Turn your mindset (good or bad) into business success

Turn your mindset (good or bad) into business success

Last year, around this time, I faced one of the most challenging decisions of my professional life—I decided to close my business before it even opened. I was grappling with self-doubt, struggling with mental difficulties, and feeling overwhelmed by what seemed like inevitable failure. I had successfully launched three businesses in the past, but now I found myself thinking, Is this the end of my entrepreneurial journey?

Fast-forward to today: My newest small business is not only operational but also on the cusp of profitability. In fact, I’m right on track to hit this significant, long-awaited milestone in just six months. 

You might think that failure is a reason to stop trying, but the truth is quite the opposite. According to Business Impacts on Mental Health, a study recently completed by QuickBooks, a significant 84% of small business owners who have previously owned a business that closed say that “failure” was the motivation to try again.

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84% of small business owners who have previously owned a business that closed say that “failure” was the motivation to try again.

I'm Dr. Courtney, a licensed therapist and founder of four (yes, four) mental health–related small businesses. As both a mental health expert and experienced small business owner, I relate strongly to this statistic. It teaches an important lesson: adopting the right mindset is crucial to business success. My experience has equipped me with insights that can help any entrepreneur adjust their mindset and leverage their mental state to achieve their business goals.

So, how do you turn your mindset (good or bad) into business success? Here are four strategies to help you keep pushing forward.

1. Speak your truth (with a twist)

Staying up at night worrying about one’s business is a common problem for entrepreneurs. In fact, according to QuickBooks’s study, nearly half (48%) of business owners say they suffer from this problem. That really highlights how tough running a business can be. But there’s a silver lining here: Those sleepless nights? They can actually help you get closer to your customers.

By understanding your own anxiety, you can better understand what your customers are going through. After all, they’re buying from you to solve a problem they have. Turning your personal stress into a tool can lighten your mental load. Instead of just worrying, use that energy to solve problems; say, “I am worried, and I’m going to continue helping my customers.”

For instance, if you’re stressed about not making enough sales, dive into your customer feedback. See what’s working and what isn’t. Maybe you’ll find that tweaking your marketing approach or adjusting your product line could make a big difference. This method does more than just help you cope; it builds trust with your customers, because it will show them that you’re addressing their concerns proactively. This will make them feel more connected to your business—and that’s good for everyone.

The next time you find yourself awake at 3:00 a.m., worrying about work, try to see it as an opportunity. Get out a pen and paper and problem solve. Use those worries to drive changes that benefit both you and your customers, turning a tough situation into a win-win.

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By understanding your own anxiety, you can better understand what your customers are going through.

2. Let your brain work for you

Self-care isn’t just a buzzword—it’s essential for business owners. Did you know that QuickBooks found that the average entrepreneur gets only about 7 hours of sleep a night. That might sound decent (and may be more than you’re currently getting,) but for most people, it's not enough. 

Sleep is when your brain gets to work behind the scenes—sorting ideas, solving problems, and connecting dots differently. Sometimes those game-changing eureka moments happen only after you've switched off for the night. Your brain is your most valuable business asset; taking care of it protects your business’s future.

It’s not just about more sleep, though. Integrating mindfulness and wellness into your daily life can boost your mental sharpness and efficiency. Practices like meditation, regular physical exercise, and scheduled downtime aren’t just good for you—they’re good for your business too. Maintaining a healthy routine is a great way to ensure that both you and your business will thrive. 

So, if you’re cutting short on sleep to squeeze in more work (like I was not so long ago), remember that letting your brain rest is not lost time. It’s an investment in coming back stronger and more prepared to tackle challenges.

3. Review your internal business plans

I’d bet that when you first read that headline, you pictured your spreadsheets or the documents you wrote up about how you were going to run your business. Here’s the thing: understanding what’s going on inside you (mentally and psychologically) is just as crucial as managing your business’s internal operations. 

If you’re dealing with mental health challenges, knowing your personal work style and limits becomes even more critical. Introspection and self-awareness are key to effective business management, especially when it involves deciding when to delegate tasks. 

Luckily, per QuickBooks’s study, 74% of business owners have at least one trusted team member who can take over in their absence. If that’s the case for you—use them! You are allowed to have help, to have a support system that allows you to take breaks and avoid burnout without hurting your business’s productivity. From personal experience, I can say that being aware of which tasks trigger your stress and taking steps to delegate them can be a game-changer. It allows you to focus more on what you do best, making you more effective in your role. 

You don’t have to manage every detail yourself to see your business succeed; effective delegation actually leads to better personal well-being and business outcomes.. Accepting this truth can free you from unnecessary stress and contribute significantly to your business’s growth.

4. Be your own best boss

Imagine the qualities of an ideal boss—supportive, understanding, flexible, proactive about addressing both your and the business’s needs. When managing your own small business, apply these principles to yourself. Ask yourself: If you were working for someone else, what kind of support and adjustments would you expect for your mental health and well-being? Make accommodations for yourself—it’s non-negotiable.

The top driver of satisfaction for many business owners is the ability to be their own boss. What many of us forget is that this autonomy gives us the chance to tailor our businesses to our particular mental health needs. In my case, embracing this fact was crucial. Implementing strategies like setting realistic goals, recognizing achievements, and allowing flexibility in work processes not only improved my well-being but also set a standard of care within my business, promoting a healthy work culture that values mental health. 

Why take control of how you’re being treated if you aren’t going to treat yourself well?

For those seeking to streamline their business operations to better focus on growth and personal well-being, QuickBooks offers robust tools for managing finances efficiently. Utilizing such resources can free up your time and mental energy to focus on what really matters: nurturing your business and yourself.

If this inspired you to run your business a bit differently or even start your own business, consider looking at QuickBooks’s Business Impacts on Mental Health study to learn more about what your future could look like. 

Take action today. Let’s move forward, together.

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