I bought sweets\ candies to resell. I wrote stories and got a boy to draw cartoons for me which I sold.
Though I didn’t sell much while in secondary school I did a lot of trade by barter. If I had or could do something I gave it in exchange for what I needed.
In the university I sold everything from costume jewelry, self-made beaded jewellery, G-strings, cosmetics to clothes. I encouraged my male colleagues to buy gifts for their female friends and relatives so they could buy something from me. I just sold and sold.
My National Youth Service Days (NYSC) weren’t left out. I didn’t stop selling. I even sold my personal stuffs for the right price when people expressed interest in them.
Here I was thinking I will definitely go into business after getting my degree. Hence my being a serial entrepreneur.
But reality hit me hard when I moved back home after my NYSC. My parents were on my case to get a real job and start earning.
I tried all I could to convince them to let me do business to no avail.
So four months later I started working but I couldn’t continue my business due to pressure from the job.
And that’s when the anxiety first started due to the stress of juggling my business with a job.
I realized I had to deal with entrepreneur anxiety.
Finally after four years of being an employee I’m finally doing my own thing. My parents are still on my case though but I’ve grown a thicker skin.
People say I’m lucky doing my own thing forgetting I’m carrying quite a heavy burden on my shoulders. I’m performing several job roles to reduce cost as a small business.
I’m in the agriculture sector which means I don’t make an income regularly like everyone else.
It doesn’t mean I don’t pay bills in the period I don’t earn (business and personal).
Likewise there have been times I didn’t even earn my cost price talkless of profits due to things beyond my control.
But I keep trudging on because I can’t afford to give up. And I just deal with entrepreneur anxiety that these situations cause.
Also I get rejected and turned down after pitching to a client. There are days I just roam the house in my house wear devising means of how to get out of my latest rut. So yes it gets real.
This is the life of a full time entrepreneur.
As an entrepreneur people see you out there looking good but don’t know your struggles.
I can’t even vent to my own parents when I’m crossing certain hurdles because they will say “didn’t we tell you to get a real job with security?”
But I finally learnt how deal with entrepreneur anxiety. It was hard at first but I kept going at it.
I can’t say I’ve fully gotten over it but it’s under control these days.
And these are the steps I took to get there:
How I Deal With Entrepreneur Anxiety
• Identify and Acknowledge
I had to consciously identify what the problem was and admit it was anxiety. At first it was scary to admit. But I understood eventually that I had to acknowledge the problem to overcome it.
• Prioritise and Plan
Prioritising my goals in order of importance helped to lessen the pressure. I plan my days ahead now and it helps tremendously.
I do the most important things first and I answer the most important mails/ messages first. If it’s not urgent I leave it for another day.
• Boycott Thinking Entirely
These days I avoid thinking entirely when I have a business related issue. I simply blank out. This was quite hard to do initially but with meditation, prayer, music, happy-ending movies and dance it got easier. I try to be mentally tough to deal with entrepreneur anxiety.
• Break Issues
Break down issues into lumps and goals into chunks. Have a go at it one after the other. Set goals daily. Now I set my goals into tasks I can accomplish daily.
• Celebrate Small Victories
And accomplishments. Be grateful. Also keep a journal (write them down). I celebrate every milestone no matter how small it seems and it really helps.
Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas said in a CBS piece that studies consistently show that people who keep a gratitude journal are 25 percent happier than those who don’t.
The people who had the gratitude journal showed increases in happiness, reductions in stress, reductions in vulnerability to physical symptoms, such as headaches.
While Wood et al examined gratitude and well being in the context of personality style using a sample of 389 adults.
In this study, gratitude was strongly linked to well being.
Thereafter the researchers concluded that gratitude has a unique relationship with life satisfaction.
• Take Breaks
Step out of isolation. Interact with friends and family. Break the cycle of work. If you are a solopreneur share office space at least for some days in the week. I’m simply saying come up for air.
• Accept Failure
Failure is bound to happen at some point but I have learnt to accept it and not dwell on it for too long.
• Seek Support
Talk a lot about the problem to people you trust that truly understand (not pretend to understand). I have a friend that I share my entrepreneurial journey with. I can vent all day and she listens without complaining or judging. But when I’m done I feel so much better.
• Decide To Enjoy The Journey
Consciously enjoy the entrepreneurial journey you have embarked on. Learn life lessons. These past few weeks have been tasking but I’ve taken it as a learning phase. It’s made me improvise and make wise money decisions.
• Eat Healthy And Exercise
Without overemphasis healthy foods and exercise just have a way of calming me down. It’s helping me greatly to deal with entrepreneur anxiety.
• Use It
Finally use the anxiety to motivate you to take action as at when necessary. Now I approach anxiety as a motivator to do and achieve more.
As an entrepreneur you have to deal with not having a steady stream of income knowing fully well you have bills to pay.
These things don’t wait for you; they will steal your sleep, appetite, cause depression and suicidal thoughts etc except you nip it in the bud.
Sometimes you feel like all your efforts won’t pay off and other times you feel you can take on the world alone.
Working all hours of the week, lots of rejection, competition to outsmart and pile of bills to pay all contribute to anxiety.
You need to deal with the anxiety before it deals with you. Because it trumps creativity and as an entrepreneur you need a strong creative game to survive.
These are the things I do to deal with anxiety. Do you do other things asides these to conquer anxiety? Please let’s discuss.