After more than a decade as a project manager in the tree care industry, Tim Scherpenisse was suddenly out of work. Two years later, he is an economic forecaster, strategic planner, marketing director and human resources supervisor. Specifically, he is a small-business owner. And the transition has not come without challenges. “It’s an obstacle not to let the business run you. If you’re not careful, it can consume you,” said Scherpenisse, owner of New Life Arboricultural Services in Grand Rapids, Mich.
For an entrepreneur to develop comprehensive business skills while staying sane is no small trick.
Burnout is a major pitfall.
“As that (skill set) is being cultivated is when I begin to see burnout occur,” said consultant Carol Crawford of the Alternative Board, which offers business owners peer support, private coaching and advice. “You’re not crazy, and you’re not lazy. Sometimes it’s just natural that it occurs.” Symptoms include changes in personality and behavior. They are “not a lot different than classic depression,” she said. The cause of burnout often stems from a pressing need for entrepreneurs to develop broader skills as their businesses grow.
Looking back, Warner wonders if he and his partner considered too much at times. He points to research that went into building a die shop down south, a project that never happened. “Once you start heading off track, you’re going down a bad road,” Warner said. “You’ve got to have yourself focused on what it is you want to do, what’s the goal.”
Image via LunaDiRimmel