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How to maintain your sanity during your startup journey

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Starting a business can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be stressful and challenging. Entrepreneurs often face significant pressure to succeed, which can take a toll on their mental health.

Research by NHS England has shown that entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to report having mental health issues such as anxiety and depression compared to the general population.

Needless to say, mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being, and it’s important for entrepreneurs to prioritize their mental health in order to be successful. Poor mental health can lead to a range of negative outcomes, including lower productivity, increased absenteeism, and impaired decision-making. These issues can all negatively impact the success of a startup.

1. Don’t invest more time or resources in your project than you can afford

One of the main reasons that entrepreneurship leads to poor mental health is that new ventures are extremely demanding in terms of time and resources.

Unsurprisingly, the more you can invest in a startup project, the more likely it is to succeed. There is a strong correlation Between the hours worked by a founder and the revenue growth of a startup project

Of course, not everyone can afford to invest the same amount of time or money in a new startup project. For example, it is common not to embark on new startup projects when parenting young children. The reason is simple – both things are very demanding. Doing both successfully is not impossible, but finding the right balance of time investment between the two is difficult and in this situation, not finding the balance can be ruinous for your project or worse for your personal life.

As part of your overall well-being, investing as much as you can if you can’t afford it is the wrong thing to do. If you don’t have enough time or money, you can find ways around these problems.

Working long hours is just one of many Factors that can make you a successful startup founder. If you don’t have that opportunity, perhaps you can try leveraging the other factors you bring to the table – domain knowledge, network, professional skills, etc.

2. Don’t let your project completely absorb your identity

Another common mistake, especially among young founders, is tying their identity too closely to their current project.

If the first (and perhaps only) way you think of yourself as “the founder of X”, then your sense of self-worth would be entirely tied to the outcome of your project.

This is a terrible idea because there are two possible outcomes from this situation – either you would become a successful startup founder or you would become a failed startup founder. Needless to say, when it comes to risky early-stage startup projects, the second outcome is much more likely.

It’s not necessary. If you consider yourself “an entrepreneur currently working on project X”, then the outcome of the project in question would not be so closely related to your mental well-being. The richer your sense of identity, the easier it would be for a specific thing in your life to not turn out the way you would like.

3. Do the things you know you should do

In the 21st century, we know beyond a reasonable doubt that food, exercise, and sleep are extremely closely linked to mental health.

If exercising frequently and getting enough sleep is a higher priority than the current thing that requires your attention in your project, you’ll get farther in the long run without burning out.

In summary, mental health is an essential component of a startup’s success, but more importantly – of your overall well-being. It’s important for founders to prioritize their own mental health and create a supportive culture within their startup.