Understanding Entrepreneur Mental Health: What’s Not on the Radar

As we discussed in our last post, the mental health of entrepreneurs isn’t talked about enough. The entrepreneur road can be hard and lonely. It’s a path that can separate us, both physically and emotionally, from those not on this journey. Our loved ones can struggle to relate to our difficulties, and those close to us may even be surprised to learn what our challenges are. 

Some of these matters remain unmet needs because we simply don’t have someone in our life who can empathize or provide insight. We all benefit from having a broader network to rely on, and suffer when a needed connection isn’t made; we call this the relationship gap

Founder struggles that may be under the radar include:

Lack of Mentors: The need for mentors can’t be emphasized enough as professional development is an ongoing target. It manifests when trying to figure out how to find new opportunities and markets, lead teams, and setting priorities and goals.

Navigating Large Companies: Not knowing how to best work with a large company can create great stress. The sales cycles of big entities can feel painfully long to a founder dealing with the pressure to perform while there is no money in the bank. Having a touch point inside the company, someone who can provide behind-the-scenes insights and information, is a life saver. 

Physical Health: Starting a company is a 24/7 job with no vacation days or paid time off. Prioritizing the company can lead to compromises in physical health through poor diet, lack of sleep, and little to no regular exercise. But good health is an investment we all need; sick days don’t lead to greater productivity!

Personal Relationship Decisions: What’s the opportunity cost between working on the company and your personal life? Do you go to the family reunion this year or take an investor meeting? When do you get married? Start a family? Do you delay these decisions? What if you already have a family – how do you decide where to draw the line between work time and family time? 

Dealing with Regret: What if you missed a family event, and now that person is no longer around? What if you went to the family outing, but then a key contract went to a competitor? You can’t get that time back. Did you make the right decision?

Startup founders regularly make sacrifices to make their dreams a reality. The issue becomes how decisions are made and what makes the most sense – both for now and the future – of how today’s time will be spent. Lots of entrepreneurial life advice does not get taught. 

Goodie Nation developed “Founder’s Therapy” sessions to meet the need to connect to those with shared experiences. We all need that outlet to vent, to express our frustrations, to have someone listen – and the opportunity to be that sounding board for someone else. What concerns are you facing today?