Considering that of all the millions of startups launched every year a staggering 90% fails, it’s no wonder that many consider running a startup business quite stressful. So as a founder you might be looking for some startup stress relieve. Here’s what to do and not to do when it comes to that.
Stress itself is a risk factor
The first stressful thing about starting that company is also the major reason why you might not make it: money. Whether you’re funded or bootstrapped, a startup always needs to watch their finances. Spend to much and you’ll be out of money before you can market your product. Spend too little (or too late) and you’ll get outcompeted. So basically it’s all about the money, right? Well, maybe we should say: it’s about making the right decisions.
Prioritizing is key
Decision making and prioritizing is what it’s all about when running your business. You need to decide on what projects your team should work on, how to approach your customers, what features need improvement and which ones need to be left out. And then there’s your team. Forming the right team might just mean the difference between success and failure. No wonder many founders might lie awake when the have to decide on who to hire.
And that’s where it gets extra tricky: feeling too stressed might actually cause you to make the wrong decisions. There are a thousand ways how stress might influence decision making and cause your startup business harm, from sleep deprivation to impulsiveness to procrastination. So it’s indeed smart for startups to make sure that stress levels aren’t rising to high.
How to relieve startup stress
Now, if you’ve been feeling your heart race or those butterflies in your stomach while preparing for that pitch, don’t worry about that. These signs are just normal and actually it’s exactly what you should feel (more on that in a later post). But if you notice you are losing sleep or can’t focus anymore, then it’s surely time to act. Here’s some things you can try.
1. Prevent stress and create overview
Not knowing what’s going on will make it impossible for you to run your business. So to address that you could start out with creating overview. Make sure you know what your priorities are, what projects are running now, which ones will run in the future, what deadlines need to be met and which ones can be postponed. Use software tools like Basecamp if you work with a team or use a more personal orientated like Amazing Marvin if you’re a solopreneur.
If you find it really difficult to categorize and prioritize, get some help. Ask a colleague of co-founder to work out a system and importantly: make sure you maintain it. No better way to declutter your mind than to organize all the info you need to process. If you can afford it: hire a personal assistant to this for you and help you remember deadlines. They don’t have to cost a ton of money, but they will surely help you to make it. It’s a good investment.
2. Take time to unwind
So, that should take some of the stress away. But don’t be a fool thinking you can be in total control when running a startup. You’re doing everything for the first time, so things are going to be chaotic and stress will build up. Now here’s the thing: amidst all that chaos there’s really always room to take a minute to clear your head.
The moment you feel there’s no time for such a thing is the moment you should step out and take a deep breath.
The ways to do that are countless: go outside for a walk, declutter your desk, meditate, take a power nap or just sit down and breath slowly. It doesn’t have to take long either, 20 seconds can be enough to release that tension that’s been creeping up your body.
Remember this: the moment you feel there’s no time for such a thing that is the moment you should step out and take a deep breath. That too is a good investment, the best way to spend your time.
Don’t limit this to work, by the way. Do this at home as well. Even if you have been working late and feel tired, it’s a good idea to unwind before you go to bed. Create a bedtime routine that will help you relax and prevent you from starting at the ceiling all night.
3. Instant stress relieve: have fun
Last but not least and actually the no. 1 when it comes to stress relieve: have some fun. You probably enjoy doing coding, developing, researching and making whatever it is you make, research and do in your startup. But this is a different kind of fun. The one that will cause you to laugh your ass off, tears running down your cheeks kind of fun.
If you want to, you can hire a lauging-yoga-instructor (they actually exist and must have the best jobs ever), but you can also share a funny story with someone. Having a good laugh makes the perfect antidote for stress, releasing neurochemicals in your bloodstream that not only improve your mood but also your health. But before you decide on sitting down during your break for an hour of funny cat video’s: staring at a screen does not make a good work break. But the best way to relieve your startup stress is to make your fun interactive and preferably with live persons. Okay, ór pets.