How to Handle Stress as an E-Commerce Entrepreneur or Shopify Store Owner
Business comes with stress is one of the first lessons any entrepreneur, Shopify store owner, and e-commerce professional learns. Unfortunately, handling that stress isn’t mastered by many for years to come. Today, we’re looking at how to handle stress caused by e-commerce ownership, both inside and outside of the office.
Non-Commerce Related Ways to Reduce Stress
Sometimes, fixing the work-life balance isn’t an immediate option for entrepreneurs — that’s kind of part of the gig. While reducing stress at work is the goal, finding healthy outlets for extreme stress outside of work is one way to cope as well. Many entrepreneurs find that implementing external stress relievers ultimately allows them to carry that positive energy, mindset, and strategy into the workplace. Therefore, stress relievers external to work may just be the path to internal ones.
We know, we know — exercise is the most touted coping mechanism for stress, and the one most of us find hardest to implement. But, there’s a reason it’s so commonly talked about! Exercise allows you to put your frustrations into a physical activity, releasing endorphins along the way. You feel better everywhere: inside and out, mentally and physically. (Ideally, you’d work out in the morning before your workday starts for the best results, but you don’t have to become a morning person-superhero overnight.)
Before looking up gym membership prices, keep in mind that exercise is what you make it. Getting active can be as simple as going for a walk, or holding some yoga poses. Find exercise that’s actually enjoyable, not necessarily something vigorous (unless you’re into that).
Separate Work and Sleep
Especially with so many of us working remotely now, separating work from sleep is harder than ever. We’ve all fallen victim to propping ourselves up in bed and working in PJs before. Science says the less you separate your living spaces, the more you’ll find it harder to do whatever it is you’re trying to do, whether that’s send out client emails or finally catch some zzz’s.
Physically separate your work and sleep by working elsewhere in your home, and changing into different clothes when you do so. They can still be comfy, it’s just the act of changing that helps you get in the zone. Mentally separate your work and sleep by putting a pause on your to-do list a few hours before bed. You have working hours to think about it; enjoy your free time so you’re recharged for work time.
Get More Sleep
On the topic of sleep, you need more of it. A recent sleep survey done in 2018 notes that only six percent — yes, 6% — get at least the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night. Not only that, but those surveyed cited stress (25.55%) as the number one factor for their lack of sleep, even surpassing the percentage of people who ranked children as number one (3.50%). Sleep is necessary for solidifying memories, rejuvenating your thought processes, and coming up with creative solutions. If you’ve been stuck on a big business decision or find yourself caught in a cyclic loop of repetitive marketing ads, it’s not more brainstorming you need; it’s brain sleep.
Journaling, lighting a candle, and grabbing a cozy blanket aren’t just feel-good activities on the surface, but things that can also greatly improve our overactive brains as stress rises. Recognise your body’s stress signals, including increased heart rate, sweating, frantic thoughts, and poor mental outlook. In these moments, it’s important to have healthy coping mechanisms that work for you, such as writing out your feelings, envisioning a “happy place,” or doing deep-breathing exercises. You may even find it beneficial to talk to a professional about your stress, like a therapist.
Prioritize a Social Life
There’s a world that involves friendship outside of networking, and talking to a friend is often all that’s needed to take some stress off your plate. There’s the social aspect, of course, and fraternising offers companionship, support, and additional perspectives. On a psychological level, you’re also benefiting yourself. By talking about work-related matters (or even personal ones!) in a concise, conversational way, your brain creates new pathways. This clarifies situations and rids your thought process of subsidiary facts and feelings.
Commerce Related Ways to Reduce Stress
With five new tips for reducing stress on a personal level, let’s now look at the ways you can reduce stress in-office. We’ll admit, these ones are a little harder, but their effects, as expected, are greater.
Deal With Stress Head-On
It may be tempting to start your day with the equivalent of a warm-up, but that’s usually not the best route. Assess your task and find the one causing the most emotional reaction. Rather than putting off this harder task, start with it first thing in the morning. Even if you’re not a morning person, it’s still when your mind is most fresh. Moreover, it sets the pace for the day. Once complete, your mindset focuses on how everything else you’re about to do is easier — and what a relief that can be.
Outsource and Designate
When you dislike doing something, the stress associated with it grows exponentially. Even simple tasks, like sending emails, can become a monster to tackle depending on your affinity for it. If a fiscally-responsible decision, outsource and delegate your least favorite tasks to other team members. Many entrepreneurs are one-man shows for quite some time, so achieving this may require hiring an assistant, administrative team, or freelance worker.
By taking tasks off your own plate and putting them into the hands of workers you trust, you’ll find yourself more focused on what matters. Moreover, you’ll be able to give the biggest tasks the brain power they need and deserve.
Start Saying “No”
Entrepreneurs are historically yes-men, jumping at opportunities. It is a character trait that helps make entrepreneurs so successful, but is also the number one cause of burnout. The fact of the matter is, you should never take on more responsibilities than needed for success, especially if you’re already feeling either physically or mentally overwhelmed. Some Shopify store owners use the general rule of thumb of, if it’s not an opportunity you’re entirely enthusiastic about, it’s not one to say yes to.
Of course, this doesn’t usually apply to the day-in/day-out tasks, but for larger stressors like taking on new clients or working on a collaborative project with another brand.
Take Time to Unplug
Unplugging after work is important, but finding time to do it during work is even better. Taking regular breaks from your work is essential for feeling refreshed, and even just a few minutes of screen-free time can bring about a positive mindset. This might be easier than you think, as not everything has to be digital! Make to-do lists on a notepad. Brainstorm on paper or on a whiteboard. Create reminders in the form of post-it notes.
Your brain works differently when you present ideas physically — by writing them out — as opposed to typing them. There’s something about having tangible proof of your hard work that alleviates stress, and you can always transfer these ideas over to your laptop later.
Understand Your Stress
Big, stressful, tension-filled days at work happen. There’s no denying it, and often, no true prevention of it. You may not be able to easily alleviate the stress itself, but you can always be working on your response to it. Keep track of your emotional responses, and prepare yourself for the days guaranteed to be stress-heavy by using the above tips. No two people respond to stress the same way, and ultimately, the only way to battle it is to be honest with yourself about what activates that fight-or-flight feeling.
Allow Our Shopify Experts Reduce Your Stress
As a Shopify agency, Full Fat Commerce has a whole team of Shopify experts that are best in their respective fields — and we know each facet of commerce has a level of stress that accompanies it. If a certain area of your Shopify entrepreneurship is feeling especially stressful, we’re more than happy to take a couple of tasks off of your to-do list. We can automate your site and find the proper plug-ins for payment tracking, inventory management, and other tedious intricacies. Our marketing specialists can create ad campaigns, while our creatives craft digital assets like copy and photographs for consumer-facing content. We’re also experts at redesigning Shopify store websites through data-driven design, helping store owners go from “entrepreneurs” to “successful business owners.” Drop us a line today to see how we can improve your endeavors as a Shopify entrepreneur!