Evan Goodman

Why Starting a Business can Create Strain on your Mental Health

Becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business is like a child taking their very first steps. You will make mistakes, have downfalls, and experience hardship but whilst this may cause immense stress, it is not all negative. With perseverance and a major positive attitude, you may very well push past these issues and thrive. There are many reasons as to how starting a new business can create a massive strain on your mental health and affect your day-to-day lifestyle, but it is important to know how to properly overcome these struggles to keep mentally strong and maintain a successful business. 


Anxiety is known to feed off what is (most) important to you. Given that starting a business can be one of the most important decisions in your life, this can create many anxious feelings. These anxious feelings due to: not knowing if your startup will profit, or not knowing if a project will thrive or fail. Stress and anxiety can also arise from fear of the unknown which creates much second-guessing when making different decisions. Many business owners have said that as a result of doubting themselves, they were constantly overthinking every decision, big or small, and this severely impacted their mental state. This constant stress and anxiety – besides the mental health pitfalls – leads to an unnecessary waste of time and energy.

There are many different ways to combat feelings of anxiety. Different coping mechanisms work for different people, it is just a matter of trying out the various mechanisms until you find one that resonates with you and your lifestyle. A common way, for example, to push past anxious feelings are by meditation or yoga. There are various apps that can help with this. Another good solution is to break up the to-do list into smaller sections, making all of the tasks less overwhelming and stressful. There are many stress-relieving activities available to assist in every and any situation, you just have to find one or more that work for you.

Fear of Failure

The world of startups is full of failure stories and stories of projects that just didn’t work. Failure is constantly talked about as part of creating startups, which can be a terrifying realisation for many new business owners. Admitting to friends, family, co-owners, employees, and others that a project that they have all invested so much time and money into has failed is a harsh reality for all startup business owners. It can create major stressful thoughts. Constant stressing and worrying about a project failing creates a very negative headspace which leads to negative behavior and thought patterns.

Failure is a part of life and, fortunately or unfortunately, you (us all) must learn from mistakes. Fears and stress must never get in the way of good decision-making or impact our peace of mind and sleep. Sleep is an important way for our bodies and minds to recover and recharge for a new day. Lack of sleep will create more stress and tension, getting enough sleep will help to relax fears.

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome happens when a person feels they are a fraud and don’t deserve what they have achieved or accomplished. Many entrepreneurs have imposter syndrome to some extent and feel like they will be supposedly found out. They believe their success is more due to luck and others think they are much more intelligent than they see themselves to be, even if there is proof of hard work and determination. Imposter syndrome creates shame, doubt, and disconnection, which discourages many from seeking help or advice. 

The only way to stop believing you are an imposter is to stop thinking like one. You must learn to separate facts from feelings. Everyone feels stupid from time to time, but this does not mean they have messed up or failed. Another remedy is to accentuate the positives, constantly strive for excellence when it truly matters and forgive yourself when you make mistakes. 

Burnout or Overloading

Entrepreneurs and new business owners can fall into a mentality of never-not working. They can get to the point of sleep deprivation, over-caffeinated, and emotionally drained. This mentality leaves people disregarding opportunities for proper rest, fun, and relaxation. The pressure of this path can be emotionally and physically taxing and overwhelming. Overextending yourself is like stretching a rubber band until it breaks, not being able to put it back together afterward. Burnouts can feel like you’ve just run multiple marathons and the utter exhaustion can prevent you from getting back to work. 

To avoid burning out or overloading, an entrepreneur should take time out for themselves. They need to ensure they have enough rest and are properly energised and refreshed for a new workday. If you are experiencing stress or feel you have lost control and this is negatively affecting your way of life, you need to reach out to professionals for help. 

Financial risks

There are many financial risks that are associated with starting a business. The entrepreneur is the first person to feel the impact by missing a paycheck and are usually the ones investing the majority of their resources into the business. The amounts of money and resources invested into a new business can put huge financial stress and anxiety on a founder. There can be many negative feelings around financial risks that can lead to further, more serious mental health issues. 

If you, as an entrepreneur, feel the financial pressure is getting too much and there are too many negative emotions you should reach out to a professional and ask for help. You must always remember that big risks can come with big rewards too.


A new startup comes with many negative emotions and feelings. There is major stress and feelings of anxiety that surround entrepreneurship that all founders have faced. These negative feelings can lead to a bigger mental health strain and this can negatively affect your day-to-day life outside of work. When these feelings arise, you must always seek professional help and advice in order to thrive in your new business. Do not fall into the trap of your work becoming your whole life