Our Business’s Well-Being is Our Well-Being: Part 2 — The Things an Entrepreneur Wished You knew
In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the fact that most entrepreneurs have time management issues. When you work your own hours and have to manage your business (and yourself), this can be quite a challenge. If you missed that article, you can read it here. Again, as stated in Part 1, we are sharing the things full-time entrepreneurs wished you knew but probably will never tell you. In Part two, here we will discuss how often the entrepreneur’s self-worth is often intrinsically tied to his or her enterprise.
Part 2: Our Business’s “Well Being” = Our Well-Being
Often times, especially for solo/micro and small businesses, we are so intimately involved with our businesses. In essence, “full-time entrepreneurs ARE their businesses”. How can you separate a one-man accountancy business, a two-person event planning company or a website design business from their very owners? It is almost impossible when this is their main hustle. It is possible we can liken it to how a “doctor is a doctor” basically anywhere they go. Similarly, a full-time entrepreneur is what they are wherever they go. This is perhaps the advantage that people who run businesses part-time have over those who do it full-time. Part-timers have the luxury of not having to rely too heavily on their ventures. There is, therefore, less pressure and less personal identification with the terminology of being an entrepreneur.
So for full-timers, our business is an extension of us. We may sometimes make the mistake of valuing ourselves or validating ourselves primarily off the performance of our business. That is if the entrepreneur’s business is going well, it is possible the entrepreneur will feel like they are “personally” doing well. If the business is performing poorly, it is possible the entrepreneur will have a negative view of themselves.
Therefore, self-worth, self-confidence/self-esteem, and personal wellbeing are incredibly tied to that entrepreneur’s venture. Poor business performance may mean shaky self-worth and shaky self-esteem. Honestly speaking, it should be understandable why that is. If the overall performance of that business falls heavily on the responsibility of the entrepreneur, they may reflect on their achievements as an indication of their purpose in life (or at least that phase of their lives). Sadly, there is evidence that exists to prove this. We talked about mental health issues for entrepreneurs in an earlier article found here. However, there are many other resources online that will drive home my point, like this one , this one, or this. It can be very hard for entrepreneurs to separate these two things: their worth and their businesses.
The very weird thing is that in basic financial management, experts will advise you to separate your personal accounts from that of your business’s accounts. Your business and you are separate ( or should be separate legal entities). They will say that at the very least you must have a personal account for your personal finances and a business bank account for your business finances. What your business earns is not what you earn. This seems incredibly basic knowledge. However, what hardly anyone ever tells an entrepreneur is that they need to also make these “demarcations” in their minds for their well-being about their efforts and their business’s efforts. By this I mean, any business is bigger than its owners. The entrepreneur’s personal efforts do not necessarily equal their overall business’s efforts. Their personal efforts should be a percentage and not the overall performance. After all, no business functions in a cacoon. External factors play a huge factor too: competition, economic situations, and market size are just some of the factors that affect any business. Therefore no entrepreneur should look at their personal efforts as their business’s overall efforts. It is not a complete assessment.
Therefore could be more possible solutions, but here are a few:
- Entrepreneurs should know that they are not their businesses. If you are close to one and they tend to default to that viewpoint, sit them down and try to drive home the point.
- By extension, the entrepreneur should know that not only are they not their business, they are also not their work. Again, this is an easy pitfall, as advised here. It would not be surprising if this is common for creative or social entrepreneurs.
- If the entrepreneur’s business is their passion, I hate to say this but advise them to find something else they are passionate about to do on the side. When their business is not working, something positive they can lose themselves in can certainly help for balance. After all, most small businesses fail. That entrepreneur will need something to deal with the mental anguish of maybe becoming that statistic.
The bottom-line is, the entrepreneur must find their self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem from outside of their business to ensure they do not crumble. One entrepreneur who dealt with such issues — Mark Woeppel — and came out strong on the other side said this:
“I used to be like, ‘My work is me,’ “ he says. “Then you fail. And you find out that your kids still love you. Your wife still loves you. Your dog still loves you.”
Personally, I struggle with this a lot. Like Mark Woeppel, I need to know that regardless of what happens in my business, my pet plant Minty still loves me.
The distinction process is still hard though. What are your thoughts on this topic? Any comments? Feel free to share your view below.
Want to discover more about Maclean Mbepula? Find her on Linkedin or here on Medium. She’s written 3 books (one in entrepreneurship from a grassroots perspective (“Challenge Accepted) and 2 poetry books which are available for purchase on Amazon or you can sign up and get the kindle versions 100% FREE.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.