There have been a few challenges and concerns of my own as I ventured into being an entrepreneur. One of my main issues of course was finances and being stable enough to take this huge step. My mind never assessed or processed my ability to handle the balance (we’ll discuss further in the text) in which successful entrepreneurs possess. As like many of you; I only thought of my services/product, time, control, and supposed freedom I would have. Upon research for this post I came to realize the unfortunate connection between entrepreneurship and mental health challenges.
The very same skills, talents, and ambitions I had for being in small business were also the same characteristics that would cause me psychological pause. In the mental health industry we are usually blessed with an empathic spirit but it is also driven into our core to be so at all costs. We are modeled to by other successful therapists to being available and useful at all times. Well, as a seasoned therapist this has become part of my services but no one taught me how to turn it off or when and how to effectively disperse it. Whether you’re a therapist, graphic designer, cosmetologist, or daycare owner, the stress and complications of meeting your client’s needs can become exhilarating or exhausting. These daily demands to please and offer services to your clients, can cause anxiety or even worse panic attacks.
Finding the courage to start your own business usually means having a dream or a particular vision. However, there are many pitfalls to beginning a business, which usually goes unseen. When seeking additional finances… (ie bank/personal loans) or having to seek assistance from friends or family other psychological concerns may arise. Our self esteem and ego have a lot at stake when discovering how this dream or vision will play out. The need to feel “pulled together” or our fears of failure can cause one to have identity issues, depression, and or social anxiety. The need to appear in control and successful during troubling times has been labeled by social psychiatrists as impression management, fondly known as “fake til you make it”. Most small business owners can relate, I’m sure!
Many entrepreneurs suffer with isolation and social anxiety due to the amount of time and focus they spend on their business. The “never not working” mentality can cause great harm in intimate relationships and overall family cohesion. As I earlier stated, I too struggled greatly with being available to my clients as well as to my husband and children. My work/life balance has been a struggle and consistent priority I juggle with since becoming self employed. I’ve also assisted small business owners with finding their true identity once “they have arrived”, but realize there is no balance in their lives and have lost connection with their personal lives and loved ones.
Another stressful and typical experience for entrepreneurs are resource barriers. Small businesses suffer in finding efficient financial planning, investing, or savings programs/incentives like corporations. Health insurance policies rarely offer sufficient medical coverage and mental health resources. Self employed single parents have difficulty in affording average coverage for themselves as well as their families. The stress from these limitations also causes greater concerns for the continuation and or success/growth of the business. What are the chances of success /growth for a small business owner if he/she becomes ill or worse, chronically ill? These concerns can potentially destroy a blooming business and negatively impact one’s mental health.
Entrepreneurs contribute immensely to the fabric of our communities and country. Like other industries there are pros and cons to being involved. Our mental health is another component worth investigating to allow us to offer the optimal products and services to our clients. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or self esteem issues regarding your business, please seek professional assistance and be assured you are not alone. Successful business requires effective physical/mental health practices.
Most of our daily routines, entertainment, travel, health needs, and household necessities involves some service or product from an entrepreneur. The mindset and personality of entrepreneurs enables us to have all of these wonderful products and services. However, before I advise or encourage anyone to venture into this experience, I’d first urge the individual to look past their passions and research the array of possibilities, sacrifices, lifestyle changes, and resources they have, to ensure this is a winning plan for them. Until next time, be informed, be blessed, and be brilliantly you!!!!
Peace and Love, Dr. Torre