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?
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.