8 Weeks to a Stress-Free Business Launch
That’s it, you’re finally *ready*. You have a business plan, a new product or service idea you can’t wait to share...
That’s it, you’re finally *ready*. You have a business plan, a new product or service idea you can’t wait to share with the world. You’re entrepreneurial at heart, and dream of being the next Oprah Winfrey or Jessica Alba. However, the next 8 weeks until launch might be more stressful than first-year exams. You want everything to go perfectly, and fit within your startup budget. You’ve bartered with friends and family and you don’t want to let anyone down.
This is your time, you want to make it work. But at what cost?
Staying focused on launching – whatever hustle this requires – will cause stress (adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine) to run high. I know, believe me, I’ve been there many times.
Adrenaline is a response to our heightened state of busyness. Besides giving us the push we need to keep going or stay inspired, this hormone also triggers an ancient fight or flight response. Our muscles tighten, alertness increases (or your brain doesn’t shut off at bedtime), our breath gets shallower, we start sweating.
These responses are useful when run after by a lion, but they’re not that great when it’s you against the laptop – and a looming deadline… With no lions in sight, we still experience daily stressful responses to situations, regardless if they’re dangerous or not. It’s how we react when we push ourselves too hard, or if we don’t have effective coping mechanisms in place.
To be clear: this is not a flaw, it’s programmed into our DNA. But in today’s fast-paced, always-on world what was one’s life-saving, is becoming life-threatening – with the CDC reporting over 110 million people dying every year as a direct result of stress.
Acute stressors can have a compounding effect if left unchecked – anxiety, depression, lack of sleep or diet changes are not uncommon. In turn, they’ll further amplify the stress that caused them in the first place.
Entrepreneurship is wonderful, but not to the detriment of your health. That’s why it’s important to reframe what success means to you, and how it can be achieved.
Stop Hustling Hard
The “hustle hard” mentality had its moment. Thank goodness it plateaued after having unfilled the six-figure glory we were all promised. The original idea is one where you somehow wake up at 5 am each day (before everyone else even if you live alone, it’s just “quieter”), work 12-hour days to get your bootstrapped idea off the ground as you juggle a 9-5 (and maybe a kid or two), while simultaneously being a founder, accountant, marketer, strategist, sales, and graphic designer.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this is UNSUSTAINABLE.
That’s why starting a business (or new career venture) needs a strong – stress-free – foundation. How you set yourself up from the beginning will help you navigate the inevitable peaks and valleys of running your own business (while wearing countless other hats – mom, coach, friend, daughter, and so on).
What they don’t tell you when starting a business is that you’ll eventually hit a wall, or struggle to maintain a level of consistency. Why? Because you’re human, not a machine.
Below is a weekly calendar for 8 weeks to a stress-free launch that will work together with the business launch itself. I’ve put it together based on my own experience of starting and launching businesses – and feeling overwhelmed and stressed out often enough. I believe there is another, more soulful way to achieve success.
Week 1 – Anticipation
Anticipate when you tend to get stressed. Is it when there are delays? Build a cushion room into dates and expectations. Be proactive. Do you not eat full meals? Start to plan nutritious meal prep time into your schedule – and don’t forget breaks! This crucial foundational work is necessary for a launch that brings you joy and positive experiences and doesn’t leave you feeling burned out.
Week 2 – Human Being
Sometimes we forget we’re human beings and not human doings. Use this approach to achieve soul, flow, and ease in your daily activities. Are you short-tempered and always rushing around telling people you’re “just busy with so much!”? The busier we pretend to be, the more we convince ourselves hasty and rushed is the new normal, and overwhelm and stress is the norm. That’s why you’re not aligned.
Week 3 – Support System
You’re responsible for yourself first. You can’t control your surroundings, other people or outcomes. Check-in on your friends, family, and team so they don’t feel ignored, but instead feel supported. Lean on them as your launch rolls out. How are your relationships doing? Which ones need to be nurtured and maintained a bit better? Remember, no one has built a business on their own.
Week 4 – Re-Organizing and Productivity
It’s the end of month one, and you have less than four weeks until launch. Check-in with yourself and ensure you’re being productive mentally, emotionally and professionally – these parts of you all work together. Time might become a limited commodity at this point, so make sure you take the next steps *intentionally*. What do you need to automate or delegate? How can you pace yourself so you can do things right from the start? Is your living area a neglected mess? However counterproductive it feels, this is the time to slow down, and focus on the essential. This is how you’ll get things done.
Week 5 – Stop Aiming for Perfection
Perfectionism can plague you in ways you’re not even aware of. Decisions are slowed or not made at all, deadlines pushed, and ideas quashed with one word or stare. These, and other behaviours, can kill confidence and increase anxiety. The solution, accept minor defeats, faults or mistakes as inevitable parts of moving forward. A new mantra to replace perfectionism: “done is better than perfect”.
Week 6 – Reflect, Integrate, and Enjoy
You’ve experienced setbacks, yet pushed through to get this far. Well done! Now is the time to sit down and reflect. With only two weeks left to go, ask yourself: what has worked well? Know what is expected of yourself or your team, and allow people to flourish while learning. Be compassionate and understanding – with yourself and others. Be happy now, you deserve it with all the hard work you’ve put in.
Week 7 – In the Flow
You forget time flies by when you’re working. You feel energized and happy. Things are going relatively as planned. Great, you’re in the flow! You’ve applied all of the new habits and thought patterns to reduce the stress in your life. Maybe you’ve even introduced yoga and meditation (back) into your schedule. No one is more demanding of you than yourself, and so be wary of that inner critic that does not serve positive motivations. Keep coming back to what works for you, without letting yourself be sidetracked by all the shiny promises of success out there.
Week 8 – Focus on Long-Term Habits
If you’re being perfectionist again, try doing the opposite and be imperfect. Getting stressed, do the opposite: unwind and find ways to relax that work for you. Keep focusing on how you want to feel in the long-term by taking it day-by-day – whatever deadline is approaching. Everything has an action and reaction – focus on choosing those that benefit you (and your launch) in a positive way.
Your entrepreneurial spirit should never affect your well being and mental health in negative ways. Unfortunately, the hustle lifestyle that’s being advertised often leads to just that.
Following the steps above during your launch, you’ll notice yourself shifting from that external goal to a slightly more internal one, and the most important success metric: your well being as an entrepreneur.
Hi, I’m Murielle. I created the online course Soulful Productivity™, a 6-week program to redefine productivity and help you get from overwhelm to flow, and I have a private coaching practice where I help ambitious, multi-passionate creatives and entrepreneurs start, grow & scale businesses, and create their freedom lifestyle. PS: I love Instagram. Let’s connect!