As any entrepreneur who has started a business would know, the fledgling months and first years are some of the most exciting but, also the most demanding. The entrepreneurial journey brings a rollercoaster of emotion and growth and is inherently stressful, especially when you’re doing it on your own.
The growth in the number of female entrepreneurs over the last 10 years has been exponential, with statistics suggesting women equated to 34% of all Australian business operators in 2016. Female solopreneurs often juggle all stages of their business lifecycle with their family and other household responsibilities. This is a challenge not always faced by their male counterparts.
Women can also often lack self-assurance as they navigate the unchartered waters of bringing their business concept to life. This lack of confidence is then compounded by the common absence of a support network of people who have ‘been there, done that’ and are familiar with the intricacies of business management.
The importance of taking care of your mental health and staying mentally well in the workplace has been the subject of much discussion, but what is less spoken about is staying mentally well when you are self-employed. Without colleagues to discuss issues with or people in your life who have experienced business ownership themselves, managing entrepreneurial stresses is a challenge.
If you are a solopreneur, these are a few simple things that you can do to keep both your mind and your business on track:
1. Be realistic
Yes, I understand as an entrepreneur it’s characteristic that you dream big and set even bigger goals. If this wasn’t the case, you would never have made the decision to start a business in the first place. However, it is still important that you set yourself realistic timeframes.
2. Don’t forget your ‘me’ time
When starting a new business, it can be tempting to devote every spare moment of your time to it and ‘me’ time is often the first thing to go out the window. Make sure you are taking the time to switch off and be present with your loved ones, while also remembering to relax, unwind and do things you enjoy.
3. Celebrate your achievements
Be sure to acknowledge each of your ‘wins’ along the way, no matter how small you think they may be. It’s also important to stop at different stages along your journey, whether it be three months, six months or a year down the track, and acknowledge what you have accomplished and how far you have come.
I interact with female business owners and startup founders daily through She Will Shine, and something that is often discussed is a feeling of loneliness. Without colleagues, or a workplace outside of home, feeling lonely is a common struggle. We seeks to overcome this by establishing a sense of community for solopreneurs through a supportive and collaborative network of female business founders.
It is underestimated how important it is for your mental health to have another person to turn to who understands what you are going through, can contribute ideas, and work through issues or even just offer simple support such as saying ‘well done’.