Entrepreneurs sacrifice so much to see their business grow and become successful. They dedicate their entire lives, pouring not just money but time and energy toward the venture. Often, they work long hours and rarely go on breaks, especially when they are yet to build their staff.
They also experience immense pressure knowing that their decisions will have a major impact on the future of their business. One wrong move can lead to bankruptcy. That fear does not really go away, either. There is so much to lose if the business fails.
That is why it is not surprising that business owners are dealing with mental health concerns.
The Mental Health Toll of Owning a Business
One Canadian study found that 62 percent of all business owners reported feeling depressed at least once a week. More than half of all respondents also admitted that stress has negatively impacted their ability to concentrate at work.
The challenges of COVID-19, which has led to business closures and bankruptcies around the world, have made the mental health of business owners worse.
Research by British small business lender iwoca found that, in 2020, four in five small business owners are exhibiting signs associated with poor mental health. About 66 percent of them said they are unable to focus on their tasks, 64 percent are anxious, and 63 percent said that their quality of sleep has deteriorated.
Almost a quarter (24 percent) of the respondents also had panic attacks while 37 percent have symptoms of depression.
It is common among business owners to experience mental health disorders, more so now that there is an economic recession. That is why they need to take steps to keep their overall well-being in good condition.
No Business is a One-Man Operation
Many business owners, especially those who are starting small, assume multiple roles. They become the customer service representative, the salesperson, and the accountant on top of being the boss. It should not always be that way.
A good business owner recognizes when they need help, and they do not hesitate to ask for it.
When a business starts to grow, so do the people behind it. The demands of the business will undergo transformations, and new talent will be hired to fulfill roles that the owner cannot perform.
The next challenge is learning how to delegate, a task that not all business owners can do. Many will benefit from undergoing facilitative leadership coaching which will enable them and their team to effectively collaborate toward a common goal.
Your business should not take over every waking moment of your life.
It is healthy to create a clear boundary between the professional and personal. Doing so will prevent burnout, an emotional and mental state in which a person feels drained, overwhelmed, and unable to meet constant demands. A study from 2018 found that 25 percent of all entrepreneurs feel moderately burned out and 3 percent were strongly burned out. When the business owner is burned out, the business suffers.
All business owners should strive to achieve a work-life balance. They should spend time with their loved ones, go out for drinks with friends, pursue hobbies, and participate in activities that have nothing to do with running a business.
It would also help to set a daily schedule that determines when it is time to start working and when it is time to stop. Everyone deserves a break, including the business owner.
Resist the Urge to Compare
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and other social media platforms are jealousy traps. These apps present a curated look at the lives of other people. Browsing social media news feeds creates negative feelings such as insecurity and envy.
However, people have their own unique journeys. While success came early to some, it does not mean everyone else is a failure. Comparisons will only lead to mental health issues.
Instead, business owners should find other, more productive activities to do than browse social media. They can take a walk in nature which has been proven by several studies to lower levels of stress. They should also consider keeping a journal where they can jot down thoughts, feelings, ideas, and everything they have learned while establishing and running their own business.
Business owners that are experiencing symptoms of mental health disorders should immediately meet with a therapist. Delaying care will only lead to adverse consequences that will have an impact on the future of their business. It will make them incapable of leading their venture toward success.