The freedoms that comes with owning a small business can be a major source of enjoyment for entrepreneurs. Many studies have shown that entrepreneurs tend to be happier than other people, as detailed in this story by Elaine Pofeldt for Forbes. However, these same freedoms can also be the source of stress for many small business owners.
Let’s examine a few areas that may cause the opposite effect. Don’t worry if you find yourself on that end of the spectrum. Many situations are fixable by seeking additional help, advice from mentors and some self-reflection.
When independence isn’t all it seems.
Some of the blissful ideas of owning your own business — being your own boss, making your own schedule, rules and decisions — can turn out to be a bit of a letdown, as Charlie Wells explores in a recent Wall Street Journal piece titled “Why some entrepreneurs feel fulfilled — but others don’t.”
“Founders who focus on setting their own rules tend to ignore other factors that matter in job satisfaction, such as variety in the kinds of work done; doing a job from beginning to end and seeing an identifiable outcome; and getting feedback about their performance,” writes Wells.
Wells quotes the research of Leon Schjoedt, an associate professor of management at Indiana University at South Bend. Among his shared insight:
- “If entrepreneurs feel that their job lacks variety, he suggests seeking new but related opportunities to extend their business,” writes Wells. “The founder of a Web publisher might start adding additional services to a firm, such as copy editing or advertising. Mr. Schjoedt says this strategy is a relatively safe way to add new, possibly more interesting, tasks to a job without abandoning the original firm or extending into an area that is too far from an entrepreneur’s skill set.”
- For those that crave feedback more than they had previously realized, Schjoedt recommends constant self-analysis. “The best way to do that, he says, is to break jobs down into small parts,” writes Wells. “For instance, broad questions such as, ‘How is my startup doing?’ or ‘Am I doing the right thing as a founder?’ are hard to answer. Founders would do better to ask themselves smaller questions with concrete answers, such as, ‘How effective was the sales meeting?’ or ‘Did traveling business class to pitch the company pay off?’”
When success tastes sour.
What happens when a business takes off, earns revenue and gives the owner a degree of success? Turns out it takes more than that for some entrepreneurs to get those positive vibes. Jeff Haden writes about this for inc.com.
“You can love your company, but it will never love you back. (Cliché, sure, but true.),” writes Haden. “No one lying on their death bed says, ‘I just wish I had spent more time at work …’ Business success, no matter how grand, is still fleeting. Fulfillment comes from achieving something and knowing it will carry on: Raising great kids, being a part of a supportive extended family, knowing you have helped others and changed their lives for the better. … Work hard on your business. Work harder on things you can someday look back on with pride.”
But, look at my diplomas.
Those who are well-educated may have numerous advantages in the business world. Nothing is guaranteed, however, no matter how stacked the “education” portion of your resume is.
“Researchers in the Netherlands have found that entrepreneurs with high levels of general education — say, from an Ivy League university — actually end up less satisfied with the income their startups generate than those who had more practical, specific professional and educational experiences,” added Wells. “Many Ivy Leaguers overestimate their abilities, only to end up disappointed when they don’t find quick success or earn what they think they deserve. On the other hand, entrepreneurs who had training in relevant fields were more satisfied with their eventual incomes. So, too, were those who had experiences with financial management. These people seemed more likely to form a more realistic picture of what it would take to run a business, as well as the income they were likely to get.”
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: When Success Causes Stress
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