How to Deal with the Stress of Starting Your Own Business
Starting a business is incredibly exciting. It is also incredibly stressful. It will likely be the most stressful thing, outside of parenting (if you are or plan on becoming a parent), that you will ever do. The good news is that you don’t simply have to resign yourself to constantly feelings stressed out and anxious. In fact, resigning yourself to this fate is one of the worst things you can do. Stress has a terrible effect on your physical and mental health.
Here are some of the things you can do to deal with it and process it in a healthy way.
Find a Sounding Board
It is incredibly important that you find someone to talk to as you work to get your new business up and running. Understand that what we’re talking about here isn’t a business coach or a professional mentor. These people are important, but it’s also important to have a professional to whom you can just vent your stress and anxieties to, helping you put things into perspective. There are many resources out there that can help you find a therapist who specializes in helping people deal with professional stress and anxiety. Enlist someone sooner rather than later.
Find a Guide
This is where the business coach and/or professional mentor come in. Finding someone who has gone through what you’re going through on a professional level is important; if for no other reason than it gives you someone to emulate. Having a “guide,” as it were, is invaluable if you have never tried to manage or run your own business before. They can help you navigate the waters of incorporation, setting up loans, finding a good space, etc.
Getting Things Done
There are a million different things that you will need to keep track of as you work to start your business. Trying to keep track of them is going to be difficult. You’re going to need a system for taking, keeping and organizing your notes, the things you have to do, the things you want to do, etc. Many people have found great success with David Allen’s Getting Things Done organizational system, while others have managed to develop systems of their own that have worked well. What’s important is that you build your system early and that you stick with it. Stopping to develop new systems every few weeks will slow down your efforts considerably.
A Place for Everything
In addition to the notes, to-do lists, etc that we’ve already talked about, you need a place in which to collect all of your details, like what you’re spending and where. There are hundreds of apps out there that will help you do this, like Evernote, etc. Find a place that will sync across platforms and devices. In other words, don’t keep everything in a paper bag in your cupboard or in a shoebox on your desk!
Focus on What You Can Control
You can’t control the weather problems that might be holding up construction on your company’s new physical space. You can’t control the weather or the traffic that makes you late to a meeting with your accountant. You can’t control how many people apply for the jobs you have available. You can, however, manage the details of your contractor’s contract. You can make sure you have your paperwork in place for the meeting. You can control how you judge and evaluate the applications and resumes you are sent. Focus your attention and energy on the things you can actually control. Worrying just wastes time.
Schedule in Some Free Time
When you’re setting up a new business, it will feel like you have to devote every waking moment (and likely some sleeping moments too) to that business and its details. If you don’t give yourself some time off, though, you are going to burn out before you ever really get going. Taking time to, say, see a movie or spend time playing with your kids allows you to recharge your batteries and find some perspective on all of the things you still have to do with your startup.
Finally, keep your eyes on the prize! It’s easy, as you get bogged down with details and lists and problems to forget why you are starting this business in the first place. Remember your end goal: to provide the best product or service in your niche. Write this goal down in a few places so that you can look at it when you start to feel overwhelmed. Remembering your goals will keep distractions from throwing you off track and is a great antithesis to scope creep.
This is a post by Sara Stringer