Insider Advice: Emotionally Dealing with Being a Small Business Owner

A small business owner is serving coffee to a customer in a café

Feeling the emotional toll of starting up your own small business?

The entrepreneurial life isn’t for the faint of heart — so if you’re doing it, give yourself a lot of credit. We’ve looked for advice from small business owners like you so you can alleviate the stress and burnout that can come with running a small business.

7 Tips for Dealing with Small Business Stress & Burnout:

  1. Know your boundaries.

    Facebook comment screenshot 1 Source: Kimberly Lauren, Owner and Creative Director at Denis Flowers & Gifts

    When you’re new to the entrepreneurial life, it can be difficult to not take things personally when you get snide comments or criticism from strangers or those close to you about how you’re running your business. Not all feedback is good feedback, and it’s important to remember that the reason you started this business was for you — whether it’s your passion, finances, or another personal reason, this business is up and running for you (and maybe your immediate family).

    Creating healthy boundaries is a first step in managing the overwhelming emotions that can come with being a small business owner.

  2. Networking offers more than connections.

    Facebook comment screenshot 2 Source: Terri Cooper Horne, Owner of Callie and Company Entertainment

    When you can relate to people, it makes you feel better and less alone. The same thing applies to being a business owner, so seeking out other people in similar shoes as you can provide emotional support as you deal with the trials and errors of starting and running your own small business.

    Plus, as Terri points out (above), it can be a positive and empowering experience to have a group of supporters and people cheering you on. Feeling part of a community can boost your mental and emotional well-being, and you also may make new friends in the process of networking with fellow small business owners in your area (or in the same trade as you).

  3. Wake Up Early and Break Early

    Facebook comment screenshot 3 Source: Brian Bartels, Owner of Bartels Photography and Design

    Experiment with the time you make for work in your schedule, if applicable. As Brian mentions, you can try starting work earlier and allowing yourself an earlier break in the day. Pay attention to the hours of the day when you feel most productive, aside from your service hours, and use that as the time you get your administrative work done.

  4. Schedule Your Favorite, Simple Things

    Facebook comment screenshot 4 Source: Stephanie Wagner, Owner of Hard Exercise Works

    It’s easy to put your full focus and time spent on your small business. However, if you don’t balance it with some other activities, you’ll get burned out, and the quality of your business won’t be its best if your mental state isn’t balanced. Though you may not be able to afford a vacation or short getaway, think about simple things that help you take your mind off work and be more focused on your other passions, whether they are focused on unwinding or being playful. Whether it’s an episode of your favorite TV show, hanging out with your family, or indulging in a self-care routine, it’s important to set aside time away from your work duties.

    Stephanie also mentions exercising a lot, which can also be good, as exercise not only alleviates stress and gets your brain to release endorphins, it also can energize you.

  5. Remember to Rest

    Facebook comment screenshot 5 Source: Jenn Campo, Owner and Professional Organizer - The Simple Sort: A Home Organizing Company

    Most often, when we feel like we want to quit, it’s a sign that we’re fatigued. Being a small business owner is an impressive feat that requires a lot of mental stamina, and to sustain that, you need to allow yourself breaks and rest.

    As Jenn points out, when you’re tired of the obstacles and don’t see the progress you’ve been working so hard to achieve, take a break instead of quitting. Reflect on why you started your business. Remember the passion and other driving forces behind your motivation to be a small business owner.

  6. Avoid Making Decisions When You’re Tired

    Facebook comment screenshot 6 Source: Nicole Gross, Owner of Jada Belle Boutique

    We’ve all been there — overworked, extremely tired, and feeling the deadline of decision-making. However, if you want to make the best choices for your business, think about them when you’re fully energized. You’re less likely to make good choices — your brain doesn’t function as well when you’re tired.

    Plus, when your body is tired, it deserves to rest and not be “on” by thinking about business decisions or anything else related to your work that may cause additional stress and mental exhaustion. This is also another way to create boundaries between yourself and your business, which is important for maintaining well-being.

  7. If All Else Fails, Go for the Wine

    Facebook comment screenshot 7 Source: Kimberly Lauren & Stephanie Wagner via Facebook

    It’s Happy Hour somewhere, right? Sometimes life is tough and the best thing you can do is relax with a good cocktail, mocktail, or your favorite hot drink. Plus, food and drinks are a relatively simple indulgence that can bring some mental relief and joy back into your busy work schedule. In addition to the great advice from small business owners like you, here are a few extra tips to cope with the emotional roller coaster that comes with being a small business owner:

    • Ask your friends for a night out or some other event to distract yourself from all of your hard work.
    • Accept that failure and frustration come with success.
    • Remember that you aren’t alone in this and so many other small business owners are going through the same obstacles as you.
    • Work with a life coach or business mentor and reach out for emotional support when you need it
    • Reflect on what you’ve already achieved with your business thus far, including the small things.

Lindsay Connors, owner and photographer of Lindsay Connors Photography stresses the importance of setting boundaries with clients.

Pauline Germanos

Written By

Pauline Germanos
When she’s not writing for SB, Pauline runs an intuitive healing business... and is still writing as she types up psychic readings! As she was raised by entrepreneurs, she knows what it takes to be a small business owner.

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