5 reasons why being an entrepreneur is the best thing for my mental health and could be yours too

I believe the best way to show you how much your business can support your mental and overall health is by sharing my personal story, and how it helped me. Hope this can inspire you to look at your business as your partner, your supporter in this journey and help you create the life you truly want.

How I started my business

I started my business in 2018 after years of unfulfilled work in different corporate jobs.

Back then I was responsible for an entire e-commerce department at a luxury perfumery by myself handling it all (website, products, suppliers, promotions, orders, stock, packaging, invoicing, customer service, returns, etc).

From all the struggle that came with my position and constant hustling into the next campaign for higher sales, I started to develop all sorts of health issues. It was scary…af.

I decided to take some time off and traveled to the US to visit my then-boyfriend and while being away I listened to Marie Forleo’s free audio guide, “How to Get Anything You Want. That was my game-changer.

I realized that I want to live a life where I am:

  • Healthy because I can prioritize myself every day (including quality sleep, nutrition, daily workouts, and mindset upgrade)
  • I enjoy my job and can work from anywhere in the world
  • I am appreciated and my clients are grateful for my help
  • I have a positive impact on the people I work with
  • I can work with people from all around the world and practice my proficient English and Spanish (as well as improve my intermediate Italian and Romanian, and my long-forgotten German 😅 )

You guessed it, I was far away from that and felt miserable…

What seemed to be the turning point

When I came home from that trip I had no idea how to make this dream life happen, I just knew that something had to change. I kept my eyes open and waited for a sign…and then suddenly they were everywhere pointing me in the direction of web design.

It didn’t seem like a big deal, since I was already handling the company website (and handled it all like a business owner – except not my money on the line) and I worked in IT before that for 3 years, so seemed like an easy one.

I signed up for my first 6-month long web design course in 2018 to see what this is about. Turns out, that was just the tip of the iceberg, way more complex than I ever imagined, but challenging enough for me to fall in love with this profession. 🥰

1. The Power of Learning and Personal Development

With this newfound interest, I signed up for other courses (like B-school from my game-changer girl, Marie Forleo) to improve my skills in other areas of my life. (Raise your hand if you had a shiny object syndrome too, lol 👋.)

Anyone who took B-school knows that it’s a sh.t load of work to do and you will turn your world upside down. I joined it in 2019 and keep redoing it every year as my business evolves.

What I really like about this course is that it teaches you to stay true to yourself and your values, how to be authentic in your marketing, how to do things by the highest standards, and how to focus on serving your clients 24/7.

Enrolling in B-school not only improved my business skills but also helped me manage anxiety through better work-life balance techniques taught in the program.

2. Prioritizing Personal Health and Well-being

You might have guessed that this is not a fairy tale where I suddenly found my purpose and quit my job to sail away in the sunset with my new profession…

Things at work got even worse than before and my health problems escalated. I started to have panic attacks randomly – sometimes while driving or at the office, where I had to lie on the cold bathroom floor to get better…

I had this new passion but it was far away from making me enough money to quit and I felt desperate. I also knew that I couldn’t stay there in hopes that this would fuel me to get enough projects to pay the bills.

I had to change jobs and I hoped that the next one would be better. After weeks of applying, interviews, and waiting I found a better position and a great company. It seemed like a nice, professional place to be but a couple of weeks in I found out that my boss likes to publicly humiliate her team in front of others, and she preferred to show examples with me,  the new one who made mistakes while learning.

I felt crushed…I didn’t know what to do. I had no strength left to look for another job, so all was left for me to channel all these feelings into working on my business harder.

From that point on, for 2 years – until I quit my full-time job- , I spent each afternoon and weekend working on my design business constantly. It was incredibly tiring, but it felt like my only way out.

3. Embracing Change and Resilience

Then Covid happened and while I was devastated by what happened in the world and to people, for me it was one of the best things possible.

From one day to another I no longer had to go to the office and worry about what mood my boss was in. I saved up almost 3 hours of commute every day and working from home helped me be more productive (the perks of an open office), and finish with work tasks faster.

This saved up so much time and mental energy I could use in my business and I felt the confidence to take on bigger projects with higher budgets.

I was already working a lot on myself, and my mindset, but this challenging period demanded more care for my mental health. While others showed up at online work meetings in bath robes and eating their breakfasts unprepared, I kept my morning routine and woke up at 5 am every day to have time for myself.

With commute time being out of the way, I had more time for myself, meditated, journaled, and used Gabrielle Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles book to find clarity. I did my morning workouts, got ready, and sat at my computer in normal clothes + makeup. This set the tone for my day and makes a huge difference even today.

4. Building Confidence Through Independence

Things started to get better. I got more and more clients and all my health problems disappeared (btw isn’t it scary to realize how much stress affects our bodies??).

I only needed a plan to quit, because I knew otherwise I wouldn’t dare…

  1. First I had to figure out how to pay back my car and apartment loans so I have no burden on me if I can’t generate consistent income.
  2. Second, I had to have enough savings that would cover me for min 6 months in case I didn’t have any projects coming in.

Each month I saved up from work and my business, and since there wasn’t much going on during lockdown, my expenses were low as well.

With this strict plan, I managed to pay off each one of my debts by the end of 2020. 🥳 (I was so freaking proud of myself! This was huge for me and felt so great to stick to plan and show up for myself.)

The next plan was to quit. But when?

In the beginning of 2021, I set myself a goal: I gave myself 6 months to get ready, financially, mentally, and emotionally. It was a set date on my calendar. June 30, 2021.

The day came and I sent my resignation to my boss. 

 

The rollercoaster

I can’t even describe how I felt then…it was a mix of relief, fear, terror, anxiety, and pride. 

Everyone was shocked. Including my family and friends. Although I’ve been telling them since 2018 that I want to have my own business they never thought that I would actually follow through…😓

What came after still wasn’t paradise…

At my job, they tried everything to make me stay – this involved all sorts of manipulative techniques, but I didn’t give in.

My family and friends were worse… because for months they kept bringing up the topics I feared the most.

    • I knew it wasn’t them I needed to convince, but myself.
    • It’s not them I need to prove I can do this, it’s me.
    • They have their own limiting beliefs and have no idea how much and how hard I worked on this.
    • They also don’t know what I am capable of.

Only I know that.

After long years of people-pleasing, I finally started to focus on myself only.

This also meant that I started my slow journey of loneliness as nobody around me understood what I was doing (or why), and I rarely had connections with like-minded people.

 

5. Creating a Supportive Environment

It took a lot of time and constant daily effort to be where I am today and I am still in the making, but it’s super fun!

I feel more energized, motivated, and confident than ever before.

  • I am incredibly grateful to my 2018 self for having started this journey with self-discovery, and business and not stopping until she reached her goal.
  • I am grateful for my 2021 self who was prepared to take any storm coming her way while quitting her 9 to 5 and kept doing what she loved.
  • I can’t thank my 2022 self enough for signing up for Mindvalley and starting an immersive journey on self-development
  • I am also immensely grateful for my future self who inspires me to wake up every day between 5 -5.30 am without an alarm, meditate, journal, and work out every day, eat healthy, and constantly work on my goals while living such a beautiful life I have now.

I have learned way more about life, people, myself, health, fitness, business, psychology, relationships, and mindset since 2018 than I could have ever imagined. The more I learn, the more I want to know. This curiosity is one of my biggest fuels in every area of life.

I don’t want to make this sound easy. It wasn’t and it isn’t.

Feeling lonely was probably the worst part of it all, yet it made me realize how strong I am, and how I can build up my resilience and count on me no matter what.

There was no more pointing at others, finding someone to blame. It was and is all on me. That feels scary and liberating at the same time.

After my initial loneliness, I started to join business and designer groups, co-working sessions, and networking events to meet like-minded people. And you know what? There are plenty!

It takes time and dedication, but today I am proud to say that I have a very supportive community, where we connect every week, support one another, and cheer for each other’s successes.

 

Conclusion

I think we all live in a bit of oblivion when it comes to stress and mental health. We think that it is not going to happen to us, it’s not a big deal. We just need to hustle more, or be more patient, and stay under the radar, and it will pass. Just a little more and soon it will be gone.

The sad story is that it won’t be over unless we make an end to it. And I’m not trying to say, the best option is to start a business. It is not for everyone.

I believe, that no matter where we are and what we do – whether working on our own or part of a company – we need to make our health a top priority. We need to build our own resilience, our own routines, and habits that help us through everyday difficulties.

And most important, we need to seek a community where we are seen, heard, and understood because with a supportive community, everything will be way easier.

Orsi

Product, Brand & Web Designer

I help businesses create great websites that attract more customers and increase sales. I use my skills in consulting, design, and e-commerce to tell your business’s story and improve customer service. We’ll work together to understand your business and create a website that meets your goals.