I work with a number of business owners in franchise recruitment. I notice one common thing: that they are all very tough, very strong-willed individuals. Stereotypically, most tend not to entertain the assumption that they might be suffering from mental health issues under their hard exterior. However, running a business and the stresses that come with it can be trying at times. It’s noted as one of the most rewarding jobs there is, owning a business, but it doesn’t come without its challenges.
Those who found a business are renowned for being resilient, fearless and courageous. However, the internal realities are that: either being self-employed or building a business from scratch, comes with an insane amount of pressure. And sometimes, it can be tough.
And that just doesn’t just stand for start-ups and business owners either. Any role when working can sometimes be tough. We often work in a role because it’s what we’re passionate about, and sometimes that passion and drive to succeed can cause you to get stressed out and worked up. This was recognized only recently in an article by Tweak Your Biz, where author Stephanie Norman shared how to keep calm when your day trading. The reality is, that all professions come with tension in all industries and roles.
Dealing With Stress And Mental Health In Business
In franchising, you’re supported by a network of other franchise owners, but the stress can still be tough sometimes. In Start-ups, on the other hand, many have contended that it can get very lonely and you can sometimes feel without mutual support. This is where your mental health can really take a beating.
Mental health is (luckily) talked about in abundance, and I often see pieces around ‘how to improve your employee’s mental health’ but not so much talking about business leaders, CEOs, and owners. As I mentioned earlier, I truly believe this is because there is an opinion about these people, that pressures don’t get to them. But they do, I know they do. And therefore, I wanted to offer some advice from my years in recruitment and franchisee management that might help anybody in this situation who’s suffering in silence.
According to the mental health charity, Mind, it’s believed that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Meaning that statistically, business people are likely to fall into this remit. In fact, in just a year before last, it’s was reported that as many as 64 million antidepressants were issued in the UK.
What Would I Advise For Taking Care Of Your Mental Health?
The first thing I would say is, don’t be alone. Even if you don’t identify as having a mental health issue, running a business can sometimes feel isolated – even more so if you are self-employed and don’t have any staff working with you. If you’re a smaller business or a Start-up I would recommend setting up (if your budget allows) in a co-working office space, such as WeWork, for example. If you’re a CEO or a larger business owner, then use the people around you. A good working relationship between employee and employer is always mutually beneficial to both parties.
Another way to take care of your mental health and prevent loneliness from creeping in is to network. Our franchisees, for example, are a community. There to provide advice to one and other. It’s this sense of belonging and the thought of having somebody there for you to answer any questions or concerns you may have, or even just to have a chat with – that can really help when things get a little rough. This, in particular, applies to smaller business owners and Start-ups, networking, in fact, will have copious benefits for your business. It also applies to CEOs and business owners too though, in my opinion, you can never have too many connections. And one of the best ways to prevent yourself from feeling lonely in business is to surround yourself with likeminded individuals.
I think perhaps the most important thing you can do, though is to try NOT to ignore a problem if you feel one arising. Being self-employed, running a Start-up, being a CEO, owning a business, all of those are tough. And sometimes, you can feel overwhelmed. That’s normal and to be honest, expected. Don’t ignore your mind telling you it’s overworked. If you begin to feel things get on top of you, it’s absolutely fine to take a step back for a short while. Seek help if you need too, there will always be others around to support you.
So to summarise, it’s incredibly important to take care of your mental health just as much as your physical health. Owning and running a business can be testing, and it’s okay to recognize when you aren’t coping well, so long as you know how to come back out on top. My bullet-pointed advice for looking after your mental health would be:
- Don’t be alone
- Take a look at places such as WeWork for surrounding yourself with like-minded people
- Network and make connections
- Don’t ignore a problem
The business community is welcoming and friendly, and there’s always somebody to talk to. Remember that it’s okay to feel stressed sometimes. That’s actually completely normal. The most important thing is that you don’t ignore it.