What to do when you lack support

It’s tough being an entrepreneur, maybe sometimes even tougher when you are a college entrepreneur. Some days you feel like no one understands you, no one you can talk to about your problems, no one seems to know what you are going through, and maybe no one is really supportive or encouraging towards what you’re doing. 

You love your family, but sometimes they just don’t understand how much you are going through, emotionally, physically and mentally. You have to balance college and entrepreneurship, it’s like juggling eggs while riding a unicycle, you can’t fall and you can’t stop juggling. And your friends, you like hanging out with them, but sometimes you wish you could actually talk about something more informative, more deep, in a sense where there is less gossip about relationships, social life, parties and college in general. Maybe something on entrepreneurship, world news, politics, business problems, economics, technology… you know, practical stuff. And when you hear them complaining and stressing about how their clothes don’t match and how they have two parties on the same day at the same time, you find yourself trying hard to actually feel sympathetic towards them and not be an insensitive jerk. Ever tried having to meet up with an important client or business partner on the same day you’re having your exam? Now that’s real stress.

So here are some tips to help you overcome this negative feeling of lack of support.

1) Join an entrepreneurship, startup community in your local area

Believe me, the amount of support you receive is just overwhelming. Usually entrepreneurs from the startup community are pretty friendly and welcoming. And they are the ones who can actually understand and empathise on what you are going through. Hopefully you’ll get to find someone to discuss your problems, find some like-minded people and maybe even mentors to guide you along your entrepreneurial journey. Just drop by your nearest start up community, co-working space or just join an entrepreneurship meet up group on Meetup.com. All you need to be accepted into the community is a short self-introduction and you’re all set to go. 

2) Have someone you can trust, and confide in them

It doesn’t really matter if that person knows absolutely nothing about entrepreneurship, as long as you have someone who you can confide in. It may be your mother, your best friend, or even your dog, it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes all we need is just a place to vent all our feelings, release all our emotions and then we’re ready to continue again. I usually try talking to my best friend, who absolutely has no idea about cash flows or anything related to business. And it helps, although I don’t get practical advice on how to solve my business problems, at least she helped me solve my emotional problems, which is good, since I have a clear and cool head to think and hopefully find a solution to my business problems again. 

3) Read inspirational quotes from great entrepreneurs

I always find this a great help. I read quotes of my favourite entrepreneurs and try to remind myself that I’m going through what these great people have gone through. Although they aren’t really talking to me, I get the sense that I am having a conversation with them through the quotes they have written. When I read those quotes, it seems like they are indirectly supporting me and pushing me to reach greater heights. And knowing that these great people had overcame their fears and challenges to become who they are, plus their track record of success and rebounds from failure, I know they are the best teachers, support and motivation I could ever need. And this helps me overcome all the negativity. 

4) Knowing that somewhere out there, there is some other person facing the same problems as you are right now

Yes, this is why I am writing this blog post. I know there is someone out there who is experiencing what I’m going through right now. So here I am, sharing, hoping to let you know that you are not alone. We chose the path of entrepreneurship, and we have to accept that sometimes these emotions are inevitable, it’s all part of the journey. It won’t end right here, it won’t end right now. As long as you are still walking in the path as an entrepreneur, there is no doubt that you will experience these kinds of days again. But all we’ve got to remember is that, no matter what happens, we just have to pick ourselves up and keep walking. This is the path we have chosen, and we will reach our destination no matter what. After all, we are walking towards our dream. 

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Burnout, college entrepreneur style

Since I’m suffering from a burnout now, I thought it would be useful to talk about burnout, while lying on the bed. Here I am, suffering from a burnout, emotionally, physically and mentally, all at once.

To be honest, it’s not a surprise, judging from the rate where I worked myself, and the neglect towards my own daily needs. I’ve been trying to juggle school life, entrepreneurship, social life plus my exercise routine (yes, I’m on a workout regime to lose weight) all into 24 hours, which sounds familiar to most college entrepreneurs I think? School life is mentally taxing, since we have to forcefully divert our attention from our business onto it. Entrepreneurship is generally mentally, emotionally and physically taxing, your brain doesn’t stop, your body doesn’t stop working, and with all the highs and lows in entrepreneurship, you don’t stop feeling as well. Social life is more of an emotional and physical burden, in my case, since I have to tend to these people’s needs and make an effort to hang out with them. And the last one, physically taxing, what do you expect from working out in the gym for 3 hours a day and only sleeping for less than 6 hours per day?

You get my point. Entrepreneurs have burnouts, students have burnouts, but when you mesh them all together, you get a double burnout. I’m sick in bed, suffering from mild insomnia, stressing about my assignments and short exam on Friday, while trying to prevent myself from imagining horrible situations my business would face in the future, my body hurts due to my workouts, the weather is still cold, I have a flu and a fever, my friends are still texting me about their life problems plus I’m trying to come up with a solution to solve my burnout.

I’m suffering from a total burnout, college entrepreneur style. And if anyone else experiences this, you’re not alone.

Right now I’m trying to brainstorm solutions to treat my own burnout. I came up with a few, and hopefully they’ll solve my problem.

1) Talk to a psychologist.
I’m scheduling an appointment with my college psychologist tomorrow. Why talk to a psychologist? I went for counselling advice from a school psychologist last year and it was really helpful. I was stuck between following my own dreams versus following my parents wishes. Naturally I couldn’t tell this to my parents, since they would subconsciously influence me into choosing what they want when I’m emotional and vulnerable, and as for talking to my friends, most of them face similar problems and don’t really have a solution, all they can offer is comfort and not much practical advice. So I just went to my school psychologist and told him all my problems, and right now here I am, pursuing my dreams although I’m currently suffering from a burnout. So, I’ll schedule an appointment with my college psychologist tomorrow, hint, it’s usually free. Plus you get professional, unbiased advice, and a place to rant without worrying that the other person would feel bothersome and your secret basically stays confidential.

2) Rest
By resting, it’s not just sleeping. Well, sleeping is a large part of it, since I have to get more sleep to compensate for the sleep lost before. So basically I will be sleeping a lot, but the problem here is, how do I find time and get myself to sleep? That means I’ll have to take a break from all my activities and concentrate on resting. No worrying about college, business or social life, just rest. And no technology stuff nearby, maybe just not that often. And keep my laptop away from myself. But yeah, rest, sleep and stop thinking!

Basically I haven’t thought of other ways, but I guess these two are the most important ones, confide your problems with someone you trust and get enough rest. I guess I better start resting, feel free to leave comments and share tips on how you manage burnouts! 🙂