I was surprised to read in a recent report that a third of small to medium size business leaders have suffered from poor mental health, and that 3 in 5 of them think that their involvement in their business is a contributing factor.
It might feel like mental health is the topic of the moment, but are we actually doing enough to discuss it? Are we supporting each other enough as a business community? Or, are we keeping this to ourselves for fear of showing weakness to our staff, peers and customers?
We decided to reach out to our business community to find out the effects of running a business on mental health – both the good and bad.
There are some common threads and triggers so we’ve grouped them by topic…
“Be polite and helpful”
“Now I work for myself I don’t have to put up with rudeness from anyone. I’m always polite and helpful and that’s what I expect in return. It’s such a relief to be able to make that my mantra.”
Lisa Delow, A Virtual Presence
“Learn to detach”
“I’ve already experienced some horrendous treatment from clients and it hit me hard. Learning to detach myself has been a big learning curve but something I am getting stronger at.”
Jen Eastwood, Rock Rose Digital
“I don’t want my clients to think I can’t cope”
“I find it hard to admit my anxiety heightened as a result of running my business. I don’t want my clients to think I can’t cope. I don’t want prospective customers to doubt whether I’m capable of supporting their business. But there have been some days where despite my best efforts, nothing could quell the nagging flutter in my chest and the overwhelming worries and fears. It was only when I sought professional help that I was able to overcome some of these feelings.”
Jen Stemp, Writer and Social Media Strategist
“It’s boosted my confidence”
“I’m hugely proud of myself and what I’ve achieved, I wasted a lot of years being too scared to out on my own.. .but I took that leap of faith and it boosted my confidence no end. When you get positive feedback from a client on top of that, it makes all those hours worthwhile!
Francesa, Send And Amend
“It can affect my self-esteem”
“What I’ve had to watch is self-esteem. I get fab reviews for my work, clients are very appreciative and I’m proud of it. But they do tend to treat freelancers less respectfully than employees because they don’t have the same responsibilities to you. Broken promises of jobs and delayed payments, plus an expectation that I’ll work cheaply are common. I realised this was affecting my self-esteem quite a bit and I make efforts now to watch myself on this score.”
Gina Ware, Here’s The Cavalry
“Working from home has helped with my anxiety”
“Having social anxiety and autism has always made working for other people difficult, but now that I can work from my own home (which I see as a “safe” environment) I’ve noticed the number of anxiety attacks and meltdowns I have has dramatically dropped!”
Jade Marie, Freelance Writer
“I’m less stressed about family”
“I work around my family life and I am at home so if there’s ever an emergency with my child I’m always around and not stressing about getting back or out of the office.”
Trusha Patel, Consultant Solicitor
“I’ve learnt to say no”
“In the early days of freelancing I would take on any job that came my way… but now I am much more careful not to overload myself. If I have a deadline in my day job, I schedule projects around that to ensure I’m not killing the hours.”
Francesa, Send And Amend