Looking After Your Mental Health While Running a Business
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.
In franchising, you’re supported by a network of other franchise owners, but the stress can still be tough sometimes. In Startups 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 awareness week was held recently, 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 the year before last, it’s was reported that as many as 64 million antidepressants were issued in the UK.
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 isolating - 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 Startup 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 and support to each 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 Startups, 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, is to try NOT to ignore a problem if you feel one arising. Being self-employed, running a Startup, 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 to, there will always be others around to support you.
David Shimwell - https://rainbow-int-franchise.co.uk/
David Shimwell is Rainbow International's Franchise Recruitment Manager, who helps potential business owners decide whether this route is right for them. He is driven and determined to match up potential franchisees to their dream opportunities and is passionate about everything to do with franchising.