One may argue that feeling stressed is the natural state of being for an entrepreneur and that unless you suffer from the strain of stress, you are not pushing yourself hard enough.
Yes, it is true that nervousness, anxiousness, and even stress, often accompany the risk of starting a business. However, feeling stressed all the time could take a toll on your psychological and physiological health, and ultimately the health of your business.
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10 Practical Tips to Beat Stress and Win the Mental Game of Business
If you are constantly worrying about unfinished tasks at work and aren’t getting enough sleep, it is time to regain control. Whether you are just starting out with your own business or own an established one, here are ten tips to beat stress in your life as an entrepreneur.
1. Spend Money on Legal Advice Early On
Consulting with a lawyer at the start of your business can help you avoid stressful, and potentially costly situations, that can come along at any stage of your business. Knowing that you have met your legal obligations as a business and that all business contracts are in place, will give you some peace of mind.
2. Seek Business Funding Instead of Family Funding
Starting a business using money borrowed from friends and family can cause a great deal of stress. Instead of doing what’s right for your business, you will be weighed down by the thought, “Can I take the risk when it is someone else’s money at stake?”
There are smarter ways to raise capital for business, such as a small business loan from a bank or credit union, or Small Business Administration (SBA). You could also explore crowdfunding sites for entrepreneurs.
3. Learn to Say “NO”
It is tempting to accept every work opportunity that comes your way in the hope that it will spread awareness about your growing business. However, if you take on more work than you can handle with your limited resources you can quickly start to feel overworked and burn out.
Instead of the ‘more is better’ approach, be a little choosy in the kind of work you want to do; this will allow you the time and energy you need to continue marketing your business to attract the clients you want.
4. Organize Your Day
There will be days beyond your control, but you can do a lot in your work routine to structure your day. Have a daily and weekly schedule for your work tasks, such as answering emails, meeting clients, updating the business website, responding to customers, etc.
One way to reduce stress is to pare down daily decision making. For instance, former President Obama and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg are known for their love of grey (suits and T-shirts), but it helps simplify their morning routine. Similarly, if you have several client meetings lined up, deciding your wardrobe and checking the route to the meeting venue in advance, will reduce stress associated with accomplishing those tasks.
5. Hire an Online Business Assistant to Help with Routine Tasks
If you are a solopreneur, you can reduce stress by outsourcing everyday tasks. An online business assistant can help take much responsibility off your plate.
Look at the daily repetitive tasks that you can outsource, such as updating your database, maintaining your business blog and social media content, and managing your e-commerce or membership sites. Assigning these tasks to a competent team member will free up your time for managing and executing the more dynamic aspects of your business.
6. Trust Your Team
As an entrepreneur, stepping away from the company to take a vacation can seem as though you are relinquishing control. But taking time off is crucial for your mental wellbeing.
If you are fortunate to have even a small team of people, you must groom them to handle the day-to-day operations and decision making. Start small by taking a couple of days off to see how your staff manages in your absence.
7. Keep Visualizing the Bigger Picture
It is easy to get frustrated when you are stuck handling administrative tasks and feel less and less like an entrepreneur. On days such as these, it is important to remember the ‘why’ behind starting the business, and not worry about the ‘what’ you need to do to get there.
Stay focused on the bigger picture for your business, and view everything else as a step on the ladder to entrepreneurial success.
8. Stay Positive
Rejection in life hurts, disappoints, and demotivates. That is true for the failures you experience as a business owner as well. Rather than being bogged down by thinking, “I am not cut-out for this,” you need to ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”
Recognize when your brain is stuck on a negative thought and fight it off by doing something else that helps you change that negativity in your head. It could be listening to music or phoning a business mentor.
Reading quotes/lessons from famous business leaders on what it takes to succeed helps me stay motivated. Below is an infographic with valuable advice from the who’s who of the business world on managing stress.
9. Focus on Progress, Not Perfection
Instead of trying to do everything perfectly, now is the time to choose your battles. Use your business plan to set quarterly targets for your business and devise action steps to achieve those goals. Focus on trying to knock off those items one by one. If things do not go well, learn from the experience and move on.
10. Take Time Out for the Fun Stuff
Do something relaxing or creative every day that helps you recharge your batteries. It could be running, taking a yoga class, painting, spending time with your family, or even taking your dog for a long walk.
During this time, avoid the urge to check your office email. Being away from the work environment even for a brief period will leave you feeling reinvigorated and improve your ability to think creatively about your business
With your mind and body more capable of fighting off stress and your workload lighter, you can focus on the all-important job of growing your business. Here’s to a more successful, and less stressful, 2018!