Those who found a business are renowned for being resilient, fearless and courageous. However, the internal realities are that: either being self-employed, or building a business from scratch, comes with an insane amount of pressure. And sometimes, it can be tough.
Because of the hard exteriors associated with those that own businesses and found start-ups, mental health isn’t often a conversation to be had. But for Mental Health Awareness week, which takes place this week from the 13th to the 19th, David Shimwell – who’s the Franchise Recruitment Manager for Rainbow International and an expert in recruitment, business and challenges facing entrepreneurs – wants to change that.
“Most business leaders have an extremely tough persona, but just because you’re tough – it doesn’t mean that mental health concerns can’t occur.” David explains. “We talk about our employees’ mental health and wellbeing a lot, which is brilliant, but let’s start speaking about those at the top too. The ones who own and run successful businesses, and the ones who work for themselves too.”
According to the mental health charity, Mind, it’s reported that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Meaning that statistically, business people are likely to fall into this remit. In fact, in just the year before last, it’s reported that as many as 64 million antidepressants were issued in the UK.
Below, David Shimwell shares advice from his many years working with businesspeople.
“The most important thing to remember when founding a business and managing a Start-Up, is not to be lonely. Even if you don’t identify as having a mental health issue, running a business can sometimes feel isolated – even more so if you are self-employed and don’t have any staff working with you.” Shimwell explains. “If you’re a smaller business, I would recommend setting up (if your budget allows) in a co-working office space, such as WeWork, for example.”
“Another way to take care of your mental health and prevent loneliness from creeping in is to network. Our franchisees, for example, are a community. There to provide advice to one and other. It’s this sense of belonging and the thought of having somebody there for you to answer any questions or concerns you may have, or even just to have a chat with – that can really help when things get a little rough.” David continues.
“I think perhaps the most important thing you can do, though…” says David, who’s worked for Rainbow International for just shy of 3 years, “…is to try and ignore a problem if you feel one arising. Being self-employed, or running a start up is tough and sometimes you can feel overwhelmed. Don’t ignore your mind telling you it’s overworked. If you begin to feel things get on top of you, it’s absolutely fine to take a step back for a short while. Seek help if you need too, there will always be others around to support you.”