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Too much stress


I own a small software company and I have been working in IT for 15 years and an entrepeneur for the last 6 years. The last few months business is getting tight again and I am feeling very stressed. I have considered folding up shop and walking away from the business of being self-employed. The constant concern over revenue and growing the business takes its toll on me during the difficult down times. I was hoping people here might have some similar advice or suggestions as to how I can deal with this. A couple of specific questions:

1. Does anyone know of an online aptitude test that I could take that might offer some direction into a different career?

2. What do you all do to deal with this type of situation, specifically those of you that are self-employed?

3. Any advice or comments are appreciated.



Kevin Moore
Sunday, March 7, 2004

if you want to succeed, then don't give up

if you think this much stress is not for you then go and find a less stressful job or change your behaviour

Sunday, March 7, 2004

What are the goals you are after with that business of yours ?

Only if this is clear can advice be provided.

Sunday, March 7, 2004

As useful as the previous post is, I'd suggest seeing a career counselor.  A good program will involve sitting down a few times for a few hours, perhaps with some testing, and generating a picture of what you've done, what qualities you have, what you want to go into, and what you might need to get there.

Kind of like a career tune-up.

Can be very useful to get a neutral opinion on things. It's getting to be much more common these days.

Sunday, March 7, 2004

My 0.02 cents :

Many people are victims of stress and are not in
the IT industry.

Maybe if you would know how to manage your stress better ...

Sorry if I'm wrong ...

Anyway I hope you'll achieve what ever path you choose ...

Good luck!

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Get a sales guy, give him partial ownership and responsibility for leading.  It won't cure you but it helps to have someone else with you in the trenches.  Pick a partner very very very very very carefully.

Sunday, March 7, 2004

I agree with the point about getting partners.  I'm just starting out (and probably a much younger person) and I know my constant worries would be reduced if I wasn't the only one doing the worrying.  I think once one gets over the bad feelings it's a straightforward matter of looking for "ways to make business improve".

Seun Osewa
Sunday, March 7, 2004

What do you do when you aren't working?

Make THAT your career.


Sunday, March 7, 2004

When I was running my software business I found the stress happened when I didn't have a plan for all possibilities (i.e. the worst case), and it was basically the back of my mind nagging me.  But just a simple "if I only get 10 sales again next month, I'll need to fold by X, start looking for a job by Y, cash out Z..." was usually enough to relieve the uncertainty. 

(Eventually the worst case did happen, and I went to work for the Man... though went back five years later).

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Expect and plan for the down times ('worst case' as others have posted) so it's not as stressful.

Self-employed here for 9 years and 3 of them have been tough.  Still very much worth it, imo.

Joe Hendricks
Sunday, March 7, 2004

Heya Kevin,

When you're not starving for work, you're drowning in too much of it, eh?  I don't think I could stomach the ups and downs of self-employment myself.

For what it's worth, you can try reading these sample pages:

Best of luck to you.

Monday, March 8, 2004

There are excellent books on stress out there.

I was very stressed myself, in the first 5 years of running my company.

I used to read lots of motivational books. On an intellectual level, I knew I could make it, but on the emotional level, I was very scared and concerned and worried a lot.

After 5 years of very tough work the sales suddenly boosted, and I had nothing to worry about.

Now I worry a lot less.

However, what would have happened if sales didn't improve? I think that I would have became a living wreck.

Monday, March 8, 2004

> 1. Does anyone know of an online aptitude test that I could take that might offer some direction into a different career?

There are several mentioned in the _What Color Is Your Parachute?_ book ... perhaps the URLs change rapidly ... one of these is ... when I took a test like this for the reason you cited, I read it as suggesting that a good career for me would be: programming!

> 2. What do you all do to deal with this type of situation, specifically those of you that are self-employed?

Have a fallback position. My last boss told me that I had done "amazing" work for him, and that if I want another job I should just walk in, no need to phone in advance. *That* is reassuring. And similarly I have other ex-colleagues that I might find jobs with. Admittedly, I've only been self-employed for a couple of months.

> 3. Any advice or comments are appreciated.

Be more specific when you ask questions? I don't know whether you're asking for advice on revenue, on growing a business, on career-changing, or on stress management.

Christopher Wells
Monday, March 8, 2004

In my experience, stress comes from not having an adequate answer for the question "what will happen / what will I do if (insert bad event) happens?"  It's a part of the human condition that we want to have some assurance that everything is going to be alright.  (In whatever way, and to whatever degree, we define "alright".)  And we want to know that either we can take action ourselves to ensure that, or that something will happen to assure that. 

So.  For every "bad event" which you are stressing over, have one or more backup plans or fallback positions.  You don't need to think each one through to perfection.  Just work it out in enough detail that you are confident it will work.  (And, maybe, if you can't build up enough confidence in it, have a backup plan for your backup plan.)

Be careful to distinguish between things you have real control over, and things that you don't have control over.  The things you have no control over you must let go of, as there is no surer route to insanity than trying to control things you have no power over.  :)  The best check I have found is to ask myself, is this an action that I can take or an outcome/result?  Hiring a salesperson is an action; growing the business is an outcome.  Updating your resume is an action; getting a job is an outcome.

Should be working
Monday, March 8, 2004


Can you keep the stress in perspective?  What is your financial situatiuon like?  Wife, kids, mortgage?  Do you live a "fancy" lifestyle?  Trust yourself, if you're smart and clearly willing to take risks, you'll always find something.  You will never starve.  So keep the stress in perspective. 

Only you can decide if your company has run its course, but you will reinvent yourself, as you've done before, just have faith in yourself.  You willl be fine.  Try to enjoy running your company while it's there, for better or worse. 

This too shall pass,

Monday, March 8, 2004

There are some incredibly thought-provoking questionnaires available online at

I think there are also books by the same author. I heard him on the BBC a couple of months ago.

Friday, March 12, 2004

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