It goes without saying that starting your own business requires a hefty investment — yes, there’s the financial element, but also the investment of resources like time, knowledge, and creative energy to get things off the ground. And all of that may lead you to put your own wellbeing aside — which can be just as crucial to prioritize.
That said, “wellness” is a broad sweeping term. For some, it means practicing yoga or meditation to promote a sense of calm. For others, it’s about carving out family time in the interest of creating balance. And for small business owners in particular, it’s often about committing to building better financial wellness practices, both as individuals and as business owners.
Of course, independent founders often know all too well that “balance” can be difficult to achieve. Which is why we’ve partnered with PayPal to put together a serviceable guide to achieving a better sense of personal and financial balance while helming your business. Ahead, certified financial therapist, Steven M. Hughes, and Suze Yalof Schwartz, founder of community meditation platform Unplug Meditation shrare their expert intel in the name of side-stepping burnout or excessive stress.
Know yourself (and your money habits)
“New business owners often feel stressed about day-to-day money decisions — just like most Americans,” says Hughes, “but in addition to personal concerns, they’re also focused on growing and funding their businesses while juggling any setbacks caused by the economy and the pandemic.” Founders are not immune to the sorts of financial anxieties we all suffer from — whether due to our upbringings, our spending habits, or other elements of our personal financial histories. That’s why Hughes recommends that small business owners acknowledge those issues, confront them, take their time to learn where they stem from, and consider the ways they may impact their business.
Consider working with a financial therapist
If you operate from a place of fear or lack of knowledge (related to money and otherwise), neither you nor your business will have a foundation from which to thrive. For that reason, enlisting the help of a financial or business therapist can be one of the best investments you make as a small business owner.
“Financial therapy entails processing money beliefs, how they came to be, and how they impact your financial behaviors today,” Hughes explains. Naturally, your beliefs and behaviors around money won’t only impact your personal finances, but also the success and longevity of your business ventures. “Many of my clients know they want to change their current money habits, but need help on getting to the root of the problem and starting from there,” he continues. “I help them uncover that in our work and guide them to a healthier relationship with money.”
In short, a financial therapist can help you get to the bottom of your money-minded concerns, provide tips to fix those foundations from the ground up, and as a result help you navigate the financial and emotional challenges particular to running your business — and, well, your life.
Don’t skimp on self-care
Being a business owner is s a 24/7 gig, so it’s incredibly important to note when it’s time to pause and take care of yourself. Alongside putting in the work to develop a healthier relationship with your finances, it’s just as essential that you invest time and energy in your health and wellness routines. After all, where’s the joy in being your own boss and racking up career wins when you’re too burnt out to enjoy the fruits of your labor?
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to practice self-care daily, with meditation being an option endorsed by both Schwartz and Hughes. “For small business owners, meditation can be a lifesaver,” Schwartz says. “Being able to pause, anchor yourself in the present moment, and self-soothe with only your breath is the greatest gift — you couldn’t pay me to not meditate!”
For Hughes, self-care is all about taking a step back and putting your mind and body ahead of everything else. “Taking time to check in with yourself with a short meditation, or by journaling when your mind feels like it’s in overdrive can be really grounding. Or you can try using physical and energetic self-care practices like reiki to keep yourself and your business growing,” he says.
On the whole, self-care is far from a one-size-fits-all practice — so if reiki isn’t your style, your self-care may look more like, say, morning bike rides, nighttime ice cream sundaes, or long phone calls with friends. Whether it’s a small change implemented daily or a broader shift in mindset through more intentional practices, “wellness” need not look the same for everyone — so long as it manifests as a way for you to prioritize you.
Use the right tools to streamline your business
Last but not least, finding and using the best tools to facilitate your business will help you save time and money (and in some cases, even your sanity). “Some new and small business owners feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done for themselves and their businesses,” Hughes notes. For that reason, he recommends implementing systems, software, and other digital resources to free up some time and promote efficiency. Think: Everything from project management software to integrated payment solutions like PayPal.
In terms of the latter, Schwartz herself relies on PayPal to cover several payment streams integral to running and building her business. “Using PayPal has streamlined payments to our independent contractors, saving us the hassle of having to set them up in our payroll system, or mailing physical checks and paying unnecessary wire fees,” she explains. “It also makes for a convenient payment option on our website when people pay tuition for the Unplug Meditation Teacher Training program.” Overall, she’s found it to be a secure and reliable payment platform that has helped Unplug operate smoothly—while helping her maintain peace of mind on the operational front, even in the midst of the challenges she’s faced as a business owner in the era of COVID-19.