The very things that motivated you to become a content entrepreneur can also be factors in your feelings of stress or even creator burnout.

Entrepreneurs seek independence and flexible hours. You want to pursue your passion and challenge yourself. That’s what over 50% of entrepreneurs told The Tilt in its annual Content Entrepreneur Benchmark Research.

But independence can mean you have to do it all yourself. And those flexible hours? You probably weren’t thinking about making 5 a.m. your start time so you could get everything in – personal and professional – during the day.

Yes, running a content business is challenging, but it shouldn’t be so challenging that it disrupts your mental or physical health. In research published in Harvard Business Review, one-fourth said they felt moderately burned out, while 3% felt strongly burned out. 

To help you avoid creator burnout or lessen your stress, start with these five things:

1. Be like Dr. Seuss: Dr. Seuss famously wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a bet. He was challenged to write a book using only 50 different words or less. It worked well for him. So make a bet with yourself. Write it down. (Even better, find another creator who wants to make a bet too.) Pick a reward proportionate to the task. Write an e-book? That’s worth a day trip. Finish your video edits? That’s worth a mocha latte. 

What to do today: Start thinking about the prizes.

2. Wear one hat at a time: You have a lot of roles – administrator, creator, marketer, bookkeeper, etc. You don’t have to do everything at once. Dedicate time for each hat and mark it on your calendar. If a thought pops up while doing another task, just jot it down. You know you already dedicated time to tackling it later.

For tasks that require concentration, plan for no more than three or four hours for a single session and allow time for creative blocks, advises Ashley Cummings, a Creator Economy Expo speaker. 

(And don’t overdo it – if your calendar is full of hat time, adjust accordingly. You should need a non-business life, too.)

What to do today: Make an appointment on your calendar to take this step.

3. Say no: The statement is simple but difficult to say sometimes. Ashley suggests you reassess your revenue streams and clients. Are there some you enjoy that don’t bring in sufficient revenue? Limit the number you take on. Do you dread some offerings or clients, but they bring in good revenue? Change the scope of the project or outsource some of the tasks. Are there things you dread and don’t pay well? Stop doing them.

If you can’t say no, do you really need to do it now? Sometimes, controlling the timing can feel like a win.

What to do today: Respond to incoming requests with this verbiage, “I can’t get into this today, but will get back to you next week.” 

4. Standardize communication: On your own or with ChatGPT, Google Bard, or other generative AI tools, draft your routine correspondence. In working with sponsors, advertisers, and other business partners, communicate expectations upfront. Write a standard introduction that explains your business, audience, sponsorship opportunities, etc. Then, you don’t have to recreate the wheel for every inquiry.

In executing content deals, take the lead. Outline what you will provide and what they need to give you. Include all the necessary specs and deadlines. (I like to make this part of the scope of work detailed in the contract.) 

Need to reply to an email with a more detailed response? Ask an AI tool to help. Explain what you want to accomplish in your reply, then paste the original email. You may need to edit it, but at least you have a starting point.

What to do today: Register for free accounts on a couple of generative AI tools.

5. Go out at recess: You probably can’t get a kickball game going, but you can do something that’s not about the business. The goal is to do something that resets your mind. That helps with burnout and boosts your creative mind. You could take a walk outside, make a food run, or even empty the dishwasher. (The latter also may take some stress off your to-do list later.)

What to do today: Practice recess all weekend long so you get really good at it.

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.