Is running a business bad for your health?

Guest blog: Business Digest Magazine, March 2021

There’s so much noise around workplace wellbeing, employee wellbeing and how to look after your team. And it’s great that people are talking about it because you should be looking after your most valuable asset – your employees.

But what about looking after yourself?

All too often I see stressed-out business owners, exhausted and miserable, harbouring this strange belief that this is normal and should be expected. That running your own business means being on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week, putting your business before everything else and working yourself into the ground.


Nobody goes into business wanting to work every waking hour, neglecting their family, neglecting their health, and neglecting the important things.

They believe things will be much easier running their own business, but the reality is far different.

So why on earth aren’t business owners taking better care of themselves? Why is there this misconception that you aren’t doing it right if you aren’t working 75+ hour weeks?

Of course, it is difficult to find time for the gym when you are working so many hours, and after a long day, you probably cannot be bothered.  As a result, your diet suffers, your energy levels crash, your sleep is broken, and the downward spiral begins.

Are you building the wrong business?

It might sound crazy, but one of the biggest reasons business owners fail or burn out is that they are building the wrong business. They don’t have a clear direction for their business, so they just get swept along, hoping things will eventually work out.

If you want the right business – the one you always dreamed of – you need to be clear about what your purpose is.

What is it that excites you and ignites your passion? What do you love doing? And is that actually what you’re doing in your day to day?

All too often, business owners lose sight of their purpose. They end up letting clients dictate what they should do, rather than finding the market for what they want to do. When that happens, they feel stressed, tired, bored and frustrated – work becomes a chore, rather than a passion.

So if you aren’t doing the work you want to do, then something needs to change. Otherwise, you’ll end up tired, miserable and unfulfilled, and eventually, you’ll burn out.

In the UK, 95% of small businesses fail, which is a staggering statistic. The personal impact and collateral damage of this is huge.

Do you have the right team around you?

You can’t do everything yourself, and why on earth would you want to? You want to do the things you love doing, right?

If you want a successful business, you’ve got to build the right team – whether that’s an in-house team or a team of external experts.

If you aren’t investing in building the right team, then it’s likely that you:

  • Spend more time doing the stuff you don’t like than the stuff you do
  • Constantly work long hours, never getting to the end of the to-do list
  • Feel like you can’t trust anyone to do the ‘important’ stuff

As a result, you probably feel stressed out and tired, which will impact your relationships, health, and happiness.

Are you taking time out to look after yourself?

Even if you love what you do and wake up excited about work every day, you still need to take time out.

Yes, work might make you happy, but there are other things you need to make time for – your family, your friends, your mental and physical health.

Burying your head in work might be enjoyable for you, but how does it feel for your partner and children never having your full attention? How happy is your body going to be never getting exercise or fresh air?

And what impact will it have on your mental health when your relationships start to suffer, and your physical health goes downhill?

So take time out from your business to focus on your family. Schedule time in to exercise, even if it’s just a short walk every day. And make time to relax or do something you enjoy – reading, working on your car, gardening or catching up with friends.

Take a day off, have a holiday – you’ve earned it, and your health will thank you for it.

Don’t wait until it’s too late

It’s easy to fall into the trap of “If I just get ABC finished, then things will be different” or “Once I’m earning XYZ, I’ll work less hours” or “Just a couple more months of this and then things will ease off.”

But if you’ve been saying that for months or years, how confident can you really be that this time will be different? The to-do list never goes away, and there will always be a call on your time unless you offload.

Of course, every business has its ups and downs, busy and quiet periods, and times when the pressure is on. But if you constantly feel stressed, anxious, tired, frustrated or fed up, then it’s time to take action.

Stop building a business that’s bad for your health and start building a business that makes you happy.


Running a business is tough and without the right plan, the right support and the right focus, it’s easy to become trapped. When you get to this stage, you often feel overwhelmed, stuck or uncertain as a business owner. Discover which one of four areas of your business is trapping you and how you can achieve the freedom to choose where, when and how you work. Take our Business Trap Diagnosis test here:


Read the full March 2021 issue of Business Digest here:
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