First, let me preface by saying that I do not have all the answers. Being a small business owner is already challenging, and the situation in Haiti hasn't made it easy for me, as well as other Haitian business owners.
Whether it's due to political/economical instability or whether it simply comes with the territory, here are 8 things you can do to prioritize your mental health while building your business.
Depression and Mental Health
But first, let's talk about Depression and Mental Health. Did you know that a study in the UK found that, “in 2020/21, stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health cases” (1)? This means that mental health is not something to simply ignore, power through or face alone. And this is especially true for freelancers and business owners.
“When business owners get depressed, there is more risk for the company to run into financial problems” (2).
With this in mind, what can you and I do? How do we prioritize and take good care of our mental health, while building the business we’ve already poured time, love and energy into?
What You Can Do
Physical Health Any health professional will tell you that physical health plays a big part in your mental health. Stay active. Exercise regularly. Eat well. Sleep well as well.
Time Out It's tempting to work constantly towards your goals. But, don't neglect vacation time. Listen to your body, something we too often don't do.
Anticipate and Prepare When you’re starting out, building something new, it's easy to only see what's in front of you, emails to respond to, content to post, orders to fulfill. Learn to look further ahead, stay informed, anticipate problems that might arise and draft plan A and B and even C.
Support System You cannot do this alone. So, don't. Find your tribe, one or two trusted friends and peers you can confide in, vent to, receive wisdom, prayer and encouragement from.
Communicate with Clients Sharing updates with clients and customers regarding where you're at can be a great way to establish and nurture trust. This is something we’ve decided to be more intentional about. This is why we’re particularly excited to have our very own Customer Success Officer as part of our team.
Hire Before You’re Ready Hiring can be scary, especially if you’re going from being a one-person show to building a team. But, there are multiple benefits in getting help. And this might be what you need to keep things stable, even if you go through a season where you’re mentally at a low.
Identify Things that Help If something helps, keep at it. If you have a specific process that gets you great results, stick to it. Whether it's identifying the hours in the day when you are most productive, or the tasks you absolutely enjoy doing, pinpointing what works and holding on to those things is a great way to help you face the challenges of building your business.
Professional Help This may seem obvious, but not adding stress to what is an already stressful endeavor is a great way to care for your mental health. I still have vivid memories of how anxious I was before I decided to handover certain key tasks to professionals. The literal “ouf” is often worth the investment. And, that's exactly why we’re here, to help those of you who need that “ouf” when it comes to finally getting your logo and branding kit, or building that website you’ve been procrastinating on, or creating graphics, photo and video content so you can finally post on social. We’re ready to help, if you’re ready to get help…
References and Extra Reading:
(1) HSE Study
(2) Company Rescue