How to Manage Anxiety as an Entrepreneur
I’ve had a lifelong interest in entrepreneurship – but at first, I didn’t know how to deal with my feelings.
Starting a new venture can feel isolating and lonely. You’re dealing with a whole new set of challenges, stressful financial audits, and managing employees.
All of this can lead to a ton of anxiety – but luckily, there are ways to manage it.
As a therapist, I really focused my practice on working with entrepreneurs. I believe entrepreneurs are extraordinary people - who are often really misunderstood.
I also spent two years conducting a research study on the emotional psychology of entrepreneurs in Canada and learned a lot about how to manage the anxiety of entrepreneurship.
After reading this article, you’ll know five ways to manage your anxiety as an entrepreneur.
5 Ways to Overcome Entrepreneurial Anxiety
The pressure of succeeding as an entrepreneur can cause a lot of anxiety – and the fear of failure can cause you to question what your life would even look like if your venture doesn’t succeed.
These five tips can help relieve the pressure you're feeling and remind you that you’re more than capable of reaching your goals.
1. Your Entrepreneurial Anxiety is Totally Normal
One of the first things is knowing you're not alone as an entrepreneur. Based on my research, experiencing anxiety, loneliness, or withdrawal is a very common part of the entrepreneurial process.
You might feel especially isolated between years one and five before your businesses become successful - it's still very new, and you don't have established processes yet. You might not know where to go or who to talk to.
It’s totally normal, and recognizing that you're not alone can feel really comforting.
2. Business Books Can Actually Help Early Anxiety
In your early days as an entrepreneur, there are not going to be a lot of people that you can talk to. You may not find other people that you relate to. But there's so much content geared toward entrepreneurs.
When learning about entrepreneurship, explore the following:
- Community Events
These can help you feel more confident and improve your skill set, which in turn lessens your anxiety. Once you feel more confident in what you're doing, you have the skill set to support your venture a little bit better.
3. An Entrepreneurial Peer-to-Peer Group Will Be Your Saving Grace
One of the most impactful findings from my dissertation is if entrepreneurs were part of a peer-to-peer entrepreneurial group, they were a lot more likely to have better coping skills and lowered anxiety.
As part of a peer group, entrepreneurs had people to talk to that understood them and had been through the same issues. They could attend their group, receive support and advice, and experience an encouraging environment. It really fostered a sense of community.
Forums and accelerator programs, like the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Accelerator, can be another great way to build connections with like-minded people.
I’ve been a member of EO for five years, and it’s been a godsend for me. I’ve gained a network of lifelong friends who share my interests, and I’ve really enjoyed their social events and the sense of community I’ve found.
4. There are Therapists Who Specialize in Working with Entrepreneurs
Therapy can be helpful for anyone dealing with anxiety – but finding a therapist who specializes in working with entrepreneurs can be a game changer.
Look for a therapist who:
- Is an entrepreneur or has worked with entrepreneurs before
- Can relate to and understand your situation
- Makes you feel comfortable and at home
Seeing a therapist can reassure you that what you're going through is totally normal. They’ll help walk you through your challenges and come to solutions together.
5. The Real Cause of Entrepreneurial Anxiety
Entrepreneurship can be stressful – but as a whole, a lot of the anxiety is existential. A lot of entrepreneurial anxiety stems from the fear of not being successful or not finding your true purpose.
Entrepreneurial anxiety can also be very tied to what your vision of success means to you.
Try these general anxiety management tips:
- Getting enough sleep
- Fuelling your body with nutritious foods
- Exploring journaling, mindfulness, and meditation exercises
- Creating intentional time in your day for rest and relaxation
Setting up a strong foundation for yourself can be a great way to help relieve anxiety in your daily life – and feel more confident in your ability to tackle any challenges that come your way.
Next Steps for Managing the Anxiety of Entrepreneurship
After reading this article, you have five new ways to cope with your anxiety as an entrepreneur.
Here at KMA Therapy, we know you want the tools and skills to lead as your best self. Our therapy team is here to help you alleviate your anxiety and reach your full potential as an entrepreneur.
Visit our Work and Career Counselling page to learn more about the therapy services we provide to entrepreneurs.
Book an appointment today, or reach out to our caring team with any questions.
If you’re not yet ready to book an appointment, check out these resources to keep learning:
- If you’re struggling with a fear of making mistakes as an entrepreneur, read: What is Perfectionism? (& 8 Signs You May Be a Perfectionist)
- For more anxiety management tips, read: 7 Unconventional Ways to Manage Your Anxiety
- To explore anxiety therapy options, read: The 5 Best Types of Therapy for Anxiety