On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you in your work as an entrepreneur? If your number doesn’t leave much room for improvement, you’re in good company. A 2019 study by Guidant Financial revealed that a majority of entrepreneurs ranked their happiness quotient as a 9 or 10…and it’s pretty hard to beat a perfect 10.
The Hustle Mentality
There are numerous reasons that self-starters like you prefer the not-so-simple life of entrepreneurship. Whether you’re a digital nomad who values working from anywhere in the world or a local brick-and-mortar owner who gets a thrill out of seeing your community thrive, the benefits to being your own boss are innumerable. Freedom, flexibility and autonomy are qualities most people yearn for in their professional lives, but it takes a certain mindset to go after it.
It’s natural to think that financial success equals happiness. But that is also the thought process that leads to burnout among small business owners, as they push harder to take themselves and their business farther. Another 2019 study indicated that while 7 percent of the general population suffers from depression, a staggering 30 percent of startup founders are affected by it. A separate survey ties this not just to profitability, but to passion for the job.
When you love what you do, it’s easy to go overboard. Self-improvement obsession haunts many entrepreneurs, making them question their commitment if they aren’t making tough sacrifices for their work. Fortunately, there are healthier ways to grow as an entrepreneur. Here, we offer some tips on dialing your entrepreneurial happiness quotient up to 10.
6 Tips to Managing Growth in Entrepreneurship
1. Set Expectations Grounded in Reality
Many entrepreneurs say they’re “living the dream.” In truth, that dream requires a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Make sure your dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare by getting real about the myths of entrepreneurship, so you understand the challenges you may face and feel better prepared to tackle them.
2. Develop the Skills That Lead to Success
In our self-improvement obsessed society, we often think that buying the latest self-help book or signing up for programs or courses that make big promises will put us on the path to success. Instead, think less about consumption and more about growing your experience. Hone business skills, both tangible and intangible, to take back your entrepreneurial power.
3. Embrace Your Failures, and Learn from Them
It’s a tough pill to swallow, especially for those of the entrepreneurial mindset, but if you never fall down, you’ll never learn how to pick yourself back up. As painful as they may be, failures offer opportunities to grow, learn and — yes — succeed. When you understand why and how you made a mistake, you’ll be more likely to avoid that mistake in the future. Ultimately, the only true failure is giving up on your dreams.
4. Treat Time as a Gift
If you feel like there are never enough hours in the day, you’re not alone. Entrepreneurs understand the grueling time commitment it takes to succeed, but this can often lead to burnout and disillusion. Instead, learn how to effectively manage your time and use it to your benefit. Prioritize, set realistic goals and get rid of distractions so you can get the job done and still have time to live the life you’ve always wanted.
5. Take a Tech Break
If you panic when your phone is out of your sight, congratulations — you’re an entrepreneur! It’s easy to think that the world will stop turning if we aren’t there to give it a nudge, but in reality, our reliance on technology can be detrimental to our productivity, our work/life balance and our perception of what is truly important. Remember to step away from technology every so often and be present in the offline world. Set clear expectations about your availability, and remember that your time has value — if you give it away, its worth declines.
6. Make Time for Self-Care
This year has thrown entrepreneurs a lot of curveballs. But whether we’re in the midst of keeping a business operating during a pandemic or just caught up in the daily struggles of business ownership, it’s easy to put our own needs on the back burner. Remember that it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup. Fill yours up by taking care of yourself, so you’ll have more energy and availability to take care of the customers, vendors and clients who depend on you.
Once you take the time to grow as an entrepreneur in a healthy way that doesn’t focus obsessively on self-improvement, you’ll have more time and more skills to grow your business. And at Incfile, we’ll be here to help. We can give you tips and advice on everything from marketing to opening business accounts, so you can focus your energy where it really matters: on finding happiness and success as an entrepreneur.
Wendi is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis, IN, with over a decade of experience writing for a variety of industries from healthcare to manufacturing to nonprofit. When she isn't working on solutions for her clients, she can be found spending time with her kids and husband, working in the garden or doing more writing (of the fiction variety).