entrepreneurship, mental health

Balancing Mental Health & Entrepreneurship

You know what they don’t tell you about entrepreneurship — the hardest part is managing your mental health.

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And yes, I just dived right into the deep end because there’s no reason to sugarcoat it. The entrepreneurship journey is hard AF! I don’t care how social media makes it seem, it is difficult. And honestly, it’s not even the business part that’s difficult, it’s the mental discipline you need to keep going.

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If you are new to entrepreneurship — meaning you don’t have any family and/or friends you’ve witnessed firsthand do this successfully — you are literally starting from ground zero. No one tells you how difficult it is to start from that point. I see why the data shows that 20% of new businesses fail within their first year and 50% won’t even make it to their five-year mark. That means if you and I start a business today, in 5 years, one of our businesses will fail if it didn’t fail within the first. 

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Starting from zero requires you to literally build everything up brick by brick – INCLUDING YOUR MENTAL and that’s extremely difficult when you do not have a blueprint. I wish my parents already had a business in motion where all I needed to do was pick up where they left off. Unfortunately, that’s not how this story goes. 

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What makes it even harder is, that when your peers are not entrepreneurs, they don’t really know how to support you mentally. Even their words of encouragement sound like bombs over Baghdad. “It’ll get better” “You’re going to be just fine” “This is just the beginning”. I know they mean well and I understand the need to see the big picture but I currently live in the present where everything is overwhelming. There are so many moving parts on this journey and getting a hold of your mental health is essential for survival. 

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For all those that are trying to figure out how to get a grip, I challenge you to (1) revisit your why and (2) intentionally do things that help calm your mind. There was a reason you started this journey and if that reason means anything to you, it will always keep you focused on the big picture. In regards to doing things that calm your mind, I know from personal experience that anxiety takes center stage when too many things are trying to make themselves a priority. It starts to feel like there is always so much to do, always so little time, and never enough manpower. So I like doing things that calm my mind and keep me in the present. For me, those things look like working out, going for a walk, a bike ride, a run or a swim, doing puzzles, journaling my thoughts and prayers, and setting up a time to do absolutely nothing. 

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It is perfectly fine to want to quit but it is not okay to not put the effort into trying to take care of yourself. I live by the motto “if you are not at 100%, nothing you do will be at 100%.” So when you get a hold of your mental, you realize that anything is possible and then you can give this journey the energy you need. 

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I will be doing another post about ways you can manage your time to prevent being overwhelmed but in the meantime, let’s focus on learning how to breathe and building our mental discipline.

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

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Separating Ownership From Management

I have been on my entrepreneurship journey for almost 3 years now and I learn new things about myself every day. 

I have always been a “hard worker”. For the sake of this blog and my need to always provide context, we’ll define a hard worker as someone that puts in more than what is required when completing a task.

When my parents would ask me to clean my room, I’d not only clean it, I’d rearrange all the furniture, switch up the decor, and turn it into a new safe space. When my teachers would ask me to complete a worksheet, I’d not only complete it, I’d work on extra credit, do my homework, and then help my friends since they were probably still working on it. Some may see that as doing the most but that was really my bare minimum. It wasn’t forced, it was second nature to me. It was part of my identity.

Now I’m learning that I do not have the desire I once had to do hard work, let alone any work. Why can’t I do soft work? Like, work that does not consist of me doing much yet still reaps the same benefit. And this was when I truly understood the difference between ownership and management in business.

An owner is someone that owns a company. If you start a dry cleaning business today, you own it. A manager is someone that manages a company that they may or may not own. That dry cleaning business you just started may be managed by you and/or your spouse. 

The more I dive into this entrepreneurship journey, the more I realize I want to be more on the ownership side and less on the management. I have great business ideas, I love developing business strategies, I love seeing my ideas and strategies come to life but at what expense. I have been experiencing burnout because I’m trying to do it all and I’m sick of it.

To combat this, I decided to separate ownership and management in the businesses I currently have, and moving forward, the same strategy will be in place with future business ventures. I gave my business partner full management responsibilities of our short-term rental and 360 photo booth businesses back in January. Life has been much better since I stepped back and now only receive updates on what’s going on. I love that for me. 

The biggest benefit from this shift has been the ability to focus on other things that matter to me. Those two businesses required so much hands-on activity and I no longer want to be that hands-on with my businesses. I just want to check in and receive updates. 

For those of you that may be interested in separating ownership and management in business, here are a few benefits you may want to consider

  • Longevity

This whole concept of generational wealth means you want your business endeavors to be passed down for generations. However, it’s borderline impossible to do that by yourself. You need a team to keep the race going. Look at Amazon. Jeff Bezos is only a 10% owner of a company he founded and today, it has over 1.6 million employees. When he passes away, Amazon will continue to keep the race going because he was able to separate ownership from management.

  • Sustainability

When you truly understand that there is no way for you to do all things, let alone do all things well, you realize you need to bring in other people with diverse skills to sustain your business. Looking back at the Amazon example, their first job ad back in 1994 was for code developers that could work “in about one-third the time that most competent people think possible.” Bezos knew he didn’t have that skill but needed someone with that skill to take the company to the next level. 

  • Peace

I know you’re probably thinking, how can owning a business be peaceful? Well, it all falls back on the idea that we cannot do everything ourselves. Once you forfeit control to others that are more capable of managing the day-to-day operations of your business, the stress of doing it on your own diminishes greatly so you can now focus on more important things —like, maybe your mental health.

Nonetheless, I say all of this to say, you need to take a step back from your business, assess where you are and where you want to be, then adjust accordingly.

If you need assistance with how to actually do this, let’s set up a time to chop it up. I am always open and willing to help others get their business on the right track.

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER