Owning your own business is also hard in a way that no one explains before you get started.
I recently sat down with some local entrepreneurs to discuss some business topics. Initially we discussed the current state of our businesses and eventually the conversation morphed into sharing war stories (as it typically does with business owners, especially creatives). Then the conversation took an unexpected turn.
Another entrepreneur joined in and said that when his business was struggling he was suffering from such bad anxiety at one point that he ended up isolating himself from his family and finally was put on prescription medication and sent to see a therapist. They encouraged one another relating the other person’s accounts of feeling inferior, ashamed, and worried about the future when their businesses weren’t soaring. And, unfortunately, they’re not alone.
The truth of the matter is that as a business owner, you are inextricably tied to your business personally. When the business does well, you feel great – it’s the highest of highs because you know that you’re responsible for getting your business where it is. Conversely, when the business doesn’t do well, you feel like a terrible failure – like someone that’s disappointing your family. After all, if your business’s successes are all yours to own, its failures are all on you as well, right? At least that’s what the little voice tells you in your head.
What you need to keep in mind is that you don’t have to feel alone and you don’t have to dig yourself a hole that you can’t crawl out of. The cathartic conversation that followed as these entrepreneurs shared was filled with great ideas for avoiding those feelings as a business owner or pulling yourself out if you’re already in one of those places. I’ll share them below:
- Share with your spouse or significant other – even if he/she doesn’t do what you do, it’s good to talk to someone and you may gain a unique perspective that helps you figure things out
- Be honest with your family and the important people in your life – there’s a lot of pressure in our culture to seem like you have it all together but no one has it all together, be truthful and you may end up getting some form of help where you least expected it
- Get out and meet people who do what you do – they’ll keep you sane and they’re great resources when you hit a wall and can’t find the answer you’re looking for
- Do something you love – whether it’s playing a sport, reading or going to church, do something that makes your brain happy to get that pick-me-up that you need to get through the hard times
- Know who you can turn to – reach out and get help if you need it, there’s no shame in using professionals that are trained to help get you through life’s hard times
- Disconnect sometimes – when it’s your business it’s easy to feel like you can’t take a break but disconnecting from work in the evenings and on the weekends to spend time with your family is a necessity
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!