So you finally took the plunge and started your own business…and you haven’t stopped hustling since. You’re working from a lengthy to-do list and putting in the hours, but you haven’t seen the results you were hoping for.
Statistics show that roughly 30% of new businesses fail within the first two years. If you aren’t seeing results, does it mean you’re doomed to capsize and sink? Before you completely change your business plan, take a step back. You may not need new strategies for business management but for stress management.
Manage Anxiety by Noticing Your Triggers
Owning a business can be terrifying, especially for a new business owner. There will be times when you’re tempted to throw in the towel and head home. The doubts don’t ever stop: you’re not an expert, people think you’re crazy, you’re too far out on a limb, you’ll never find the right customers. Even worse, it’s easy to find incredible success stories online, and it might start to feel like you must be doing something wrong. Shouldn’t your business have taken off by now?
This is your fear talking—and as a business owner, managing anxiety and overcoming fears can be the biggest challenges you’ll face. As you move forward, keep things in perspective and don’t allow your fear to rule your decisions.
One easy way to do this is by understanding what triggers your stress and anxiety. For example, do you feel instantly nervous once you’ve looked at your long task list for the day? Are you stressed over an upcoming presentation? Does it make you anxious to look at your company’s finances? Whatever the reasons for your stress, a little self-evaluation can be a big step toward better managing your mindset. Identify the situations that trigger your stress, list them out, and work on developing strategies to manage them using the rest of our tips.
When your business seems stagnant, it may seem tempting to start working 16-hour days to catch up, or to start throwing more money at whatever isn’t working. After all, not knowing how to move forward can feel overwhelming and stressful.
Unfortunately, many new business owners forget that great things take time, and success doesn’t happen overnight. All of the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve worked with understand this key point: a huge amount of external factors affect every business, and it can take a while to adjust and gain traction. As you start your business, remember that the goal isn’t instant change. You can’t put all of your efforts into succeeding now. Instead, be patient with yourself, treating your business like you would a major change to your habits. The goal is to improve bit by bit at a steady pace forever, instead of hustling at a rate that isn’t sustainable. Practice patience, and remember that consistent work offers consistent results.
Take Advantage of Self-Care Techniques
Work can be stressful, even if you love it—so it’s important to find ways to manage that stress. While really everyone should practice self-care, business owners may need it more than most. That doesn’t necessarily mean superfluous things like splurging on a shopping spree or a spa trip, but instead taking a little extra time to cultivate your own personal wellness:
- Eat well
- Exercise often
- Set a regular work schedule, if possible
- Take frequent breaks
- Get enough rest
- Leave your work at the office when you’re done
- Spend time with friends and family
- Take a vacation day every now and then
In addition, you should also add a few business-specific strategies to your playbook. These strategies will vary wildly depending on your business and your pain points, but there are a few tricks many new business owners can benefit from:
- Delegate your work more often
- Automate some of your simpler processes whenever possible
- Rank tasks on your to-do list based on priority
Simple stress management techniques like these can go a long way in relieving anxiety, whether you’re managing personal or work-related stressors.
Seek Help from a Pro
If you’re set on moving forward with your business despite severe stress or anxiety, it might be time to seek professional help from one of two arenas:
Therapy: Many successful business owners see therapists to manage their stress and anxiety, work on creating a better work-life balance, and resolve fears and self-doubt related to work. A therapist can also help identify any pressing issues and give you specific tools to help you combat stress.
Mastermind Group: We often think of mastermind groups as a resource for networking, strategizing, and brainstorming, but they’re also great for emotional support as well. Mastermind groups can help you feel less alone, and they also surround you with peers who understand the stress of owning a business—because they’ve been right where you are.
Whether you choose a professional therapist or a team of peer professionals, both of these options are great opportunities for learning to reduce stress and anxiety while enhancing your mood.
Don’t forget that even if you can’t see much growth happening, by whatever yardstick you’re using to measure your success, it doesn’t mean that you should overhaul your approach to your business. Keep checking in with your goals, measure your results, and go for consistent and sustainable work. Chances are, you’ll realize in time that this is exactly what you needed.