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Being an entrepreneur means taking risks and making sacrifices. These risks aren’t just financial.
Aside from the necessary seed capital for running a startup, entrepreneurship requires a hefty investment in time. Spending all of that time accomplishing your business dreams can drain your mental health.
If you’re performing at your peak, you and your newfound startup will likely suffer. Learn more about how to protect your mental health as an entrepreneur with this guide.
1. Balancing Your Time and Energy
With 72 percent of entrepreneurs affected by mental health issues, it’s no wonder the biggest problem comes from imbalance. It’s easy for any entrepreneur to get caught up in the whir and blur of responsibility. All of the changes that accompany running a startup are thrilling and can easily upset the balance of time and energy spent on other parts of your life.
It’s important to use SMART goals to help pace yourself. To-do lists are a way to simplify the mountain of tasks you have to accomplish. Pacing yourself on various types of tasks (e.g. creative, administrative, meetings) allows you to incrementally progress in running your startup.
2. Keep Your Work Life Separate
Balancing the time and energy you invest in your startup is only an initial step to protect your mental health. You have to find time for yourself and your personal life, even if it means literally unplugging yourself from work.
It can be a challenge to walk away from your work, especially as an entrepreneur. Most startups are run by people who embrace the workaholic culture and lifestyle. If you want to avoid burnout and running your business into the ground too soon, take a break from work.
3. Embrace Failure as a Gift
Whether this is your first or fiftieth attempt at running a startup, it’s important to understand a healthy relationship with failure. Even with all of the time, money, and energy you invest in your business, the odds are not in your favor. This is not a reason to give up, though.
Any entrepreneur who wants a healthy mindset and chance at success will embrace the likelihood of failure. Failing at starting a new business is not a bad thing if you kept a healthy work/life balance during the process. Mental health disorders are common for those entrepreneurs who devote too much of themselves into their startup.
4. Set Realistic Standards for Yourself
You are far more likely to fail as an entrepreneur if your standards are too high. Mental health issues are likely to arise if you keep setting yourself up for failure, no matter how willingly you embrace it.
To avoid becoming overcome by crippling doubt or anxiety over the cost of falling short of your standards, evaluate them. Don’t be afraid to check in with yourself and push back deadlines for tasks that are not time-sensitive. If you give yourself a little bit of breathing room, you’re far more likely to consistently meet your goals and maintain your motivation.
5. Explore Your Wellness Resources
This guide is not your only resource for entrepreneur mental health concerns. There are plenty of mental health services available to you, no matter your type of health insurance coverage (e.g., long or short). It’s okay to ask your investors for financial support in this area, too.
Whether exploring your wellness resources, don’t neglect your physical health, either. Regular diet and exercise can create healthy habits and unrelated work routines to balance your time and energy in and outside of running a startup.
6. Be Honest With Yourself and Others
When you set out to be an entrepreneur, it’s important that you commit clearly to your goals. When making such a commitment, you should have a clear purpose and idea of how this process should go. And then, admit that there will be plenty elements of surprise you can not anticipate.
Admit to yourself, investors, and other concerned parties that failure is not the goal, but is not unlikely even with your best efforts. Staying honest with yourself from the beginning will set you up for far more success than lying to yourself (or investors or family) about the time or capital needed to make this startup work.
7. Seek Support from Your Network
Your network can contain a wide variety of both personal and professional contacts. When it comes to protecting your mental health as an entrepreneur, it’s important that you do not overextend yourself by taking on too much alone. Don’t be afraid to turn to past partners for brainstorming sessions.
When you find yourself falling prey to stresses from working alone or too much, it’s also important to admit you might need help. If you’ve set deadlines and milestones with investors you now know you won’t meet, talk to them. Ideally, your investors are not just investing capital in your business ideas, but in you as an entrepreneur.
Being an Entrepreneur Begins With a Healthy Mindset
An entrepreneur begins with an idea which forms in your mind. There’s a reason the entrepreneurial spirit is labeled as such. Your ideas come from you, your purpose, and the things that motivate you.
If you do not take care of yourself or your ideas, you’re likely not practicing an entrepreneur’s mindset. The initial spark of the idea that founded your first or fiftieth startup needs to be nurtured into wholeness. If the founder of the company is not well, how could the business be?
When considering entrepreneur mental health concerns in your future, or simply investigating other avenues of achieving optimal wellness, please consult the rest of our content for more helpful information.