Being a startup founder is complex, and many suffer in silence from anxiety and depression. Anyone who has been an entrepreneur worked with an entrepreneur or knew an entrepreneur personally, would likely not be surprised by this information. Founders have some of the most challenging jobs in the world. The highs are relatively high, while the lows are very low. As opposed to traditional small firms, which may expand at their rate, startups are subject to intense pressure to be original, to "disrupt" existing markets, to get funding, and snowball. One common stereotype about founders is that they are steady optimists who never give up, regardless of the challenges they encounter, and who brush off the fears of others around them over the future of their businesses. However, entrepreneurs may be more prone to depression, motivation loss, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health difficulties than the general population.
According to studies, entrepreneurs are 30 percent more prone than their non-entrepreneurial counterparts to suffer from depression. Most people feel that an increasingly complicated competitive environment is to blame for founder depression. Technology and globalization have made managing startups more risky and complex. However, startup stress isn't the leading cause of depression among entrepreneurs. Some founders are at risk of developing depression because they put undue pressure on themselves to become business owners when, in all likelihood, they do not have the disposition required for the role, to begin with.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the life of a startup founder is stressful. They have to deal with a far more significant number of elements than workers do, including dealing with investors, customers, and employees, as well as the financial worries of being profitable, making payroll obligations, and even keeping the lights on. While losing one's work might be terrible for an employee, losing one's business typically means losing everything and, most crucially, one's sense of self-worth.
Although not everyone has the personality to be a founder, a growing number of individuals are opting to launch their businesses since entrepreneurship is becoming a more appealing and respectable career. Around 66 percent of persons living in the modern world are interested in becoming founders. Consequently, it is realistic to assume that not everyone will possess the characteristics of an entrepreneurial mentality necessary to become successful in their careers and to find happiness in those positions.
Learning to deal with the regular startup stress may no longer be enough for certain founders. They must educate themselves on how to control and work with their personalities to overcome depression. Here are a few pointers to assist startup founders in avoiding founder's depression:
To start with, you have to protect your Number One Asset - your physical, mental, and emotional health:
You will carry on regardless of whether or not your business rises, is a success, or fails. You are of much less value to your business if your ability is lowered, and you are much less likely to reach your goals if you do not have the required level of health, energy, and mentality.
Understand your personality and identify your weak spots:
To control your character successfully, you must first understand what it is. The IPIP-NEO exam is widely considered to be among the most influential online personality assessments currently available. Because it has received over half a million replies, it is regarded as a trustworthy and accurate evaluation instrument. By completing the exam, you will be able to find out how well you score on the four characteristics. Which of your scores is the highest and which is the lowest? Consider which aspects of starting a business could be particularly challenging for you.
For instance, if you scored extremely low in the trait of extraversion, you should prepare yourself for the possibility that highly social employment, such as fundraising or networking, would be stressful. Talking to other business owners in your field about the challenges you face may also be beneficial in this regard. If you are a founder in this industry, you need to consider how well you handle the unknown and how comfortable you are with risk.
Hire people who complement your personality traits:
It is common practice for leaders to choose and recruit people with the same personality traits. However, founders should take the opposite approach: Find a partner or cofounder with the qualities of character you lack and work with them. In this manner, they will be able to fill in any gaps left by you while enjoying the task that you may find demanding. Because of this, you will have more time to devote to activities that bring you joy. For instance, if you have a low score in exposure to experience, it is possible that you are not organically engaged in creative work, even though you are capable of doing it if you so want. Find a person who thrives on the challenge of being imaginatively creative.
Create a "restorative niche" to reduce stress:
Founders cannot always avoid doing the job they dislike. Despite their best efforts, founders may discover that they are obliged to do work that is at odds with their personality in a significant way. For instance, some founders still in the very early phases of their firm will find themselves networking all day and all night, even if they dislike engaging in social activities with other people. The term "restorative niche" refers to a separate location and period in which people may de-stress and return to being themselves. Psychologists advocate that people create their own "restorative niches." For instance, introverted founders may relax from their networking activities and battle stress by designating daily "quiet time," during which they can enjoy total privacy and isolation. This is a great way for introverted founders to de-stress after engaging in networking activities. The creation of niches may assist founders in regaining their psychological balance and energy before the situation becomes unmanageable.
Know the signs of depression:
Depression may manifest itself in various ways. The most common is an overwhelming lack of pleasure or interest in activities or pursuits that one previously found rewarding. An abrupt change (or shift) in sleeping patterns, body weight, hunger, or energy levels, and an increase in feelings of worthlessness, shame, or self-blame, are all indicators of depression.
Startup founders should know these signs to identify when they are feeling these symptoms and seek the professional assistance they need when necessary. They may also seek the aid of a reliable friend or member of their family to assist them in recognizing these symptoms. This is particularly helpful because founders overburdened with work may sometimes overlook the early warning indications.
By following the tips above, you are one step closer to dealing with your depression challenges.