Silent Enemy of Successful Entrepreneurs: How to Prevent Burnout?

We tend not to take seriously behavioral changes that are not strictly perceived as a medical condition. However, burnout is a state that many have experienced, or have been close to, throughout their careers. This intense feeling is very likely to have caused fundamental changes in lifestyle, relationships with people and approach to work.
Those who are the most prone to burnout are – not surprisingly at all – entrepreneurs.

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burnout entrepreneurs

Illustration: MilicaM

Burnout is the most common among those who love their job 

Burnout is when stress-induced physical, mental, and mental exertion affects your body and mind. This can cause you to feel tired, disconnected, and worn out. 

The most common symptoms are: 

  • Emotional exhaustion; 
  • Physical symptoms; 
  • A lack of motivation; 
  • Decreased productivity; 
  • Self-doubt; 
  • Feeling of loneliness. 

Bogdan Ćirić is a serial entrepreneur and one of the founders of BTN WebCON23. Within just a few years, he had survived two heart attacks as a result of excessive stress and agitation at work. 

“After my second heart attack, the doctor told me I had to choose between work and life. I came home and closed all the companies and contracts,” Bogdan recalled. 

He added that in the U.S., more than 50% of startup founders think of suicide at some point because they no longer see a way out of their situation. Bogdan suggested some of the techniques for managing stress: 

“My advice is to regularly check your blood pressure, heart rate, etc. At least that’s easy today thanks to smartwatches. And your priority should be to get enough sleep. In addition, find a filter that helps you, it can be meditation, cycling or something else. It’s different for everyone, but physical activity is necessary precisely because our jobs generally require a lot of sitting. It’s important that you have someone to talk to. It should not always be family or friends, you don’t have to burden them with your work, but rather talk to a psychologist. It’s still a taboo to some extent to say that you go to therapy, but it shouldn’t be like that. It can really help you a lot to control everything that’s going on inside of you,” Bogdan advised. 

His colleague, marketing expert Nemanja Živković added that people who love their job can very easily lead themselves to burnout if they don’t know how to set boundaries properly. 

“You keep saying to yourself, Come on, let’s do this, and then this… And you end up completely forgetting about what’s going on around you. The biggest problem is that you want to do everything right away, especially if you are doing it for yourself,” Nemanja noted, pointing out that it helps him when he spends time with people who are not from his industry. 

Preventing burnout by sharing responsibilities

Among the founders of startups who have experienced burnout, there is often a feeling that they must do everything themselves and that they’re carrying the burden on their backs. What can prevent such a feeling is having a quality team and an adequate share of responsibilities. 

When you manage to gather a team of professionals who are good at their job and want to work on building the same idea, it’s very likely that you will avoid the aforementioned symptoms of burnout, especially the feeling of loneliness. 

This statement was confirmed by Nevena Sofranić, who has been hiring IT experts for a decade now, and is also the founder of the IT recruitment agency Omnes Group, and later on the Recrooit platform. 

“When we convey our mission and vision to the candidates who apply to work with us, we need to give them an insight into what their contribution will be, that is, to present them in the best possible way the purpose of what they will do and, on a broader level, how their contribution will affect the world, the niche, etc,” Nevena explained. 

Therefore, a practice that has recently proven to be effective is to replace “job description” with “impact description”. 


Communities are very interconnected in every sub-niche. The biggest witness to this is the Web3 community that sticks very closely and has a lot of interactions with each other.

What’s unique about their platform is the possibility for anyone to become a recruiter and hire through referrals. 

More specifically, based on their experience, these channels were the most successful in hiring and attracting new talent: 

  1. 40% Referrals; 
  2. 30% Ads; 
  3. 24% Outreach; 
  4. 6% Conferences. 

“Through recommendations you can find some of the most qualified candidates who will stay in the company for the longest. However, your reach here is quite limited. That’s why we’ve been thinking about how to boost the reach of internal channels while reducing hiring costs through the channels we pay for, such as ads. Through external channels you will have the largest number of candidates for selection, but it has also been shown that they remain the shortest in the company,” said Nevena and added that is the reason why employer branding is so important, but it takes years to build it. 

She also shared some of the most important data regarding recent trends in the IT industry when it comes to employment: 

  • 76% of hiring managers said that attracting the right candidates was their biggest challenge. 
  • In most cases, the best candidates are off the market, i.e. they already have a job. 
  • It only takes ten days for qualified, experienced candidates to find the right job.

In other words, this means that the candidates you are hiring should not be more than two weeks into the recruitment process. 

And finally, she shared a bonus advice: 

“Hiring managers should pay special attention to how they deal with their own prejudices, because they shouldn’t be a limiting factor when choosing which candidates you will hire. Also, this is how you want to train your team to fight against their own prejudices,” Nevena advised at BTN WebCON23. 

A journalist by day and a podcaster by night. She's not writing to impress but to be understood.