Starting a business can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be stressful and challenging. Entrepreneurs often face significant pressure to succeed, and this can take a toll on their mental health.
Research by NHS England has shown that entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to report having mental health problems such as anxiety and depression compared to the general population.
Needless to say, mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being, and it’s important for entrepreneurs to prioritize their mental health in order to be successful. Poor mental health can lead to a range of negative outcomes, including decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and impaired decision-making. These issues can all have a negative impact on the success of a startup.
1. Don’t Invest More Time Or Resources Into Your Project Than You Can Afford To
One of the main reasons entrepreneurship leads to bad mental health is that new businesses are extremely demanding in terms of time and resources.
Unsurprisingly, the more you can invest in a startup project, the more likely it is to succeed. There is a strong correlation between the hours worked by a founder and the revenue growth of а startup project
Of course, not all people can afford to invest the same amount of time or money in a new startup project. For example, it’s common advice not to embark on new startup projects when you are a parent of small children. The reason is simple – both things are very demanding. Doing both successfully is not impossible, but finding the right balance of time, and investment between the two is difficult. In this situation not finding the balance can be ruinous for your project or worse – for your personal life.
In the context of your general well-being, investing as much as possible if you can’t afford to is the wrong thing to do. If you don’t have enough time or money, you can find ways to work around these problems.
Working long hours is only one of many factors that can make you a successful startup founder. If you don’t have this opportunity, maybe you can try to leverage the other factors you bring to the table – domain knowledge, network, professional skills, etc.
2. Don’t Let Your Project Fully Absorb Your Identity
Another common mistake, especially for young founders, is to link their identity too close to their current project.
If the first (and possibly only) way you think of yourself is as “the founder of X”, then your feeling of self-worth would be entirely connected to the outcome of your project.
This is a terrible idea because there are two possible outcomes from this situation – either you would become a successful startup founder, or you would become a failed startup founder. Needless to say, when it comes to risky early-stage startup projects, the second outcome is far more likely.
This is not necessary.
If you think of yourself as “an entrepreneur currently working on project X”, then the outcome of the project in question wouldn’t be as closely linked to your mental well-being. The richer your sense of identity, the easier it would be if a specific thing in your life doesn’t turn out as you’d like it to.
3. Do The Things You Know You Should
In the 21st century, we know beyond a reasonable doubt that food, exercise, and sleep are extremely closely linked to mental health.
If frequent exercise and getting enough sleep is a higher priority than the current thing that demands your attention in your project, you’ll get further ahead in the long run without getting burned out.
In summary, mental health is an essential component of startup success, but more importantly – of your well-being as a whole. It’s important for founders to prioritize their own mental health and create a supportive culture within their startup.