Too often we focus simply on the success of companies only to forget the struggles they had to get there. One writer notes that despite the success stories we see, each of these successful entrepreneurs also “harbor secret demons. Before they made it big, they struggled through moments of near-debilitating anxiety and despair—times when it seemed everything might crumble.”
If you haven’t had such moments on your journey as an online business owner, don’t worry. They will come. Struggles always come, especially to those who start their own company. The question is, how psychologically prepared are you to handle such challenges?
Success isn’t entirely based on your financial standing or your innate entrepreneurial intuition. What will also matter is how mentally and emotionally stable you are, especially in times of difficulty.
For some entrepreneurs, developing a strong psychological stamina takes years. For others, it comes naturally. For all, it is necessary if you are going to survive the tumultuous moments that make or break a business.
To begin strengthening your psychological stamina, begin by knowing what you’re up against. Evaluate where you stand. Do you feel mentally and emotionally ready to face these challenges? If not, continue on to find ways to boost your psychological stamina so you can overcome such challenges.
Common Psychological Challenges for Entrepreneurs
Emotions vs. Logic
Many online entrepreneurs invest everything they have into making their business work. With that investment, though, also comes a great deal of emotional attachment. It almost feels like your company is your child. You see it grow up and stumble when it tries to walk forward. You worry when it isn’t doing well and want to take care of it as best as you can.
When emotions are high, it can be difficult to make sound decisions that will define your business. Detaching yourself emotionally shows a great level of psychological maturity but can be hard to cultivate.
Every entrepreneur knows that running a business on your own is no walk in the park. Your startup will require all the willpower and dedication you can muster as you try to manage stress coming from all directions. If you can’t manage that stress well, it may get the best of you.
When pressures come pouring in, how do you handle them? Do you cower as a deadline approaches? Do you balk at continuous uncertainty? Do you cringe whenever you need to think about funding your business? Those with strong mental and emotional capabilities don’t let these stresses define them. But that’s easier said than done.
All the Weight on Your Shoulders
The success of your enterprise is ever dependent on you. You are the one who needs to make sound decisions to move the business forward. It’s all on you to make this work, no matter how much you try to put the blame on someone else. That’s a huge responsibility to tackle and can wear you down without the right psychological stamina.
It may also make you start to feel rather lonely. Feeling alone can weaken your mental and emotional resolve all too quickly. One entrepreneur called loneliness “the real silent killer” for entrepreneurs. Why? Because when your business experiences failure or a major roadblock, it’s on your shoulders to carry. Your team can help, but they can’t take it all away. That can be a lot of weight for one person.
High Standard of Leadership
With all that pressure weighing you down, you still have to have a strong outlook and show a positive face for your company. Your team will look to you for leadership and an example. That puts even more pressure on you to be at the top of your game all the time.
This is one reason why it is so important for entrepreneurs to be psychologically stable. If you’re not, others who follow you will see it. How you react to overwhelming situations will influence how they act too.
All great achievements were met with some form of opposition. Your online business may encounter opposition from your friends and family trying to convince you not to go after your dream. Opposition may rear its head through financial struggles or a lack of funding. It may show its face when your competitors are always one step ahead of you.
But how will you respond to these challenges? When the world is working against you will you give in or step up your game? The truth is that everyone experiences some misfortune in their life. What you choose to do when those difficulties arise is what will define your character and your success.
Lack of Patience
The level of patience you have considerably shows how mentally and emotionally stable you are. But sometimes your business fails to pay your bills month after month and shows no hope of reward. In those patience-trying moments, that mental stamina you had at first slowly wanes thin.
You may want things to work out now and find yourself disappointed when success doesn’t come on your timetable. It can take a huge emotional toll on you, and even might tempt you to give up on your business. But who’s in control here? You or your emotions?
How to Take Control
Former editorial director of Entrepreneur, Ray Hennessey, gave this insightful statement: “We go through a range of emotions, but they really only get us in trouble if we let them manage us, rather than the other way around.” You have to make a choice when starting your business: to be in control of your emotions or to let them control you.
How can you manage your emotions and take control of your mind? What can you do to handle these psychological challenges you’ll surely face?
Entrepreneur and psychiatrist Michael A. Freeman offers some tips on the subject:
Limit Your Risk
You may have been told to not be afraid to take risks. While this is true, some risks may only put more worry on your plate and weaken your psychological resolve. Freeman encourages entrepreneurs to take risks, but to do so within reason. He suggests setting a limit for how much money you or your friends and family will spend on an investment.
Don’t create more financial stress for you than is needed. This may mean keeping your job and a consistent income while you start your side hustle. You know how much stress you can handle, so take whatever risks you know you can take without losing your head.
Have Human Interaction
To combat loneliness and to put our troubles into perspective you’ll need a strong support system. Freeman argues that you need “your connections with human beings” to balance out the stresses of running your business.
These connections should be who you go to when you are feeling mentally and/or emotionally exhausted. Be vulnerable with these people. Be honest about what’s going on in your life. You will connect more with them by doing so and receive more strength in those moments when you most need it.
Have a Life Outside of Your Business
This may sound crazy to some, but Freeman argues that some time should be spent away from your business, such as with your loved ones. You need something to take your mind off of work every so often or your psyche may lose control.
Freeman says that “Other dimensions of your life should be part of your identity.” Part of who you are is an entrepreneur, but it shouldn’t be all of you. You should be able to find success in other areas of your life as well. Then, when your business may be struggling, you can find strength elsewhere to carry on.
You, like many other entrepreneurs, may fall into the trap of making a bad situation worse by thinking failure is the end of the world. It’s not. We all fail in one way or another. But letting failure consume your thoughts isn’t helping anyone.
Boosting your psychological stamina will require you to learn from and let go of your mistakes. So choose today to start accepting failure and move on.
Taking control of your mind and your emotions will not be easy. But it can prove crucial to your success. Don’t undervalue how much psychology plays into becoming a successful entrepreneur. Once you make it a priority to take control of how you think and act, that’s when you’ll start to see yourself change for the better.