Should you leave your fulltime job if you're burning out?

Ruth Agbaji

December 7th, 2016

I am combining a fulltime job while trying to build a startup. I also have a 4year old and a 10 month old. I am exhausted all the time and burning out. People say to not leave your fulltime job until you've started making money from your startup but at this point, I'm not doing anything well because I'm so tired. Has any one had to deal with burnout before going fulltime? Did you focus more on your job or just took the plunge and focused fulltime on your startup? Thanks in advance!

Yashina Burns TechLaw LLP

December 16th, 2016

Hi Ruth,

Burn out can occur with any full-time job, even if you aren’t also investing time into building a startup. Here are a few things you should consider before you quit a full-time job because of burn out:

-Do you have the funds to only work part-time or not work at all?

-Is there a need for you to present your startup product or service to the market quickly?

-Are you in the stage where you are seeking investors in your startup?

If you have the funds to quit the full-time job, you should—especially if you have a need to move quickly in the market. Additionally, if you are trying to find investors at this time, quitting would show your commitment to the startup and put investors at ease when backing your startup.

However, if funds are short, and you are risk averse, you may want to consider waiting to build capital before moving to the next stage of your product. If the job itself is a huge problem, you could always transfer to a different full-time job before finally quitting and focusing on your startup.

Please let me know if you would like to chat in private or have any further questions.

Matthew Deuschle Data Scientist, Programmer

December 13th, 2016

I would not advise to quit your full-time job unless you have another source of income to meet your practical life responsibilities. All that will do is cause you more stress. Maybe take a break for a few weeks from your startup to refresh yourself and re-group. I was able to go back to get my MSc while working full-time along with a single Dad of two little ones so I understand where you are coming from!

Swaptak Das

December 16th, 2016

The answer is simple. I have been there before. You cannot leave your full-time job until you have revenue to support yourself or you have raised money to support yourself.

Building a business is tough and what you are going through is the process of weeding out the people that this line of work may not be suitable for. If you listen to NPR's How I Built This podcast, you will learn that most of those successful entrepreneurs did this for year... but I do agree that having a young child makes it exponentially more difficult.

Hambirrao Patil

December 8th, 2016

Ruth, Take a break. Many people at same position as you right now. 

Thank You!

Sergey Sobolev Coach / Scrum Master / PM

December 9th, 2016

Hi Ruth,

Take a break, but more importantly - change the way you approach both your full time work & startup building. If it burns you out - see what you can cut until the load becomes such that you can bear.
It might be that you are trying to do too many things at once - here is one of my tricks to reduce that: http://sergey-sobolev.com/blog/3-benefits-visualising-work/
There is also a bunch of emotional tricks you can use, but if you will do even this, it should reduce your burnout significantly.
All the best & good luck!

Craig Gibbons Passionate about mastery and inspired by growth.

December 15th, 2016

I think you should look at your priorities. I think your kids should come first, then whatever else. If you're not taking care of your own personal priorities, then you'll burn out faster.

Davidson Atere-Roberts An innovation hub owner and a startup founder.

December 14th, 2016

I personally feel for family sake(pressure will take its toll and affect your loved ones)You should leave your full time job. Depending on your savings though but you should take the risk and believe in your startup. The financial support from your the father of your kids is also crucial, without that will be very difficult to build startup.

Elisabeth UX/UI Designer & Art Director

December 16th, 2016

Hi Ruth,

You try to do it all - there is no way this will end well if you just continue now and you cannot burn out especially not when you have children.

My advice, take a week off - immediately, call in sick. Relax and make a decision. I personally think founding a startup when you have a child under the age of 5 is - kind of too much. A child is its own startup!

I would advise you to take on a ( new) part-time job instead of full-time or drop the startup.

You dont want to burn out and lose your job as well.

Shahab Kaviani

December 17th, 2016

If you could find a consulting gig, or piece together a few, that will allow you to calibrate how much work you're doing outside your startup; even better if you can lineup consulting work that's ins-stream of your startup e.g. helps you better understand your market, start developing relationships with potential customers, etc.

Sean Xie Founder of Zendo Media, Startup Empire

December 18th, 2016

Hello Ruth, my cofounder was also experiencing the same paradox of choice as you do. The recommendation I gave her was to prioritise and focus. We all have limited energy and attention on any given day, to achieve anything requires us to dedicate a huge amount of effort on one thing and sacrifice the other. However alongside that you could still smart work on projects strategically when they do not affect your focus on project that you treat with high priority.

There are two books that I think will really help you improve your situation:

The One Thing - Gary Keller

10% Entrepreneur - Patrick McGinnis