From Burnt Out to BOSS

(and What it Means for You)

Katie Wight | February 15, 2023

“Hey Katie, how are you?”

“Uhhhhh. Good? Good. Good! Yeah, yeah – I’m good…”

At some point, I got weird in the face of answering the simplest question. It happened a dozen times each day for at least four years: Someone was polite and I’d short-circuit – as though this question was a personal attack.

How am I?! Um, constantly behind and tortured by imposter syndrome! All my clients are about to leave me because I said that stupid thing – thanks for asking!

By 2021, Strong Brand Social had reached $1m+ in annual revenue after just a few years in business, but I was burnt out, deeply depressed, and eager to quit. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 30% of small businesses make it to the 10-year mark. Maybe I just didn’t have it. I decided that if something wasn’t drastically different in a year, I’d give myself permission to fold.

I buckled up for a flat revenue year in 2022 after a season of lightning-speed growth. I focused on our internal operations, intellectual property, and marketing infrastructure. I invested in five different in-person events with entrepreneurs who I greatly admire. I took a six-week solo trip to France because sometimes that’s what you do when you’re lost and desperate to find joy again.

At the start of 2023, our revenue is up 80% and our profit margin is up 60% over last year. More important than that? I love my work and I’m so fucking happy. New neural pathways are firing on all cylinders, I put my humanity first every single day, and I have my head on straight about this game I’m playing. Today, when someone asks how I am, the answer is “so good.” If this is a triggering amount of progress for you to absorb, let me answer your question – why am I telling you this?

Strong Brand Social exists to enhance the success rate of big-hearted brands. It starts with increasing access to the same information that’s helped me.

If you’re overwhelmed right now or simply want more, here are some fun-but-critical facts:

●   A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that exposing ourselves to others’ attitudes can transform our mindset. One year ago today, I thought I didn’t have what it takes to lead my business, and now I feel confident I’m the best person in the world to support my clients and my team members – how? I spent several weeks around leaders and entrepreneurs whose mindsets were much healthier than mine. By December, I felt a tangible shift.

●    Data says in-person events help entrepreneurs succeed more quickly due to real-time feedback and a change in scenery that stimulates creativity (Harvard Business Review). I went to Greensboro, NC, Savannah, GA, Miami, FL, and France. I set aside my relentless responsibilities to receive support – even when I thought there was no way I could fit it all in. Nothing is more transformative than a well-designed, in-person, growth-focused event.

●    Another study from the Journal of Business Venturing found that entrepreneurs who go abroad are more likely to pursue innovative business strategies, introduce new products, and experience enhanced creativity. I didn’t know this before I left for France last year but it tracks: I completely redesigned my business to be more enjoyable for me, more supportive for my clients, and more streamlined to increase opportunities for my team members. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
●   Studies published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology show that a change of scenery – natural environments or travel – can have positive effects on mental and physical health, as well as cognitive and creative functioning. This winter, I came back to France for winter in the Alps to be outside more. The last time a friend from home checked on me I said, “My mental and physical health are measurably better.” Weird way to talk to a friend but that’s me.