Health and Wellbeing for Founders and Entrepreneurs – Blog Series
Through the development of creative and innovative ideas, entrepreneurs drive societal change and strive for best practice across multiple economic and social sectors. Entrepreneurs experience a unique mix of unpredictability, risk and demands in their working life. The global pandemic has shaken things up even more, making it more important than ever for entrepreneurs to be aware of the mental health challenges that accompany their rapidly shifting landscape.
This is where we come in.. a group of Psychology students working as research interns at the NSIN. We are all coming to the end of our psychology degrees and looking for ways to share our knowledge and apply our skills. This blog series will be a source for all things relating to how you can succeed as an entrepreneur, despite the stressful nature of entrepreneurship and the added pressure of COVID-19.
Introduction – How to succeed as an entrepreneur/startup founder (and still maintain your mental health)
Our introductory blog begins with an exploration of how entrepreneurial work is unique in both its benefits and challenges.
Specifically, the life of an entrepreneur confers many benefits including; a more flexible work schedule and greater autonomy, the ability to align work with your own values, opportunity for growth and development and the excitement of taking an idea from seed to commercialisation.
Entrepreneurs have a reputation of being willing to work long and hard hours just to avoid the confines of a 40-hour-a-week traditional job. The life of an entrepreneur certainly confers many benefits including a more flexible work schedule and greater autonomy. However, as is the case with most choices, there are also downsides.
The 63 hour working week, an absence of work life/balance, and the stress and uncertainty of not having a traditional pay cheque can all take a strain on an entrepreneur’s mental health. In fact, only 22% of entrepreneurs are satisfied with their stress levels and mental wellbeing. So what can we do about it? Click above to find out.
Entrepreneurs are certainly a mixed bunch. Just ask Gartner, who argued that they were so different from each other, that they defied definition. We know that entrepreneurs require certain fundamental characteristics like a solid work ethic and innovative ideas. However, these innovative tycoons are more than their work. Social media has humanised them and challenged the notion of entrepreneurs as clandestine, idea machines. How then, does personality play a role in their success? Using McCrae and Costa’s Big Five personality model, it seems that psychological research has a lot to say about entrepreneurship.
Being your own boss is awesome – you get to choose which 13 hours of the day you want to work! – Anon
Being an entrepreneur comes with big rewards but also carries big burdens, and big burdens often lead to burnout. We know that working more than 50 hours per week has been proven to reduce productivity. In this context, findings from a recent survey which suggest that entrepreneurs are working an average of 63 hours per week are particularly concerning.
Entrepreneurs are renowned for spending hours alone working on their innovative ideas, but is all that time alone really good for them? The Social Brain Hypothesis suggests that all social animals including humans, need stable social groups for personal protection, support, and safety. Having allies you can rely on keeps you and your kin safe. As the author of this theory, Professor Dunbar explains; “Friendship is the most important thing in life: It has more effect on your happiness, health and how long you live than anything else – including all the medicines, exercise and anything else”.