Starting a Business: Fear, Loneliness and Other Demons

Text from my newsletter of 29th November.

The emotions I most remember from when I first started my business were loneliness and a fear of failure.

I was in my 50s and that, alone, meant that getting back into employment, should my business bomb, would be difficult.

But, more than that, the Hong Kong business world was furiously ‘localising’ at the time – which topped off any chances I might have had of re-employment.

Basically, I was on my own. Sink or swim.

This wasn’t a surprise – I knew, before I started, that I would face that and have to deal with it.

But I did not expect to feel loneliness.

My friends and (now ex) colleagues were all still employed. They still had water cooler discussions and stopped by someone’s desk for a chat or to bounce ideas around.

And I missed those activities.

I’m not unique. Many new solo business owners suffer from loneliness, as Roger Patterson relates in the first article below (along with some ways to beat it).

I’ve talked before about the level of stress starting your own business can have on your nearest and dearest, let alone you, and how it can put a serious strain on those relationships.

All of which affects your mental health.

And you need to take care of your mental health, because it’s one of the biggest factors in the success or failure of your business.

So this week I’m looking at how to deal with those emotional pressures, so you can make sure you’re at the top of your game.

This week’s links

In addition to the article on fighting workplace loneliness, I’ve linked to Rand Fishkin talking about the benefits of Chill Work, ways to beat burnout, and small, easy steps you can take to reduce stress.

Fighting loneliness

Roger Patterson relates how loneliness was the biggest challenge he faced as he worked solo, building up his business from his basement, and gives 3 tips on how to beat it:

3 tips on fighting loneliness

Hustle Culture versus Chill Work

Rand Fishkin compares the ‘hustle’ culture with the idea of ‘Chill work’ and how the team (of three) at Sparktoro maintains a balance between driving the business forward and building a fulfilling home life:

Hustle culture vs chill work

5 ways solopreneurs can beat burnout

Solopreneurs are unique in every way – they are on their own, which easily leads to burnout.

Rumzz Bajwa takes us through 5 ways solopreneurs can beat burnout:

5 ways solopreneurs can beat burnout

Small actions you can take to reduce stress at home and work

Andrea J Miller tells us ‘it’s OK to not feel OK’, and takes us through some small steps that will help fight off feelings of overwhelm, anxiety or lack of motivation:

Small actions you can take to reduce stress

Fun flashback

Mansun only released 4 albums, but I loved them. Their sound was similar to The Manic Street Preachers, another of my favourites.

Here they are with a live performance of ‘I can only let you down’ from their Little Kix album:

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Martin Malden

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Website owner: Martin has been working online since 2006 and focuses on two areas: 1) affiliate marketing and 2) designing and building websites based on WordPress. He has his own WordPress agency, and serves clients in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK.