Managing depression for at risk entrepreneurs
Pressure and networking takes its toll on personalities not suited to the start-up life
Stress management: Psychologists recommend creating a “restorative niche”, a distinct place and time where you can relax. Photograph: Getty
Entrepreneurs are 30 per cent more likely to experience depression than their non-entrepreneurial counterparts, according to research. Some of these founders may become depressed because they’re pushing themselves to be entrepreneurs when, in reality, they may not have the personality for it in the first place.
Here are some tips to help entrepreneurs keep founder depression at bay.
1. Understand your personality and identify your weak spots: Take a valid, reliable personality test, like the IPIP-NEO test, to evaluate your personality traits. Which are your highest and lowest scores? Think about which start-up activities may be particularly difficult for you.
2. Hire people who complement your personality traits: Find a business partner or co-founder who has the personality traits you’re missing. That way, they can fill in your weak spots and enjoy the work that you may find stressful.
3. Create a “restorative niche” to reduce stress: Founders in the early stages of their start-up will find themselves networking day and night, for instance, even if they don’t enjoy socialising with people. Psychologists recommend creating a “restorative niche”, a distinct place and time where you can relax and revert to their true self.
4. Know the telltale signs of depression: Apart from feelings of sadness, depression can include a sudden increase (or decrease) in sleep, weight, appetite or energy, as well as increased feelings of worthlessness, guilt or self-blame. Entrepreneurs should become familiar with these symptoms so that they can recognise when they’re experiencing them and seek out the professional help they need.
– (Copyright Harvard Business Review 2017)