Confessions Of An Entrepreneur With Anxiety
An honest guide to what people are afraid to speak about.
“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.” — Ryan Holiday.
I passed out in the streets of downtown Calgary today.
After being in Canada for 8 days, I am already suffering from health issues because I’m working so hard simply to maintain this lifestyle.
But it can’t continue like this. It’s only a matter of time before I suffer something far worse due to chronic stress.
Nobody talks about the sleepless nights, worrying about finances, the strict deadlines from client projects, or the constant pressure that an entrepreneur has to face to survive.
We like to stare at pretty photos on Instagram, dream about mansions, and imagine the social status that the entrepreneur lifestyle seems to portray. But in reality, it’s brutal.
I am not going to pretend I’m a millionaire. I’m not. Nowhere near.
I’m not going to pretend that this lifestyle is for everyone, and you can get rich quick. It won’t happen. It takes time, patience, and a lot of hard work.
But there is something I’d like to discuss as it’s not talked about anywhere near as much as it should be.
I agree that it’s a sensitive topic. Most entrepreneurs don’t want to talk about it because they’re afraid it’ll ruin their confident public persona, or are worried about judgement from others.
But the judgement stops here.
I’m not sure where to start so I’m just going to write down exactly how I feel, what I’ve been going through, and hopefully, some of you can relate. Here we go.
Constantly worrying about money.
I’m going to start this off by saying I’m not living in poverty. But as an entrepreneur, anxiety can take control of your life when finances don’t go to plan. As you (often) have no regular paycheck, you are reliant on yourself to generate income to survive.
To put it bluntly: if you don’t work, you don’t eat.
So how have I been able to afford it so far? Renting rooms on AirBnB for $680 per month. Not apartments… a bedroom in someone’s house. I may not have been eating the best food, or exercising as much as I’d like to, but I did whatever it took to make things work.
Dealing with failure.
Every single entrepreneur, freelancer, and business owner will have to deal with significant setbacks at some point in their career. According to Forbes, the statistics currently show that above 80% of businesses fail within the first 18 months.
Those are not great odds.
As somebody who works for themselves, you have to be potentially prepared to deal with issues such as PR disasters, recessions, and various other things that will make you want to give up. It’s all part of the process.
“Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” — William Arthur Ward.
In some ways, the potential for failure is something that always kept driving me forward in entrepreneurship. Because for each day you keep going, someone else is giving up.
Working 83 hours a week to avoid working 42 hours per week.
This is something I’ve never publicly admitted. So it feels great to have it out in the open.
I am extremely stubborn. I have never had a “real job” because every single dollar I’ve earned has been from my passion.
I am scared of a typical 9–5. I’m worried that once I step into that pattern, complacency will kick in as I’ll be handed a regular paycheck. It would take away my drive as the consequences wouldn’t be anywhere near as bad if I didn’t work to the highest standards.
I accept that I may sound egotistical. But it’s the truth.
Because the difference between who you are, and who you want to be is what you do.
If you do not put in the work, you will never see the results. Some of you reading this may not initially understand what I mean, so I’ll give you an example:
Athletes (often) need to put in thousands of hours of practice before they start making a full-time living from their chosen sport. I guarantee you that when trying to build a career, Michael Jordan wasn’t watching Netflix for 5 hours each evening while eating potato chips & diet coke.
Instead, he was practising as much as he could.
Entrepreneurship is not about ideas & glamourized lifestyles (like what most people seem to think). No. It’s about making it happen.
It’s doing what 99% of people are not willing to do, so you can accomplish what 99% of people can’t. That’s why I work so much.
Dealing with anxiety is something that a lot of entrepreneurs face daily. There’s no doubt about it.
This lifestyle is not for everybody. In fact, unless you have incredibly thick skin, I’d advise against it. There’s no point sacrificing your health & wellbeing for the sake of being able to say “I’m an entrepreneur”.
If anything, I hope this story paints a clearer picture of what some people go through to achieve their dreams.
I’m going to leave you with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, which always reminded me never to give up:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”.
I hope this helps.