People talk a lot about the stress of starting a business and being their own boss (and everyone else’s boss, too). I won’t lie: being a business owner can be more than a little bit stressful, but it really doesn’t have to be. Yes, you’re going to have a lot of decisions to make, and your business is going to be in a precarious position for at least the first few months as you get started. Then you’ll deal with growing your company, deciding whether to sell to a larger brand or continue on your own, and the list goes on.

I’m not saying that these aren’t potentially stressful situations—I’m just saying they don’t have to feel like stressful situations if you know how to reduce your personal stress levels and manage your time and your business effectively. Here are a few of the best stress reduction techniques I’ve found over the years.


How often do you wake up in the morning and hit the snooze button “just one more time?” I know I’ve done it more than once, and it can cause a lot of stress if you aren’t ready for the day. Think about all of the times you’ve woken up late and had to rush around to find the right clothes and shoes, pack your lunch (or forget it altogether), and find everything you need for the day. Now think about waking up and knowing that you have everything laid out and organized. You just have to hop in the shower, get dressed (in clothes you picked out the night before), pick up your things, and go. Just by laying everything out the night before, you’re already starting your day out with less stress.


Feeling a tension headache coming on? Tired from working late nights and getting up early in the mornings? Take just a minute out of your day, put your fingertips on your temples, and gently massage them. For the full effect, close your eyes and let your face relax while you do this. Just a few seconds of massaging your temples a couple of times a day can make you feel a lot more relaxed and ready to face whatever you need to do for your business.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed with how much work you have ahead of you for your business, take a minute and focus on how far you’ve already come. Write down a list of what you’ve accomplished so far and take a minute to let that sink in. With that kind of perspective, your giant to-do list might not seem so massive.


On that note, though, don’t try to take your whole business on your shoulders. You should be doing big-picture, high-level things that will grow your business and help you gain a reputation in your field. Leave the copying, packaging, and other smaller tasks and projects to your employees. And, if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to decide whether or not it’s time to bring in higher-level employees who can take on some management roles, too.

Some people find that meditation is a big help with reducing stress, while others prefer running or lifting weights. Some people like to keep a journal of what’s going on and what’s stressing them out that they write in before bed for a better night’s sleep. Whatever works for you, schedule it into your day or week and make it a habit. You’ll have a much easier time growing your business when you feel calm, relaxed, and confident instead of stressed.

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