Most people warn you away from starting your own business. The risks are high and you’ve got to put in a lot of effort for not much initial reward. Starting your own business is hard at the best of times, but throw in depression and the darkness of winter it makes it that little bit harder. People either tell you you’re crazy or they congratulate you in doing your own thing. This is what I’ve learnt so far on my journey.
Depression won’t stop you but it might take a little longer.
Now, depression affects everyone differently. Mine definitely gets a bit worse when the days get darker and it’s cold out. It’s hard to get that motivation to get out of bed to actually do anything. My body just wants to go into hibernation and I want to eat constantly. Exercising goes out of the window and pretty much all my daily habits are forgotten about.
But since taking antidepressants it’s definitely made this winter period a little more bearable. Of course staying in bed would be way better, but who’s going to do the work when it’s just yourself? Working alone means you’ve got to do all the work with very little help. Give yourself a time frame. It’s going to take you a lot longer to complete some tasks than you think. Give yourself a little leeway and things don’t always go to plan. Also make some reachable goals. Last year I gave myself six goals to complete and managed to fully complete five of them.
Write these goals down and carry them with you at all times.
Set yourself tasks
Setting yourself tasks on a daily basis really helps. Every evening I try to sit down and give myself three tasks to really focus on the next day. If I’m going through a really good positive phase, I can complete these tasks and more in a day. If my depression is at the forefront it’s much harder to complete them. Sometime I’ll give myself a personal task like ‘stay positive’ to help with my mental wellbeing which can help.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t complete all the task. Some tasks are more than a day’s work, break it up and spread it out. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to complete them you can always roll the tasks onto another day. This is where being your own ‘boss’ comes in handy. And sometimes other projects take priority or a task pops up that needs to be completed there and then. You’ll need to be flexible.
Every evening write down three tasks to focus on the next day.
Business or Pleasure
A great thing about starting your own business is that you should be working towards a goal or passion. This leads to your work and personal life almost merging together. There’s blurred lines when you have your own business because work can feel like pleasure. This one gets me all the time. I love being hands on in my business and some days I feel like I’ve done no work because I’ve had so much fun. My business and personal life overlap a lot, especially creating a personal brand. I’m trying to put myself completely into the business. Remember to take some time for yourself. For me it’s the little things, taking a walk, grabbing a morning coffee.
Don’t over do it, schedule some down time.
This a biggun. The one people fear the most and boy it’s scary. How will you pay yourself? Will you be able to pay yourself? Can you afford to set up your own business? It’s terrifying that you might not have a stable source of income for a while. But it can strive you to really go out there and get it.
I packed my secure job at a Roastery about four months ago and each month I have a tiny little mental break down about my financial situation. This is a big trigger for my depression as well, I’ll start telling myself that my businesses is not sufficient, that it was a stupid idea to start my own business, just give up already and get that regular paycheck. I try not to listen to those thoughts.
If you focus hard enough on creating the money you need, more than likely you will be able to reach it. Focus on that one bit that brings the money in. It’s gonna get tough before it gets better and be aware that you’ll have to put a lot of your money into the business.
Part-time work is always an option.
If you’re a creative opting to start your own business, more than likely you have no idea about the business side of things. At least that is for me. I’m having to learn a whole side to running a business that never even crossed my mind. You’ll find that you’ll probably be winging a lot of it to begin with and until you learn it, it’s all about winging it. What it does mean is that you’re learning. Teaching yourself something you didn’t know anything about.
Loof started as a hobby, I was just creating work because I could. There were no boundaries. But once it was becoming more serious, I knew I had to get some help. Enrolling for the Prince’s Trust was great, and they’ve put me in a clear direction of what I need to do. My workload has increased dramatically but that’s just another part of it.
If you want to make your business a reality, get help. Apply for the Prince’s Trust or find another charity or establishment that helps entrepreneurs. They’ll send you in the right direction and you won’t be completely winging it!
Every time you challenge yourself, you acquire a new skill.
Just do it already.
If you want it, you’ll do it. My depression was probably a catalyst in making this decision to start this business, or at least pursue it as my career. The thought of going back to a ‘normal’ job scares me and I love the freedom having your own business gives you. I’ve got loads of hurdles to overcome and I’m sure my depression is going to make it a super bumpy ride. But to hell with it. Fuck doing things for other people, I’m doing this for me.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. I hope you found it interesting and insightful.
If you have any questions or fancy a chat, I’m just an email or personal message away. Robi x
Images courtesy of Beth Evans, Abandon Ship and not my own.