Running a small business at the very best of times is a rollercoaster. It’s a challenging combination of highs and lows. When we are faced with the pressures of keeping a small business going, nobody tells us that it can actually impact our mental health.
There is a blurring of boundaries between our personal and business lives as we end up being Chief of everything. We have unpredictable incomes, fear or failure, imposter syndrome and working in isolation, just for starters.
As a business owner, it’s important we recognise the triggers. Running a small business can and does impact our mental health. A strong mindset is just as important as all the other factors of running a business.
Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay2018. Here are some top tips on how a small business owner can look after their mental health without sacrificing the performance of their business.
Take really good care of yourself
It’s absolutely no secret that the state of your health whether it’s physically or mentally will impact your ability to manage your business. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet and drinking two litres of water a day will absolutely help. Sounds simple. Not easy when you are juggling umpteen balls. It’s very easy to fall of this particular wagon. Eating well and developing good sleeping habits will massively increase your ability to manage the day to day pressures of running your business, alongside managing life and children and all that comes with this.
Step back and remove yourself from your business
The boundaries between home and work do get blurred. Some days there are simply not enough hours in the day to do everything so we end up like a hamster on a wheel and it can feel like a never ending and relentless cycle. Sound familiar?
Not everybody has marketing, sales, admin, financial, business development, social media skills and so the list goes on and on. If we don’t have all the skills we need and let’s face it, none of us do, every part of trying to fathom our way through each part a business requires, can be a potential stress point. Often keeping us working late at night. Research shows that small business owners are constantly jeopardising their mental and physical health by putting in long hours. Hands up who’s guilty of this one?
What’s important is to set boundaries to help us maintain our energy and passion. Sometimes, the passion disappears. This is usually because we are tired and overwhelmed. Are there things you really have to do? Write a to-do list. Prioritise. Focus on one thing and do it well. You end up being master of all trades and jack of none. Remove yourself from your business for an afternoon, a day, a week, a month. Get some clarity. Recharge. Often when you do this, things become clear and your passion returns.
Join a networking community of like-minded small business owners
Mental health issues are common in small business owners. Being part of a network like The Business Girls Network will help to build some support. In our community we are sharing and caring. We empower, support, motivate and connect women together for the greater good. We don’t restrict business types because we believe in collaboration and not competition. We believe in working with our competitors, not against them.
Being part of a community can help with the daily challenges you are facing and bring ideas or provide a solution to a problem. No question in our groups are too small or silly. There is a collective wealth of expertise and knowledge by women from every background, type of business and at every phase of business. This means there is always somebody who can help.
Be organised and automate as much as possible
Putting in the leg work to automate as much of your business as you can reduces the day to day stress that comes with running your business. It does relieve you of time-consuming, repetitive and let’s face it boring tasks. Set up automated emails using an email platform like Mailchimp. Streamline your financial processes. Use social media schedulers like buffer and hoot suite. Spend a day or two a month scheduling all of your content. It will make a difference. It will give you more hours to focus on developing your business. There are lots and lots of simple, free and easy to use automation tools available to a small business.
We need a collective effort to shift attitudes when it comes to mental health. The more we talk about it, the more we accept conversations, the easier it is for individuals to speak up and ask for help. If you see someone in your network who is suffering, reach out to them, check in with them regularly to make sure you are ok.
Come and join the conversation over in our FREE Facebook community happening today. This is such an important topic and we must keep starting these conversations.