There are many great things about running your own business. In theory, you get up when you choose, work when you like and do things your way without anyone telling you to get back to your desk. Add in the probability that you’re doing something that you’re passionate about and it’s easy to see why the self-employed life is so alluring.
However, there is a downside to going it alone – it can be pretty stressful sometimes. In fact, the stress and anxiety are often caused by the very things that make the life so appealing. A certain amount of stress running your own business is inevitable but there are steps you can take to keep it from becoming overwhelming.
1) What’s the worst that could happen?
Accept that bad times are going to come – if you travel this path, you not only gain a whole load of freedoms but also a set of new responsibilities and it can be scary. Many people find that one useful technique is to imagine the worst that could possibly happen and think about what you would do. If you got no work, you’d perhaps look for a pub job in the evenings or some stop-gap temp work. Someone might not pay you so you know you need to build an emergency fund up.
It’s not about being negative and in most cases, the worst won’t happen but you’ll have a mental back-up plan and a better sense of perspective just in case.
2) Don’t panic
There’ll be times when you’re finding work hard to come by or you’re chasing payments and your anxiety levels will rise. You may feel yourself going into panic mode. Ignore the temptation to carry on and instead make yourself do something completely unrelated until you’ve calmed down.
This is especially true late at night when problems can get amplified in your mind. Remember, there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to provide a fresh take on a situation. Tackle the problem when you’re in a better frame of mind; don’t ignore it altogether.
3) Tackle each cause of your anxiety separately
When things aren’t going well, it’s very easy to group all your problems together. This never leads to anywhere positive. One way to put things into perspective is to make a manageable list of all the things that are making you feel anxious. Once they’re on paper, you can look at them in detail and tackle them accordingly. Splitting your sources of anxiety takes away their collective enormity and will allow you to see what the real issues are.
4) Find a way to de-stress
Find ways to relax and unwind away from work – for some people it’s exercise, for others it’s painting or watching a DVD box set. Find what works for you to make sure you’re switching off from work regularly.
Some people also find specific relaxation techniques work too, such as meditation and mindfulness. It’s not “just for hippies”; mindfulness urges the individual to accept things as they are, not how they want them to be, which in turn helps them face their challenges with a sense of rationality, so it could be worth a go.
5) Never underestimate the power of a good chat
If you’re working from home on your own, you often lose out on the social side of regular work. And when alone, negative thoughts can take on heightened importance because you have no one there to take you out of that circle of anxiety. That’s why it’s important to make time to meet friends and ex-workmates for lunch, coffee or a drink – there’s nothing like a natter to help you forget your woes.
How do you manage the stress and anxiety that comes along with striking out on your own in business?