Running a small business can take an emotional toll

Starting a business has long been the goal of those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Why? Running your own business usually means freedom. You won’t need to follow the orders of a boss. You’re free to build your business on your terms. Of course, running a small business is hard work and stressful. A recent story by Business Insider wonders if running a small tech or other business is just too stressful for some people.


The Business Insider feature starts with the story of Jody Sherman. He had built the online business Ecomom, which sold environmentally-friendly products for children. The business was running low on cash. Then Sherman shot himself. A few weeks after the suicide, the business shut down until a new owner brought it back in the summer. Business Insider posed the question: Did the stress of running a business contribute to Sherman killing himself?


Is Sherman’s tale a warning for stressed-out business owners? The Business Insider story states that running a small business is one of the most stressful tasks people can undertake. And it’s tough to argue. The competition is overwhelming. Consumers still aren’t keen to spend a lot of cash. And even if small business owners do everything right, the odds are high that their businesses will still shut down within three years. That’s one stressful project.

Ups and downs

As the Business Insider story says, starting a small business is like riding a particularly violent roller coaster. Life becomes a series of high, highs — Our business is open! — and low, lows — We lost how many dollars last quarter? This kind of emotional up-and-down is not healthy. That’s why not many are cut out to be the owner of a small business. It takes a certain disposition, confidence and a willingness to log long, long hours to achieve success as a small business owner. To put it simply, it’s a job for a risk-taker, not for the faint of heart.