In the startup world, founders have mountains of resources about how to grow and manage businesses at their disposal. But one topic that’s not frequently discussed is the emotional support they often need when they first transition into the entrepreneur-life.
Understanding and putting effort into bettering your emotional state is not only crucial for personal and interpersonal development, it’s also a determinant of your ability to take on everything your business asks of you. Today, we're covering some common emotional challenges entrepreneurs face, and how to alleviate the stress that comes along with it.
Starting a business can feel like being in middle school all over again. No one’s going to poke fun at you and your crush, but your days are filled with abnormally dramatic highs and lows. One day you hit a milestone and you’re met with crushing obstacles the next. Even though this is an inevitable aspect of entrepreneurialism that does get better with time, experiencing constant emotional flux is a strain on your mental and physical state (e.g. loss of sleep, irritability, exhaustion). Explore different activities that help you set your emotional state back to neutral, and use them regularly to stay upbeat. Psychology Today notes the following as some ways to balance your emotions:
One of the most common emotional challenges entrepreneurs face is the infamous existential crisis. After the initial elation of finally taking the plunge, many entrepreneurs find it difficult to define themselves. In other words, they're stuck in the grey area between the honeymoon phase and before their business actually begins to take off. Defining oneself is easy when you’re fulfilling the responsibilities that are demanded of you in a traditional role. You understand what your bread and butter is, and work hard in that role. But when you’re an entrepreneur, your job is less defined, as is your financial situation, which can damage self-assurance. Accepting your new identity as an entrepreneur, and empowering yourself in this position important. Becoming more involved in the startup community, and surrounding yourself by like-minded individuals who can relate to you is a good way to ground your new identity.
Psychiatrist Michael A. Freeman has noted a link between people who exhibit entrepreneurial traits (i.e. creative, motivated, energetic, etc.) to be more emotionally volatile. Of course this is not to say that entrepreneurs cry at the drop of a pin, but it points to the need to regularly take a step back and evaluate the level of stress you’re experiencing. In a journal, keep track of situations that are especially stressful for you (e.g. dealing with investors, communicating with difficult vendors, weekend work calls), so you can establish a better system to deal with, or attitude about, the issue. For instance, if speaking with investors is especially difficult for you, try finding a mentor who’s been there and done that to share their wisdom. Also, knowing when to ask for help is a lifesaver because you're only one person, and taking on more than you can handle isn't doing anyone any favours, especially when it comes to your business.
As part of our #BeTheChange series, we sit down and discuss how people and business have evolved, with change-makers in our Garage Community.
This week, we sit down with Michelle Hong, co-founder of Rooftop Republic, a social enterprise on a mission to introduce the joys of urban farming to the city folk of Hong Kong.
Rooftop Republic has been part of the Garage Community since 2018, and they have a rooftop farm on the terrace of our Wan Chai Lockhart space.
It was great to catch up with Michelle over sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and the joys of growing your own food.
The advent of user-friendly e-commerce tools has made starting your own small business easier than ever.
With so many people embarking on their entrepreneurial journey, we thought we’d give you a reminder on how to support small, local business owners.
We encourage everyone to be conscious consumers - whether this means voting with your dollar for locally farmed vegetables, or writing a positive review for the indie coffee shop in your neighbourhood.
Here are a few ideas to get started:
As part of our focus on growth, we asked the Garage Community what areas they would like they spend more time developing. It was very clear that you all wanted to dedicate more time to your mental and physical health!
Considering that Hong Kongers have some of the longest working hours in the world, it’s important to carve out some time for yourself.
Here is a comprehensive wellbeing toolkit with guides, recommendations, and resources for bettering your mind and body.
Want to take part in this month's Community Survey? Click here.