The Emotional Toll of Launching a Business

December 12, 2022

Show Notes

Being a solopreneur is not as simple as “just go for it!”

Today’s episode covers the emotional toll of launching a business. It’s 15 minutes of insights, including:

  • When the six figure launch plans don’t work for your type of business
  • Self Care: When the culture you live in doesn’t give you what you need, you need to give it to yourself.
  • What we can learn from the way big box corporations are run (and what NOT to do)
  • A totally inappropriate thing I said at the beginning of my side hustle journey
  • A coaching framework I find helpful during dark times

You still have what it takes. Don’t give up!
Need some help re-grouping after a flopped launch? Download the Launch Audit!


Welcome to a compassionate side hustle strategy hosted by me, Rochelle Sanchez. I'm a business designer and mindset coach and I help side hustling, solopreneurs like you quiet your inner drama and build compassionate systems that allow you to show up consistently and authentically in your business.

No matter what culture you were raised in, your current setbacks, economic status, or internal struggles, you deserve to do what you love for a living.

So let's go together! and find that next best step for you on your business journey.

Unfortunately in the entrepreneurship world, most launch plans for small businesses only look at the financial side of things. Honestly, it’s a very capitalist way of running your business, or just living your life, for that matter, not to mention heavily masculine and patriarchal.

What I mean is that being emotional, or taking things personally, or looking at a business model from any angle other than increasing revenue is generally frowned upon or considered less important than making that money.

Yes, the money is important.

Money is how a lot of things get done in our world, and money will be necessary to bring good change.

Whether it’s reproductive rights, mental health awareness, breaking down systemic racism, or addressing climate change before it’s too late.

We need money to make those changes happen. We need education to know how money affects our world. At least, we need money right now in the way our culture (especially here in the United States) is set up.

We need direction on how to use that money and how to withhold that money to make our voices heard.

But let’s bring it back down to you. You, and your small business.

You, doing the the best you can with what you have.

If you consider the business you run to be heart-centered or mission-focused, it can truly be heartbreaking when things don’t pan out the way you had hoped. I’m talking about after you do all the things to get up and running, you got the bank account, all the business licenses, you set everything up.

You created your offers and they’re amazing.

They are life changing for the clients and customers you HAVE had.

They’re literally ready to sell, and they don’t sell.

Or they suddenly stop selling.

It can be really disappointing.

Maybe this business venture was supposed to be the first of many courageous steps for you, building out the life of freedom that you always wanted.

But it often doesn’t turn out the way we hoped.

Either life got in the way, because children, and work, and bills, and just living…

… or that six figure launch plan you invested in was a little more complicated than you expected, for your specific business model…

… or maybe you really did cover all the best practices for a business model like yours, but you didn’t get the swarm of sales that you were expecting.

Whatever the case may be, disappointment is disappointing. I think we can all agree on that.

So now what?

Before I go on, I do want to put a moderate content warning here because I am going to bring up the topic of mental health, and emotions, and things of that nature.

For some people this topic is really sensitive, especially coming from someone like me who is neurodivergent and struggling with mental health BUT I don’t have nearly the intensity of mental health struggles that other people may have.

So, what I consider to be a big challenge may pale in comparison to what other businesses are going through or have gone through.

Please do your very best to take care of yourself, and if that means stopping and not listening to the rest of this, that is perfectly okay.

So here we go.

My advice, when it comes to your emotional state after a disappointing business launch, is to take a step back.

Step back and give yourself some perspective.

When the culture you live in doesn’t give you what you need, you need to give it to yourself. That’s what self-care is.

Your gut reaction to having a disappointing business launch may be to just give up. After all, your feed is probably saturated with success stories (aka highlight reels) of other businesses that “made it,” while you’re just sitting here in your not-six-figure launch disappointment.

Potentially in your barely four figure launch.

Or maybe in your zero dollar launch.

While a lot of coaches may tell you that this is the first of many, dust yourself off and keep trying, and “welcome to entrepreneurship, baby!”

I’d like to point out that there’s more going on here than just a lower number on your business bank statement.

There are doubts of your self-worth, which is your self-esteem.

There could be self-confidence issues, where you seriously wonder and question if you’re even cut out for this and if you’re actually capable of being a business owner.

There’s the physical fatigue, because of the focus and concentration that it takes to get everything together to launch your business on your own. It may be showing up physically in your body, or through your habits.

(And by that, I mean your habit of using your phone too much, or staying up too late, or maybe talking too much so you lose your voice)

There are the deep emotional things happening, plus potentially triggering thoughts as you remember past failures or previous experiences where you either failed yourself or you failed to impress someone else that you REALLY needed to impress at the time.

So, self-worth, self-confidence, physical fatigue, emotional fatigue.

And all of these have absolutely nothing to do with the amount of money or views or the level of virality you reached on social media with your business launch.

So it can almost feel like gaslighting when our western culture emphasizes revenue and efficiency and return on investment above all else without giving at least an equal amount of value to all the other non-revenue things.

We’ll use a non-small business example here. In large businesses and corporations, they’re looking at their end of month reports and making decisions based on those numbers.

But there’s no report that shows employees mental wellness.

There’s no tracking system for the level of personal satisfaction that their employees feel.

There’s no checking on an employee’s likelihood to burn out either because of work/life balance issues or the workload they’re dealing with.

We know that that’s not fair when it happens in our day jobs, or when it happens to people we love and care about.

And it’s easy to point the finger at the billionaires and say they’re being ridiculous, and wasting their money and being selfish.

But unfortunately, I think we bring that kind of leadership with us to our own small businesses, whether or not we purposely intended to.

We’re essentially doing the same thing.

We look at our own financial statements.

We judge our employees (aka us!) based on our revenue.

We grant our employees just enough time to recover so we don’t break down, but it’s always “get back on the horse” pretty quickly after a launch or an intense phase of work in our businesses.

We also ignore how frickin’ HARD it is to wear all these hats and make decisions and make do with the resources we have access to.

Or in more extreme cases, we fire our employess for not doing a good enough job, which is essentially what we’re doing when we give up on our businesses and quit when we’re unhappy with our launch results.

See what I’m getting at, here?

It’s like we’re applying that ridiculous, profit-driven billionaire mentality to our own small and micro businesses. It’s not fair to us as CEOs and it’s not fair to us as employees, either.

So, back to my suggestion of taking a step back.

Taking a step back means coming back to yourself. Letting go of the finances and numbers for a few days, at least.

And what you do at this point is try to get yourself back in a positive mindset about… life. About yourself and the work you’re doing.

For each person, this is different.

It may mean talking it out with a really good therapist.

Or finding a way to laugh about it with a supportive spouse or friend who can help you make it not feel so personal anymore.

It may be going for a long trail run outside for you. And doing that several days in a row.

It might be spending a few hours, either in one go or spread out over the course of a couple weeks, working on a painting and getting your emotions out of your body and expressed in the physical world with any kind of art form — dancing, singing, songwriting, poetry.

I admit that when I got serious about my side hustle, I was one of those people who pushed too hard because I thought that was what would all but guarantee my success.

I remember being in a coffee chat with a fellow member in one of those multi-thousand-dollar masterminds I had invested in. And I told the lady I was talking to that I don’t get why people don’t just MOVE and do the things. In fact, my words were, “Just put it on your fucking credit card and let’s go!” and at the time I was proud of that.

I see now that there are so many issues with that statement, but that’s just what I was knew at the time.

Again, because our culture emphasizes money, and moving, and being efficient and productive. It really stinks! And I have all the mental health struggles and inner drama to show for it, now, trying to apply it to my life and my work and not understanding why it didn’t all work out.

It was hard, but an enormous amount of self-care and personal reflection and deep work was what helped me get to where I am now.

So whatever you choose to do, make sure you go into it with the intention to get yourself to feel better than you do right now in this low state.

This isn’t about toxic positivity and just seeing the good in every situation.

This is purely personal.

This is for your own health and personal benefit so that your nervous system is in a better state to embrace change and try something new.

There’s a coaching framework I love called coaching with compassion, and an important part of it is getting yourself into what’s called the Positive Emotional Attractor, or PEA.

It’s defined as, “The neurological, hormonal, and emotional state in which we are more open to new ideas, other people, moral concerns, and are able to scan our environment to notice patterns or themes.” And that sounds like the kind of state we should be in, to be flexible entrepreneurs, right?

It sounds like a good state to be in for leaders in general, to me.

That’s the definition from the book Helping People Change, by the way. The authors are Boyatsis, Smith, and Van Oosten.

So we want to be flexible, creative, open to ideas, morally grounded, and able to notice opportunities.

Getting yourself out of your funk is crucial if you’re really bummed out about your business.

And again, it has nothing to do with revenue, or even systems and operations and efficiency, while we’re at it.

It’s actually quite revolutionary to resist getting sucked up into that whole corporate, capitalist world.

So, self care! Make that the priority first.

Honor the inner struggles that you’re facing right now. You are always growing and transforming, and I happen to believe that every experience, so-called good or bad ones, can be seen as helpful for your personal development and creating the life you’ve always wanted.

Secondly, I invite you to download a free resource I created called The Launch Audit.

If you’ve experienced a disappointing launch of your business or a specific offer in your business, the Launch Audit will help you get your footing and figure out your next steps. You can grab it over at rochelle sanchez dot com slash launch audit.

That’s all for today. Thank you for spending time looking at the emotional side of launching your business. This is hard work that you’re doing, and if you stay focused on your mission and the change you’re here to make, you’ll get there.

I’m rooting for you. Keep it up. I’ll see you next time.

Compassionate Side Hustle Strategy is sponsored by Gentle Momentum.

What if you had someone to help you navigate both the inner drama AND the back end operational stuff that comes with running your business?

What if you never felt overextended, rushed, bullied, or pressured into doing things for your business that just aren't your thing?

Gentle Momentum is a hybrid coach-in-your-pocket mentorship and accountability system designed to help ambitious, mission-driven solopreneurs just like you, stay on track and focused.

It's exactly what it sounds like: a program designed to help you generate momentum in your business!

To learn more, visit Rochelle Sanchez dot com and click on the "Work with me" button.

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