How can I manage the mental and emotional load of running a business?

I'm a small business, a startup really, but I keep looking at what everyone else is doing and they all seem so far ahead of me that I wonder if it's worth even continuing. Can anyone share any tips or advice on how to manage the emotional load of running a business?

Top voted answer
Greg Rogers

Greg Rogers, Founder and CEO at

The very first step.

Stop looking at what everyone else is doing, they are not you, and not your business.

Revisit your strategy (gotta have one) for our short term and longer term goals for your business.

Are the tactics and actions that you are executing still applicable? If so continue on. If not, tweak them to adjust.

You went (hopefully) into business for the right reasons, vision, purpose and a desire to help by way of your product/service. Business is not a comparison game.

All those that you see as being 'so far aheadof me' were all in the same spot at some point.

From your brief post it would seem the single biggest priority in your business and by extension you, right now, is mindset.

Happy to chat further.

Remember, we have all been in this space. It's what you do now that matters most.



Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Top 10% Business Ideas

You may be caught in a vicious cycle of imposter syndrome. Let me be frank, if we as entrepreneurs and business owners were honest, we all feel this way. Some of us feel it more frequently than others. The best way to combat this is by surrounding yourself with other entrepreneurs and business owners (could be from any industry). I particularly enjoy the Master Mind group structure (see the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.
Having a support structure, especially during these uncertain times is vitally important. The people that are the most likely to understand you are likeminded business owners. The people most likely to give you emotional support are friends and family.
The other big change is adjusting how you see or perceive your competition. It is highly unlikely they are doing everything in the best manner possible. Watch them closely. You’ll see things that they aren’t doing well and they are likely too close to catch it themselves.

Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh, Cofounder at

Good to see you back Jef.

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Definitely good to be back, just settling into a less chaotic season. Hoping to contribute more often again.

Bronwen Sciortino

Bronwen Sciortino, CEO at

There are a few things you can do to make things easier on an ongoing basis.

The first, is to understand what YOUR indestructable 'WHY' is.

By this, I mean understanding why it is you started your business. Why is it important to you that you run your business. What is the solution you're providing and why is that important to you.

The second is to remember that what you see about what others are doing isn't the whole picture of what's happening. What people share in the public domain is usually their wins, and they always share them in the best light possible. You then take this and compare it with your everyday life that is full of ups and downs and challenges and it seems like you're not competitive and you're not keeping up. But you're comparing a virtual representation of someone else's life with your real life .... they're NEVER going to match.

Lastly, it's so important that you look after your energy because that's the true source of you being able to maintain your passion and enthusiasm for everything you need to get done. Find the things that give you energy (the things, places, people and activities that you come away from feeling fabulous) and then make sure you give them to yourself all the time. Use your diary to schedule time for them and treat them as your most important 'meetings' every day. The more energy you have, the more you will have to give to others around you.

Overlay compassion and kindness for yourself on these things and you'll be well on your way to managing the load that comes with running your own business.

Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Great tips @Bronwen Sciortino . Balance is so important!

Koos Kruger

Koos Kruger at Kruger Services


please email me on and I will forward you checklist and helpful tools to mange stress as a business owner. The material was developed by the Institute of Advisors and The University of Tasmania. 

Beverley Unitt

Beverley Unitt, The MINDiVATION Expert at

Hi there Anon,
keep your eyes on your PURPOSE. Get clarity with WHY you do what you do, before you get into the What and the How.
I recommend you check out the free session here as perhaps it will help with your THINKING, to empower yourself to value yourself  first.

There was a reason you started in the first place , and it's time to embrace your BRAVE and stay on course.

Dave Clare

Dave Clare, Chief Rockstar Executive at Prophet For Purpose

Why are you comparing your beginning to someone else's middle?

Candice Meisels

Candice Meisels at

One step at a time, one rung of the ladder at a time, one day at a time...
Look after your mental health and stress by including something that helps you into your busy schedule e.g walking, exercise, meditation, reading...

Jane Jones

Jane Jones, Manager at SavvySME

Great support and advice here. Thanks everyone. You always have to know your WHY.  And keep coming back to it. Why did you start a business? Anxiety and stress gets to most of us at some time or another.  Review your plans every 3 months, Are you hitting goals? Do you need to reassess?  Do you need some support in the way of coaching or mentoring? I also like the mastermind groups and surrounding yourself with people who are on a similar journey to you @Jef Lippiatt  Plenty of offers here to connect for support. @Beverley Unitt @Koos Kruger @Greg Rogers and important reminder on taking care of our mental health - thanks @Candice Meisels 

Some important points to come back to with respect to stress and anxiety ...

Shane Van De Vorstenbosch

Shane Van De Vorstenbosch, Director at

There is an awesome book recently released called "Fix This Next".

What it is really good at is looking at a small business and saying "here are all the things that you need to fix, but this is the one that you really need to fix next".

As a business owner there are thousands of things that we could be doing, hundreds of things we should be doing, but we can only do one thing. 

Looking at other business owners is great for lessons and inspirations, but only when the time is right.

Start with "Fix This Next". Chances are, you will find your answers in the first couple of chapters.

Brian Le Mon

Brian Le Mon, Principal at

Top 10% Startup

The most important lesson you can learn in managing the mental and emotional stresses of running a business is to remember this: It doesn't need to all be done at the same time.

When I first started in business I would have an idea and then work around the clock setting up business names, cards, website, online presence, branding etc until it was all done and ready to trade. Great for a initial kick-start spurt to "hit the ground running", but this is not a healthy way to run the day to day activites in a business.

Remember business is a long haul project that you are hoping will continue to provide for you for many years to come and treat it as such. Every business will have challenges and times when processes have become obsolete or superceded by new tecnology. This does not mean it needs to be fixed overnight. Learn to prioritise what needs to be done urgently and then to break down any changes or challenges into smaller manageable chunks that you can work with without going into a meltdown over the enormity of the (entire) task ahead. 

Think of it like creating a scuplture from stone, chipping away slowly and pourposefully will eventually create amasterpiece whereas taking a big sledgehammer approach to any issue hoping the a heavy handed hit will resolve everything is more likely to lead to mental and emotional ruin.

Maya Zack

Maya Zack, Owner at Maya Zack Mindset Training

Hi Anon,

We’ve all been there, feeling like it’s all been done or said before... seeing there are so many businesses just like yours, it can make you believe there's no more space for you.


I know it can feel pointless to try and put yourself out there when the competition is already there, getting all the clients & doing better marketing. And this envy & frustration can really suck the creativity & motivation out of you.


But you really don’t need to be the first or only chocolate shop in town!



  • There are literally thousands or millions of people looking for what you offer. Competition is a great sign there’s plenty of demand & space for you.
  • Every single one of those you're comparing yourself to has been exactly where you are now. So in fact, you are exactly where you need to be in order to reach the next step. There's simply no getting to C without passing through B first - so you're in the right place, just keep going!
  • Potential clients, unlike you, don’t hang out in the bubble of your biz-space. They don’t follow all that competition like you do. They’re just looking for someone to work with, and that could be you - if only they knew about you!
  • When you see a new face in your bubble, you don’t assume they’re going to fail, do you? As time goes by and you see them more and more, you simply view them too as part of your competition. Point is, there are always ‘newcomers’. Again, that could be you. Imagine where you’d be in 2 years time if you were that new face, CONSISTENTLY showing up.
  • Those who are successful learn from their competition rather than envy them. Competition keeps you improving & innovating to stand out. Do that not by copying, but by being inspired to do things better. This could actually be a 'secret weapon' to stepping up.
  • Maybe what you offer isn’t new. But people love being reminded of stuff. Plus, you are different. People are drawn to your personality, style, brand or values. Do & say things your way. Allow yourself to be bold & stand out as yourself. That’s how you attract the right people who will want to work specifically with you.

Entrepreneurs don’t look for open space, they make space!

Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Great advice @Maya Zack