The Emotional Roller Coaster of Starting a Business

Roller Coaster Amusement Park Fair  - GDJ / Pixabay

I often talk about the technical aspects of starting a practice or how to develop the appropriate positive mindset necessary to succeed. I rarely ever talk about the emotions that happen behind the scenes when starting and operating a successful practice/business though. Therefore, I wanted to talk about that in this week’s article, in particular the emotional roller coaster that comes along with being a nurse practitioner entrepreneur.

When you start your first practice, you are going to be bombarded by numerous different emotions. You will go through various ups and downs during your journey. These emotions often continue during the process of operating a business as well. Many of you that already have a practice could attest to feeling this way still… I know I do from time to time. Luckily, you learn how to manage the emotions much better as you move from rookie entrepreneur to a seasoned entrepreneur!

So, what types of emotions can you expect to experience as a nurse practitioner entrepreneur? These are 10 of the most common emotions you can expect:

Fear of failure: You have a constant fear in the back of your mind that your business is going to fail, therefore you will become a failure. If your business fails, your life will fall apart around you and you might never bounce back. Everyone experiences this fear but what is the most probable worst-case scenario? Your out some money and you continue to work. That is it…

Fear of success: You fear that your practice will become successful, and you will now hold an immense amount of responsibility that you are not prepared for. What I have found that it is not that much different at the top than it was at the bottom. Do not fear success. Everything will be fine.

Scared of doing something illegal: You can constantly feel like you are doing something “wrong” operating your business. Everything is so new and foreign. There are a few rules to avoiding legal trouble as a nurse practitioner entrepreneur in THIS article just FYI. As long as you are paying your taxes, providing excellent care, and not knowingly commit fraud, then there is little to worry about.

Feeling like an imposter: You feel like you do not belong. You feel like that you are not a business owner or have the ability to provide a new niche service. You feel like you do not deserve the attention and success you have created for yourself. You feel unqualified… Feeling like you are an imposter in your current position is a normal emotion to have as you first get started.

Inadequacy: You feel like you are inadequate in a new service line such as medical weight loss or men’s health, but in fact you are… Integrating a new niche service into your practice is relatively straight forward and low liability. Follow the model presented in the courses. Read books. Be diligent. You are adequate and more powerful than you think!

Guilt: When you begin to experience great financial success in your practice, you can begin to feel guilty because you are making so much more money with less work. You can begin to feel almost guilty of your success. This was a tough one for me and a very bizarre emotion to experience. I see my colleagues killing themselves in the hospital for $55 an hour and I am over here making $200 an hour seeing men’s health patients with a FRACTION of the stress…

Excitement and Joy: You are just so thrilled about finally venturing out on your own and building something that you can say you started that you can hardly contain yourself. The thought of building a profitable practice and breaking free from the chains of corporate healthcare fills you with joy. Be careful though, don’t focus on the goals too much, you need to focus on the processes…

Frustration: Putting all the processes together to start a niche side practice can be daunting and overwhelming. You feel like it never ends. It is all new to you and you lack direction. Simply put, you become frustrated with the process because no one teaches you this stuff in school. This is one of the reasons I created the courses to help you succeed. I still become frustrated with many things in my businesses, but these predominately revolve around the lack of work ethic in others anymore…

Overwhelmed: You begin to create a plan and look at everything that needs to be completed before you open the doors. Your mind becomes overloaded. The tasks at hand seem impossible. Overload paralysis sets in. Guess what guys > you will NEVER be 100% ready. No entrepreneur ever is.

Discouragement: Maybe you aren’t seeing as many patients as you had hoped when you opened. You were confident you were going to make $10,000 the first month of being open but barely made $1,000. You begin to feel discouraged… Discouragement can happen for many reasons and let me give you one cold hard truth about being a nurse practitioner entrepreneur > it never ends. I am still discouraged to this day when something doesn’t go as planned or as I had hoped.

There are dozens of other emotions that can be experienced during the initial phases of starting a business, but these are some of the more common ones. You need to realize that it is COMPLETELY normal to experience these emotions being a business owner. You are not alone in this.

As you get a practice or business up and running, you will go through multiple emotional ups and downs. You will think you are bi-polar, but do not fret, it is just part of the process!

Some days your business will do GREAT, and then other days it is dead. You will go from being joyful and excited to depressed and discouraged.

You can be filled with energy and get many processes and tasks done in your business one day, and then the next day you are utterly exhausted and unmotivated.

This is the emotional roller coaster of starting and operating a business. This is COMPLETELY normal. Therefore, do not think you are alone in feeling these new and often unnerving emotions as you go through this journey. We all have and continue to experience these emotions. It is what justifies the big rewards that come along with owning a business. Trust me, it will all pay off if you remain persistent.

7 Responses

  1. Amen to that! It’s almost like you have direct access to my emotions in this post! As always, thank you for a great article.

    1. Haha, I don’t have direct access to your emotions, I am simply stating what I have experienced and what other have experienced. It is all the same for most folks!

    1. You bet! It is crazy but it eventually levels off once your business “settles down.” It can just take 6-12 months for that to happen!

  2. Hey Justin — one of your biggest fans here — and also a former proof reader who can’t help but auto-edit as I read, so I am passing on a typo you might wish to correct in this (great!!) article: (caps are mine )

    Inadequacy: You feel like you ARE INADEQUATE in a new service line such as medical weight loss or men’s health, but in fact you ARE… (whoops!)

    I think what you mean to say is: You feel like you are NOT ADEQUATE……but in fact you ARE.

    Blessings —

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