs are neverending anyway! They’re still gonna be on your to-do list the next day/week/month.

Instead, take the pressure off and allow yourself to engage in something without attaching meaning or an outcome to it. For example, I love being creative – particularly drawing. But there was a period where I just felt like I was doing it as a means to an end. I would draw because I would want to come up with a cool digital product, make a social media graphic or because it could lead to cleaner the possibility of client work. I was always thinking about from a business perspective.

I know a lot of entrepreneurs will resonate with this – there’s just something about the way our brains are wired!

We love all aspects of business but as with anything – too much of a good thing sometimes doesn’t serve us. I lost touch with the mindfulness of being creative and the magic that that spaciousness would create. I also lost touch with the joy that arose from simply being creative. 

Make time for joy, creativity and play away from business

Forcing creativity didn’t fuel further creativity. In fact, it had the opposite effect. When I attached pressure or expectation to something that’s meant to be fun, it had the opposite effect and stifled creativity.

When I allow myself to play, remove expectation and be present in the moment it’s amazing the flow on effect this has. Ideas will drop in and inspiration hits when carving out restorative time. 

4. Take a break from social media

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of what socials does to our lives and businesses. I’m a huge advocate for taking time off the social platforms.

Even if you think you’re chill with socials…There’s a very good chance there’s a lot of subconscious processing happening behind the scenes in your brain. It’s hard for this not to happen when you’re busy looking at other people’s lives, all the time.

Everyone that I’ve known to have some sort of break from socials (me included), whether it’s a few days to a few months to forever, talks about the benefits.

There’s a freedom that arises when we’re not experiencing the constant reactivity that comes with habitually checking our phones. The feeling of being untethered and totally focused on our own shit.

And I think if you’re too scared to take a break from socials… it’s a good indication that it’s worth a try! You never know magic what might happen.

Sustainable business is the key to preventing burnout as a small business owner

We’re constantly being sold someone’s ‘formula’ for success. But here’s the thing about formulas, they are SO subjective. There is no one formula for success. Success not only looks different for everyone, it’s dependent on so many factors. Some of which are totally beyond our control.

Measured, steady progress isn’t sexy or as desirable – but it freakin’ works.

Sustainably growing your business is going to serve you better in the future because you’re not going to go so hard and fast that you make rushed decisions, burn out your cash supply or worse, burn yourself out.

It’s sexy to take things slow. It’s okay to take a break. You won’t miss any opportunity that isn’t meant for you and you won’t be left behind in business – in fact, you’ll probably soar. But you’ll never know if you don’t give it a try…