Picture this: it’s winter in Wisconsin, the end of 2020, mid-pandemic, and you are having a record year for your small business. This was our reality. The positive result of a crazy year was a boom in our home-building business.
Due to the uncertainty of how much business we would have, we lost both our employees mid-2020. Back to just the two of us, Noah and I were spending much of the shutdown spending time with our two little ones. We were unaware that the flood gates were about to open. The phone rang off the hook for days and days, and we took on every single client.
When businesses were shut down, home-building was not. We had around ninety subcontractors and vendors we were working with to support our clients, and it felt like a huge responsibility to get people into their new homes on the right timeline. It took us until December – after frustrations continued to mount all year long – to realize why our backs and joints were literally aching.
Listen to your body. Listen to your gut.
Physical aches and pains are a side effect of too much stress, and something that we experienced heavily in burnout mode. As much as you want to keep going and think you can handle it all, your body will ultimately tell you where your limit will be.
Pay attention to your mood.
Oftentimes, stress gets let out on those closest to you, warranted or not. You cannot replace your relationships if you damage them heavily because of external stress. It’s not worth it.
All along, we knew that home building was not our main vision. As we were setting our 2019 goals, we knew we’d transition mainly into real estate investing a couple years down the road. The Great Burnout of 2020 just seemed like a great marker for us to get started on that vision.
At the beginning of 2020, we had purchased 35 rental units. At the end of the year, we took advantage of dropping interest rates to do some refinancing, realizing that we had made over a million dollars in equity just off of those 35 rental units. We hadn’t made that much in home building, despite the exponentially greater amount of work that went into it. Lesson learned.
I gained my love of home building back when I took a step back from the workflow. I felt reinvigorated setting my goals for the new year after we set the standard for a better work-life balance. There’s something better out there beyond the burnout- you just have to pay attention to when you need to take that step forward.