5 Solutions to Solopreneur Stress

Stressed woman driving car

Solopreneur stress hits hard

Solopreneur stress sneaks up when you least expect it. Like on Tuesday.

It’s been four years since I started the Solopreneur Academy. I still remember how things went awry with my first Master Class. I had planned the morning to be a calm, serene time so I’d be centered for my guest expert interview about Search Engine Optimization. I try hard to conserve my energy prior to webinars, because I find them stressful and I want to be “sharp” when I conduct the interviews. So, due to my awesome planning skills, the only item on my “To Do” list before the noon interview was to dye my hair.

Half-way through the dyeing process, my daughter saw our 13-year-old dachshund go into a medical crisis that required an immediate trip to the vet. I called my husband at work to help – and his car wouldn’t start. The next 90 minutes were incredibly chaotic as I showered to remove the hair dye, dropped my daughter and the dog at the vet, met my husband at the mechanic’s shop, and juggled travel requirements with one car in time to get me home for the interview. In the course of the morning, the vet speculated that our dog had colon cancer. And the mechanic confided that he didn’t believe my husband’s car could be fixed. Holy crap!

Solopreneur stress survival skills

I have been a solo entrepreneur for more than two decades and I know that days like this are not uncommon. If it’s not the dog that’s sick, then it’s an emergency relating to your house, a loved one, a client, your computer, or yourself. More often than not, there is a perfect storm of emergencies. These usually happen, of course, when it’s the least convenient.

When I started the Solopreneur Academy community, my goal was to provide solutions to stressed-out female entrepreneurs. Women (like me) who were dealing with questions such as:

  • Exactly how do you survive this kind of turmoil AND run a business?
  • Is it really possible to be a serene solopreneur?
  • How do you work when your thoughts are elsewhere?

I’ve given these questions a lot of thought. And here are my answers:

  • Yes, you can run a business, even in the midst of  turmoil.
  • Life is a balancing act. There will be times when you are a serene solopreneur. If you’re not, you can learn skills to regain your peace of mind.
  • When your thoughts are elsewhere, try to focus only on what is happening in the moment. Do not focus on what you think is going to happen in the future or on what you could have done, in hindsight, to prevent the situation.

When it all falls apart

When things fall apart, most of us dig deep and are able to cope — just as I did during the chaos of our vet-mechanic-interview morning. Where we fall apart — which is exactly what happened to me — is in the “what-if’s” that came later. My mind was racing with questions such as:

  • How will we cope with the loss of our dog? How will we decide when it’s the end? How will we know if she’s suffering? And more …
  • What will we do if we need a new car? What kind will we buy? Where will we get the money? And more …

It’s probably obvious to you that my stress came from things that either hadn’t happened yet or could not be changed. Update from 2022: Our dog is no longer with us, my husband has a new vehicle, and I am still dyeing my hair to cover the grey! In other words, I survived!

Moving from stressed to serene

So how do we make it through situations like this? Here are some things that work for me.

  1. Start breathing again. Deep breaths are calming and grounding. When I feel my mind soaring into the future, I take deep breaths and focus on the air moving in and out of my body.
  2. Focus on the moment. I will pay attention to what I’m seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling. I notice what is happening now – not what I project will be happening in the future.
  3. Take a break. When I’m stressed, I am disconnected from my emotions. This might be time for a walk, a chat with a friend, or some journaling. I’m also a big fan of meditation, which gives me a chance to reconnect on a spiritual level and release my feelings.
  4. Get in the water. My massage therapist washes her hands after seeing a client to clear the energy. You can do the same thing by taking a shower or bath. Focus on the water and let it symbolically wash away your stress.
  5. Be nice to myself. It’s easy to feel angry when we’re not working at 100 percent capacity, especially when we are totally responsible for our business. However tough times call for self-compassion. It is okay to be gentle with ourselves and accept that, some weeks, we will not win any productivity contests.

I hope this blog post has been helpful. Life can be difficult. We have the power to stay in the moment and not escalate the pain by focusing on the future.

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5 Solutions to Solopreneur Stress
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