Momentum Podcast: 873

7 Figure Burnout and How to Avoid It

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Join Alex this week as he discusses 7-figure burnout and how to prevent it. Growing a business can be stressful and take time away from your personal life. in this episode, Alex teaches how to organize your business so you can take time for yourself. set you and your team up for success!

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Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum podcas.

Today, I want to cover a topic that a lot of coaches and a lot of content providers don't really talk about, but it is so real and such an intense place to be as an entrepreneur. I call it the 7 figure burnout syndrome. It's where you've hit $1,000,000 or more in run rate, but you're still doing too much in the company. You still feel like you're the biggest bottleneck. You still feel like the company needs you on a day-to-day basis to move forward. And when you're at seven figures or more and you're in this situation, it is one of the fastest ways to burn out as an entrepreneur. But the good news is there is a solution, and it doesn't have to be this way.

I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And we always will be.

If you're listening to this episode and you are already at seven figures, congratulations! You've gone to a place that less than 3% of businesses ever achieve. If you're on your way to seven figures, then I'm glad you're listening to this so that you can anticipate what's coming next for you and you know what may happen in your business after you hit seven figures. Now, let me take a step back and let's just talk about seven figures or what Russell, my friend Russell Brunson, calls the Two Comma Club. Like, as entrepreneurs, this is a goal. I want to get to seven figures. I want to have a business that does $1,000,000 a year. I want to have a business that's growing, that's thriving, that's helping people. But here's what happens to so many entrepreneurs, by the way, myself included in the businesses that I ran when I was younger, I would get to seven figures and I would be completely and totally overwhelmed. In fact, I often was asked to speak and to share and like held out as an example of success. But so often I felt like I was drowning in my business. You know, I would be called the speaker and I'd be on stage and they'd hold me out as a success story. But I'd be sitting there thinking, I've got to get off this stage and go answer emails and check slack and check the issues that we have coming up and check on two things that need to get done. And it was absolutely frustrating. You know, it's really a challenging place to be where everybody has seen you as a success. Like I was in that situation. And I remember sitting on stage and feeling like such an imposter because as my business grew, my overwhelm grew, as my business grew. The responsibilities I had on a day-to-day felt like they were going up every single day. As my business grew, I was stuck in this loop of transactional management, telling people what to do, checking that it got done and telling them what to do again. And as I was growing my team, especially in the business I grew in my twenties, it created massive overwhelm. I didn't understand the solution. I didn't know there was a solution. I thought the solution to being a successful entrepreneur was simple. I had to work harder. So I worked seven days a week, often 10 hours a day or more. I didn't sleep very well. I was constantly stressed out. I was full of cortisol. I was in a place where even though my business was growing, I felt like as a human being I was going backwards and I was in my twenties. I did very well financially, but I did not feel like a success. You know, my company grew like crazy and as my company grew, so did I. Literally, I was almost 300 pounds when I hit 30 years old. I was on five prescription drugs. I was in this place of massive burnout to the point where this company that I had grown, the consultancy that I grew in my twenties, I sold it as soon as I met my wife Cadey, and didn't really take a lot of time in the sale. I got out of it as quickly as I can because I was in that place of day-to-day tactical overwhelm. The good news is I made some money on that sale and I was able to buy myself some space and time.

But it didn't have to be that way. And if you're growing a business and you've hit that seven figure mark or you're approaching that seven figure mark or you're past that seven figure mark and you're still in a place where you feel like you are in that place of being the biggest bottleneck. If you feel like you are getting more and more than you need to do on a day-to-day basis, if you feel like you have more responsibilities, if you feel like every team member that you hire adds more work for you, chances are you're stuck in transactional management. And I've seen this so many times recently in the entrepreneurial world. I'll share one really quick story of an entrepreneur that I recently watched to shut down a business that was on its way to eight figures. She had grown her business for years. She was in that place of transactional management, getting more and more notoriety, more and more popularity. She was speaking on stage, called as a success story, held out as the version of success that we should all try to achieve. And as her business was approaching $10 million a year, she decided to shut it all down and go on a sabbatical. And that hurts me. That hurts my chest. I laugh not out of humor, but out of discomfort because it is so difficult to grow a business to the point where you're approaching even seven figures, but much less eight figures. And if you're doing it in a way where you're doing it all yourself, I've been there and I totally understand. And I think we've all seen this example of people growing a business and then regressing back and either tearing it down or shutting it down or making it smaller or feeling like they need to go back and reorganize and do it again. And it's typically because we've hit this behavioral change issue where we don't understand tactically and strategically what we should do next. We don't understand where we should be focused next. And we don't understand the behavioral change we need to go through as visionaries so that we can continue to grow the business, so that we can continue to build the impact we're having, build the income we're making, build the contribution we're making to people without feeling like we're doing it all ourselves. And when you're stuck in that loop of telling people what to do, checking that it got done and telling them what to do. Again, it is incredibly painful. There's a better way that we show entrepreneurs how to do and you can listen to my podcast and figure this out or I'll give you a link that you can go to at the end of this podcast so you can jump on a call with a member of my team and install a system in your business.

Here's the issue that causes even the bigger burn out in the, and I'm going to start at the beginning. In the early days of your business, what did you have to do in order to make that business successful? What role did you play in the business? I'll answer it for you. You did everything, and here's what happens. We become psychologically conditioned that if we do everything, we experience some success and we do everything for a longer period of time. We experience more success. We continue to do everything. We get more success. And the challenge is that psychological conditioning runs deep. Opening a business, starting a business, getting your first few clients, getting some revenue to come in. That is a highly charged emotional time for us as entrepreneurs. And when we're in that place of feeling like we have to do everything in order to be successful, it's very hard to intuitively, and without support, step out of that place of doing everything to create success. But the reality of business is, and this is real as the CEO of a business, as the visionary in the business, the more you are doing, you are inherently you are literally the biggest bottleneck in the company. And the more you are doing, you are the biggest liability in the company, and the more you are doing, the more you will feel attached to the day-to-day. So the secret, the process to grow a business without getting seven figure burnout so that you can continue to grow through seven figures and into eight like we've had so many companies do, is to go from running a business from your personality or personal management, to process driven growth. And here's the difference. When you're in that place of personal growth, you're literally running it through your personality. You're telling everybody what they need to do. You're strapping the business on every morning and moving it forward. You're checking on everything and hoping that it gets done and you're finding you feel like you're the only one finding the mistakes. And they're incredibly frustrating. If you're like me, when you're in that place of running a business by personality, every mistake you find and you think that there's millions more, and there probably are. Every time that there's an issue with a project, you feel like there's an issue with all projects and you're in this constant state of central nervous system overwhelmed because the feedback you're getting from the business is not grounding, it's not calming. It doesn't help you to feel more present, more aware, more in your body, more embodied as an entrepreneur, which is a place where we can really grow from when we are grounded, when we're present, when we're aware, when we are not tactically overwhelmed, that's when we can start thinking strategically that. That's when we can see a better vision for the business. I always say this, you probably heard me say it a million times, but as entrepreneurs we are that small percentage of the population, especially visionaries, we’re that small percentage of the population that gets up every morning goes into the future, creates a new reality and comes back to the present and demands it becomes real. And the way that we can do that without burning ourselves out, the way we can do that without overwhelming ourselves and feeling like we have to be there every single day to move things forward is to go from running our business, from personality, being there every day, checking all the boxes, making sure everything happens to installing a process in our business where we can create momentum and the team can create momentum even when we're not there.

In the three weeks that I'm in right now, I'm going to be in the office for about five or six days. And the reason is I just traveled to Arizona. I'm now traveling to Costa Rica. I'll be traveling to Canada for a speaking event. I'm going to Dallas for another speaking event. But here's the confidence I go into all of that travel with that there is a process in place for my business that my team can continue to use to execute on a weekly and daily basis so that things are still moving forward. And that frees me up to go do what I need to do to travel in peace, to be calm, to feel confident, to be excited about what I'm doing, rather than landing in the airport and running to go check on things and making sure that I'm in my systems and getting wifi on the airplane and checking on everything and telling everybody what to do. That is just exhausting. And it's also not really supportive of what I want to do with my life. I do not want to be tied to a business on a day-to-day basis. And so what we show entrepreneurs how to do is to have a system that ensures three things are present at the company level, at the departmental level, at the individual human being level. And at every project, the three things you must have are clear outcomes. We know exactly what success looks like. We have clear transparency, our scoreboards. We know what we're measuring to see if we are actually creating success. And there's clear accountability. Each person knows what they're responsible for, and just as importantly, they know what everyone else is responsible for. So when we have that level of clarity, we create cooperation and collaboration on our team instead of conflict and confusion on the team. And those three keys are keys that you can actually check on if something goes wrong in your company. The questions are simple. And by the way, I observed wildly successful people asking these questions over and over again. They sound something like, “What were we trying to do? What were we measuring to see if we were successful and who was responsible for what?” This is like a diagnosis process you can go through to see what happened when there's an issue in the company. And also this is a setup process so you can ensure that you have what's necessary to be successful. The questions just modify a little bit. What are we trying to achieve? What are we going to measure and who's going to be responsible for what? When you have a process in your business, like our simple operations system that answers those questions at those four places that I talked about at the company level, department level, project level and individual person level, the entire team can execute without you. And when that process includes planning with shared decision making, where you're not the one who's making all of the decisions. You're not the only one who's deciding how you move forward. You and your team are getting into massive momentum because here's how it works in small businesses. The people who come to work for us, they want to be successful. They don't want to be a number in a large corporation. They don't want to be in a situation where they're just a cog in a machine. They actually want to create success. They want to see the result of their success. They want to create momentum for you. They want to create momentum for themselves. So when we give them clarity around outcomes, clear scoreboards and clear accountability, they can do that. And you will get so much more out of your team. You will get what I call discretionary effort. You'll get the time in between things that they will be thinking about your business. And here's what I mean when they're running or driving or showering or doing something else, if they are really clear on where you're going and they understand the scoreboards and they understand their responsibilities and everybody else's, that opens this door for them to put so much more effort into your business.

So if you've been feeling like you're overwhelmed, that's a symptom that this can cure. If you've been feeling like your team's not stepping up or taking initiative or getting enough done, or projects aren't getting done and done on time, and you're constantly surprised or you're getting interrupted. Too often when you put a system in place, an operating system for your business, it will solve these issues and so much more. If you are in a place where you're already running a multi six figure business on your way to seven maybe or seven figures or multiple seven figures and you have some of the symptoms that I've discussed. You're in that place of day-to-day tactical overwhelm and very little time for strategic. It's time for us to talk. I don't want you to be a victim of seven figure burnout. I don't want you to have this syndrome where you want to shut everything down. I don't want you going to bed at night thinking, Wouldn't it be easier if I just go back to doing it all myself? I'm going to let that one sink in for a second. Because if you're in this place, you know you've got it. And if you're in that place, this is a massive opportunity because by installing an operating system, getting clarity around outcomes, scoreboards and accountability, you can absolutely transform your business, buy back your freedom and your time, and have a team that steps up, executes like crazy, and protects and supports you as a visionary. So this is interesting to you. If you're in this situation, take a minute right now and go to simple operations dot com. Sign up for a call with my team. Let us help you either overcome or avoid seven figure burnout. If you're already there, we can help you get out of it. If you're on your way there, let us show you the past so that you never have to get into a place where you feel like you have to shut it all down and start over. I don't think any business has to go through that, and yours certainly does not. So go to We'd love to talk to you and help you avoid burning out like so many entrepreneurs are doing these days. It's not something that has to happen. It's not an inevitability. You can grow a business that you absolutely love running that makes a massive impact, a massive income, and you can have your life as well. Don't let anybody convince you otherwise. We look forward to connecting with you.

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