What to Do When Life Gets Hard as an Entrepreneur

In this Instagram-obsessed world, it can sometimes feel difficult to share the "real" us online. When we open up and talk about the bad days and the failures, it makes us more relatable to our audience. We become more "human" than just another name on a screen. So today, I'm talking about something that no one likes to talk about – those seasons when life is just hard.

In this Instagram-obsessed world, it can sometimes feel difficult to share the "real" us online. When we open up and talk about the bad days and the failures, it makes us more relatable to our audience. We become more "human" than just another name on a screen. So today, I'm talking about something that no one likes to talk about – those seasons when life is just hard.

Two months after I went full-time with my business, I unexpectedly lost my mother. Talk about a whirlwind of a first year as a business owner, right? I'm not going to sugar coat it – it was a long, rough year. 

Having gone through this season, and still going through it to some degree, I wanted to help you if you're going through it now. Whether you're going through grief, depression, or just having a hard time in general, here are some things you can do when life feels hard.

Say No

As I struggled with grief and depression, anxiety came along for the party. There were many days that I just sat at my desk, staring at my computer feeling completely overwhelmed. There are certain things that you may need to keep doing in your business, but there are also things that you just need to say no to! Here's a few starters:

  • Thank you so much for considering me! At this time, my plate is full, so I will have to say no, but I would love to stay in touch for the future. 
  • A collaboration sounds great! I have a lot going on right now, so I think I'm going to say "not yet" -- but maybe later this year, we can re-visit this!
  • I would love to be a part of this, but right now, I'm going to have to say no. I would love to be a part of it, if you do this again in the future!

Outsource

If you can't say no to certain things, outsource! This doesn't mean you have to bring on a VA for 20 hours a week (or, maybe it does). Can you hire someone to just help you with a few tasks here and there? Can you trade services with someone? Maybe outsourcing to you looks like investing in a tool or software. Some inexpensive ways to outsource or automate:

  • Social media scheduling (with Meet Edgar)
  • Scheduling blogs or newsletters (with the help of a VA)
  • Use IFTTT or Zapier 
    • I used to have a "zap" that would auto-reply to new inquiries! 

If you do have the funds to hire some people, here are some suggestions:

  • Hire an OBM to oversee all the different moving parts
  • Hire a VA to manage your little tasks (that can seem overwhelming)
  • Hire a writer to ghostwrite your blogs
  • Hire contractors in your industry that you can off-load projects to when need be

Meditate

Meditate, read, color – do something that is calming. Often, during these rough patches, it's hard to concentrate or be motivated. Do something simple that makes you feel better without much effort. (Holly has a great blog series about anxiety and overwhelm!) Some good resources:

Exercise

You've probably heard it before – exercise is good for you, especially for those who are depressed. Endorphins, ya-da, ya-da. This does not have to be a full work-out, five days a week. This could be something like walking around the neighborhood once, or trying something fun like Zumba. These are also great gymless workouts to have on hand. 

Go outside

You can double this up with exercise! Fresh air and sunshine can be really refreshing and energizing, especially after sitting at your desk all day. If you can, take your laptop outside and work for a few hours. If it's cold outside, open a window, or buy a HappyLight for your desk. 

Do something that makes you smile

Grief and depression are not things you can just "get over" quickly. I'm not listing this recommendation as a quick-fix. But, little moments of joy are still possible in these hard seasons! What do you love to do? Baking, hiking, going to the movies? If nothing else, look up a funny YouTube video. My favorite funny YouTube channels:

  • Tripp and Tyler
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Any channel with The Office bloopers (because, duh)

Be open

Do not isolate yourself. Tell someone what you're feeling. I went to counseling after losing my mom, and it was a huge help. If you don't want to (or can't afford to) see a counselor, just talk to a friend. (Heck, talk to me!) Sometimes it's just good to have someone who will listen and simply say, "I'm here for you."

Give yourself grace

Life is hard. Whether it's depression, grief, or just a hard time... give yourself some grace. Work four days a week instead of five (or seven). Get some rest, take care of yourself. One of the best perks of being an entrepreneur is having our own schedule, which means we can take time off when we need it the most. 

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