Balancing mental health and business management
Being a small business owner can be rewarding and exhilarating, bringing with it a high sense of achievement and autonomy. But being an entrepreneur can be stressful too.. In a 2022 survey of 1,500 Canadian entrepreneurs, 34% said that mental health challenges interfered with their ability to work at least once a week (BDC, 2022). Both to support the long-term success of your business and for your own health and happiness, it’s vital to prioritize your mental health as a small business owner. As an added bonus, taking time to reflect and rest can increase the fulfillment you find in your work.
Create boundaries. While this sounds like a simple solution, in the day-to-day of running a business, it can feel impossible. Phone calls and emails during the evening and weekends can be difficult to ignore, if you feel doing so might affect your relationship with a client or supplier. Likewise, it can be hard to be truly present with friends or family when you’re worried about a delayed shipment or business challenge. The reality is that healthy boundaries between your work and personal life isn’t something you can build without planning, time, and effort. Set aside a day in your calendar to think about how to structure your work and block your time so that you have built-in time away. You could set up your email and phone so that you don’t get notified for any work emails or calls, unless the person trying to reach you feels the matter as urgent. You could also hire a virtual or in-person assistant to free up your personal time and mental headspace.
While changing your habits and work flow will take time to get used to, you’ll be glad you took the time to separate your home life from your work life – and your friends and family will be glad, too.
Stabilize your cash flow to give you some control around those boundaries you’re striving for. This will allow you to scale your business at your own pace, while supporting a positive work-life balance. Our ATB Entrepreneur Strategists can help guide you through cash flow variability and work with you to build a plan that supports your current situation (you can request free support here).
Find direction and purpose by creating big-picture goals and building a business plan to achieve them. . While cash flow periods will vary, having a strategy to reference will help you make key decisions. It will help you eliminate distractions and move away from work you find stressful or tedious, allowing you to build a business that fulfills and inspires you. While many business owners have goals in mind, many don’t have a plan in place to ensure they stay accountable to their goals, and benchmarks for meeting their goals that are manageable. Our ATB Entrepreneur Strategists can help you design a business strategy that’s future-proof, designed for growth, and centered on your vision. They can also provide support and business solutions to help you achieve your goals for today, five years from now, and beyond.
Connect with fellow small business owners who encourage your entrepreneurial mindset and understand the unique challenges of running your own business. Networking opportunities not only charge your social battery, they can also motivate you. Tapping into the creativity of other business owners can help you solve problems and streamline your processes. ATB regularly hosts educational workshops and events – find events in your area here.
Self-care is not a cliche, and needs to be a priority for every entrepreneur. Self-care is not solely defined by taking a spa day, going to a yoga class, or going on a vacation. Self-care simply means stepping away or logging off and doing something you personally enjoy outside of work. This can mean reading a book, going for a walk in nature in the middle of the day, watching a tv show, or preparing a week’s worth of meals. Remember, the pursuits that help you manage stress aren’t frivolous. They’re what keep you going, even on the hard days.
Access resources to help you tap into your inner strength and calm your mind. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has developed a library of resources you can access at any time here. Resources include links to virtual therapists, professional coaches, and online exercises that can help you find meaning in your personal and professional life. Sometimes, simply talking to someone can help you let go of your fears or reframe your challenges. It’s a good idea to use resources even when you’re not experiencing a crisis. Proactively mitigating personal stressors will help you think more clearly and work more effectively. In other words, talking to an online counselor or coach during the evening or over the lunch hour isn’t a distraction from your business, it’s an investment.