“You need to avoid burnout at all costs. I don’t see people come back from burnout very often, if ever. And if you go to that place, it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to get back to who you were before.”
The words rattled around in Nicole Jardim’s head, slowly and steadily at first — like the warning signal from a rattlesnake. Burnout? Her? Yes, it was true. Nicole felt that she was teetering dangerously on the edge of burnout. The point at which feeling like everything took way too much effort was … the new normal.
Months before, Nicole had just finished launching an apprenticeship program for her flagship brand, Fix Your Period, a series of programs that help women take control of their hormonal health.
That launch she’d made $86K, an incredible feat for any entrepreneur, especially when she’d done most of the work herself. She should’ve been absolutely ecstatic — and she was, of course, despite the self-described “shit show” that went on behind the scenes — but she was so, so exhausted. She even mused, “I’m just gonna quit this whole thing and become a housewife.”
Nicole is a multiple 6-figure business owner, whose women’s health business is on track to hit $310K in 2018. For her to have even thought about walking away from her business back then, her brush with severe burnout was dire … and worse, she didn’t even realize it.
“I felt very stuck [with the help that I was getting]. That had repercussions for my personal life, where I felt like I was ALWAYS working and always had my business on my mind. There was really no way for me to disconnect from it at all,” said Nicole.
This is no surprise. The culture of entrepreneurship is simultaneously empowering and toxic. If you walk this path, the implicit and quixotic understanding is that if you’re not hustling your ass off to grow your business and join the pantheon of other 6-figure (or even 7-figure!) business owners, you’re not that serious. Nicole is part of masterminds with other 6-figure entrepreneurs, and nobody ever openly said to her, “Uh, you’re burned out.”
“I just thought that it was part of the process of being an entrepreneur and that this is kind of how things are,” said Nicole.
Then in late 2017, the rattling of “you do not want to go down that road of burnout because, if you do, you might not come back from it” hit a crescendo, like a rattlesnake about to strike.
In that moment, Nicole knew that something needed to change. And fast.
Falling down the path of the lone warrior
Nicole’s business first crossed the $100K mark in 2015.
The momentous milestone made her feel that all of her hard work paid off and that she’d finally joined this “exclusive” club of 6-figure business owners.
When she started her blog in 2010, she didn’t know what it would eventually become. She just knew that she wanted to help women with the menstrual and hormonal issues that she herself was all too familiar with in her youth.
“My whole mission is to spread the message to women that they don’t have to give their power away, that they can become their own health advocate. It’s really up to us to create those conditions in our own lives. To become the most energized, balanced, and focused people we can be,” said Nicole.
She didn’t go all in on her mission until 2013, when she was taking one-on-one coaching clients, charging $1,800 for four-month packages, and started blogging more seriously and regularly. It was around this time that she’d aggressively started to grow her audience.
There was a very distinct jump in her blog’s traffic between 2012 and 2013. She attributed this spike to her speaking at tele-summits, which were a series of online-recorded interviews with experts and were growing in popularity at the time. Her first summit was 2013’s WISH Summit with Tera Warner, and that was the catalyst for her to speak at myriad other summits that same year.
“I remember emailing so many people who were hosting summits to see if I could get a bonus interview on their summit or even offer a free gift, so that I could get my name out there,” Nicole recalled of her growth strategy.
The “free gift” she offered at these summits converted well. To give you an idea, at Sean Croxton’s Depression Sessions, 2,800 people visited her landing page and nearly 1,000 opted in. At another summit, 900 more women signed up for her email list. Her plan to grow her audience was working.
“I also collaborated with other coaches whose work was complementary to mine. I interviewed them or had them do guest posts on my blog, and they did the same. I was able to get in front of a lot of new audiences that way. I also did a lot of local events: in-person workshops and health fairs in New York City. The workshops and health fairs didn’t bring a ton of traffic, but I was able to build my mailing list that way,” added Nicole.
The size of her audience continued to balloon. Wanting to get away from one-on-one coaching, Nicole ramped up her offerings, leading to an early version of her signature program, Fix Your Period, in 2013. It was her first foray into a live eight-week, eight-module group program and it cost $297 to join. In her first launch, 25 women joined, netting her nearly $7,500 — an amount she’d never made in such a short amount of time before!
Emboldened, she ran the live program two more times before she turned it into a 12-week online course that people can purchase at any time off her site (currently costs $347). The course is offered as part of her sales funnel to anyone who takes her quiz to find out more about their period problems.
Things were going well … or so they seemed. There was but a slight crack in the armor.
Between 2016 and 2017, Nicole’s business was starting to expand beyond $100K. Up until that point, she’d been doing nearly everything on her own. It was the only way she knew how to do things.
“That’s just what worked for me, and it was completely unsustainable,” said Nicole.
“You won’t come back.”
Burnout was lurking just around the corner, and it’s hard to bounce back from (just ask this burnout coach).
Nicole was a participant of a beta program that was designed to help entrepreneurs scale their business beyond six figures. When the warning about her pending burnout — ‘You need to avoid burnout at all costs…’ — was first relayed to her, she realized, “Damn, I really need to figure this out.”
“I just completely went into go-go-go-do-it mode and decided then and there that I would hire the people I needed to help me,” said Nicole.
In order to decide which people she needed to hire, she assessed what felt the most stressful: the launches of her new Fix Your Period apprenticeship program, a program to teach health professionals and coaches about women’s health. She knew that she needed someone to help her draw up the game plan for her launch and help execute those tasks.
So she hired a project manager and a copywriter, and handed off a lot more to her VA, her husband, and social media manager — a good start.
Leading her new team was a learning process, however. Because she had always been a self-described lone warrior, she felt that she had trouble finding people who could properly step up.
“I had the realization that I potentially led or trained people to believe that I’m always going to step in and figure things out, rather than allowing them to figure things out and present a solution to me. That was a big problem because it hindered me from really stepping into the CEO role and being the visionary for my business and creating content, programs, and doing the things that I’m supposed to be doing,” said Nicole.
Inside Nicole was this fear that, without her, her whole business would fall apart, things would be left undone, or balls would be dropped all over the place. This fear kept her from being the leader she knew she could be, and she knew that she had to relinquish control, loosening and uncurling her grasp one finger at a time.
She started out assigning smaller tasks to build trust. For example, she had her assistant do money transfers from PayPal to her bank each morning for starters. Then she had her pay recurring invoices each month, which became a jumping off point to train her in other areas of the business’s finances.
And just like that, she started to assemble a team that was not only ready to assist her but made her feel confident that things would not crumble in her absence.
“That December [when the launch process began] I remember going into the holidays feeling calm for the first time in a really, really long time,” said Nicole.
In February 2018, her second launch of her apprenticeship program, she went into the launch with a bigger team and more costs, but she broke $120K in revenue and did only 10% of the work she’d done in the previous launch, where she made $86K by comparison.
Growing your business doesn’t need to mean you have to work yourself to the bone by yourself. Oftentimes it means recognizing that, while you started the entrepreneurial journey alone, you don’t have to continue doing it alone.
“For the first time in my life, I basically had no responsibilities in this launch — it was the most amazing thing ever. I just felt like I was finally at the point where I was leading and doing what I was supposed to be doing and delegating so that I could have the easiest, smoothest launch possible and thrive in a launch instead of literally crawl my way out of it at the end,” said Nicole.