How to Overcome Startup Stress

Instead of letting stress drag you down, have a plan in place for dealing with it effectively.

Anyone who has even entertained the idea of starting a company from scratch understands that there’s no easy road to success. From obtaining financing to establishing vendor relationships, there are bound to be rough patches that cause stress. The key to growing and retaining momentum (when stress hits) is dealing with it constructively. Being able to deal with startup stress is the difference between making it to the next level and failing from the start.

It’s no secret that stress can produce negative health effects. From depression to physical health ailments, stress can also lead to substance abuse and other devastating consequences. So, here are four simple ways to cope with (and overcome) startup stress:


  1. Stop Comparing

    The Internet is filled with entrepreneurial success stories; snapshots of individuals who went from nothing to millionaire status (seemingly overnight) without a single struggle (at least, that’s what they’d have you think). The moment you start comparing your own small business journey and struggles with unrealistic notions of success is the moment you start to allow the stress to pile on unnecessarily.

    Instead, look for local inspiration. Talk to entrepreneurs who’ve been where you are and build a relationship. Look for entrepreneurial organizations to join and startup conferences to attend. Listen to real stories of business struggle and how they got through. Remember: no business is without stress; you’re not alone.

  2. Make a List

    One of the easiest ways for stress to accumulate is when thoughts about your business becomes overwhelming — simply too much to handle. When one negative thought leads to another, the result is a vortex of impossible to-do items and questions that swirl out of control. To combat this, make a list. Write down action items that you can take, set a timeline and start crossing items off the list as they are completed. The act of seeing information go from a stressor to a completed task is cathartic and will provide a feeling of manageability, while giving you specific steps to decrease uncontrolled stress.

  3. Set up a Challenge

    Sometimes focusing on something else can put the stressors related with running a startup in check. Set up a challenge that you can achieve that is not related to your business. Consider devising an exercise plan to combat stress, set a goal or sign up for a race or other wellness activity. By setting yourself up for success in another area of life – while maintaining an active lifestyle that promotes relaxation and positive energy – you’ll be better equipped to manage the stress of running a startup.

  4. Be Honest

    Any entrepreneur who convinces themselves that they will not face stress in business is hurting themselves from the start. One of the best ways to handle stress is to be prepared for it. To do this, acknowledge that there will be stresses associated with your startup.

    There will be times when you will feel stretched thin and pushed to your limits. Prepare yourself in advance by crafting a plan or writing a mantra for dealing with that stress. Remind yourself that you cannot do everything on your own and that it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help when necessary. Set limits for where you will draw the line and try a new approach to old problems. Take an honest viewlook at what’s involved with running a startup, and you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.

Stress happens to the best of us. Whether you’re in the startup phase or have been running an established company, you know that not everything in business is predictable, by the book or easy to handle. There will be days when you feel like it’s too much and you won’t be sure how to proceed. This is normal. Instead of letting stress drag you down, have a plan in place for dealing with it effectively.


Savannah Flynn is a public relations specialist for WebpageFX, a full-service Internet marketing, web design and web development agency offering integrated web solutions for medium to large sized businesses across the globe. She has a passion for online marketing and PR.


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