The last episode of the Coping with COVID-19 series for young entrepreneurs was organized in collaboration with the Z Zurich Foundation and featured expert Gary Shaughnessy, Chair, Z Zurich Foundation; Anne Chappaz, Chief, Institutional Strengthening at International Trade Centre (ITC); entrepreneurs David Titmuss, Non-Executive Director, PCF Bank; and Paolo Ganis, Co-founder &CEO, Vitesy. The panel of experts and entrepreneurs shared their experiences and insights on how to manage risks in business and take care of your mental well-being when facing challenges in the current crisis and beyond. Here are some key takeaways from the webinar:
Why are young entrepreneurs particularly vulnerable to mental health challenges?
According to a Forbes article, entrepreneurial life is stressful (not that we needed Forbes to know that!). For young entrepreneurs in particular, the stress can be exacerbated by uncertainty and disruption around managing their business and taking a non-traditional path for their career. Moreover, social isolation caused by impression management, and the fusion of self-worth with company success can also lead to more pressure on entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, some qualities that are great for an entrepreneur can also be those that are associated with mental health issues like depression and increased anxiety; these include creativity, empathy, multi-tasking, and risk-taking.
Tips to more successfully manage risk in business during times of crisis?
- Remember risks can be anticipated and reduced. With a good combination of information and analysis, an entrepreneur can prepare for potential risks. In specific, the information from reports, research and books can help you evaluate risks, and offer different perspectives. This may even lead to greater understanding of new markets to target and new features for your product. Couple this with the strengthen and belief in what you are doing and you can handle risks intelligently.
- Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Entrepreneurship is not an easy ride, with ups-and-downs throughout the journey. Making mistakes is an unavoidable part of being an entrepreneur and should not be a black mark on your entrepreneurial story. On the contrary, they are the proof that you’ve tried, survived, and learned from those mistakes.
- Seek help from business support organizations. Don’t forget you can reach out and seek support from financial and trade support organizations, such as insurance companies, accelerators, incubators, and chambers of commerce. Having a good risk management plan and comprehensive insurance package in place can give you a fighting chance of surviving a crisis. Additionally, access to accurate information can ensure that you see potential risks before they hit you head on, and ensure you properly assess entering into new markets and incurring added expenses at the wrong time.
Tips on managing your mental wellness
- Have some hobbies. Whether it is painting, hiking or meditation, do something different from your regular work, and invest some time just for yourself! Picking up a hobby is a great way to distract from all the pressure on your mind and your stressful work routine. According to our Ye! entrepreneur Paolo Ganis, fishing is his hobby of choice for clearing his mind! What’s yours?
- Networks help. When you feel alone and need emotional support, why not try to talk to your co-founder(s) or your core staff? Or what about sharing your thoughts and problems with your peer CEOs in the business? Both David and Paolo stressed that these individuals understand what you are going through and can offer useful external perspectives, making you feel connected and supported. Sometimes, you might just need someone to listen and it indeed helps! The Ye! Community is a great place to turn to support. With more than 17,000 young entrepreneurs and business experts on the platform, you are bound to find more than enough support and guidance to help you through any business problem.
- Do NOT bring your work home! Keep in mind that your job is your job and your life is your life. Your family (including your dog) is not your psychiatrist. You do not want to load your pressure and anxiety onto your family members. This can lead to damaging your family relationships and putting your mental health into greater risk by destabilizing your personal life. Do seek professional help if necessary.
Lastly, we asked our guests the one million dollar question, is it worth being an entrepreneur?
The answers from the entrepreneurs was a definite YES! Whether you are a seasoned or young entrepreneur, you can bring your business dream to reality by taking risks (but backed by knowledge and data), setting in place practices and strategies for balancing your mental health (think hiking and reading), and embark on the adventure of bringing your vision to fruition. Along the way, you will certainly go to interesting places and meet interesting people (some of whom may even be able to help you in securing your business goals), but most importantly, you can leave a mark and make a change in the world and the lives of others in your community! And don’t forget! There are many people and organizations that are there to help.
To watch the full episode: