How to deal with business stress (while improving profits)

Work it out

In our businesses, we always want to aim to grow and increase profit every year. But the reality is that there are other influences in our life that take away our time, focus and commitment. And many of them can lead to business stress.

When you get stressed — especially if your business relies heavily on your involvement — the business can suffer. Despite these moments, we still have to make important decisions to keep the train moving forward.

In this post we’ll explore ways you can still grow your business when you’re just trying to keep your head above water.

Related: 3 tips for solopreneurs to avoid burnout

First things first — Focus on you

It’s important to remember that we all have times of distraction or stress — we’re only human. Everyone, even our clients, know that there are ebbs and flows to business. Our best efforts, when not in these times, should be to prepare for these moments so that when they do happen, business can continue forward with little impact.

It’s also important to note that your health is most important. Sometimes we get caught up in sacrificing our mental health for our work.

Your No. 1 priority should always be to take care of yourself.

 

If you are feeling like you are hitting the business stress breaking point, step back and ask for help. Reach out to communities of like-minded people for resources to get professional help if needed. There are numerous ways to get support in your business should you need to step away for a short time.

Related: 5 essential steps to make space in your life for a digital detox

3 types of business stress and how to handle them

Let’s explore three business realities that are often difficult to execute when we are stressed, and learn ways to push our businesses forward despite ourselves.

  1. Not enough revenue.

  2. Mismanagement.

  3. Work has taken over your personal life.

We’ll dig into the causes of each stressor and a few key actions you can take to ease the burden. Let’s go!

1. Business stress: Not enough revenue

It’s a challenge to raise prices when you don’t have enough money coming into your business, there’s no new business coming in, or you’re having trouble meeting the bottom line. Often, you have to resist the urge to lower your prices. When you’re suffering from business stress, you react rather than being proactive to create new revenue streams and ideas for your business.

Action needed: Raise prices

So how do you increase prices when you fear losing clients or customers? Add value.

If you find you’re struggling with not enough revenue coming in, but you know your prices are too low, add more value to your existing services or products.

This doesn’t always mean investing more time or more expenses on your end. In the web design space, this can be as simple as purchasing a plugin that increases security efforts on your website care plans, or adding a new phase — such as a “Discovery Workshop” — into your project proposals.

The key takeaway about raising prices is adding value.

 

The extra revenue that comes in will allow you to grow your team, which will free up some of your time to focus on those areas that are causing business stress and come up with creative solutions for them.

Related: How to raise your prices and get better clients in 8 steps

Business Stress Team Fistbump

2. Business stress: Mismanagement

Having trouble meeting deadlines? Feeling like your business is chaotic and you have trouble creating processes to improve? Most certainly the stress is coming from you taking on whatever client — and whatever work — comes your way. This model is poised for maximum business stress!

Action needed: Choose a speciality or niche

Narrowing your business, even when you feel like you can barely make decisions because of stress, will actually free your mind to focus better on who you serve best.

You cannot be everyone to everybody and it will cost you more in the end.

 

To narrow your business into a niche or speciality, choose the clients or customers who are the most profitable and focus on that customer type or industry as your speciality. If you work in the web design space, it can be as specific as something like “customers who are single decision makers with online stores.”

Narrowing your efforts with that laser focus will allow you to build specific processes and marketing efforts toward that speciality or niche. Processes free your time and lower your levels of business stress, which gives you more time to devote to your personal life and doing what you love.

Related: 11 tips to meet deadlines in your freelance business

3. Business stress: Work has taken over your personal life

Business Stress Relaxing In A Hammock

My favorite phase is “Work smarter, not harder.” The most obvious way to reduce stress is to reduce your work hours. However, when you are caught up in the day-to-day business, this can feel almost impossible.

Action needed: Work fewer hours

Start with setting work hours and sticking to them. Having a online scheduler and a synced calendar, so clients can only book calls within a set time frame, allows you to set aside dedicated time for all parts of your business.

Editor’s note: The right tools make all the difference. Office 365 from GoDaddy includes Microsoft Bookings, which enables customers to easily schedule appointments from a customizable web page. And to keep your professional life from ringing into your personal space, consider adding a second phone line to your existing smartphone with GoDaddy’s SmartLine app.

On weekends, leave your work on your computer and at work. Practice coming “home” from work and not checking your phone by modifying your app setting to “do not disturb.” Let your brain rest.

If your business is a side job, carve out specific times for working instead of doing it every time you have a free moment.

You might be thinking, “With reduced work hours, how do I still get the onslaught of work completed?” Hiring help to focus on the parts of your business that you should delegate is one way. Implementing processes and raising prices also can reduce the quantity of work.

You’ll find that the time you save allows you to focus on sales and growth.

Related: Project management for web designers — Tips and tools to get the job done and The difference between client management and project management

Reducing business stress takes time and action

Raising your prices to the right value, specializing your services, and leaving work at the door all take time and practice.

The solutions might seem obvious, but in stressful moments, they are hard to execute.

 

That’s why the best advice is to take action now. You don’t have to go at it alone. Ask for help to get these areas in your life ironed out so you can decrease business stress — and lower its intensity when is does happen — so it doesn’t adversely affect your life.

You’ll continue to have stressful moments at work and at home. That’s life. But the way business stress affects you will lessen over time as you perfect these areas, increase revenue, and grow your business.