Common causes of MSP burnout and how to manage them better

  • Hosted Network October 28, 2022
  • Hosted Network Madeleane Abejero
  • Hosted Network 3mins

We’ve all had our fair share of struggles with pressure, mental health and just life in general. 

I’ve heard and read a couple of stories from MSP owners who suffered and even neglected their own wellbeing just to keep their businesses in order. 

You don’t need to sacrifice yourself just for your MSP to survive. 

We’ve listed the top scenarios within an MSP that we know for sure are familiar to you. Though we can’t prevent stress or burnout,we can manage it better. Read on to know how. 

Wearing “being busy” as a badge 

A common scenario in MSPs particularly those in the beginning level is an owner playing so many roles. With just a few people in the business, everyone’s busy fighting fires and drowning on admin tasks like doing payroll, neglecting the important things that could affect the business in the long run. 

There’s busy good and busy bad. Unfortunately, most people are busy bad rather than doing the things that are really good for the business.

Ryan Spillane, Chief Executive Officer at 360 Consulting

When you don’t think ahead, you put your business at risk. When you start to grow, you’ll get lost and be overwhelmed because you did not plan and establish processes that your team can just repeat and follow moving forward. You swim in chaos and struggle to balance between supporting your clients and managing your business. 

When this happens, it’s important to know how to prioritise; consider the bigger picture and make sure you base all decisions from data. Build a functional map to determine critical roles so you can delegate the right tasks to the right people and decide the need to acquire new team members. 

Self sacrificing for the business

Our industry, unfortunately, is ripe with mental challenges.

Nigel Moore, Founder of The Tech Tribe

As MSP owners, you tend to neglect the things that you used to love doing because you’re just simply “too busy” working things around your MSP. Sacrificing your physical and mental health will only make things worse, not only for you and for your business, but also for your family.

When you’re in a healthy disposition, everything else will follow. Encourage yourself and your team to develop good habits. This can be simply done by eating healthy, exercising and or just by taking a break. 

“I’ve had my big realisations and big shifts in my company when I was away from my company.

Nigel Moore

Also the unique thing about the MSP space is that it’s not always a competition! Your peers are always willing to share some advice – they love just helping people. Join tech communities like TechTribe and SMBiTPro so you can seek help and give help to your peers who might have experienced or experiencing the same situation you’re going through. 

Finding the right people 

One of the greatest problems of MSP owners today is hiring the right people. Competent tech people are just hard to come by.

The bigger problem is if you hire the wrong people it’s either you end up solving the problems they can’t solve or you let them go because they just aren’t the right fit. Some of you might already have dragged your family to do some of the admin work like financial management as a band aid approach.

You might haven’t tried it yet, but you can always try offshoring. Several Aussie companies have diverse teams but still work efficiently. Another critical factor is culture. Always hire for culture fit. Ensure that you share the same values as yours, and they are fully competent and committed to their roles. 

Get more tips on talent management in our on demand webinar: How to build a great team

Being a control fanatic

Some MSP owners find it hard to relinquish control and are too strict in requiring staff to adhere to certain processes on how to get things done. You’re all over the place and take your focus away from what’s important for the business. 

You have to trust your team and let them do what they are hired to do. Don’t be the annoying micromanager who criticises every employee’s work – this just simply weakens their morale. 

Let your staff learn from their mistakes, you can’t save them all the time.

Ryan Spillane

Also, another way to build a stronger workforce is knowing how to identify leaders. Having the right team leader to manage different areas of your business will allow you to concentrate on future proofing and improving your business holistically. 

Ask your team about their career goals, encourage continuous development with training and other important skills and most importantly, give them a chance to lead. You’ll never know unless you try. 

Keen to expand more on the challenges of managing an MSP? Watch our on demand webinar, Managing Stress and Noise as an MSP to know your peers’ take on the challenges brought by managing an MSP and embracing that right mindset to overcome all of these.