A small business owner wears many hats each day. Small business management is an all-consuming commitment. This seemingly endless list of things to do can ultimately prove to be a lonely experience at times.
In fact, a recent survey of 440 small business owners conducted by mental health advocacy group Everymind found the rates of symptoms associated with depression and anxiety are higher than the national average, at 58 per cent. The government is taking note, with plans to spend $3.6 million funding small business mental health issues.
With pressure sometimes isolating, a business owner can feel like they have little time for themselves or feeling guilty about spending time outside of their business.
But the reality is that investing in yourself is investing in your business.
Although it may feel uncomfortable, it’s important you focus on your own wellbeing as a key factor in the success of your business.
In my experience, many entrepreneurs point to financial stress as a key reason for increasing levels of social isolation and anxiety.
Finding the time to focus on you
A September 2018 online survey by Intuit Australia revealed small businesses spend on average over 22 hours on accounting per week. By finding more efficient ways to tackle time-intensive and high-stress activities like accounting and personal finance administration, there is an opportunity to focus on some of the deeper aspects of your job, building out skillsets like leadership or simply networking with like-minded people.
By moving to an online financial accounting solution, SMBs owners are getting back time in their day that can be better spent focusing on their social wellbeing. In fact, QuickBooks customers have told in the same survey that they save over 40 hours per month on average by using our tools.
Other benefits, like gaining confidence (96 per cent), saving money (96 per cent), and helping grow their business (95 per cent) can help reduce stress levels and give SMB owners back time and focus to invest in themselves.
Once you’ve unlocked some down time, some useful tools to try out include:
Grow your professional support network quickly by attending events that have socialising built in.
Whether it’s a small business conference or a more casual local meetup, these sessions are packed with other small business owners eager to network. Small business themed events continue to surge in popularity and are cropping up everywhere, taking many shapes from speed networking to workshops or a simple wine and a whine.
Small business owners can often put themselves under house arrest, working tirelessly from their home day and night. To combat this, we have seen the creation of free pop-up co-working spaces. Instead of spending every working day parked at the kitchen table, these community spaces allow you to rent a desk and join an eclectic mix of workers. These communal offices bring with them new experiences, new energies and allow you to build friendships and contacts in industries you may have never even heard of.
This feels like an obvious answer, but it’s how you engage online that is the key to this. For many, the level of free-time needed to attend a networking session simply isn’t achievable, in which case nurturing an online community of like-minded individuals is key. Facebook groups and communities have emerged as a strong source for sound advice, collaboration and general venting with 59 per cent of respondents in a recent Gransnet Survey noting they felt less lonely when online.
The benefits of finding time to invest in yourself extends beyond just social health. The science suggests creativity neurons are generated and unleashed in moments of conversation, a sense of community is something we all cherish and it ensures your thinking is fresh.
Running a business is a challenge that can be equal parts exciting and exhausting. What is really important is stepping back, taking a breath and finding some time to invest in your business’ most important asset – yourself.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone about mental health issues, you can contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.