In honor of National Entrepreneur Day, I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned as a business owner.
Lesson 1: Being an Entrepreneur is More Emotional Than You Think
Often, when people talk about starting their own business and becoming their own boss, the excitement of creating your own thing is so overwhelmingly positive. But one thing no one prepares you for is the psychological and emotional dynamics of business ownership.
It’s great to be able to work for yourself (and/or work with a partner) but it can also be taxing being a key decision maker. There are ALWAYS decisions to make, calls to be had and relationships to maintain in business. The great thing is that you have more influence and control, yet you never get to opt out of these moments.
Business ownership is hard work and not just because the tasks themselves are hard. Most often, it’s the tedious nature of some tasks and the moments when you have to sacrifice in order to make the right choice for your business. That can leave you feeling frustrated, burnt out or even overwhelmed at times. This makes self-care that much more important.
Additionally, our personal psychologies also come into play with all these choices and relationships. Perspectives and paradigms you have in other areas of your life are also likely to show up in business. For example, if you don’t feel appreciated in other areas of life (like a romantic relationship) that may also show up as you encounter run of the mill problems with business collaborators as well. Without careful monitoring, these personal “stories” can also disrupt business.
Lesson 2: Entrepreneur Time is Much More Flexible
What many people don’t realize about entrepreneurship is that it completely changes your concept of time and time management. When you don’t have the structure of a regular 9-5 job it’s very easy to slip in the danger zone of working absolutely every minute that you can. This is both a gift…and a curse.
This “always on” mentality is taxing to your mental health, but the flexibility of entrepreneurship also enables me to get small tasks done on the fly. If I have five minutes between meetings or something else, I can crank out some small task on my to-do list (business or otherwise). When I’m watching the Yankees play on the TV I can edit my latest blog post during the 7th inning stretch.
The down side is that it often feels like all my time could be business time. It takes even more emotional energy to be intentional in creating “off hours” in which I do nothing related to work. Even in those moments I find myself inspired and making notes for new new ideas for projects or partnerships.
Lesson 3: Being a Business Owner Can Also Be Isolating
Along with those long, weird hours it becomes a lot more difficult to make time for socialization. I thought that I had good time management skills before, but this is different.
Carving out time to spend time with friends and loved ones, both near and far, becomes increasingly difficult. For your mental health and the benefit of your relationships it’s important to be intentional about social time with people you care about.
What Entrepreneurship Means to Me
Being a business owner isn’t stress-free, but to me it first and foremost means freedom. Owning a business means more (long term) financial freedom but also far more creative control and flexibility. Being able to create projects that serve our purpose allows me to work in ways that I often felt held back in when working for someone else.
It also means being able to work with a hard-working and talented business partner and cultivate relationships with people, businesses and organizations who I respect and admire. And that absolutely means the world to me.
Entrepreneur life isn’t for everyone – and that’s not because it requires a certain level of expertise or education but more so because it requires sacrifice, incredible vulnerability and risk-taking.
The trip into business ownership shouldn’t be taken lightly, but as I’ve been on the precipice of big creative decisions in my life I was always encouraged to follow my intuition. If you’re on the fence about starting your own business, take this post and your gut into consideration and see where your journey takes you next.
Are you an entrepreneur who wants support for your mental health? Please submit an inquiry on our new client page to find the right therapist for you. We’re here to help!