You wake up exhausted and, powered by three steaming mugs of coffee, stumble to your computer to start editing for the day. But, wait! You haven’t posted on Instagram in two days! Time to muster up your fakiest, sticky-sweetiest words for a caption.
As usual, it takes at least half an hour to come up with 60-odd words. Since you’re here, you decide to reply to your Insta-messages with double taps and “OMG lol right!?”s. By then, the two client inquiries you’ve been putting off responding to have doubled, and your BFF-tone has to go for another wild ride full of “hey, girls!!” and “swooning”s (things you’ve never, ever said in real life).
Just as you’re finally about to get to work, you remember the half-written blog post that’s been sitting in your drafts for a week. In an attempt to check another thing off your horrifyingly long to-do list, you settle in to finish it. After half-heartedly calling everything from the bride’s dress to the bacon bits at baked potato bar “gorgeous,” you publish your post. And you wish someone had told you how empty becoming a photographer would make you feel.
You’re burned out! And, believe me, you’re not alone.
Running your own business solo is an exhausting path, but, even with all the demands on your time, it doesn’t have to be a life-sucking one.
In the modern era, you can’t just manage your own business. You have to become a brand. And, y’all, that’s freaking draining!
You don’t get to shut it down and go home after your 9 to 5. You have to be “on” every time you answer an email, post to social media or respond to a comment. And when “on” means adopting a tone — a personality — that isn’t yours, it’s ten times as hard.
We all know that pretending to be something you’re not is almost universally unsustainable. Keeping that facade in place demands so much energy and careful curation that, eventually, it all comes crashing down.
So, if you’re feeling burnt out and don’t know how to get your spark back, don’t doubt your love for your craft or clients. Instead, grab your introspective magnifying glass and take an honest look at how you present yourself through your business.
Is the voice you use while working yours? Or is it a poor imitation of someone else?
There is one sure way to make sure your work makes you come alive rather than turning you into a zombie with a camera: be yourself!
Write your Instagram captions as though you’re telling your best friend about the session. Respond to emails the way you’d speak over sangria at your favorite wine bar. Drop the act. Abandon the facade. Share the truth of who you are and feel life breathed back into your soul!
“But Ericaaaaa! I need to sound chipper to attract clients, and that’s not my natural personalityyyyyy!”
Sure, you have to sound like Ariel on uppers to attract certain clients. But maybe those aren’t the clients who are best for you! There are plenty of people like you in the world, and by being yourself, you’ll attract them to you.
You’ll feel good doing it, and you might even make some new friends along the way!
So, if you’re fighting a mad case of the burnout blues, it might be time for a rebrand. But if you’ve spent so long inhabiting the fake shell of a person you hop into every time you interact with a client that you’ve forgotten who you are or how you ordinarily speak, don’t worry!
Check out this post on finding the words to define your signature style, or shoot me a message, so I can help you find an authentic brand voice, rework your web content and help you get back on track.