As an entrepreneur, you’ve got a lot on your plate. After all, you’ve got an entire business to run! Managing day-to-day business operations, finances, schedules and, oftentimes, other people, is a lot of work. And more often than not, starting your own business means assuming a great deal of risk. The pressure of creating a successful business can be daunting, and it’s natural for business owners to shoulder a great deal of entrepreneurial stress.
On one hand, some stress is normal. As your body’s natural fight-or-flight response, experiencing mild levels of stress can actually be helpful as it protects you from potential danger or situations that could be unsafe. It is when you experience prolonged stress that it negatively affects your health and well-being. Prolonged stress can cause unwanted physical and emotional side effects.
If you are an entrepreneur and feeling the pressure, fear not. There are plenty of methods to help recognize the emotions you are feeling and tips on how to manage them before you get too overwhelmed. Recognizing and redirecting stress is a beneficial skill set and helps keep you and your business running in tip-top shape.
What Causes Entrepreneurial Stress?
Stress can take shape in numerous ways and creep up for a variety of reasons. We’re all different, and what causes tension in one person may not cause tension in another. Regardless, there are stressful situations all small-business owners experience at one point or another, whether you’re just getting your company off the ground or are a veteran in your field.
Common causes of stress include:
Too much work
Do you ever feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day? You’re not alone. Creating a successful company often means you have to do it all — and do it all now. Even if you love the work you do, an overpacked schedule or over-committing yourself can lead to burnout.
Too little work
On the contrary, sometimes when you are just getting started, it feels like too little work is coming in. It may feel like the success or failure of your business hinges on the number of clients you bring in. Feeling as though the work is trickling in too slowly can cause a great deal of angst.
Often, the beginning stages of a start-up means you are the sole employee. Juggling the responsibilities of being the boss and the only employee can feel overwhelming, and when you don’t have colleagues to compare notes with, sometimes if can feel like you’re the only one experiencing this stress. Rest assured, you are not!
Let’s face it: Income is what keeps your business afloat. Keeping the cash flow going in order to pay the bills, cover loan costs and maybe even pay yourself (or employees if you have them) is a valid concern and one that causes a great deal of stress to even the most seasoned entrepreneur.
Dangers of Too Much Stress
Experiencing heightened levels of stress over the course of time can lead to negative side effects surrounding your overall health and well-being. Below are some examples of what can happen if you stay too stressed for too long.
Prolonged stress can cause mental and physical exhaustion. When you’re experiencing these symptoms, chances are you’re headed toward burnout.
Have your sleeping patterns or eating habits changed? Are you experiencing muscle tension, headaches or digestive issues? High blood pressure? Often, physical symptoms of prolonged stress can be attributed to other issues, so be mindful of your physical state and any noticeable changes that take place. It could be related to your level of stress.
Much like the physical manifestations mentioned above, too much stress can take an emotional toll as well. Low moods, feelings of depression or extreme disappointment, lack of confidence, and increased irritability or sensitivity can all be signs stress is impacting your well-being.
You love your work and started your business because you want to be successful, right? Sometimes the pressure of succeeding and concern of producing quality work can build up to the point that it has the opposite effect. Putting too much pressure on yourself can negatively impact the quality of your work.
If you’re feeling the pressure, chances are your employees are feeling it too. If the atmosphere at work is tense for a prolonged period of time, it’s possible your employees may begin to be negatively affected leading them to seek work elsewhere.
Here are 6 Ways to Avoid Prolonged Entrepreneurial Stress
While it may seem advantageous to put every ounce of your energy into your company, a “24/7” work schedule is simply not a sustainable business model.
#1 Avoid Overwork
Hard work and a solid commitment to your company is important, but it’s just as important to set boundaries and incorporate personal time to recharge so you’re ready to tackle the next issue or help the next client to the best of your ability. Being able to establish a work/life balance is critical to your health and ultimately, the success of your business.
#2 Get Organized
Figuring out an organization system that works for you can help reduce stress. Consider carrying a calendar and planning out your week to prioritize tasks and jot down any goals you want to work toward.
Reorganize your vehicle to improve efficiency. Whether or not your work vehicle has already been upfitted to meet your business needs, taking the time to reevaluate and organize your car can provide peace of mind and help you be more productive throughout the day.
#3 Break Big Jobs Down into Small Tasks
Faced with a big job? Congratulations! Scoring a big job is great for business but can shoot your stress level into outer space. When those jobs come in that seem unmanageable, the first thing you can do is break it down into single tasks. Create a list, prioritize what needs to be done and ask for help if necessary. The work will get done one step at a time.
Sometimes, when you’re the boss it is hard to offload some of the pressure of keeping the company running. However, if you’ve hired employees, be sure they’re individuals you trust and who share your work ethic. When you hire employees you trust, you can delegate tasks to them and rest assured they will do the work you hired them to do. Sharing the workload can offload the stress you may be feeling.
#5 Build Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle
Regular exercise, getting enough sleep each night and enjoying hobbies outside of your vocation can also help alleviate stress and manage the rigors of managing your own company. A healthy diet can also keep you feeling strong and alert throughout the day. Try to step outside or away from your work at least once a day, even if it’s just for a few moments to take a deep breath and refocus your energy on the tasks ahead.
#6 Take Vacations — Seriously!
Manage the stress of entrepreneurial life by giving yourself breaks. Time away from the office can help ease your mind, as long as you leave the work at the office! Don’t use time away to catch up on paperwork, billing or other tasks.
About Adrian Steel
Adrian Steel manufactures contractor-grade products and storage solutions including shelving, drawers, cabinets, partitions, ladder racks, aluminum toolboxes, and accessories. Beyond manufacturing, our dedicated Customer Care Team and a network of highly qualified distributors can have your vehicle upfitted at a location convenient for you – at the factory, out of dealer stock, at your place of business, or through a bailment pool.
Plus, upfits installed by an authorized Adrian Steel distributor are covered for a full 3 years or 36,000 miles.
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