When it comes to mental health, the stats are not encouraging for entrepreneurs:
- Entrepreneurs are 30% more likely to experience depression than non-entrepreneurs. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
- Entrepreneurs are 3x more likely to suffer from anxiety, stress, and fear than non-entrepreneurs. (Source: Dr. Michael Freeman)
- Entrepreneurs are 3x more likely to suffer from substance abuse. (Source: Dr. Michael Freeman)
- 72% of entrepreneurs suffer from one or more mental health issues. (Source: Dr. Michael Freeman)
Whew…these stats are jaw-dropping to me!
As you may know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And last week I had the awesome pleasure and privilege of appearing on “Wayup with Angela Yee” to talk about mental health and entrepreneurship. Angela, Stacey Tisdale, and I had a great conversation about a topic that can actually be quite heavy. Particularly given these stats. (I’ll link below to the YouTube episode in case you’re interested in watching.)
Before diving into today’s piece, which may be controversial for some, I want to reiterate what I said during the segment: I am not a psychiatrist. Nor am I a psychologist or therapist. So, if you are dealing with depression, a degree of stress that is all-consuming, or suffering from burnout, please seek professional help. And if what you read today triggers you, that may be a sign it’s time for professional help.
Stress is Inevitable
As entrepreneurs, you are managing the stresses of life, in general, alongside the stresses of running and growing a sustainable business – daily.
You are constantly juggling many roles and responsibilities, along with the attendant expectations – of yourself and from others.
You are responsible for the finances: sales, revenue, profitability, taxes, and managing expenses.
You are responsible for managing several relationships: employees and/or consultants; vendors; prospects, clients, and customers; industry colleagues and peers; and possibly investors.
You are responsible for your workload: this includes the actual work of what you do, plus the work of running the business, including marketing and business development, operations, and adhering to industry standards and regulations, if required. And deadlines…there are always deadlines!
And guess what, these very same domains are present in your personal life, too.
You are responsible for the finances (or your portion thereof): earning, saving, investing, spending, and managing debt, if applicable.
You are responsible for managing several relationships: family, friends, and community – think of anyone depending on you – be it financially or your time, or both.
You are responsible for your workload: managing a household is no joke!
And whether it’s your business or your life, there is always an element of time pressure. That feeling of not having enough time to get everything done.
You hear me talk about the intersection of money, business, and life ALL the time. One of the reasons is because I truly don’t see how you can unwind this Venn diagram. Especially when it comes to stress.
Your business not only has to address the stresses of the business, but it must also be in a position to address your personal stresses, too. And, all hell breaks loose when you can’t do both, well.
Thus, the more years I work as an entrepreneur myself, and work with entrepreneurs and small business owners as clients, the more convinced I am becoming that the way you price can help to manage some of the stresses you bump up against.
Think about this for a moment: When you audit the multitude of ways in which stress is manifesting itself in your business and life, how might more money or more time help?
If you work seven days a week, what adjustments to your prices would allow you to work five days a week, instead?
What effect would even one “free” day have on the quality of your relationships? Could it improve the quality of the decisions you make, especially given that every decision you make carries a lot of weight?
I am not saying that your pricing alone can solve whatever is stressing you. You can’t, for example, just increase your prices and poof…stress be gone!
And as I’ve said, including in the book, “Leapfrog,” by Nathalie Molina Niño underpricing yourself does even more damage to you emotionally and psychically than it does to your bottom line.
Not All Stress is Bad
At times, the stress you are experiencing is providing you with just the right amount of tension. You know, the kind that leads to breakthroughs – breakthroughs that help you discover untapped potential, creativity, and innovation.
Setting aside the stress that comes from grieving (grief depression is a real doozy!), or due to dealing with a health challenge or chronic illness, or that is pervasive and requires professional intervention, it is important to remember that not all stress is bad.
The challenge becomes this: How do you know the difference between everyday stress that comes with the territory vs. stress that is overbearing and might lead to more than a failed business?
The hard truth is that only you have the answer to this. Only you and perhaps your mental health team know whether your mental health is or is not optimal.
But, one thing is for sure: There is no denying the importance of proactively managing your mental wellbeing. Because on both the business and personal fronts, your finances, relationships, and workload are depending on you to prioritize this area of your wellbeing, too.
So, if you need help, please ask for it, and see what kind of difference it can make.
p.s. Have you RSVPd for the next Pricing Made HumanⓇ masterclass on Thursday, June 8th at 4pm EDT? If not, click here to RSVP and save your spot. Would love to have you join us!
p.p.s. Here’s the link to the segment where Angela Yee, Stacey Tisdale, and I talk about founders depression, dating an entrepreneur, dealing with depression and more.