Idaho, Iowa, Des Moines
August 26, 2022

The Surprising Truth About Business Anxiety

Owning a business has never been an easy career choice. If you work for yourself, you know that the benefits can be wonderful, but the risks are also high. 

And if you’re like many of my clients, you might have a lot of anxieties about owning your own business. Maybe you’re worried about the steep learning curve that comes with entrepreneurship. Maybe you’re anxious about having a variable paycheck. You may be concerned about the lack of structure. There are so many unknowns when it comes to owning a business, and it’s valid and normal to have all of these worries. 

As the owner of a private practice myself, I understand the worries, concerns, and business anxiety that come with being an entrepreneur. Most of us aren’t taught in school how to run a business, so those of us who choose this nontraditional path have to teach ourselves over time by trial and error.

entrepreneur anxiety

The Challenges of Business Ownership

It makes sense to be nervous about facing so many unknowns and what-ifs. There are multitudes of horror stories out there about people who poured everything they have into their business and then lost it all. Or people who wake up at 4am and work until 7pm just to keep things running smoothly. Many of the business-owning millennials I work with are anxious about worst-case scenarios like this. Many also worry about the day-to-day challenges of being an entrepreneur.

For one thing, you don’t have anyone dictating your schedule, which is one of the biggest reasons people take the entrepreneurial path. Not having a set schedule can be really great. But let’s face it, it can also really suck. No one telling you when to work also means there’s no one telling you when not to work. And as a business owner, there’s always more you could be doing. But that doesn’t mean you should spend all your time working on your business. 

Many business owners don’t prioritize taking breaks. Many also work nonstop or don’t set appropriate work hours. When you work for yourself, it’s easy to constantly be striving to do more, earn more, and expand. But this can all lead to burnout and even harm your relationships. I’ll tell you something you won’t hear from many business owners: It’s okay to take real breaks from your business. You’re allowed to put everything on pause for your mental health. Your job and company will still be there when you come back. 

Working for yourself can feel incredibly lonely, too. Many business owners are used to working as part of a team in some capacity. However, when they make the switch to working for themselves, they suddenly find themselves alone and tasked with every aspect of running the show. 

Over 81% of small business owners work alone. Loneliness and burnout have increased since the beginning of the Covid pandemic for entrepreneurs, and it’s no coincidence. If you’re feeling resentful or exhausted at the end of your work days, you may be experiencing the negative effects of burnout and isolation.   

Being an entrepreneur can also be financially challenging. Nobody is giving you a paycheck, and reliable income can be hard to come by at first. Having some money saved – 6 months or so of expenses – can ease this anxiety. It helps to know you can cover your bills and needs in case you can’t pay yourself for a while.

Owning a business can also feel like a constant comparison trap, which causes anxiety for many of my clients. After all, there’s always someone doing xyz better or more efficiently than you. There’s always someone who makes more money than you, or who seems to have their shit together more. But you don’t see what’s going on behind the scenes for them. Maybe they are miserable because they have no work-life balance. Or maybe they simply have far more experience than you.

The Reality of Having Business Anxiety

Whatever the case is for another business owner, the reality is your own experience will be different from theirs. Being an entrepreneur means there’s no set way of doing things. You get to choose how you operate, depending on your values and goals. And your choices and values are going to look different than someone else’s– and that’s okay. 

Ultimately, the truth is that if you own a business, you’re likely to experience a whole lot of various feelings about it. It’s okay if that includes some worries and anxiety. Everyone I know who owns their own business has endured worries to some extent. 

It makes sense that you’re feeling anxious about being a business owner. We live in a world that values constant productivity. We’re all expected to churn out content and results and make a lot of money doing it. We’re made to feel lazy if we aren’t constantly trying to expand or grow or somehow make our lives bigger and better. That includes our careers. Many of my clients put a lot of pressure on themselves – and receive this pressure from external sources – to not only achieve and succeed in business, but to be perfect.  

Think about how you would talk to a friend who was having similar concerns about their business. You would probably try to validate their concerns and soothe their worries, right? And you would likely believe in their ability to overcome whatever difficulties they encountered. You’d trust they could figure it out as they went.

So why should it be any different for you?

Therapy Can Help if You’re Struggling With Entrepreneur Anxiety

Not sure how to manage all your entrepreneur anxiety? Feel like it’s taking over your whole life? Consider therapy – I can help you work through your challenges and come up with goal-setting strategies to keep you on track to have a successful and balanced entrepreneurial journey.

During our work together, you’ll learn how to set realistic goals and see them through. We’ll come up with coping skills to deal with business anxiety and help you step confidently into the world knowing what you’re dealing with and how you can manage it.

I’m ready if you are. Reach out today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Meet the author

Danielle Wayne

Danielle is an anxiety therapist. She specializes in helping busy millennials dial down their anxiety and ADHD, so they can perform at their best. Danielle has been featured on Apartment Therapy, SparkPeople, Lifewire, and Now Art World. When Danielle isn't helping her clients, she's playing video games or spending time with her partner and step children.

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Helping millennial professionals dial down anxiety and stress, so they can perform at their best.