Small Biz Chat: Mental Health

This post is a bit different from all others because I want to take a moment to be completely transparent about mental health and running a business. One thing that’s inspired me to share this with you is looking at just how many business owners never share. 

More importantly, I don’t think We really talk about the emotional and mental roller coaster that entrepreneurship drags us through. Nor do we ever discuss the lives lost by business owners who find the pain unbearable. We all kind of just act like everything is okay, even in a pandemic, when people are dying and we don’t have time to mourn.

Well I’ll be one of the first to say it, these last 2 years have been HARD for me as a business owner. I have found comfort though in knowing that I’m not alone. So I’m hoping that this reading can give you that same comforting feeling I first felt upon reading other people’s experiences.


 Side-note: Claim your FREE custom branded tissue paper with every order of 150+ business cards. Learn more here!

Here’s some entrepreneur mental health facts you may not know

  1. 72% of all entrepreneurs are affected by at least one mental health condition and over 40% are affected by 2 or more conditions. The most common being depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, or addiction.
  2. Regardless of mental health conditions, over 80% still believe working for themselves is the best decision for their mental health.
  3. The pandemic has negatively impacted at-least 35% of entrepreneurs mentally, however the outlets and resources are limited for these specific experiences.
  4. 1 in 3 entrepreneurs live with depression, most of which suffer silently and never speak up due to “faking it til you make it” standards set by themselves and society.

Entrepreneurship has a way of really beating you down when you take social media into account to. Social media leads us to believe that every business owner but you has it all figured out. It leads us to believe that you’re the only one suffering and unhappy without solutions to your problems. However, our research shows that this simply isn’t true.

As your company finds success, your mental health may improve but this doesn’t mean everything will magically get better. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this with COUNTLESS of very successful people in the last decade alone. Mental health disparities and suicidal ideation have taken some of the most beautiful souls from us, which is why we need to start discussing it, offering resources - AND FAST to.

I’m passionate about this for several reasons:

  1. I was very depressed up until a year ago. Before I found help and started openly discussing what I was experiencing, I never thought it would get better. But then, I found therapy, group peer counseling, journaling, dancing, a great doctor, a new business model and I slowly started seeing a better life. I had to work so hard because I waited and suffered for so long, I know I’m not alone in this.
  2. I know countless of individuals experiencing horrible depression and I was never sure how to help them before. I wasn’t sure how to help myself either, so we all just kind of acted like we were okay.
  3. We’ve lost so many beautiful people in the last 2 years with everything going on around us. If we each just make an effort to help or create a safe space for 2 people who truly need it, we will see significant changes in our environment.

Due to this and many other personal reasons, I’ve decided to share how running a business has effected me emotionally and mentally, how I’ve overcome my feelings of disparity and stayed on track. I will also discuss what happens when I have “bad days” or even “bad months” and how I bounce back.

 

As an overview, here’s my top 3 best pieces of advice:

  1. Rest is a necessity, it is not optional. Rest is not your enemy, nor will it ever be. Rest whenever you need to, the work will still be there when you wake up. It is a requirement for your success, not a byproduct of becoming successful.
  2. If you can’t balance what matters most to you and your business, one will leave. It’ll either be what matters most or your business. If you can’t find the balance, you can’t have both.
  3. You don’t have to rush to the top. Take your time, enjoy your journey and document it. Rushing doesn’t mean you’ll get there faster anyways, you’ll likely just be stressing yourself out.

Side-note: Claim your FREE custom branded tissue paper with every order of 150+ business cards. Learn more here!

How running a business has affected me

Running a small business for 5 years has been an indescribable experience full of hard lessons. Some days I couldn’t get over how defeated I felt, while others I felt like I was on top of the world. And all the days where I was on top of the world, are all that ever mattered.

But in hindsight, the days of feeling defeated are the ones that make my experience the most relatable. In a digital world where it seems like everyone has it all figured out, I will be one of the first to say that I don’t. This doesn’t mean I don’t make decent money or love running my business. But instead that even after 5 years and making a nice profit, I’m still figuring out the best systems and practices to use for scaling and consistency.

From a personal perspective, I’ve also grown to do things on my own time and not rush my creative processes. I’ve learned that to produce the best version of my work, I need to give myself the proper time, patience, and grace. Which is why I made the transition from being an entrepreneur hustling and just trying to get by, to becoming a business owner dedicated to systems, processes and the client experience.

Living in a constant state of hustling without any type of consistency wasn’t working for me longterm. And realizing this as an entrepreneur, forced me to start getting serious about personal development, growth, and improving the quality of everything I’m doing.

In the end, running a business has forced me to get real with myself, my goals and developing a real strategy for longterm growth and sustainability. This includes going to therapy, journaling, asking for help, onboarding a business partner full time, outsourcing as needed, documenting my experience, finding better solutions to self sabotage, learning to live as my authentic self and so much more. Growing my business meant that I had to grow up and develop as a person to and it’s a decision I’ll never regret.

I won’t lie and say everyday is easy, because that just wouldn’t do this article, myself or you as the reader justice. Some days and weeks are better than others, but my journey has been fruitful and provided me with a life I’ve dreamed of for so long.

How I’ve overcome my feelings of disparity and stayed on track. 

No matter how successful my company becomes, I still have hard days - especially with being a woman. If you know, then you know about our monthly escapades (🥲). As a result, I’ve had to learn healthy ways to bounce back and get back to myself without losing money, clients or track of every timeline I have.

Here’s something’s that help me with my mental health:

  1. Learning to schedule downtime for myself.
  2. Cutting back to the 4 day work week to give more time for family and resting.
  3. Letting go of other people’s expectations of me and focusing more on what I want.
  4. Asking for help, leading to onboarding a business partner and finding the right contractors to work with longterm.
  5. Raising my prices, which attracted more prepared and higher quality clients. This also led to me reducing my services and increasing the physical products I offered. Now I have a balance and can better avoid burnout. Because I don’t need to sell as much to survive, I can enjoy what I’m doing.
  6. Changing my business model, which reduced my stress because I started the year off with annual retainers which gave my business a “base income” to build with and use to scale.
  7. Getting more hobbies - I love art, music, poetry, nature, traveling and food. I’ve started traveling (4 trips so far in 2021), written over 40 poems I love, published 2 books, went zip lining, tried a ton of new food and I’ve loved every moment. More importantly, it got me out of the house and out of my head so there was less time to think negatively. I’d like to note, I did free things to. For instance, I started taking myself walking, on picnics, to different free gardens, free Museums and the library more often. I also bought some new kitchen appliances so I could try new dishes without eating out every time. 
  8. I started going to therapy, which helped me begin to heal, set boundaries with my family, cutting people off who drained me, holding my self accountable for my life and working with my inner child to find happiness instead of against her.

And with these changes, my life completely changed in a year. I went from being angry, lying to myself, pretending I was happy, anxious, depressed and feeling hopeless -  TO THRIVING. 

It was not easy and it is not always fun to be so proactive about ever, but it is always worth it. I never regret fighting to improve myself every single day. I also never regret sharing my experiences and being more transparent about my life and my mental health as a business owner and human being.

Side-note: Claim your FREE custom branded tissue paper with every order of 150+ business cards. Learn more here!

What happens when I have “bad times” & how I bounce back.

When I have down times, I feel immense sadness and then I start minimizing everything I’ve accomplished. I also will play into imposter syndrome and start telling myself I haven’t accomplished much, what I do doesn’t matter, nobody needs what I offer, I should give up and so much more. 

My first step is to get these negative thoughts out of my head. So I write them down in what usually is a very emotional writing session and once I’m done, I burn the page. I let those thoughts die with the flame and I move on. 

If I can’t burn the page, I always counter with positive thoughts, memories and engage in a hobby I love. The hobbies really come in clutch here because even if I’m anxious , I can draw snd write to clear my mind. When I’m depressed and need a change of scenery, I can plan a weekend trip or just go on a picnic to get out of the house.

I think the thing that really helps me more easily come back to myself after a hard period emotionally and mentally is my “Praise Folder”. I save all of the praise I get from clients and customers in a separate folder and when I’m feeling down, I read through them. After doing this for 5 years, you can imagine the hundreds of reviews, post, videos, and content I have from hundreds of clients who loved our experiences working together. I also save things when people praise me as an artist and creator, it helps to!

Here’s some of my favorite ones over the


If you don’t have a praise folder, MAKE ONE. It comes in clutch when I’m having a picnic and just reading nothing but positive things about myself. Try it, it’ll do wonders for your mental to combat negative thoughts with positive praise of yourself.

If you take anything away from here, I hope it’s that nobody, not even those you admire most via social media are perfect. We are all taking it day by day, especially in this climate of uncertainty every single day. Take a deep breath, relax, get some hobbies and find the balance between doing what you love and openly loving yourself.

If this resonates with you, drop a comment and tell me how + share it on twitter and tag me @touchedbyty with the hashtag #Touchedbyty or on Instagram @TyllahsWrld.

 If you’d like an opportunity to learn how I've built my business, online following and more check out the resources below.

Custom Print Shop

Content Master Workbook

Content Master Journal

Content Creating Course

Sources:

https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/genius-in-madness-72-of-entrepreneurs-affected-by-mental-health-conditions/

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/06/09/2244499/0/en/More-Than-80-of-Entrepreneurs-Rate-Their-Mental-Health-as-Good-or-Very-Good-New-Study-From-FreshBooks-and-Mind-Share-Partners-Finds.html

https://thehustle.co/depression-among-entrepreneurs-is-an-epidemic-nobody-is-talking-about

2 comments

Tyllah-Chanel (Author)

Hi Veronica! I’m so very happy that this resonated with you and that i was able to articulate what you’ve been experiencing. I hope that you feel a small sense of community right now, as that is my intended goal and purpose. You are a rockstar! Don’t ever forget it (:

Tyllah-Chanel (Author)
Veronica

Ty…. From the moment I first started corresponding with you I knew you were a genuine person. But after reading this blog your genuineness shines even brighter! As an entrepreneur for over 21 years you have succinctly encapsulated a lot of emotions that I have experienced and had no name for. Thank you for your transparency and openness not only the business world, but the world at large needs more souls like you… Thank you so very much for sharing ♥️

Veronica

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published