A few years ago I decided to give up the safety of employment and a regular paycheck to become an entrepreneur. Life was going to be awesome, free-er and most importantly life was mine. But shortly after I started my new small business, both the business and I was struggling and trying to find ways to manage the stress of running a business was sometimes very obscure. The constant questions that needed to be answered: how do you find the time, what are the problems, obstacles and solutions, who can I talk to when I need talked down from my rage at the idiot emails I receive and how do I find free time for myself. Sadly these were just a few of the bigger questions I was facing daily.
Why Instagram gurus don’t help?
I found that as a small business with no employees at the time that entrepreneur stress management was basically all lumped together, generic and at times not factually based and nothing was industry-specific. Sometimes it felt like there’s no help or support for small business owners, so where do you find answers for this anxiety? In my first attempt to seriously find some stress management solutions, tragically, I turned to social media for some insight. However I found out very quickly from the ‘guru’s’ of Instagram that if I get up at 6 am every day, ate nothing but avocados, regular gym attendance and making time for networking events then my business would thrive because my body and mind would be in sync and the temple of me would become something I would soon come to worship.
I much as I might love my own reflection, it’s fair to say that hell yes I was skeptical. I am not a morning person, I hate the gym and I don’t care much for avocado. So was my small business and leap of faith into an entrepreneurial future about to take a nose dive as I was clearly not able to follow the stress management advice and change my entire personality based on these business guru’s? Well, there were a few other random things that spewed from their seeming volcano’s of business acumen. The thing that irritated me more was that some of it must be true, as they are making money from essentially making videos.
Listen to your inner voice
After looking away from social media for new and more advice that could possibly be more tailored for my personality, I tried looking into the science of all this. After all in the wise words of Sheldon Cooper, ‘maths and science are the only true facts’. So I continued to deprive myself of sleep so that I could continue my research, as during the night seemed to be the only free time I could find. I was only wasting it by sleeping anyway and there’s nothing like adding to the already growing burden.
What I discovered was interesting and a little upsetting. Some of this mumbo-jumbo did actually have some credibility. So when I say I had to get up at 6 am every day and only eat avocados, what it actually translated into was trying to find your routine where you can as it will help you sleep and make time for yourself. Eating avocados actually meant to make sure you eat a decent breakfast. There was me thinking that these guru’s had nothing to offer but a pretty face with a smug smile and a six-pack, who’d have thought it.
What else could have been translated, well-networking events. If you look hard enough you will find something that is specific to your new small business and industry. If you actually try to attend more than one event you might find just one out of hundreds of people that can help you with some problems. It can also help you with sales and customers, possibly not from sales leads but the attendees themselves. I will mention that I am fortunate enough to be retailing wine and, quite frankly, everyone loves and needs a good wine connection!
So what’s the point in this insane rambling? Well, it’s pretty simple really, despite being 28 when I launched my small business, I was and still am a cynic and a skeptic to all this new age hippy-dippy crap. Despite my seeming research and trials of pilates, breathing exercises and routines, I am just not that guy.