advice for startup founders

Advice for New Startup Founders

For Entrepreneurs UPMC Enterprises

It takes a certain type of individual to be an entrepreneur – a bold, confident leader with an innovative spirit who knows when to take the creative and financial risks that are needed to get a company off the ground are just a few qualities that are required of successful entrepreneurs. And while many startup founders have proven their ability to take an idea from its most basic level and transform it into a thriving company, many also struggle with the daily stressors and demands of the role.

In fact, a recent report from Startup Snapshot, a data-sharing platform focused on the startup ecosystem, surveyed 400 startup founders. Results showed that the startup grind can take a major toll, with 36% of individuals experiencing symptoms of burnout.3

Since startup founders may often feel like their lives are consumed by their business, taking the necessary steps to prioritize one’s well-being in both a professional and personal setting is crucial not only for the success of the company, but more importantly to ensure the prosperity of the individual and other employees.

Below are a few lifestyle and professional steps a new entrepreneur can take to help calm the chaos that may come with being a startup founder.

Lifestyle Tips

1. Maintain a Proper Work Life Balance

While being an entrepreneur requires sacrifices – working long hours, making tough decisions, etc. – be sure to make time for the people and activities that make you, you. Carve out time in your schedule to do the things that truly make you happy – while work can certainly be one of them, it should not be all-consuming. Indulging in self-care activities to reset and revitalize is important – prioritize passions, interests, and creativity for moments of peak happiness.

2. Use Technology to Unwind

Let’s be honest – an entrepreneur is almost always connected to technology for work purposes. Since there is little chance that you will be able to fully step away from technology, startup founders should use it to their benefit to enhance well-being. Whether it is engaging in therapy sessions via technology or using apps to help with sleep, physical activity, or mindfulness, don’t be afraid to turn to these screen-based resources.

3. Turn to Your Personal Community for Support

We all need people who “fill our cup” or, in other words, add positive energy and happiness to our lives. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the stressors of the startup grind, connect with those in your life who can offer emotional, physical, and mental support.

Professional Tips

1. Build a Team of Partners and VCs that Benefit Your Goals

Seriously consider who you would like to work with before saying “yes” to investors and other partners. Knowing when and how to decline offers from potential investors or partners who are not best suited for your business is key. Entrepreneur suggests that you do a “thorough reference check” before committing to a partnership to ensure that healthy partnerships are created.1

2. Create an Environment for Vulnerable Discussions with Key Stakeholders and Employees

As the company leader, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and openly speak about the importance of self-care practices with employees and stakeholders. Creating an open dialogue around this subject may help others around you experiencing burnout or other struggles feel more supported, causing them to offer you the same support in return.

According to Inc., “following up your honesty and vulnerability with strong communication about next steps instills confidence in stakeholders that you are capable of handling the pressures of the workplace, as well as emphasizes the importance of devoting time and energy to one’s overall well-being.”2

Talking openly about prioritizing one’s well-being in the workplace and working with others to develop plans the best way to incorporate self-care practices will not only earn the appreciation of your team, but also foster an environment of support and humanization.

3. Take Advantage of Support from Multifunctional Teams with Helpful Resources

UPMC Enterprises offers a variety of business functions, or what we call “shared services,” to our portfolio companies, including Finance, Legal, HR, and Marketing. These teams help provide necessary support for a company and its founders by acting as consultants or a fully functioning department for a startup that may not have the resources yet to bring those departments in-house. This model has helped numerous companies focus on building and scaling their products while leaving some of the administrative tasks to the experts at Enterprises, allowing the work to be distributed in the most efficient and beneficial way.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post should not be used for diagnosing or treating a medical condition. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you need medical attention, please contact your health care provider.


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