There’s absolutely no doubt that quitting your secure job, that provides you with a regular and reliable income, probably a nice pension contribution and other perks is both daunting and stressful.
You now rely completely on your own success to pay the bills, keep a roof over your head and (hopefully) make a profit while you’re at it – even the thought of this is enough to give most people sweaty palms.
It’s also true that there is no freedom quite like being your own boss and working your own hours, but equally those that are self-employed work on average for longer hours and for less money than employees of a company.
- More than 13% of self-employed clock up working weeks of 60 hours or more – compared with just 4% of employees.
- 1/3rd of self-employed people work 35 hours a week, compared with 23% of employees.
Business Matters: “1 in 5 self-employed households struggle with stress and financial worries.”
These long hours combined with the pressure of making enough money to at least pay your bills can quickly send stress levels soaring, so we’ve compiled our 5 top-tips to de-stress yourself as an entrepreneur:
Identify the Triggers
Before you can know how to alleviate your stress levels, it’s important to first understand where they come from.
No doubt some of your stresses are from sources that are in your control and that you can address, while others might be completely out of your control.
Equally, some stresses will result from the minutia of work & life – small things on your to-do list that you know you need to tackle, while other worries will stem from the bigger picture.
Make a grid / four lists of your worries and stresses that fall into each category and consider which of our five tips below could help to alleviate each type of stress.
1. Don’t be afraid to seek support
Moving from a busy office with structure to the life of an entrepreneur can be extremely lonely at times – particularly in the early stages.
All entrepreneurs believe 100% in their own vision and it can be tempting to fall into the trap of trying to do absolutely everything yourself, but there’s a lot to be said for the phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.
Seeking advice, support or even just a friendly face that understands your challenges can be invaluable.
Each region and local area has its own support networks available to entrepreneurs – a quick Google search or search on sites like EventBrite will show you what’s available in your area.
They might be events like business breakfasts, dedicated business support networks or businesses that offer professional mentoring services, seminars and informal events (like Transmit Startups).
Whatever your challenges, there’s a network out there that can give you invaluable advice that will not only help to alleviate stress levels, but that will ultimately help you to grow your business.
2. Take time away from your desk
It can be so easy to get stuck in a vicious cycle focusing on the everyday running of your business that you never get the headspace to consider the bigger picture.
This is a trap that keeps many businesses from growing to their full potential as you become a ‘busy fool’ – busy stressing over the day-to-day, hour-to-hour minutia, not the things that can actually take your business to the next level.
This in-turn leads to more underlying stresses: ‘Why isn’t my business growing? How long do I have to keep running on this wheel before something changes?’
If you don’t take the time out, then nothing will ever change.
Attending an event, seminar, webinar, workshop or simply having a ‘business development day’ physically away from your desk can make a world of difference. You might meet new people, get new ideas and hopefully – return to work with a long-term plan for your business that will help you overcome both short-term and long-term stresses by giving you a renewed focus.
3. Tackle Financial Woes Head On
If cash flow or a lack of availability of much-needed cash to grow your business is stressing you out, then don’t bury your head in the sand!
The worst thing you can do when it comes to money worries is to ignore them – as this is a problem that can exponentially get worse when it’s left unchallenged.
Review your accounts so that you have a clear understanding of your financial situation. Even if you know it’s bad – you need to know just how bad it is.
Once you’re clear on this, you can begin to look at what options are available out there that can help. Are there grants? Loans? Investment opportunities? Partnership opportunities?
Get in touch with a professional that can properly (and without bias) guide you as to what solutions can quickly get you and your business back on track.
Trust us – you will feel instantly better once you have a plan to address this.
4. Set Boundaries
Yes, those that are self-employed do work longer hours on average than most others, but not having a 9-5 job is no reason to feel as though you have to work 24/7.
Set yourself some reasonable time boundaries that could conceivably work for your business. Remember, you’re not doing yourself or your business any favours by working all hours. You need to build a sustainable business that can physically be run by employees that won’t match your hours – so keep that in mind.
5. Have a Plan
Stress is much, much worse when you’re not focused. Having a solid and structured business plan will help you to feel much less stressed.
In your business plan you’ll have financial forecasts, marketing plans, achievable targets and, importantly, you will have outlined your weaknesses and vulnerabilities as a business as well as anticipated your biggest challenges.
Your fears and focus will be known – which makes being an entrepreneur much less scary.
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