With many people facing redundancy as businesses grapple with the impact of coronavirus, starting your own venture could be more of an attractive prospect than usual.

Losing your job can be a devastating experience, but it can also provide a springboard for becoming your own boss, and a starting point from which you could find a new sense of purpose and control over your future.

According to statistics by SME Loans, 64% of the UK workforce wants to set up a business, and there’s a growing trend for turning your ‘side hustle’ into a full-time job. Research by AXA also reveals that up to a third of UK start-ups were created as a result of redundancy or unemployment.

But starting a company isn’t easy, and striking out on your own can feel like a daunting process. We asked business owners to share self-care advice and strategies for getting your idea off the ground, while avoiding stress and burnout.

1. Build a support network

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Ashley Rossiter, founder of Mirror Me PR  started her own business in 2011, after her main source of freelance income suddenly ended. “My main tip is to start a business that focuses on something you’re passionate about and then find other small business owners that are passionate about it too. It’s hard work in the beginning, so you have to find something that you really love,” she says.

“If you’re setting up shop on your own, connect with your local small business owner networks and join business Facebook groups for moral support, tips and advice. Laughing with a friend about a bad day ‘at the office’ is better than crying into your keyboard.”

2. Don’t let setbacks stop you

Adam Ewart, CEO and founder of Send My Bag says: “It may seem cliched, but it’s always important to keep pushing forward, even when you’re faced with setback after setback.

“Your first business may not work, and there’s every chance your second won’t either, but all of the experiences you gain are character building – regardless of whether they are good or bad. They’re valuable for developing your knowledge and increasing your ability to execute when the time and concept is eventually right.”

3. Set boundaries

Cara De Lange, burnout expert and founder of Softer Success says: “The key to preventing burnout when starting a business is to set boundaries right from the start. Think about how your working week will look. For example, decide on a daily time you’ll stop working, and switch off from technology one hour before bed. It’s also helpful to continue giving yourself weekends off.

“I always think it’s good to get to know your personal strategies to manage stress, and then do them every day. For some of my clients it is something as simple as a nutritious meal, or a long walk in nature.”

4. Take your lunch break

Ed Molyneux, co-founder and CEO of FreeAgent says: “It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re too busy to take a break from work, even if it’s just a 30-minute rest for lunch – but doing this can actually be very detrimental to your business and your own productivity.

“Over the years, I’ve come to realise that downtime is incredibly important – you need to step away and recharge your batteries so you can return to the task you’re working on with a fresh perspective.”

5. Organise your time

Alina Cincan, managing director of Inbox Translation says: “In the first year of business, the risk of burnout is really high, especially as you’ll likely want to take charge of every single aspect of the launch.

“You can’t really afford to spend hours trying lots of different apps and tools, so as someone who’s been there, my number one download would be a digital calendar.

“Use it to block off time for both work and, most importantly, self-care. It could be anything from reading a good book, going to the gym, or taking a long, hot bath after a busy day. A busy calendar is a life, and business, saver.”


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