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Dealing with entrepreneurial stress? You need a coping mechanism.

May 11, 2022

We should all aim to be like Rich Strike, who won the Kentucky Derby this past weekend despite 80-1 odds. Every underdog (...underhorse?) has their day.

In this week’s edition:

  • Time to put moms on your hiring radar.  
  • Tips for women, veterans, and minorities looking to level up their SMBs.
  • Managing stress with this advice from 300 entrepreneurs.
  • Examining the Black business and entrepreneurship boom.


Why you should be hiring (and retaining) more moms

Graphic of Rosie the Riveter with a baby strapped to her chest.

Hey, wasn’t last Sunday Mother's Day?
Yup. And naturally, we reflected on how much they juggle and struggle to make sure their families' lives run like well-oiled (okay, sometimes it’s a bit squeaky) machines. In fact, it’s a special skill set that’s practically built for managing small business operations (ahem).

No argument there. But there are plenty of working moms.
Well… not quite. In 2020, American women lost more than 5M jobs due to the pandemic. Today, more than 1.3M of them remain without work. It’s a stark contrast to pre-pandemic numbers that show women actually edged out men when it came to representation in the workforce.

So, what makes moms specially qualified for scaling SMBs?
Moms are poised to make a career comeback. And their skillsets are just as relevant as ever — especially for SMBs that are focused on scaling. Here are five reasons why:

  1. Moms know that hours don’t matter. Results do.That’s because they’re great at time management. Moms are pros at making the most out of the precious hour they get when kiddo’s taking their nap — budgeting, laundry, meal planning, finding the solution to the Collatz Conjecture. The mom on your team is guaranteed to lap everyone in the office when it comes to checking off tasks with a tight turnaround.
  2. Moms aren’t afraid of shouldering more responsibility. A lot has been made of the “mental load,” AKA the invisible labor involved in managing a household and family. Women are typically the ones running a never-ending list of to-do items in their heads, remembering what needs to get done and when, delegating all the tasks to respective family members, and making sure they actually get done. That same “take charge” ethos translates into a powerful project manager — and one who gets results.

👉 Read all five reasons.


Tips for women, minority, and veteran entrepreneurs to level up their business

A Black woman posing in front of a bookshelf.

Women, minorities, and veterans own roughly 2.4M businesses in the U.S. #represent. Connie S. Falls, founder and CEO of Entrepreneur Life Global, jumped on the Organize Chaos podcast with tips for each of these groups of entrepreneurs.

To women: Stop multitasking — execute one priority task at a time.
Women are often taught to multitask in their personal lives, and they naturally apply that to work. But multitasking doesn’t apply to running a business. To be successful, you’ve got to learn how to prioritize which tasks come first.

The easiest way to focus on one task at a time is to write down the tasks you need to get done. Then, start on the task with the most potential to make an impact and bring in income. To stay focused on the task at hand, block off time on your calendar.

To minorities: Shift from “secret sauce” to sharing systems openly.
Keeping processes a secret is a cultural mindset for many minorities. You know, like those recipes that are taken to the grave. In turn, a lot of people are culturally ingrained to keep their businesses private.

For example, a restaurant owner might refuse to share their secret-sauce recipe with a spouse — let alone their staff. But it can be challenging to run a business if you don’t keep your employees in the know. So be sure to share the important stuff with your team, so you can be sure the job gets done right (especially when you’re not there).

To veterans: Leverage your skills with standard operating procedures.
A veteran’s ability to create and execute standard operating procedures (SOPs) surpasses those of the general workforce. After all, while they served, following a process correctly might’ve meant the difference between life and death.

When you have a good understanding of SOPs, the next step is finding the right tools to implement them in your business. And then utilizing the right platform to document your SOPs for your team.


Entrepreneurship = stress. So how do you cope?

Let’s talk stress.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, a lot falls on your plate. Daily operations, minor roadblocks, planning for future growth — and that barely scratches the surface. And stress, AKA your body’s physical and emotional response to external pressure, is a common side effect while dealing with everything your business throws at you.

A older man throwing a wrench at a younger man.

Now, a little stress isn’t a bad thing. But when it builds on itself and becomes overwhelming, stress can have a negative toll on your mental health, sometimes escalating to burnout.

And entrepreneurs are at greater risk. Because of the unique nature of their jobs, they can’t avoid entrepreneurial stressors like risk and uncertainty, a heavy workload, and resource constraints. Plus, these stressors can also keep them from activities that would help them naturally recover from stress, like sleep.

Yes, I get stressed. What can I do about it?
We’ve got you. The Hustle recently conducted a survey of over 300 entrepreneurs who shared their preferred coping mechanisms for stress. These were the top three:

  • Exercising (73%).
  • Talking to friends and family (56%).
  • Engaging in hobbies (48%).

Basically, making time to explore relationships and passions outside of the workplace is especially important for maintaining good mental health. And it’s supported by science: research shows that leisure activities can help lower stress and levels of depression.

So, while the entrepreneur's motto might be “can’t stop, won’t stop” — stop. And take a break. Dust off your old guitar or sign up for surf lessons. The name of the game (and your mental health) is to prioritize play just as you would work.


COVID-born Black-owned SMBs push for more success

Here’s the story.
At the beginning of the pandemic, many Black-owned small businesses struggled — as a consequence, 41% had to shut down (more than any other racial or ethnic group).

But then, many Black entrepreneurs took advantage of opportunities presented by COVID, signaling a resurgence in Black business ownership. In 2020, 11% of new business owners were Black or African American, up from the 3% in previous years. And by 2021, Black-owned businesses were opening at the fastest rate in 26 years.

An older white man looking happily surprised.

The answer lies in the pivot.
For a lot of these business owners, that meant redirecting the focus of their business. Terri Evans, owner of the Windy City Ribs & Whiskey restaurant in Chicago, had to close her doors in the early days of the pandemic. But because of her close proximity to the harbor, she started Dockside Delivery in May 2020 to cater to the boating community.

She was able to retain her full staff and even partnered with other struggling restaurants. The business was so successful that she’s planning to expand Dockside Delivery to other large boating communities.

But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Like all entrepreneurs, Black SMB owners are facing the challenges that come with the labor shortages, supply chain roadblocks, and inflation. In 2021, 42% of Black business owners felt their businesses were doing worse than expected, with 78% of them having to cut their own wages.

Some continue to make pivots to cover their staff shortages or the cost of inflation. Others, however, are turning to grants — specifically, grants for minority entrepreneurs. Whatever their path, these new Black entrepreneurs aren’t planning to throw in the towel any time soon.

👉 Learn about Black SMB owners.


This week’s highlight reel

  • Say it with us: there’s no such thing as free tax prep. Intuit has agreed to pay $141M to 4.4M low-income customers who were charged for using the TurboTax Free Edition between 2016-2018. Maybe throw a headache relieving massage in there, too.
  • Remote control. Need proof that workers are resisting the return-to-office (RTO) movement? Over 800K people flocked to Airbnb’s career site when they announced they were going fully remote. Long live pants-less Zoom meetings.    
  • Eternal sunshine of the spotless vacation. Climate change is throwing a wrench in both personal and business travel plans. Enter: Sensible Weather, a climate risk technology company that just raised $12M to build an insurance product that’ll reimburse you if the weather goes awry on your vacation. So, you know, a literal rain check.    
  • Space out. Orbital Assembly recently announced plans for Pioneer Station, an interstellar “business park” that looks like a “Bop-it meets a donut.” The station, which is coming in 2025, will feature opportunities for both remote work and play. Signups aren’t open yet, but it’s never too late to start working on your zero-gravity pickleball strokes.


Here’s what else is on The Manual’s mind

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