What is the main reason why entrepreneurs experience daily stress?

Most entrepreneurs will undergo periods of real stress. Starting a business is full of challenges and risks. But why do so many business owners continue to feel “maxed out” months and years after they’ve got their business up and running?

What is it about the day-to-day experience of running a business that actually keeps a person in a state of overwhelm?

Too many irons in the fire.

An entrepreneur is the sort of person who sees a thing that could be done or done better and says to themself, “I bet I could do that.” That’s how they end up running a business in the first place! But the kind of person who doesn’t shy away from challenges is more likely than other folks to bite off more than they can chew. When you are confident that you can do something and you also think that the something needs doing, it can be a really hard opportunity to pass up! But if your can-do attitude isn’t paired with effective delegation and time management strategies, then pretty soon you can get swamped with too many to-do’s in the context of your business. Feeling like you’ll never get to the end of your to-do list is overwhelming, and that experience is all too common for entrepreneurs. As best you can, think long and hard before adding items to your list, and delegate tasks whenever possible so you are freed up to do the things that only you can do.

Being the “go-to” person for everything.

When you’re the only person who knows how to do something or where to find something, you’ll spend a lot of time telling everyone else where and how. Entrepreneurs can sometimes get stuck in that role. Because they started the enterprise, people identify them as having all the answers, and the fastest way to find something out is, naturally, to ask the one who knows. When you’re busy, it can be tempting to just answer the question each time it comes your way, allowing that 30 second distraction to occur repeatedly day in and day out, delaying a more permanent solution that would take more time up front (like creating a new system that eliminates the need for the question all together). But short-cutting will come back to bite you. As the business grows and there is more to focus on, it is important that the owner not be trapped beneath minutia. When people come tracking you down, take the time right then to minimize the likelihood that someone else will need to track you down for the same thing in the future. 

Getting stuck in the mis-communication swamp.

Business owners have to do a lot of communicating in order to keep things on track. Now that text, email, and other forms of written communication are mainstays for workplace conversation, it can seem like a waste of time to go track someone down in person or call them up on the phone to discuss something. However, research shows that conversations that allow us to hear the intonations of a person’s voice or, better yet, see their facial expressions and body language result in fewer miscommunications and end up being more efficient in the long run. We also feel more connected and cared for when we see one another’s faces. It’s hard to get the warm fuzzies from an email, but smiling at another person and seeing them smile back at the end of a conversation triggers our brain to release stress-reducing chemicals. 

More $$$, more problems

Being responsible financially for a business can be a stressor at any stage of the business’ lifespan. As a business grows and revenue increases, it seems logical that so would the profit, right? Wrong. All too often, a business’ expenses out-pace the growth of the company’s income, leaving business owners frequently frantic about where they’ll find the money to pay for the things they need to keep the business running. The bigger the business, the more money is on the line. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Learn about healthy business growth and prioritizing the profitability of your business in the post about profit first.

Forgetting to pencil YOU into your calendar.

When you have a lot on your plate, it might feel like the only solution is to work more, work harder, pull more hours… but, driving yourself to mental and physical exhaustion is not sustainable. Your business can’t run without you, and if you’re not yourself, then no matter how many hours you spend working, the results you want won’t materialize. It may seem counterintuitive, but being greedier with your time can actually pay dividends. Figure out what you need to feel like yourself. Make sure you are taking the time to stay healthy and rested. Designate a consistent bedtime, and set your devices so that you know when you’ve reached the limit. Block out the time it takes to care for yourself in your calendar just as you would a meeting so that when you show up to work, you bring your whole self. You deserve it, and so does your business.

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