Running a small business can take an emotional toll

How many people dream of one day running our own business? We fantasize about being our own boss, about making our own decisions and about building our businesses on our own terms. But we often don’t think about the very real stresses that come with running a small business. Few tasks, in reality, require the long hours and commitment that comes with running a successful small business. Business Insider recently had a look at the negative impact that the stress of running a business can have on entrepreneurs. It’s a scary story, whether you’re starting up a traditional small business or an online tech-based one.


The Business Insider feature tells the tragic story of Ecomom, an online business devoted to selling environmentally friendly products for children. Jody Sherman founded and ran the business, devoting long hours to it. However, the business eventually started losing money. No one knows for certain why Sherman did it, but he wound up shooting himself. His business closed following his suicide, though it’s back online now with a new owner.

A cautionary tale?

Few jobs create as much pressure as running a business. The competition is fierce in a good economy. In a sluggish one? It’s even more difficult for small businesses to stay alive as consumers hesitate to spend their dollars. Even prosperous businesses come with stress. There are long hours and big decisions to make. There’s always competitors who want to take your customers.

The roller coaster

As the Business Insider story says, creating a small business is like riding a particularly violent roller coaster. Life becomes a series of high, highs — Our business is open! — and low, lows — We lost how many dollars last quarter? This kind of emotional up-and-down is not healthy. That’s why not many are cut out to be the owner of a small business. It takes a certain personality, confidence and a willingness to log long, long hours to be successful as a small business owner. To put it simply, it’s a job for a risk-taker, not for the average person.

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