Avoiding Burnout As A Maker Or Creative Entrepreneur

Avoiding Burnout As A Maker Or Creative Entrepreneur

Times sure are weird. Being quarantined with 3 kids is hard, like, I wish I could knock myself out some days because I just need a five minute break hard. I don't know about how you are adjusting to these crazy unprecedented times but I hope you are.

I have talked with a number of makers over the last few weeks and most that I had talked with have mentioned not really being able to work as much as they would hoped. I think when life changes like it is for us now, it forces us into introspection. I think it also makes us so busy we can't really take a look at our life like we would wish. It's so weird right. I feel even lonelier than I did before Covid-19 graced us with it's presence. I think we are feeling a bit apprehensive too about what the future might look like and how we should pivot as business is changing. Being alone in times like this, and trying to navigate daily life, let alone make major business choices without really knowing how to digest them is super scary stuff!

As makers you already have a super isolated life. Working from sun up to sun down. Pressing onward to meet deadlines, make shows, build new products, and engage your followers.


Burnout is a real thing and it really happens all the time. Especially for solo-preneurs.

Research shows that the psychological costs of owning and managing a small to midsize business is loneliness and burn out.

I want you to feel empowered, encouraged, and excited about the potential that your business has in this crazy world right now.
I so get what it feels like to be corralled in your studio, feeling stuck and all by yourself. I want the community of makers to break down the walls of loneliness and connect with one another all the while avoiding a major crash and burn out.

What Is Burnout Exactly?

Herbert Freudenberger (some famous psychologist), in his book, Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement coined burnout as, “the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one's devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results.”

Basically it's an emotional state where chronic or ongoing job stress kicks your butt. Usually if you are feeling exhaustion, start to hate your job (in your case your passion), and feelings of reduced professional ability you are pretty close to burning out.

Most people spend the majority of their waking hours working, and thats especially true when you are a maker or entrepreneur and your work is your life right? So when you burnout it is a really really bad thing.

What Can You Do To Avoid It?

We both know you cant quit your day job so what can you do about it? Here are a few ideas that can help you deal a little better.

Restructure your work Environment

Think about changing up your studio space or perhaps working out of the studio if possible. Pick yourself a few flowers and put them in a special place. Fill your studio with plants or perhaps it's time to paint?

You can also set up a few strategies that can help you manage your time and pressures a bit better. Schedule yourself regular breaks and step away. Take real lunch breaks and sit down and really enjoy your meal instead of multi-tasking.

Set Real Boundaries

It's time to learn to say no. You can do it. No, No, No. Practice it and meditate on it and use it. Do you always cave in when asked to do something? It's time to stop and put yourself and your family first.

Make Connections

Stop sitting in your studio burning up and spinning your wheels. Making connections is vital to your well-being and your life.

Ethel Barrymore once said, "The best time to make friends is before you need them" There has never been a time better than this, and despite our quarantine, technology makes connection possible. The Corona Virus is really changing our society but that doesn't change our need for human interaction. Let's join together for tips, tricks, inspiration, encouragement and connection from afar. We need each other now more than ever. Let's help each other avoid burnout and build a better sense of community. It's time to break down the literal walls and help each other network and connect.

Join me every month for a Maker Mixup where we can talk about whatever you want. Avoid burnout, boost your productivity, get inspiration, give and receive really good advice from other makers and business owners as well as grow your relationships and your business.

Do Something Creative But Not Your Business

All day I am thinking about how I can help small businesses. Branding and design and design and branding. I get all mixed up inside if I am always working. Lately I started a side project for my daughter who desperately wants to sell stuff. The other day she created an ice cream wagon and decided she was going to sell all the frozen stuff in my fridge. I couldn't let her melt everything so we decided she could sell lemonade. I found a 20 dollar bookshelf and now I am turning it into a snazzy lemonade stand for her. Cutting wood, planning, designing, and making this ugly bookshelf into something pretty has given me an outlet I desperately needed.

Maybe whimsical creative hobbies just aren’t your thing. In that case, perhaps maybe spring cleaning and going through your creative mess will help? Or maybe a few daytrips are in order? Walk to the closest park and start sketching. Gardening for me is another way I can think differently and I really enjoy my time outside. Just do something creative that has nothing to do with your business.

Distract Yourself With The Creativity Of Others

I don't mean spend all of your time trolling instagram. I am talking about researching something that inspires you as a creative. A moment in art history, indigenous art, another medium, or perhaps a friend who is a potter. It's always a good idea to get inspired by other people. I actually have a fascination with art history and love to learn about why artists arrive at their completed works. Get inspired by Van Gough, or perhaps research an artists who is creating today and learn more about them. Buy one of there works and it can continue to inspire you in your own studio and you're supporting another maker. What is better than that?!

Join The Maker Mixup

1. Send an email to heather@heatherbunker.com
2. Set the date in your calendar
3. Look for an email with a private link to join the zoom meeting.

The first Maker Mixup will be May, 29th @ 8PM.

Loneliness can make the world feel a little bit devoid of color and bleak at times and during this crazy pandemic we are forced into solitude. Loneliness is a fact of life right now. I don't know about you but I am craving human company, conversation, and accountability. Let's give that to each other, we owe it to ourselves to try to connect even though we can't physically be in the same room. Don't be burned out by running your business without likeminded entrepreneurs by your side.

About The Author

Heather Bunker works with makers and artisan entrepreneurs who want to build a professional and profitable brand. She provides brand strategy, design, and marketing services along with a friendly disposition and a bit of encouragement. She has been a designer and art lover for over 15 years and is an active member of the AIGA, the professional association for design. "Heather’s design trademark is her unique perspective and originality. For clients she delivers designs that capture both a unique brand image and the audience's attention. Spunky, bright, creative, and her blog is a joy to read." You can learn more about how her services can help grow your business by subscribing or connecting on Instagram.