Having your own business is not always all it’s cracked up to be!  Many people dream of ditching the boss and being the master of their own destiny but later have a rude awakening to the realities of being self-employed as they encounter business frustrations.  Very quickly they can find themselves feeling stressed which can soon lead to a mental health problem such as depression.

Typically a person is passionate about and an expert in a given field – this is usually why they have set up on their own – but then find that there are many other things that they must do in order to build and maintain their business.  Some of these tasks might be way out of their comfort zone such as talking to strangers at networking events, dealing with difficult customers and making pitches or presentations.

I know how difficult (and sometimes terrifying) I found it when I returned to the UK 2 years ago and had to start my business here from scratch.  I had a very successful private practice in South Africa for 11 years and enjoyed a continuous steady flow of new clients.  They came from continued word-of-mouth referrals and my website appeared at the top of page 1 on the Google search engine results page.   I naively believed that when I migrated my website to the UK I would maintain this position.  The reality was that I was invisible!

I needed to bring money in as quickly as possible because upon my return here I lost 80% of my wealth overnight!  This was because of the declining economy in South Africa during the many years that I spent there.  I had no home, no friends, no contacts, no networks, I was deemed unemployable because of my age and I had to build my business from scratch.

Someone told me about business networking events – even though I am a shy introvert and had never attended such an event before I thought I would give it a go.  I attended several events over many months – I left several meetings in tears because I thought everyone was unfriendly and not interested in me because no-one asked me any questions about my work.  The reality was that I was out of my comfort zone and I lacked the necessary skills to network.  I came to realize that I had a lot to learn.

Another thing that I had to learn fast was digital marketing.  After attending several workshops, I thought I had a good overview of the various platforms.   I was hugely frustrated when trying to put the knowledge into practice though because I couldn’t navigate the various platforms and I am totally useless at writing copy!

Most of us love what we do but all that other stuff that we need to do can seem time-consuming, mystifying and overwhelming.  It is so hard to keep going when we doubt ourselves and making the simplest of decisions is difficult.  The more we procrastinate the less we achieve which further compounds our self-doubt and cause us stress.   So what options do we have that will help us to keep going to build our business?  Look out for my next article to find out.

In the meantime you might like to read more about the frustrations of running a business.