As a DC Metro business owner, you carry the weight of your company on your shoulders.
But the reward is this: when things go well – your profits are good, you’re meeting your business goals, you’re dreaming for the future, entrepreneurial FREEDOM is in the air – you have a joyful load to carry.
But then there are challenges…
I don’t probably need to remind you: supply chain shortages, economic recession (cuts to be made?) hiring and firing, changing suppliers, shifting inventory systems, MEETING PAYROLL — all of it can feel like a weight that can be crushing.
You’re not alone, by the way.
So let’s together name the fact that it’s hard to keep the ebbs and flows of business from ruling your mental and emotional state. But, if there’s anything I could press you to do (and do it today), it would be this:
Find your path towards what I’ve heard called “benevolent detachment”. “Benevolent” because you are pursuing this so that business and life goes WELL (rather than neglectfully falling apart), and “detachment” because these ups-and-downs within the business should never dictate your identity, the state of your soul, or your family life.
All of this is not only essential for your health, but I would posit that it’s essential for the health of your business as well.
If you’re bogged down by the weight of it all, and not finding relief or support for navigating it, then your business will suffer because you are the heart (and the head) of it.
Now, one step you might take toward easing the toll of it all would be sitting down with my team and me here at Cohen CPA Strategies LLC, so we can take a look at where things are and help you get things to where you want them. We can dial into 4th quarter things, as well as the coming year.
If that appeals, let’s get something setup so we can help ease these burdens.
And, here’s another way we can do that, via today’s topic …
How DC Metro Business Owners can Beat Occupational Stress
“There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” – Henry Kissinger
It’s all on you as the owner of a small business: the profits, losses, payroll, hiring, inventory, and keeping the lights on. Running your business may be your dream – but ceaselessly being chief cook and bottle-washer is enough to drive you crazy.
Are you putting in more hours at work than anywhere else (including with family and friends) combined? Trouble sleeping? Can’t concentrate? Those can be signs your mental health needs shoring up and your occupational stress level could be part of the issue.
Credit and concern
First, give yourself credit for all you do.
In the grind of daily business, it’s easy to forget that you probably routinely put in long hours (and longer after hours) and feel alone when you worry about where the money is going to keep coming from. Don’t kid yourself about running your own business: “Independence” can often mean “alone.” The numbers don’t stop, either – cash flow, finances, invoices… You have to keep up with admin and latest regulations. And you worry about your workers and their families.
At least you’re not alone in feeling occupational stress. Four in five small-business owners recently reported having common symptoms of poor mental health at least a few times a year, including inability to focus (the most common), anxiety, bad sleep, panic attacks, and symptoms of depression. The huge business challenges of the last few endless years just made those all worse.
Other warning signs unique to business can include feeling more tired earlier in the workday, getting unusually mad or frustrated with workday tasks or coworkers, and finding it harder to make decisions that were once simple. (You can also use this checklist of symptoms.)
That same survey showed that almost half of small-biz owners have never accessed support and almost a third said they didn’t know where to go for help or didn’t know support was out there.
We never say this – but stop reading right here if you think you’ve got a problem and call the Mental Health Hotline at (866) 903-3787. Any local mental health group or professional can hook you up with help, too.
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK.
How to fight back
When whittling your to-do list has ceased to satisfy you at the end of the workday, or if business just doesn’t seem to improve no matter what you do, turn for a bit to immediate tasks that need to be done and that you can knock down quickly (administrative stuff maybe, or other paperwork). Maybe learn a new business skill that can boost your business down the road. The new focus may bring new fulfillment.
Away from the job, it’s a matter of making the time: Just as it took discipline and work to build your company, it’s going to take the same things to relieve your stress from that business.
- Obviously one of your first moves will be to corral the hours. Set a range of hours to work; when that time is up, switch off the work phone, the email, the texts, and however else people get in touch with you for business. Let all work contacts know you’ve set these hours; maybe even start putting the hours in your e-communication signatures. Then do whatever you need to do to forget work stress – family, friends, hobbies, entertainment, your choice. But – no work. (You’ll be surprised how quickly even a driven professional like you can get used to this.)
- Eat well and drink plenty of water. (Try to stay clear of the alcohol.)
- Exercise regularly. If you belong to a gym, make time to go. Don’t rely too heavily on virtual connections like social media to relax and fill the void. We’ve all heard how that can backfire.
- And of course, nothing keeps you up at night more than knowing you must get sleep. Unwind a half hour or so ahead of time before hitting the sack – cut back on the TV, laptop, phone, and other gadgets before going to bed. Take a little time to rearrange a quiet and comfortable bedroom.
It’s not just you
Though it may sometimes feel like you’re alone in your company, you’re not. You have workers – and they might feel stress, too. Seeing you deal with your problems may encourage them to tackle theirs. That can only be good for your company in the long run. Encourage regular hours and time off. Teach your managers how to spot problems in staff early.
Openly discussing anxiety, depression, and other problems encourages constructive ways to fight it. It’s one more tool to keep your company on track in these tough times. That’s what we’re always here for.
As a local DC Metro business owner myself, I can relate to the burden you carry. Which is why I wanted to speak into this topic today. Thriving in business isn’t just about good numbers and client influx. It’s also about finding regular joy in what you do.
And we hope this helps get you on that path.
On your team,
Cohen CPA Strategies LLC