Mental Health Check for Small Business Owners
April 17, 2017
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There are days and then there are DAYS.

As a business owner attempting to forge my own path, the level of overwhelm can send my head spinning. Here is a sampling of my daily brain-burners: child care, family balance, taxes, marketing, MONEY, team hires, content generation, online presence, client well-being, tasks for the day…and this is all before 10am!

How can we do it all while remaining calm, present and productive? How do we organize our lives and trust that we’re headed in the right direction? What do you do to stay in control and ensure that you’re remaining true to your business objectives, big picture goals and family/life balance?

Word of caution: I am not a work/life guru. Far from it, in fact. These are simply a few nuggets that I’ve unearthed along the way.

Build a Community

Sometimes we feel like we exist in a vacuum—armed with our computers against the world—and it can get very lonely. Over the years, I’ve met a number of local business owners that I can call on when I feel lost, stuck or overwhelmed. Checking in with my cohort—locally and virtually– gives me the peace of mind that I’m not alone. I don’t have to stew in my own stress bubble! I can reach out to my colleagues for suggestions and coping mechanisms. We usually commiserate, collaborate a bit, laugh and move on. We can vent and then hold one another accountable for any changes or upgrades that we plan to make. It always feels better knowing that you are surrounded by fellow professionals—other humans who have their own set of problems and challenges that they are working through.

Suggestions for connecting with others:

  • Join a local networking group like The Chamber of Commerce or BNI
  • Start or seek out a Meetup for businesses within your sphere of influence
  • If person to person networking puts you in a sweat, seek out a few professional LinkedIn or Facebook groups

All of the above have the possible added bonus of an increase in referrals! So get to it!

As a business owner attempting to forge my own path, the level of overwhelm can send my head spinning.


These days, we are all led to believe that our level of success hinges on our ability to connect and be seen. We are constantly bombarded with information, inquiries and emails. As an online marketer I can tell you this: yes, connectivity is important but establishing boundaries is even more important. If you answer those weekend or after-hour emails from clients (or texts! Yikes.) you are setting the expectation that you are available 24/7. It’s essential that your clients and workmates respect your time, so be sure to manage their expectations accordingly.

You also need to give yourself a damn break! Give your phone and other web devices a curfew—no tech after 6pm, for instance. This gives your brain a chance to recover from the day, relax a bit and be present for your family.

Suggestions for setting boundaries and unplugging

  • If you’re worried about email, set an autoresponder! This is an option within all mail clients that allows you to send a canned response to all email inquiries. Tell them you’ll respond during regular business hours. Boom. Done.
  • State within your client contracts and/or on your website that you and your team have set business hours and all inquiries will receive a response within 48 hours.
  • Get Google Voice. Give this number out to clients and customers and have that number sent to whatever number you like. You’ll know when a prospective customer is calling and even have a transcription of their voicemail sent straight to your email!


What makes you feel good? How do you shut off your brain and decompress from the day? What enables you to get out of your own head?? Integrating some of these activities throughout your day will clear the cobwebs, gain renewed perspective and enable you to be happier and more productive.

There are a several activities that help me with my ‘mental resets’ throughout the day: exercise, take a walking meeting (on the phone or in person), riding my bike, meditating and knitting.

Think about what makes you feel good and gives you a brief reprieve your looming to-do list. Perhaps it’s reading a book, calling a friend or walking up and down a flight of stairs. Whatever it is, block off that time on your calendar and give yourself some mandatory headspace. Treat it like an appointment, work it into your routine and you will notice a huge difference.

What works for you? How do you find balance? Share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear what you have to say!

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