As a startup founder, there is this constant overwhelming feeling that takes over. It does not matter if you are doing this alone or having joined an accelerator like Startupbootcamp FinTech Singapore (SBC). You might not even know how to explain what you are going through or even be able to solve it. First, I am not a therapist; having worked closely with the SBC FinTech family for the last couple months and being part of a community of startups, know that no-one is alone as long as you see the burnout signs and get creative in handling stress.
Signs to watch out for:
Lack of focus
No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, there will be a moment where you will want to do too much. It is normal, you have a lot to do for your customers, investors, employees and your own personal life. There is not enough time in the day to even get through 1 task without being disturbed by somebody (often for petty stuff). Sounds familiar?
Apart from getting up at 5:00 am (because no one is awake to bother you), Use time management to schedule 1 hour to 30 minute blocks in your calendar just for emails and important tasks.
Being overwhelmed and worrying about everything from fundraising to firing, is exhausting! Having a breakdown is different for everyone, you might find yourself “firefighting” (solving problems) everyday, having bursts of anger or doing things that are completely out of your normal behavior.
Use weekends to take a step away from your crazy life; even if it is for half a day or for a few hours. This will give you the space that you need to take a breather. Who knows you might be able to regain focus.
Stress eating or not eating at all? No sleep? Poor hygiene? These are all huge red flags for stress. The moment you stop taking care of yourself, it will cause a domino effect for a lot of other symptoms to kick in; one after another. You might think you are getting away with it a few times but for how long?
Take care of yourself. Eat Healthy. Stay active.
Do you hear the little voices in your head telling you, “Why are you doing this?”, “ You are not going to make it”, “No one believes in you”, and so on. Not to sound cliche, but your biggest enemy is yourself! Once, you start thinking negatively, it will spread quickly to your actions.
Talk to people and I do not mean a therapist, even though some people might find it useful. Find those that can help you get through this tough time and who can be your personal cheerleader.
Fear of failure
The feeling of failure happens even before you actually fail. It seeps in; especially when you have a bad week or month, nothing is going your way and you are faced with an overwhelming amount of problems. Scary huh? Sure, but it does not mean that you have failed!
Before you wave that white flag in defeat, write down every problem that you have. You will quickly realize that a lot of the problems are small. Ask your advisors, investors, or other entrepreneurs to help you get through that mental block and help you solve your problems.
Stress comes in different forms and it is important to see the signs before they get worse. Thanks to top accelerators such as Startupbootcamp FinTech Singapore, they can give you the best advice and tools to help you cope with stress and more, plus a fantastic community to be part of. There is nothing wrong in asking someone for help. This is not an easy journey or as the saying goes “everyone would be doing it.
Take time for yourself and enjoy life!
These are just a few points. What other factors should you look out for to avoid stress?