“Why am I doing this to myself?” It’s a question every business founder asks as they battle with to-do lists and sleepless nights. If this sounds familiar, then here’s some good news: We’ve talked to .shop brand owners to get their best stress-busting ideas. Here are five simple tips to keep you calm, cool and collected.
1. Take pride in your progress
Why is starting a company stressful? Because it takes you into unknown territory. You may already be an experienced professional, but now you face a world of unfamiliar questions. How do I open a business bank account? How do I build my brand? How do I pay my suppliers? The list goes on.
The next time you feel overwhelmed by these questions, here’s an important thing to remember: most people don’t have the courage to start their own business. You are taking a brave and bold step. And if you make a bad decision? Welcome to the club! No one is perfect, but you can only build a successful business if you push through the growing pains. So keep going.
2. Write your ‘secret reasons’ list
Bad days happen to everyone. But when you have a really bad day, you might be tempted to ask whether the hard work is worth it. You are not alone - every entrepreneur we spoke to faced similar soul-searching moments. But one of them had a great tip to get your motivation back on track…
“Keep a (secret) list of reasons why you’re on your entrepreneurial journey. Write down your wildest dreams and add photos to bring your ambitions to life. This way, the next time you have a difficult day you can go to your ‘dream list’, remember why you’re working so hard, and find the energy to keep going.”
3. Build your support network
It’s good to talk about your feelings, but what if your family and friends can’t relate to what you’re going through? This is why it’s important to build your network of entrepreneurs. The chances are, they’ve been through exactly what you’re experiencing. What’s more: all business owners love to talk about their problems! So make time to connect with other founders.
Not sure where to start? Find businesses you admire on social media and reach out to them. Find local networking groups and offer to talk about your startup. Find people you admire and ask for a mentoring conversation.
Over time, you will find yourself with a supportive network - and lots of people you can share your feelings with.
4. Work in timed bursts - one task at a time
When you’ve got a lot to do, it’s tempting to sit in one place for several hours and work through your to-do list. The problem is that our attention spans get burned out - and we lose our sense of focus and momentum. So here’s a top tip: pick one task, and set the timer on your phone for 30, 45 or 60 minutes. And just do that one task for the time allotted. Then, take a break, even if it’s just 5 minutes. Stand up, walk around, do some stretches. And the next time you sit down to work, decide how long you’re going to spend on the task before you start.
This technique can really help you focus and make progress - and stop you from feeling overwhelmed.
Ever felt too busy to breathe? Welcome to the life of the entrepreneur. Breathing techniques are a surprisingly effective way to keep stress and anxiety under control. So it is worth taking some time to think about your relationship with your breath. Do you start breathing quickly when you feel stressed? Or maybe you find yourself holding your breath?
One of the entrepreneurs we talked to said “The single most powerful thing I’ve done to get stress under control is learning some simple breathing exercises. They’re easy to do - it’s all about making time in your day to calm yourself down.”
Let’s recap our five top tips for keeping anxiety at bay:
- Be proud of your progress
- Remember why you’re on this journey
- Build your support network
- Work on one task at a time
On that note, it’s time to stop reading and take a few minutes to breathe deeply - that’s an order!