8 warning signs your business is taking over your life

You did it! Success! You started your business, you brave entrepreneur, and after some blood sweat and tears, the client started coming in. You were busy!

And then… you stayed busy. And got busier. Said yes to a few extras, expanded scope of work here, did a favor there, worried about losing a big client so you started hustling to find a few more…

The freedom of being your own boss turned into 70-80 hour weeks- how did that happen? But somehow even with money flowing in you still need to find ways to make more…

The ‘gurus’ tell you this is normal, that you have to hustle now to live it up later. Other entrepreneurs (or your competitors!) seems to be working just as hard if not harder than you, so you plan to double down.

If you’re reading this and it’s starting to sound familiar, then you may be at a point where you need to make a major shift and get your life back. How to know if you’re there? Beyond that gut feeling that called you to read this, here’s 8 warning signs that you need to change and get your life back.

  1. Your friends stopped inviting you to social occasions. It wasn’t noticeable at first, but after the first handful of times you had to cancel last minute or decline because of a new project or a tough client, the messages stopped coming in. Now it’s to the point where you can’t remember the last time you went out to a happy hour or brunch.
  2. Your family is sending you signals. You missed the school play, or that soccer game. Jokes about always working are turning a bit sarcastic within the family circle. And date night? A memory of that thing you use to do before you had your business.
  3. You can’t put your phone away, even during meals. It’s become an appendage. It’s the first thing you look at in the morning, it stays on your desk or the table all day, and you’re on it until late in the night responding to client communications or working.
  4. You’re skipping meals or living off junk food. There just isn’t time to cook, let alone go to the grocery store. Uber Eats and delivery suffice when the convenience store doughnut and cookies and chips and energy drinks run out. That is when you remember to look up from your laptop long enough to shovel some food-like substances in.
  5. The only exercise you get is heart racing in panic about deadlines, or the walk to the car and back. You’re staying up so late working that ambitions to get up in the morning and workout have long since gone by the wayside. You canceled that group fitness membership after you paid for it for 3 months and never went. At this point you’re not even sure where your gym shoes are, and your yoga pants have developed imposter syndrome.
  6. You’re only home to sleep. Laundry has piled up, but you’ve rationalized that you know which piles are less dirty. The plants are probably dead. Do you even have plants? You’re not even sure what color your house is painted as you never see it in daylight any more.
  7. You can’t remember your last vacation (that you didn’t work during). Time off? Unplug? The horror! You did go on that long girls weekend away because the place had really strong wifi and you were able to chill in the lodge and knock out that proposal…who else went on that trip?
  8. Work is all you think about. You think about it in the shower. You have dreams about it, and it’s woken you up in the middle of the night. It’s what you talk about with your family and friends. It’s how you define yourself, and it’s now how you get introduced.  

If you’re cringing a bit reading through this list, it’s ok. It just means you’ve gone too far down the entrepreneurial rabbit hole and it’s time to work your way back into the sunshine, into the original goal of a business that serves your life rather than a business that runs it.

But how to change?

There’s no quick fix, but thinking differently about what you want instead is a good place to start.

Give yourself permission to daydream for just a few minutes- what do you want your days to look like? Your family and social life?

What boundaries do you need to reset for yourself, what habits or small changes can you commit to in order to re-prioritize the life you want?

If it still feels daunting to start to shift, reach out for some support. A little external guidance can make a huge difference!