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Common Psychosocial Challenges That Entrepreneurs Experience

Updated: Oct 8, 2021


The January IG Live with Vuuqa was quite interesting and insightful. Those who attended can attest to the fact that some of the topics discussed really hit home. My discussion with Horesia enabled us to take a closer look and unpack some of the common psychosocial challenges that entrepreneurs experience and share some tips of how to navigate these challenges.


Some of the challenges highlighted during the discussion were:

The loneliness of the entrepreneurial journey: Many entrepreneurs find that they are usually the odd one in the family. You often feel misunderstood and it can be quite a lonely journey. Some family members and friends often try to convince you to quit or get a “normal” nine to five job.


Rejection and abandonment: Some entrepreneurs are often isolated and abandoned by those close to them. This does not only relate to being thrown out of the house literally, but can often show up as emotional and social abandonment.



Believing in a vision that no one else believes in: It can be challenging for entrepreneurs to believe and keep motivated to work towards something that has never been done or seen before. This is generally what many entrepreneurs have to do with limited or no resources.


Juggling the business demands and personal life: Many entrepreneurs work long hours and hardly find time to rest or engage in activities that they enjoy. This can also cause a strain in their relationships with significant others.

Money trauma and the relationship with money: Entrepreneurs sometimes struggle with their relationship with money, and carry various trauma that can block them from achieving financial success.


Team dynamics and leading a team during stressful times: It can be quite challenging for entrepreneurs to lead a team during uncertain times and crisis. Many business leaders struggle with balancing emotions, decision making and ethical business practices when businesses are not doing well.


Entrepreneurs not prioritizing employee wellness: Business leaders may see it as a waste of the already limited resources to invest in employee wellness services. However, they fail to appreciate the fact that lack of productivity, absenteeism and various other challenges will often cost them more to fix in the long run.


How past trauma can impact entrepreneurs: Things like childhood trauma and various other traumatic experiences can impact the relationship that one has with themselves. This can often negatively impact the entrepreneur as an individual, as well as their business. It can manifest in self-sabotage, poor decision making and various other unhealthy patterns.


Some of the questions asked by the attendees were:

Question

How can one deal with anxiety when orders are not coming through or customers are not buying?

Answer

It is important to speak to someone (preferably your counsellor, therapist or mentor) about your fears and challenges. After that, then organize and be realistic regarding your next steps. It is better to be proactive then to be reactive and allow for things to happen by default.


Question

How do you recognize trauma within yourself?

Answer

Research proves that majority of us experience some form of childhood trauma. It can be neglect (emotional or physical), poverty, broken relationships/attachment with significant others etc. Therefore it is important to work through this trauma with the guidance of a professional (therapist or counsellor) who is experienced in that area. The unfortunate part is that many people cannot recognize on their own how past trauma is probably affecting their present lives. Some people do recognize some of the trauma symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, irritability, poor decision making etc.; but cannot connect the dots between the current behaviour and its root cause. Therefore it is better to consult a professional for an assessment. Your therapist/counsellor will also provide you with insight on how to heal or cope.


Some tips for entrepreneurs:


  • Prioritize self-care. Take a few minutes for this on a regular basis.

  • Consult a professional for support and guidance specific to your needs.

  • Journal your journey and develop positive affirmations.

  • Remember and appreciate those who support you. Your employees need to feel like they are adding value and making a difference. Research proves that more and more people want to add value and make a difference where they work. It’s no longer just about getting a salary at the end of the month.

  • Explore alternative support structures in the form of a mentor, joining business forums/networks.

  • Celebrate the small successes as well, and remember that each small step towards your goal is makes a big difference.


Although an entrepreneurial journey can be rewarding in many ways, one would agree that it’s not as easy as it sometimes seems; with many unexpected challenges along the way. Fortunately many entrepreneurs are beginning to recognize the significance of putting their own and their employees’ wellness at the top of their agenda.


Written by: Dr Siya Mjwara

Therapist & Wellness Coach


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