The seven things keeping entrepreneurs from a good night’s sleep

The recent Smart50 awards proved growing a business is no easy feat, with 70% of the 2014 finalists saying they put in more than 50 hours a week of their own time into their business.


So after a long day, can entrepreneurs switch off and get some much-needed rest? Or are they awake until all hours, tossing and turning over the future of their company?


Media entrepreneur Arianna Huffington recently admitted it took her collapsing to force her to prioritise sleep, and it’s a similar story with our moguls-in-the-making.


Nearly all of the Smart50 admitted they have trouble falling asleep without worrying about certain aspects of their business.


SmartCompany takes a look at the top issues standing between entrepreneurs and a peaceful night’s sleep:


1. The next big step


Many of our Smart50 said thinking about their “next big step” kept them tossing and turning.


Mike Frizell, founder of online pet food retailer Pet Circle, says the issues that have kept him up at night have changed with the evolution of the business.


While Frizell says cash flow kept him awake in the early stages of the business, he believes the company is now at a sustainable stage where the most pressing issue is working out how to make the leap from a small, private company to the market leader.


“How will you fund the company, attract staff, how will you differentiate from the competition. In our current position, we have a great team, are the market leader and are well capitalised. What keeps me up at night now is how I will adapt to a new role with a new team to guide the company to the next phase,” says Frizell.


Michael Hill, founder of digital agency NOW Digital, agrees both his fears and the ease at which he nods off at night have changed as his business has evolved.


“Several years ago it was 3.14am, ‘I hope our clients actually pay us’. Now it is 1:30am, ‘How do we evolve, what is the next big thing, should I already know what it is?’ I then grab the iPad and try not to wake my wife.”


Erica Stewart, founder of online gift website Hard To Find, says thinking about the company’s next project is bound to keep her up all night.


“We’ve got so many exciting ideas but only so many hours in the day and so many resources, so prioritising is probably the hardest discipline – it’s very easy to get side-tracked,” says Stewart.


“I’ve also discovered that I’m really good at analysis and forecasting, so often I lie awake thinking about how we could come at something from a different angle in order to achieve a better result. I’ve been known to get up in the middle of the night to plug my thinking into a spreadsheet!”


2. Innovation


The fear of staying ahead of innovation is shared by many of the Smart50.


For Broadband Solutions founder Sam Bashiry, focusing on keeping his internet business ahead of new technology leaves him unable to switch off.


“We need to be constantly innovative and know what the next big thing will be,” says Bashiry.


“Technology is always changing and we want to be a leader.” founder Luc Pettett said thinking of ways to change the market keeps him awake.


“We want to change the way people access racing and sport information, we want people to change the way they bet. The nights are long but worth it!”


3. Opportunity


Taking advantage of opportunity was another bugbear for our Smart50.


Justin Hagen, founder of Calibre Real Estate, says the thing that keeps him up every night is wondering if he is focusing energy in the right places.


“There are so many business opportunities and ideas, but which ones are going to give you a return on time and investment are the key things,” says Hagen.


David Fastuca, founder of travel management company Locomote, agrees the “burden of opportunity” keeps him from a good night’s rest.


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