I’ve never met someone who didn’t have some type of stress in their personal life. People I know have shared that they felt stressed about their relationships, their kids, losing a loved one, facing divorce, and so much more. While none of these feel good, a solopreneur faces an additional stressor: running a successful one-person business.
Working to build and operate a successful business as a solopreneur can actually expose you to a multitude of stressors. You might stress about how to market your business effectively, whether you’re paying enough in quarterly taxes, if your rates are too high or too low, or how to provide your services and take care of your business responsibilities at the same time.
If you don’t find a way to reduce and relieve your stress as a solopreneur, it can hurt you mentally by increasing your risk of depression and anxiety. Physically, stress can show up in the form of chest pain, headaches, and high blood pressure. Here are some ways to relieve your stress, hopefully avoiding all these negative consequences.
Create a Plan
Sometimes stress comes from not knowing what to do next. If you’re stressed about not having enough clients or customers, for example, not having any idea as to how you’ll get more can make your anxiety and tension worse.
Creating a plan to address the areas of your business that you are stressed about can help you feel better because you know that you’re actively working to resolve that issue. It’s also a way to take your power back so you feel more in control of your future as a solopreneur.
When you notice that you’re stressing about a certain area of your business, take a few minutes and write out a plan to resolve that stress. In the example of stressing about not having enough clients or customers, develop a plan to get more. This might involve reaching out to a certain number of potential clients per week or taking a course to learn the most effective marketing methods.
Talk to Other Solopreneurs
While every solopreneur’s journey is different, we often face many of the same challenges along the way. Talking about these challenges with “someone who knows” can provide great comfort. It helps you release your stress into the world, sharing it with someone who has likely experienced similar stressors in their own career.
Another benefit of talking with other solopreneurs is that you can learn their tips and tricks. They may have found an effective way to deal with the problem that you face. By listening to their experiences and what they did that did or did not work, you can apply their lessons in your own life.
One way to meet other solopreneurs is through Meetup groups or online forums. Joining a mastermind group for solopreneurs is another option. All of these can help connect you with others with whom you can share the challenges (and successes) that come with being a one-person business.
Look After Your Health
During my first few years in business, I focused on my freelance writing and not much else. Before I knew it, I was plagued with headaches and body aches. The more intent I became on building a name for myself, the more my stress grew and the worse my health became.
The problem with not looking after your health is that once it’s gone, you can’t always get it back. Research has also connected improved health in the workplace with greater business success. A third benefit is that when you’re healthy, your body has an easier time dealing with stress.
If you don’t currently follow a diet or exercise plan, here are some ways to ease into them (these are based on what I’ve learned while earning my certification in nutrition and personal training):
- Take it one serving at a time. If your current diet could use a bit of work, it can feel overwhelming to think about a complete overhaul. But you don’t have to change everything at once. Instead, focus on making small improvements one serving at a time. If you don’t typically eat a lot of vegetables, for instance, aim to eat one serving (1/2 cup) per day. Once you do this consistently for a couple of weeks, go for two servings a day. Continue this process until you’re getting 2-4 cups of veggies per day, which is the amount recommended in the 2020 – 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Keep a bottle or glass of water by your side. Thirst and hunger cues can feel similar. So, if you’re thirsty, you might reach for food when what your body really wants is something to drink. Always having water right next to you enables you to give your body the fluids it needs to function effectively. Plus, studies have connected being dehydrated with poorer cognitive function. So, drinking more water can help provide a sharper mind for handling your business duties.
- Exercise first thing in the morning. If you don’t like exercise, doing it first thing in the morning gets it out of your way so you can move on to other things. Exercising early in the day also reduces the likelihood that something will pop up in your schedule, leaving you with limited time (and energy) to get your workout in.
- Listen to music or podcasts when working out. Both of these can help pass the time when exercising, but they serve other purposes as well. Research has found that when you listen to music during exercise, you perform better while feeling as if you’ve exerted less effort. And if you listen to podcasts while you exercise, you can work on your personal or professional growth while looking after your health. Listen to podcasts for solopreneurs, for instance. Or simply find a non-work podcast that you’re interested in and listen to that.
Keep Your Perspective
We can always find something to stress about as a solopreneur. There will always be a challenge to face or a problem to solve. Keeping these things in perspective can help reduce our stress levels.
Yes, you want your one-person business to be a success. But you don’t want to place so much focus on this area of your life that you lose sight of all the other areas that contribute to your health and happiness, including your relationships with family and friends, along with your health. So, while it’s important to put the time you need into your business, remember that if you let too much stress build up in your work life, other areas of your life will suffer as well.
That’s not why we become solopreneurs. We don’t work hard to build and grow our businesses in the hopes that they overshadow everything else that is important to us. We become solopreneurs because we have a burning desire to meet a need or serve a purpose. Keeping our perspective helps us reach our business goals without sacrificing everything else.
How do you keep your perspective, thereby reducing your stress? I find that it helps to take a few minutes each morning and recognize all of the ways that I am blessed. I also remind myself that, although my business is important to me, so are my relationships and health. This helps me make decisions throughout the day to improve my life in all areas, providing me with greater health and happiness overall. I hope it does the same for you.short url: