Today, Angela Henderson shares how to scale a business from 6 to 7 figures without burning out or constantly working. We’re also talking about the differences between stress and burnout, and how to prioritize your mental health to achieve a sustainable work-life balance.
Are you ready to finally break free of the hamster wheel cycle of business owner burnout and create a sustainable work-life balance?
If you answered “yes” to any (or all) of the above, today’s episode with guest expert Angela Henderson is for you.
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING TO MY INTERVIEW WITH ANGELA HENDERSON, YOU’LL WALK AWAY KNOWING:
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00:00.00 Courtney Elmer
Hi, I’m Courtney Elmer, your host. Ange, welcome to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast. Thanks for being here today to talk about how to scale a business and improve your mental health.
00:04.28 Angela Henderson
Hey hey, super excited to hang out and chat about how to scale a business and improve your mental health.
00:10.18 Courtney Elmer
Well listen, what you do is so needed in the world of entrepreneurship. We all know burnout and stress exist but we like to dance around the fact that it exists and don’t often like to admit that it exists in our life.
Let’s start here. Would you define the difference between stress and burnout? How can each one impact mental health and how to scale a business? People often confuse the two and there are some distinct differences.
00:35.67 Angela Henderson
The easiest way to say it without using all the jargon is that stress is an everyday occurrence. We all have stress every single day. I could have been stressed about finding the link to hop on this podcast today. It’s those little everyday things that cause us to worry. It comes and goes.
But with burnout, there’s this essence of heaviness. It starts to weigh down on you. You start to feel like your feet are dragging in the mud and you’re walking through a haze or a fog. Yes, you're going through all the motions and yes, you're doing everything you normally do. But that’s how I define the difference: stress comes and goes. Burnout on the other hand starts to appear for longer and the heaviness prevails with it. When that happens and burnout starts to bleed into the three main areas of your life, that’s when you’ve got that full blown mental health diagnosis — you don't actually see an out. It’s darkness.
01:48.63 Courtney Elmer
Yeah, I relate to this so much. There are very distinct moments in my own life where I did hit that wall of burnout and you’re right, it's all consuming. So I'm curious because you have a background in mental health, what are those three areas that burnout has to affect you in order to receive a clinical diagnosis?
02:18.22 Angela Henderson
Yeah, great question. I’m an ex-mental health clinician since I don’t practice anymore, but spent over 15 years in that role. When I was looking at diagnosing people with a variety of different things like depression, anxiety, bipolar etc. there are three common areas we look for.
In kids, we're looking at home life, community, and school. For adults, we're looking at home life, community, and work or business.
All of the traits of burnout that are starting to infect your life need to be impacting all three areas of your life. For example, a lot of times I would see children. They would come to me and their mom would say, “Oh my goodness. My child's out of control. Nothing's working, etc. etc.” What I would do first of course is a full medical to make sure there were no medical things going on.
After that comes back clear, then we’d begin to look at those three areas. With permission I’d contact the school and say to the teacher, “Hey, what’s going on with Johnny?” And she might say, “I’m ot sure what you’re talking about. He’s polite, he’s helpful, he raises his hand and participates in class.” If the kid would happen to be in sports or music or art, I’d also speak with any of their extra curricular activity leaders — this would be where the community component comes in. Let’s say Johnny was playing basketball, and I’d ask, “Hey how is Johnny when he gets onto the court?” And they might say, “Oh, Johnny is terrific. He lines up on base, he’s proactive, and he’s such a great team player.” So from there I’d talk to the parents separately and have them tell me alittle bit about Johnny, and usually I’d get two different stories. In this instance, Johnny for example, had a lot of chaos at home. There was a brand new baby, and it wasn’t one baby, it was twins. Mom was exhausted, dad was exhausted. The twins were a surprise so they weren’t planned.
So what happened is I needed to work with Johnny in the home environment. He didn't need to have a full blown diagnosis because what he’s experiencing is more of an adjustment disorder. Johnny was adjusting to the environmental stressors that were happening within the home. We could reduce the stress at home and more than likely those symptoms would go away and Johnny would be back to Johnny.
05:13.83 Courtney Elmer
Yeah, that example helps to make it more concrete. So what about when it does affect all three areas?
05:27.68 Angela Henderson
Let’s say he was hitting kids at school. Or actually, a prime example is my son Finlee. Finley was having trouble at school, staring off, not participating, not raising his hand. He would get that way on the court too at times.At home things were a hot mess. What we found out was that Finlee has ADHD. It was impacting all areas of his life.
So again, that's another example of when it is starting to impact all three areas of life.
08:56.93 Courtney Elmer
All that makes such perfect sense. I'm curious then, coming from that background in mental health which obviously you don't practice anymore, and now pivoting to helping business owners and entrepreneurs scale to 6 and 7 figures without burning out and without having to work sixty hours a week, what led you to making this big shift in your own career? How can someone scale a business and not impact their mental health?
09:21.99 Angela Henderson
I remember my first business was actually an ecom business. I created my first business Finlee and me where we focus on creating childhood memories through play, love, and travel. I did that for 8 years and then people started wanting to pick my brain. I didn't know what that was at the time from a service based industry. I was going to these coffee dates (I don't even drink coffee!) I was driving thirty minutes one way, thirty minutes back.
Then I was driving home after literally my fourteenth coffee date over a few months and I thought, “Oh, if I charge these people for my expertise, I could have a secondary business.” That's how Angela Henderson Consulting came about. It was never on the playing cards. Now I work with women all around the world to help them get those pieces in place to get their business growing and avoid that burnout. There's an element of still needing to work hard, but if you can stay true to being in alignment with what you do and what you want, and understand the difference between a lifestyle business vs. trying to push for how to scale a business to 7 figures that everyone's pushing for on the internet, there’s a lot to be said for being able to have a business with ease and with elegance.
Understanding that, you could have an afternoon nap in your business and will still be successful and have good mental health. You can binge watch on Netflix and still be successful. You can slow down and have slow mornings with your kids and create memories and still have a successful business and how to scale a business. So it's important for me to have these conversations with women that it's not all about the hustle culture. Because again if you push down on that hustle it will again lead to stress, leading to burnout.
Often women come to me after they've already hit that point, I prompt them to go straight to the doctor and say, “Hey, let's work on this first before we get into strategy.” Why? Because they’ll only feel more stress, more overwhelmed. If they're already to a point of burnout they're not going to be able to receive what I need to give them.
11:51.71 Angela Henderson
So sometimes I have to say to people on discovery calls who want to work with me, is “Based on what you've told me it seems you're in a very vulnerable and fragile position. Would you be up to having a chat with your doctor first?” And nine times out of ten, they will burst into tears. They say Oh my goodness, you’ve nailed it. And I say when you’re ready call me back and we’ll work on other stuff. But it’s ok to put yourself first and focus on mental health.
12:26.16 Courtney Elmer
Oh yes, and it took me years to learn this myself. That's the heart of my company, The EffortLESS Life®. It’s the difference between working intentionally and working for the sake of working and hustling because we think that's what we have to do to be successful. There’s such a different energy around it and it's such a different mindset and approach to working. So when it comes to stress in business, maybe for someone listening right now is teetering on the edge of burnout, impacting mental health, where should they start?
13:13.94 Angela Henderson
There's so many things that people can do, but to keep things at the most simplistic level possible, the first thing I say is to stop. Stop. Go and sit yourself on the couch. Go sit in your office on a chair, but stop. Close your eyes and genuinely ask yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, how am I cruising? 10 — things are awesome, home life is good, business is good, community is good. 1 — you're probably like, it’s got to change right?
Until you give yourself the chance to sit and reflect, it's very hard to engage where you're at. You’ll go, “Oh, I'm fine,” and then you're onto the next thing. But if women can learn the ability to stop, slow down, and reflect, it's quite powerful to see and truly understand where you're at. So number 1, I say stop.
Also when you're in that stopping stage I'd ask you to think about your boundaries and are you being true to your boundaries? It’s not just about boundaries with your clients or your customers. It's about boundaries with yourself. Have you allowed your own boundaries to slip? For example, it could be that you said I'm not going to work weekends and when you're stopping and sitting in that moment, you realize I've worked the last twelve weekends in a row, I have not had any times with my kids. Your boundaries have lapsed again. If your boundaries have started to slip, the next thing that I would say is it could be your mindset starting to get a little bit wobbly and mental health taking a turn..
There’s a saying that your external world is a direct reflection of your internal world. So if things are messy right now and home life, work, community is messy and everything is chaotic, I would suspect that there's something somewhere that needs to be pulled out and worked on.
15:49.39 Angela Henderson
I would strongly encourage you to again, be thinking about how your mindset and mental health are because if your mindset is wobbly right now, and your boundaries are wobbling right now, and there's stress and/or burnout everywhere you need to get to the root of that.
You've got to get to the root cause in order to start to make that change. Lastly, what I would say is ask for help in a culture where gosh forbid women ask for help because “if we ask for help we’re failing,” I can't emphasize enough the importance of asking for help. When we start to make money in our businesses, the number one thing that we're doing when we start to outsource is we're buying back time. So for example, I outsource an enormous amount but at time of recording this is my first week with my house manager. Some people might be like, what the hell, you have a house manager? I’m here to tell you, I've bought back an extra ten hours of my life every single week. Ten hours! I'm buying back time right?
But, I had to stop first and look at my own boundaries recently and my own mindset and mental health. No one’s coming to save you. That’s ultimately the last thing that I would say is at the end of the day your life is your responsibility. Let me repeat that again. Your life is your responsibility.
18:17.63 Angela Henderson
So If things are messy right now and stress is present or burnout is present, you must save yourself because every single day when you open your eyes and your feet hit the ground you have a choice. I choose to wake up this morning and from a place of gratitude, and I choose to stop and reflect, and I choose to work on my internal world. Or you choose to wake up in continuing chaos and continue to potentially have a full blown mental health diagnosis.
Once your brain physiologically has a mental health breakdown, you will never go back to the same brain from a physiological perspective again which will impact how to scale a business. Choice. But yet women forget that they've got a choice. I say women because predominantly my cohort is women that I work with and they forget that their life, their business is their responsibility.
19:06.40 Courtney Elmer
I have chills here talking because this is the thing. The rug will get pulled out from under you if you do not wake up every day and choose your values and your priorities over the things that feel urgent but not important.
When I was 25 years old, two days after I got home from my honeymoon I found out that I had thyroid cancer.
That was my rug out from under me moment and I had to stop. I had to stop. So here's the thing that I learned from that: for what it's worth for anyone listening if this is you right now, if you do not stop, your life will stop you, for you. It's going to happen. It's inevitable. These 3 simple things to do that you shared are so valuable and simple, but not easy.
So I'd love it if we could circle back to those three for a moment and walk through each one. You mentioned some practical things and you mentioned some practical things that someone listening who's struggling with an overabundance of stress in their life could do, but when the resistance comes up — because we know that it will and I've been in those moments in my life, you've probably been in those moments in your life — where it's “Okay I know I’ve got to work on my mindset, I know I need to slow down but I can't because insert whatever reason or excuse here…” When that voice starts to come into play, what do you recommend?
21:02.36 Angela Henderson
What I recommend is to ask yourself: do you want to be in the same place that you're at right now a year from now? If you say yes don’t do anything. But if not, again be proactive. Go into a Facebook community, reach out to Courtney, reach out to me, reach out to whoever and say this is what's going on. Who's the best person to help me get to this root problem?
No one’s coming to save you, number one. So if your world is messy, your world is upside down and you're not happy with it, literally you're the only one that can make those changes.
Unfortunately nobody is coming to save anyone. That is as practical as it gets. I Don't sugarcoat anything, so at the end of the day, it’s asking yourself: what can you do right now to take responsibility for your life? I would say again stop, look at your boundaries, ask for help, look at your mindset and what needs to happen because the internal work is never going to end. The work never stops. So the sooner that you can realize that, though this is an ongoing process for you, the more that you work on the internal, I'm telling you the more growth you will have within yourself and inevitably the more growth and profitability you will have in your business.
31:02.40 Courtney Elmer
It’s one hundred percent an inside out game and looking for the next quick tip, the strategy, the secret to success, the golden ticket and chasing every shiny object hoping that it will be “it”, you're fooling yourself and I say that with so much love. But you're fooling yourself because it is an inside out job. It is an inside out job.
31:25.23 Angela Henderson
One hundred percent. I have my own podcast on business and at the time of recording this I just released the episode which was called, “How I increased my revenue by an additional $250,000 in the last year” and hint, it wasn’t Facebook ads on how to scale a business. I've done it this past year because all of it predominantly was inside work inside work.
32:18.48 Courtney Elmer
Yeah, and speaking of your podcast and for those that want to continue learning from you, where can they find you online?
32:22.87 Angela Henderson
Yeah I always say head to my website, angelahenderson.com.au and then from there determine how you want to further connect and decide what avenue would work best for you, your family, and your business.
32:51.32 Courtney Elmer
Perfect. We will definitely link all that up in the show notes. I have one last question for you that we ask every guest who comes on this show, and I have an inkling as to what you might say, but I'm curious to hear your answer because no two answers to this question have ever been akike. The question is simple: what does it mean to you to live an EffortLESS Life®?
33:17.43 Angela Henderson
Responsibility and mental health. That's it. Responsibility right? An effortless life is going to be dependent on individuals but an effortless life comes down to me taking responsibility to make that happen.
33:32.18 Courtney Elmer
Powerful stuff. Thank you so much for being here today talking about how to scale a business and improve your mental health. This was awesome. I hope that those listening who are experiencing stress in your life in your world right now that you are able to get some valuable takeaways from this and when you're feeling overwhelmed sometimes getting all these tips and ideas can sometimes send you spinning, so pick one thing. One thing that jumped out at you today and took action on it. Take responsibility. Thank you, Ange.
33:58.53 Angela Henderson
Thank you so much, Courtney Elmer. I had a great time discussing mental health and how to scale a business
Angela Henderson is an international award winning business coach for women, international keynote speaker and podcaster who helps women in business get all the pieces in place to have consistent 5 figure months and then onto 6/7 figure years without burning out in the process.