May 16


How to Effectively Manage Entrepreneur Stress

By Andrew Martin

May 16, 2024

entrepreneur stress

Anyone who’s run a business knows how stressful and isolating it can be. In fact, a recent Capital One survey revealed that more than half of all small business owners said they’ve dealt with entrepreneur stress in the last year and 35% of them said they’re suffering from mental exhaustion.

Now, if you look online you’ll see a lot of people (who probably never ran a business in their entire lives) offering broad, generic ideas for managing entrepreneur stress that simply don’t work. Going out with your friends for a beer or a nice meal might temporarily take your mind off of things, but it’s not going to address the real problem or have any lasting effect.

That’s why I wanted to share some of the things I’ve found success with using to help ease entrepreneur stress.

1. Figure out what’s causing the stress

You might think that stress just automatically comes with the territory of running a business, but while there’s some truth to that, the reality is the stress normally comes from a specific source that you can address.

Maybe it’s because there’s an area of your business that you know is being mismanaged.

Or maybe you have an employee you know isn’t up to the job and needs to be let go.

Or maybe there’s a skill gap you need to address.

It could even be that you’re not managing your time right and you need to adjust your approach to getting your tasks done.

Once you’ve pinpointed what the actual source of your stress is, you can come up with a plan to fix it and thus reduce the stress you’re experiencing.

2. Focus on what you can control

I’m a big believer in accepting and letting go of the things you can’t control and focusing your energy on the things that you can.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the unpredictability of running a business, but focusing on aspects you can influence keeps you productive and reduces unnecessary stress which can increase your chances of being a successful entrepreneur.

Identifying what’s within your control—such as your reaction to setbacks, how you allocate your time, or the strategies you employ—lets you to take actionable steps toward positive outcomes.

This approach not only helps in managing stress but also empowers you as a leader. It instills a mindset geared towards proactive problem-solving rather than reactive fretting.

3. Make diet and exercise a priority

Not to turn this into a health blog, but the fact is that getting your diet and fitness in order can make you a more productive and less stressed entrepreneur.

Here are some facts to consider:

  • Research from BYU, which surveyed 20,000 employees, discovered that those with poor eating habits were 66% more likely to see a decline in their productivity.
  • A study featured in the journal Population Health Management indicated that poor dietary habits are associated with a 66% higher risk of reduced productivity.
  • Research has demonstrated that infrequent exercise is associated with a 50% greater risk of low productivity among employees.
  • A study revealed that 79% of workers reported enhanced mental and interpersonal performance on days they exercised.

I’m not going to go into specific health and fitness tips here because there are a lot of people way more qualified than me to give that advice, but the point is that if you make it a priority to take care of yourself, it can go a long way to helping reduce your stress as an entrepreneur.

4. Get enough sleep

As a small business owner, the work never ends. I’ve certainly been there, working from early morning into the late hours of the night, getting little to no sleep.

But what I’ve learned — and what research backs — is that poor sleep makes you a poor entrepreneur.

There’s this trend of “hustle” culture that makes it sound like getting no sleep is a badge of honor, but the reality is it’s kind of, well, dumb.

Study after study has found that adults who don’t get enough sleep (7 to 8 hours is what most experts seem to recommend) are more stressed, more prone to confusion, slower mentally, have trouble remembering things, and overall, in poorer physical and mental health.

I know how hard it can be to go to bed when there’s a million things that need to be done, but it’s going to make you a better business owner.

5. Set a routine…and stick to it

Entrepreneurship requires flexibility, there’s no doubt about it. Things can (and do) change quickly, which makes it hard to maintain a consistent daily routine. However, establishing a routine is crucial for managing stress and maintaining productivity.

A routine gives your day structure, ensuring that essential tasks aren’t overlooked and that your work doesn’t bleed into every aspect of your life.

By setting clear boundaries and allocating specific times for work, exercise, and relaxation, you can create a balanced schedule that enhances focus and efficiency.

This doesn’t mean your routine needs to be rigid—there’s always room for necessary adjustments—but the key is consistency.

Regularly sticking to a routine can also help reduce decision fatigue, allowing you to reserve your energy for the most important decisions and creative tasks.

6. Talk to people who “get it”

In my experience, one of the most stressful things about running a business is that you often don’t have anyone else in your circle you can talk to who actually gets what you’re going through.

Most people have no idea what it’s like to run a business. They can’t relate to the constant pressure of making decisions that affect not only your livelihood but also that of your employees, or the isolation that comes from bearing responsibilities that you can’t easily delegate.

This is where it becomes essential to connect with others who understand the unique challenges of entrepreneurship.

Talking to fellow business owners or joining a peer advisory group like Six Figure Dinners can be incredibly beneficial. These connections offer you a chance to express your concerns, share experiences, and receive advice from those who have been in similar situations.

It’s not just about venting frustrations—it’s about gaining valuable insights that can lead to tangible solutions.

These conversations can also be a source of encouragement and motivation. Knowing you’re not alone in your struggles can be comforting and empowering.

This type of entrepreneur support network not only helps in managing stress but also in fostering personal growth, accountability, and resilience.

At Six Figure Dinners, we unite entrepreneurs and founders to tackle essential business challenges, share advice, and leverage our collective experiences.

Our sessions are designed to spark innovation, enhance teamwork, and propel strategic growth, offering members transformative insights that accelerate business success.

Click here to discover more and attend one of our upcoming events as a guest.

Andrew Martin

Andrew is Founder and CEO of Six Figure Dinners. He's also a co-owner of JARA Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in and operates businesses across various industries, including financial services, recruiting, digital media, and real estate. Prior to this, he owned and managed 11 Menchie's Frozen Yogurt locations and a Menchie's Food Truck, which he sold in 2014. Andrew's other investments mainly target small to mid-sized consumer industries.

He earned his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, specializing in Brand Management. Before pursuing his MBA, Andrew led a sales territory at The TREX Company in Boise, ID. Throughout his career, he has volunteered in various capacities, such as offering pro bono mediation services and assisting underprivileged families in improving their living situations.

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