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20 Emotions All Entrepreneurs Know Only Too Well

If you’re thinking of venturing into the world of self-employment and trying to make money from home you’re in for a rollercoaster of emotions. Yes, it’s become incredibly cliched, but it’s true.  No other endeavour I have ventured into has given me such a ride of emotion. From the highs of getting customers and great feedback for a job well done, to the lows of worrying where your next client will come from or if you’re really cut out for all this – you’ll experience it all. And often on a daily basis!

Something I like to refer to on a regular basis (especially when I’m experiencing a dip in the entrepreneur rollercoaster) is the scale of emotion by Abraham Hicks. This scale takes you through 20 emotions all entrepreneurs know only too well. I’ve adapted it from the original version taking into account mine (and my peers) experiences as entrepreneurs!


1. Elation

The intense joy felt when you sign a new customer, receive an accolade or overcome a challenge you’ve worked hard on.

Characterised by a feeling of “THIS is why I started my business”. Often experienced when a customer tells you how happy they are with your product or service.

2. Empowered

When you feel stronger and more confident in your skills, ability and knowledge coinciding with a sense of control of your business.

Characterised by a feeling of “I can do this”. Often experienced after delivering a talk.

3. Inspiration

When you are struck by a timely or brilliant idea for your business or for a customer and it feels like it’s come out of nowhere. Characterised by a feeling of creativity and motivation to put your idea into action immediately. Often experienced in the shower!

4. Joy

A feeling of happiness and great pleasure found when things are going well and you are satisfied with your work.

Characterised by a feeling of warm fuzziness inside and a big smile. Often experienced when you think about people with jobs commuting and you’re working in your PJs from the comfort of your sofa!

5. Contentment

A sense of calm happiness and satisfaction felt over a period of time when things are all going to plan and as they should in your business.

Characterised by a feeling of peace and lack of doubt or worry. Often experienced when in the ‘flow’ of your work and time passes without notice.

6. Excitement

A frenetic joyful energy experienced in anticipation of something good happening soon and when you are looking forward to an event.

Characterised by a feeling of butterflies in your chest and stomach. Often experienced when you get to travel for business or are going to be interviewed for the press about your business!

7. Anticipation

Similar to excitement with a heightened sense of expectation. Characterised by a feeling of enthusiasm toward a future event. Sometimes with joined by some trepidation. Often experienced when an entrepreneur is expecting a client to say yes to a business proposal but the invoice has yet to be paid!

8. Hopefulness

Wanting something to happen in your business that is out of the norm and sometimes combined with a feeling of trust and certainty that it will transpire as planned.

Characterised by a feeling of expectancy and once thought about, put aside (or forgotten) until it happens. Often experienced when setting income goals and targets for the year ahead.

9. Boredom

An intense feeling of apathy or lack of interest in the task in front of you.

Characterised by a sense of sluggishness and often combined with procrastination. Often experienced when an entrepreneur loses pleasure in their work or has too many mundane tasks on their to-do list that they can’t delegate!

10.  Frustration

Exasperation felt when upset or annoyed that you are unable to change or achieve something.

Characterised by a feeling of irritation and wanting to push your work aside physically. Often experienced when your laptop stops working for no apparent reason and you’ve a deadline to meet.

Starting a small business is like riding an intense rollercoaster. There are tons of twists, turns and loops

Eric Dosal CEO, BrightGauge

11. Overwhelm

To feel like you are drowning in your work, woes or business in general.

Characterised by a feeling of a heavy weight on your shoulders and no sign of letting up. Often experienced when you have forgotten you are only one human being and can’t do it all (and you’ve yet to start delegating to staff or subcontractors!)

12. Disappointment

When things don’t go your way, a feeling of sadness and regret.

Characterised by a welling up of tears and wanting to cry. Often experienced when you don’t land that customer or opportunity that you really wanted.

13. Doubt

A lack of conviction in your own abilities or uncertainty in a situation.

Characterised by a feeling of indecision, hesitation or fear. Often experienced on a daily basis as an entrepreneur, even if you know you could complete a task competently – you still think “I’m not good enough”.

14. Discouragement

A loss of confidence or feeling like you’ve lost enthusiasm or hope.

Characterised by a feeling of pessimism and brushing off anyone who suggests otherwise. Often experienced after a perceived failure in business. Can lead to a lack of action which creates a vicious cycle.

15. Worry

A strong, often prolonged feeling of anxiety over an actual or potential problem.

Characterised by a feeling of nausea and constant fretting over the outcome. Often experienced even when things are going well in your business because you think it’s a fluke or something awful will happen and take away everything you’ve worked hard for.

16. Anger

A strong feeling of being annoyed or feeling hostility or displeasure towards someone or something.

Characterised by a heat rising in the face and physical pent up frustration. Often experienced when another business providing a service fails to do what is expected and their incompetency frustrates you intensely!

17. Envy

Also known as comparisonitis!

Characterised by a feeling of resentful longing when you see someone else achieve or obtain that which you want for yourself. Often experienced when someone shows off how amazing their business is or how much money they’ve made on social media.

18. Unworthiness

Feeling like you and your business are not deserving of the respect of attention you are getting or you feel you are unqualified for the job but someone is insisting you are.

Characterised by a feeling  of not being perfect when you should be. Often experienced when you are nominated for an award or accolade for something that didn’t seem to be too difficult for you to achieve.

19. Fear

Unpleasant feeling caused by threat or perceived threat of danger, harm or pain.

Characterised by a feeling of dread, increased heart rate and sweating. Often experienced in the dead of night when you’re worrying about how you’re going to make enough money to get through the next week or month as self-employed.

20. Depression

The opposite of joy and a feeling or strong and intense unhappiness and melancholy.

Characterised by a lack of interest, slowing down of activity and motivation and feeling of despair. Often felt when you haven’t taken time out from your business for a while or when you have a prolonged feeling of worry, fear, self-doubt and/or unworthiness.


All these emotions can be felt in a short space of time (even in the course of one day!) and sometimes you feel caught in one particular emotion that you don’t wish to have for far too long. whilst this is completely normal, it can be incredibly frustrating. What I have learnt is that you can’t always jump from depression and fear to joy and excitement… but you can move up the scale step by step. Turning Envy into Anger, or Overwhelm to Boredom. When you do this is can stop you getting stuck in one feeling for too long, and help you move up the scale quicker. 

I’ve also learnt personally to feel any emotions that arise, even if negative. So often we’re taught to bypass, ignore or hide our true feelings but this only makes them stronger. Acknowledge how you’re feeling and get curious about why you feel that way and ask yourself “how can I move up the scale and take the next step towards feeling better about this?”. Or simple “what can I learn from this feeling right now?”

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