Stress and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. In addition to the high-pressure moments — such as an investor pitch or launch day — the day-to-day lifestyle takes its toll. Getting a business off the ground is hard work and the Type A personality of many entrepreneurs makes us prone to exhaustion. When my daughter found me on the floor of the bathroom after a fainting spell, I knew I needed to make some changes.
You’ve probably heard someone say that entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. This means that your success depends on your ability to maintain stamina over the long run. Here are five preventative measures you can take to avoid burning out before you get a chance to succeed.
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1. Learn to prioritize
No matter what industry you’re trying to start a business in, there are a few common truths: Time is a finite resource and there will always be more work than available time. Every startup is resource-constrained, so prioritizing is key.
While building your business, you’re naturally inclined to take on every opportunity. I was guilty of this during the early days of my company; I accepted every advertising, partnership, networking and speaking opportunity that came my way. However, I since learned that success isn’t about doing everything success isn’t about doing everything; it’s about doing the things that matter. Founder of Artspace, Catherine Levene, said, “From my experience, companies succeed or fail as much by the opportunities they pass up as what they decide to pursue.”
2. Focus on what you like and do best
During the early days, when bootstrapping is your core financial strategy, you’re going to have to do a little bit of everything. This is when you will quickly discover that there are activities that you love to tackle and others that you have little motivation for. You are never going to love your job if you’re constantly spending time on things you hate. When you get to the point when you can start delegating and outsourcing work, offload your least favorite tasks first.
3. Connect with other entrepreneurs
New entrepreneurs, particularly those who work from home, face a serious risk of isolation. You might feel like friends and family with 9-to-5 jobs don’t understand your stress and challenges. And most likely, your friends don’t want to hear about your startup travails every time you meet up for drinks.
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