How do you handle the stress of starting your own business?
I've taken on the project of opening my own business, mostly on my own. I find getting off the ground to be overwhelming sometimes. I read a lot of self-help books, and apparently 'stress' is good and keeps you motivated. If that's the case, how do I turn my stress around and deal with it to help my business grow?
Starting a business might be very stressful. I know it from my own experience. I faced a problem of insomnia. My doctor only prescribed me sleeping pills, but having checked the info about them on the Canadian pharmacy, I found out they might be addictive. Also, they have many side effects. So, I decided not to take this medication and try yoga and meditation instead. It works great for me.
I can't say that stress motivated me when I started my own business. I've never written a self-help book though. Stress led me to start my business because I wanted a better life for myself and family. Stress is part of the business but stress also kills. When you're flying solo, it's tough. But here's the thing, when you're doing everything, your business can suffer. Why? Because you don't have time to do executive work, planning strategies and development to grow your business. Surround yourself with good people. Every business needs help and if you're at this point, you need to hire some help. This takes off a lot of stress. Outsource some of the work. You can only grow a business so much alone, you need a go-to team to reach that next level. Give yourself more time to run the business rather than operate it. And I've been there, it's a tough transition. But you have to take your business to that level if you want to grow. I worked 16 hours a day, 7 days a week for years. It put me through the ringer. Every business owner needs time to step away. The best stress release I found was having some of the work load off my shoulders. There's stress releasing techniques as well. Take a walk, go exercise. If you have a hobby, take an hour of the day to find your happy place. Spend time with family and friends. Your business does you no good if you're not around to enjoy it. Stress kills, we know that. We all need time away to clear our mind from business. Don't think like I did, "an hour away is an hour lost." Here's another tip, find out how you can get twice the results at twice less time. Manage your time better if needed. And always take time for yourself away from the daily grind. Your health is vital to your business and family Daniel.
Welcome to the world of entrepreneurs
Here is the top 7 that worked for me.
1. Belief in yourself and your capabilities
2. Have a crystal clear goals
3. Network with people, use the people assets
4., Take babe steps (Slow but sure)
5. Work on yourself. Study and continuously improve the knowledge and skills of your industry
6.Direction is more important than speed. Let me elaborate more on this one:
"You might be climbing the ladder fast; but you might be putting the ladder against the wrong wall - Stephen Covey"
7. Don't be afraid to fail. It is part of the success process
This will work as great preventive measures.
Since stress is part of life and stressors are unavoidable, we can only improve our coping tactics as per all the great suggestions mentioned bu all my respected advisors here.
For the day to day stress, I find exercise to be the best outlet. It burns nervous energy, and if its a difficult workout it forces you to focus on something other than work. Overall, my company has a mandatory 1/2 day off once a quarter, specifically to "refresh and renew". This time isn't meant as a half vacation day, it's meant to do something to unwind, then spend the rest of the time reflecting on the last 3 months and specific things personally and professionally you want to accomplish. Very action oriented. It's amazing how effective this process is.
First thing to discover is, can you handle stress? Stress from life, from people “rejections and criticism” and so on because to start your own business is a 24/7 decision you make. If you can deal with stress, then begin the process of starting your business and if you can overcome the problems it comes with it, then you can handle the stress that comes with starting a business.
Hello Daniel, there are 2 things I can suggest based on my personal experiences - (1) reduce your time reading self-help books and spend more time on the planning and step-by-step execution of your plan (2) eat gum - excellent stress buster! Having said that, it is never easy to go all alone - and neither is it advisable in today's competitive world. But if you are not in a position to bring in partners, I'll advise you to build an eco-system of "help" around you - from family & friends. Plan your work, plan your day, seek tangible results every day. You will soon find all the "stressful" and "overwhelming" work quite entertaining and enjoyable. There's one good exercise which you can make a habit out of - clearly visualizing the end goal(s) for the day, seeing yourself working structurally towards them and achieving them. If you can afford to spend these 5 mins everyday, you have a game on your hand. Hope this helps. Feel free to reach out anytime!
Stress can be a good thing and drive you to succeed, but too much of the wrong stress and you can feel overwhelmed. Its knowing your body and emotions well enough to understand the types of stress you handle and triggers that creat stress you cant and the ways to manage it productively for success.
Daniel, welcome on-board the entrepreneur bandwagon! I would like to give a different perspective to your question. It is not stress when you start off your business. You have an opportunity presented beautifully (in becoming an entrepreneur) to make your dream come true. This is an opportunity to pursue your passion.
Well, having said that you need to know what to expect and what not, when you jump into this new avatar. You will not get your salary which you might have received earlier, on fixed dates. So planning is essential. Set goals keeping in mind a bigger picture in place. See from start to finish; visualize. Set these goals as realistic as possible, as otherwise these will turn to be a stress and you will end up losing momentum or mental energy, which is extremely essential when you embark in a new initiative on your own. You look at the opportunities you might create - you can create wealth, you can create jobs, you can support the ecosystem, you can build an enterprise that you have always wished to.
My passion of supporting stems from my passion. Just in case of any suggestions or when you are looking for solutions while facing hurdles, feel free to bounce it off with folks who you trust, or who you can think can create a positive impact in providing a potential solution (it can be your mentor, advisor, friend, etc.).
Good luck and stay (self) motivated!
- Shyam, Startup Xperts
Daniel, you have some excellent answers - especially Jessica's.
Stress arises when you do not feel that you have sufficient control. Jessica's answers focus on taking back control of your physiology and your mental processes. This leaves two other important areas (the third being your values, which should be squared away nicely if you truly believe in what you are doing. That said, sometimes your value to make your new business work can conflict with a value like giving time to your family, and that can cause stress. I shall assume this is not the case, but do feel free to come back if that is an issue for you.)
So, first, your environment. We often feel our environment is not what we want, which takes the form of anything from having an uncomfortable seat and a small desk and a rubbish view, with no daylight or fresh air imposed on you, to a blasted computer that always crashes and inadequate printing facilities. In your own business you can take control of these, so priorities organising and arranging your work environment and investing in the best kit you can afford. Price can be an issue though, for a start up. S focus on the changes you *can* make and recognise that the other frustrations are simply a price you pay for the freedom of building your own business.
The second is how you use your time. This is not the place to go into time management, but you do need to feel in control of your time, so if this is an issue, raise another question and contact me to answer it, which I'll gladly do.
One final tip, if it's allowed by moderators...My two books below were written for people just like you! Both available from your favourite bookseller.
How to Manage Stress (Brilliant Business) - published by Pearson
How to manage your time (Brilliant Business) - published by Pearson
I built my business all on my own and it is very stressful. Try and turn the "stress" into positive energy and excitement. I like having a "to do" list- with 2-3 important things to accomplish every day. Once that is completed I know I have done the best I can for that day.
I also love the quote "obstacles show you what you need to do next."
Hang in there!
Keep in mind that you're not alone. Others who are in similar circumstances are out there and showing up every day to bring the dream into reality. Get around others who are addressing challenges as you are, compare notes and create a small support group if possible.
When you get impatient, remember that everything takes twice as long and costs three times as much as your original estimates. We all tend to be optimists when it comes to what it will take to accomplish something worthwhile. The fact that we can't foresee every single pitfall and pothole that we'll hit is a Godsend. If we could see it all at once right now, we'd be afraid to get out of bed in the morning.
Focus on what you can control in your business. You can't control your customers or your suppliers. You can control what you do with your time and other resources. Choose wisely and get yourself around great sources of wisdom. Your business outcomes are a direct result of your Decision Batting Average (DBA). The higher your average of sound business decisions, the better and stronger your business will be.
Be careful about your inputs. You'll see elsewhere here about diet and exercise. Add to those an occasional news fast to detox from the bad news that permeates most media outlets and coverage. Go a day, a week or even two weeks without that favorite source of news and see what happens. I did this and while I'm not completely abstinent, I'm no longer addicted and miss very little that would impact my business and my life.
Understand that persistence is your measure of your belief in yourself. Find others who have been where you are and ask them to share their wisdom. Learn from their mistakes and experience and accelerate your own "education" by learning from the lessons for which others have paid well.
Try to think How to grow your business safely so that you feel secure , In order to feel secure & reduce stress , hire experts with strong sales record , they will give you higher resuilts which means higher returns , gradually your stress will reduce .
I suggest reading some books on business development as that can give you some ideas. Most importantly put together a plan for your business. What do you need to do in order to make your business successful and what is success for you?
If I wanted to be self-promoting, I'd say hire a virtual assistant to take care of all the little stuff. Hey - I'm a virtual assistant! Whaddya know! :)
I've been running my business for over seven years now. I don't think I've ever been stressed regarding "running" it. Because I love my business and I love what I do, so I'm never upset about it. However I do get stressed when I don't feel like I'm working hard enough to make the business grow, or not enough work is coming in - and I feel like I'm failing.
At those points, after throwing the tiniest bit of a pity party, I stop thinking about the negatives and move myself into an educational, focused mindset. So, instead of me thinking "I'm not getting these jobs because someone knows X and I don't" I sit down and start learning X. I guess what I'm saying is that there is always something that you can be doing with a proactive mindset rather than dwelling on the stress of a situation. Does that make sense?
And now those stressful times don't come nearly as often anymore, though some of that is because I've learned how work patterns happen. For example, I know it's going to be dead for work in December, and it's currently dead right now. The first couple of years I freaked out thinking everything was falling apart. Now I know it's just what goes on. So I take these months where work is at a crawl and I read, learn some new software, and go have fun, too! Because I know it'll come flowing back in soon and I won't have the luxury of time to do these things.
Hello Daniel, I join with other commentators in wishing you well on this journey. They have given very practical processes through which you will be able to fall back on if things go off trajectory.
You say you are opening your 'business mostly on your own' which indicates that the resources to bring on board other experts is not available, or, your business idea is not one that can be easily explained, or you have opted for the challenge of learning the skills of starting a business probably with the intention to share with others, either way it has left you questioning yourself.
In life we tend to question ourselves when we are not sure that we have worked out all the kinks or seeking the approval and validation of others to indicate that we are on the right path.
Stress is an indicator of discomfort or dis-ease with the flow of work or conditions in which you are operating, taking up membership with a mastermind group should remove some of that feeling of isolation and give you access to resources that would support the growth of your personal skills and business. Self help books are good if you actually know what thought you didn't know!
Your motivation will be easily sustained if you can maintain your vision. Here is the best kept secrets about achieving our goals - holding an emotion of satisfaction that you have your objective has a 100% return which stress does not. STRESS is limiting as it says, I'm not enough! I dont have enough time, it's not possible! where will the sales come from?
The only way to turn your stress around is to LET IT GO! in doing this you will remove the barriers to your business growth.
Hope this helps
I meditate for 2-5 minutes most mornings, and as needed throughout the day. It is amazing how much perspective you can get from a couple minutes of just breathing.
Also, take plenty of breaks (go for a short walk outside, get a drink of water, or just chill for a second.)
If lack of money is the cause - increase your prices. No matter what you think there are always premium minded clients available if your product is selling already.
Exercise. You'd be amazed at how much better you feel.
A few points
1. Be willing to realize that there are peaks and valleys and that you can deal without a steady flow of income. If you can not go back to the corporate world.
2. have a significant other that is totally supportive, encouraging and if possible has a source of income independent from your own income.
3. Don't rely on 'friends' and part coworkers to give you work network with them and find who they know you don't know and reach out to everyone. Social media is fine but human contact is better so cold call even if you hate it. A little trick. Have a mirror on your desk next to the phone and SMILE before you start the call and keep smiling during the call. That generates a positive tone of voice and keeps you up beat.
4. As other noted find time for at least 15 minutes of meditation a day and 45 minutes of getting a great cardio workout. No excuses, find a friend to work out with it helps.
5. Once you have an income ensure you have a good accountant or banker who forces you to put aside your tax requirements and send it in monthly, don't wait and don't spend it. Remember the more taxes you are paying the more success you are having.
6. Realize your own business is a 24/7 adventure and once you hire others they have to be paid first. But usually that leads to more work and more income. If you can't give it 24/7 don't do it.
Hope these suggestions can help in some way.
I'd suggest you do things other than work. I know it's tough to find time. But I try to take a few hours a week to physically work out ;)
Congratulations on becoming an entrepreneur! It is at times overwhelming, difficult and apparently extremely stressful. All the self - help books would suggest turning stress into positive motivation that makes it your stepping stone to success. The question that you have is how?? My personal experience after 2 years of entrepreneurial ups and downs is:
1. Have a Clear Vision - Where does your ambition end? We all see ambition as a journey, with no clear destination - find it and you have a scope to create the roadmap. E.G. My organization in ___________ business area, with _________ skills, operating in _______________ location, servicing ___________ customers from ________ target businesses, should have a minimum workforce of ________ staff by the end of __________ years. This will give me scope to create a detailed roadmap around business area, scope of operations, skill set requirements, business development opportunities, etc.
2. Start and End everyday with adding bylanes to your roadmap. Some days may be absolutely in sync with your visions. Other days may be a complete antithesis. Learn from both experiences, take the detours and learn from them anyway.
3. Take each day as it comes - This is a slightly difficult thing to accomplish, as it is Human Nature to anticipate and react to situations rather than wait for responses to actions to unfold.
4. Have a Stress Tree - Personally, I believe, stress and tensions are a part of life and really inescapable. How we respond to stress determines our health, wisdom, success and happiness. I have a Tree Friend in my society, with which I offload my work stress before entering my home. Next day, before the beginning of my work hours, I pick up the stress from my Tree Friend and start afresh on ways to relieve the same. Basically, I use this Tree as my sounding board, release pent up frustrations and then meet my family with a smile. Keeps my family happy and me sane. The next day, when I pass the same tree, I get all my thoughts collected on how to resolve my work issues smoothly.
5. Meditate - Meditation helps to calm the mind and unify your heart, mind and soul. You may focus on "God", if you pray or even a "blank wall" or "a glowing flame".
6. Never Give up - Even on the worst / most stressful days, "Never Give Up". Your venture is like your life, whether you face good days or bad, you would want to live the next day, see what happens then. The same formula applies to your venture.
All these have helped me think and respond to challenges thrown in the game of entrepreneurship, calmly and in small ways, aided my small yet steady growth. Hope they help answer your question too...Cheers!