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Living the Entrepreneur Life & Avoiding Burnout – feat. Melissa Lin of Fierce Business Academy

June 23, 2020

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Hey creative! How are you feeling lately? If you’re feeling overwhelmed and burnt out in your biz then today’s episode is for you. Melissa Lin is coming on the show to share her journey with burnout. She’s sharing her tips for avoiding burn out BEFORE it even sets in. 

Now, you might be asking, “Is it always possible to avoid burnout as an entrepreneur?” Well, we can do our best to avoid it and recognize the warning signs but life happens! I’d dare to say that almost all entrepreneurs have struggled through a season of burnout at some point or another. That’s why in today’s episode we’re also chatting with Melissa about what to do when burn out has already set in. Listen in to learn more about how you can navigate biz burnout and balance your desire to hustle with your need to rest!

Let’s be friends! Find us on Instagram @bizbirthdaybash. 

Tell us what you did before you became an entrepreneur. When did you decide you no longer wanted to be a chemical engineer?

Elisabeth 2:00

Tell us a little bit more about being a chemical engineer before you became an entrepreneur, because, like, how, how did that happen? I’m so curious, like the change, like why you were in that field in the first place? And you know, that’s a big shift. It is a huge shift. 

Melissa 3:00

I grew up in a very traditional family. So I’m half Chinese. And my grandparents came over from Hong Kong, and they knew very little English as I was growing up, they didn’t take the time to learn English. However, they didn’t know these two words…They instilled in me the words doctor and husband. And for them like that’s what success looks like for them. And same as my parents. So they really pushed me growing up to really get ahead. And education in schooling.

So I tried to go the doctor route and figured out pretty quickly. I could not handle the blood and ended up passing out in class. It was not good. It’s not good at all. So my parents settled for engineer, and they really pushed me into chemical engineering just because there’s so much opportunity in the chemical engineering world can dive into all the different industries 

But I was working crazy hours like working 12 to 15 hour days, I was commuting an hour and a half each way to work. Oh my, I think I had less than a week of vacation time. I don’t even know if that’s legal. I’m not like,

I was a workaholic. And I had never left North America. And I didn’t even know when that was going to happen. So I was working so much I was going to the plant. On the weekends I was on call 24/7. It had taken over my life. And I thought to myself, this is really it. You know, I was like, in my early 20s, working, you know, 80 hour weeks, I was like, You know what, I bet that this is going to be the way for a few years, and then it’s going to get better. But then I looked at my mentors, and like my mentors, boss, they were in their 40s 50s 60s and they’re still working crazy hours, and never traveling and never taking time off. And I just couldn’t grasp living life like that and creating that lifestyle for myself. And My future, you know, husband, kids, whatever that looks like. And I started to have all these big dreams, you know, funding charities starting my own charity at some point traveling the world six months out of the year, like I cannot wait to go and live like in Thailand for six months and go to Bali again, all of these big things, my screen bubbles kept getting bigger, bigger and bigger. However, for me to accomplish any of those things, I would have to do something different about my nine to five. And I knew I wanted to create a bigger impact. I just didn’t know how or what that could look like. And this was all kind of happening way back in the day and 2014 feels like forever ago.

I was really into the fitness world back then. I was doing bikini competitions, bodybuilding, and social media was starting to get up and going. I was kind of posting about it. And people were reaching out to me, Melissa, like you look amazing. Can you help me with this? Can you help me go from A to B? helped me lose weight and then ding ding ding. I had this great idea.

idea to go get certified so I could start helping other people with this to create a bigger impact that one on one impact with somebody, instead of just kind of slaving away at my nine to five doing whatever it was I was doing. That’s why I started to do that. Started scaling that business online. 

So social media was really just starting at this time. Even Instagram is still pretty new. And I started scaling that business my first year kind of a hot mess, train wreck, but we can definitely talk about that lots of burnout there and eventually started to move into high ticket, listen to podcasts of course, worked with coaches, and then scaled. And I just loved the business growth so much. So I scaled to six figures a little past that helped others. A lot of my friends were asking how to do this, how to do this and I was like, holy this this is it’s pretty easy to do this, this and this. And then I just knew at some point, I wanted to make that transition.

almost went got my MBA to help me with it. And you know what I just dove in. I made the transition one night, and it’s been exploding since then. So now I help women start and scale their businesses to six figures and beyond. I have not done fitness stuff since the end of 2017. So it’s been just over two years now. And it’s been absolutely incredible. I love what I do so,o, in a nutshell, that is how I went from chemical engineering to business coach. 

How did you transition from the fitness industry to business coaching?

Elisabeth 10:36

So one of the things I am definitely curious about too for you is there was the transition from chemical engineer to entrepreneur. There’s obviously some overlap there. And then you were doing fitness for two and a half years. when you were trying to DIY the online business and you didn’t feel like you were getting momentum as much With the fitness as you wanted, which is why you then made the next transition to like helping other business owners. I’m curious about how you decided to, as an entrepreneur change paths and in your direction.

Melissa 11:13

Yeah. So it was about the first year or so that I was really, really struggling, barely, not even hitting like $500 months. And while I was an engineer, I was always, always fascinated with the business side. So I always worked with some smaller companies where I was brought into the business meetings. And my mentor, my engineering job was really pushing me to get my MBA, so as always interested in that. And then after that, I started to take some courses and hire business coaches and that type of thing. So I scaled my fitness coach past six figures, so I was able to do that on my own, then decided, you know what, I really want to make an even bigger impact and help more people who can then help more people then make that transition back in 2018 to four full time business coaching.

Have you experienced burnout as an entrepreneur? When did you first notice it?

Melissa 13:19

Yeah, I definitely felt burnout a few different times. So definitely different types of burnout in the different phases of my business. So for example, when I first started in 2014, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was really under charging, like $50 a month for private coaching for my fitness business. Before I really started to scale to high ticket coaching. And I started to experience burnout. Then just because I was working with so many clients, and then giving them so much access to me. I had zero boundaries in my business or really as a person. So I was starting to feel burnout then.

And then as I transitioned, I even started to feel burnout in 2018 because I was working by myself, I was the best one woman show ever. I was the one who had never outsource, never delegated, and really started to feel burnout because all I would do is think about my business when I went to bed when I woke up. When I was at the gym when I was on the couch watching a bachelor with my boyfriend, everything was business. So burnout definitely happened. And some of the biggest shifts to really move out of that burnout. Definitely delegating, then also determining like, what are the things that I need to be doing than not need to be doing? How efficient am I actually been? How busy am I? What am I actually filling my time with like, there’s a huge difference between actually being productive with the things you’re doing versus creating busy work, you know?

What are the best tips for avoiding burnout?

Cami 21:28

Oh, my gosh, I think that is something we all struggle with, especially like, you know, being a self made entrepreneur like that your business is you and you are your business. It’s very hard to make that distinction. So What tips do you have for actually creating those boundaries or putting those boundaries in place because I know that’s a huge struggle for all of us.

Melissa 21:47

You know, something that I I like to remind myself of and I remind my clients all the time, you are more than just your business. You are more than just your business. You’ve got so much to do in life and so much too. experience. And something I do is I try to separate as much as I can with my personal life and my business so I will keep everything on my work laptop that’s work related. So slack voxer anything client related, anything business related all on my laptop, my phone, not so much. I don’t have I don’t allow any notifications to pop through to my phone. No client notifications, nothing, no social media. That’s one of the first things I recommend my clients to remove is social media notifications. Like there’s no reason to have your phone beeping and letting you know, this stuff. 

Like you don’t need to know the stuff right away. That stuff can wait your clients can wait, everything can wait, create some type of separation like even my emails, they don’t come to my phone, it’s only to my laptop, and I have certain hours that I go in and check my email and go and do different things. So I keep them separated as much as I can. Then, of course, having a stop time to your work day, have a stop time, please do not work until 10pm 11pm and then go to bed and first thing you do in the morning is get working again. So those are the biggest things that have helped me. Definitely separate the two.

Elisabeth 23:17

Yeah, that phone notification one is totally a top of mine for sure. Like I remember, at the beginning, especially in 2015, when I first started, like my Instagram account was obsessed with checking it. Once I hit a certain point, I was kind of like, I don’t, I can’t get all of these notifications on my phone for social media and I turn them off. And so I’m glad that I kind of realized that super early on. I think the only really the only notifications that ever come through on my phone are for iMessage which are friends, you know, like there’s really not even like calendar, invite reminders or anything like that. So that’s a really awesome practical tip that if you had asked me, I probably wouldn’t have even thought of it. So I’m glad that you brought it up. It’s one of the best steps you can take to create some sort of separation.

What are the signs of burnout?

Cami 27:56

Do you have triggers like that for you or like oh, I need to like Take a step back because this is like leading me down that path of burnout.

Melissa 28:03

Yeah, my big thing is when I usually it’s when I’m thinking about my business too much. So if I’m going to bed My business is on my mind, if I wake up my business is on my mind. It’s all I’m thinking about if I’m on the couch with my boyfriend, if we’re doing date night, maybe we’re having some wine and some tacos at home. During quarantine, if I’m only thinking about my business, I know I’m getting pretty close to burnout. So for me, it’s usually not like a physical exhaustion. Sometimes it is, but usually it’s more of a mental exhaustion.

Elisabeth 28:33

Okay, interesting. Yeah. Because I think probably everyone experiences in a different way, which is really why you have to be kind of in tune with yourself at the end of the day to understand your needs.

How do we best balance the desire to hustle and the need to rest? 

Melissa 34:14

Yeah, I’m saying, really keep in mind, like the lifestyle that you want to create. So, like the lifestyle I’ve created, for example, 20 Hour Workweek, that’s not what everybody wants. There are some people out there who just love being busy and love doing things. So they’re gonna be working 40 hour work weeks, and whatever your lifestyle, whatever that life you want to create is definitely take note of that. We also get to remember things like our health, our mindset aretop priority and I think a lot of us in the world are feeling that right now. Because of COVID. Like health is number one, everyone’s health is number one, and adding rest into your business. It’s part of that and it’s truly an investment into you and your business, to give yourself that rest time. 

So the best thing to balance that desire, add boundaries, and I mean some hard boundaries into your business, right? The social media notifications, that’s a big one, but really have boundaries with your clients too. That’s one of the biggest things that I have in my business, I have pretty strict boundaries with my clients and they know it, right? They can slack me or voxer me at 11pm. But they know I’m not going to be getting back to them until the next day. So really having that I know how easy it might be to hop into slack at 11pm and check in your girls, but they’re going to be fine until the morning you get to get your full night’s of rest, your health, your mindset, all of that. It’s number one, especially if you want to continue to grow and scale your business. You’ve got to take care of you first.

How are you serving your community and audience in a time of crisis?

Melissa 38:49

I’m really being open to pivots. You know, a lot is going on, as you mentioned, like we don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like. So I’m very open to pivoting. I’m very adaptable. So things need to change, we’re definitely open, the business is ready to if we need to, like for example, we have our launch calendar for the rest of the year ready, however, we’re open to pivot if we need to. And what we’re doing inside of the community is really adding value. I’m such a relationship builder, I truly believe in building connection and relationship shifts with your audience with your community and really giving value. So we’re definitely giving tons and tons of value. We are offering, you know, extended payment plans that we don’t typically offer because of Cobra and everything going on right now, because we’re here to support support support. And the biggest thing is really just adding more value. So I’m showing up in my facebook group, more often going live polling my audience, what is it that they need in this moment, and I’m really been here for them and creating space for them. Same with my clients, you know, at the beginning of every single group call, I always check in with them, you know, how’s life How are you? doing other business? How are you doing supporting everyone, as a friend as a human with everything going on? Because we’re all going through this and we’re all going through it together.

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