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What is founder wellness and why you should care

Today, it’s all about the hustle. If you want to get anywhere in life you need to be working harder than the people around you. That’s how you create a successful business right? Wrong?

What actually happens is burnout. And when burnout happens it puts your business in danger.

Founders know burnout all too well, with 8% of startups failing due to founder burnout. It's time we take a new approach to business and the health and wellbeing of those in the company.

Wellness as a whole is the act of prioritising your mental and physical health by participating in healthy habits. We usually associate wellness with spas and retreats, but it’s much more than that. It’s about thriving instead of surviving. Doing things on a regular basis will improve your lifestyle and make you a healthier, happier person.


What is founder wellness?

Of course, everyone is susceptible to burnout, but founders are even more susceptible to poor health and wellbeing due to the huge responsibility that comes with starting a business. Founders are twice as likely to suffer depression and three times as likely to succumb to drug abuse.

Founders undergo pressure from investors, employees and customers, as well as family, friends and partners. Trying to balance building a business whilst keeping a healthy social life can seem like an almost impossible task sometimes. Especially at the beginning when there are fewer employees to help and the pressure is on for the business to start making money. Investors will be keen to make their money back as soon as possible, whilst employees who are on a smaller starting wage will be looking for a raise as the work builds. But this is juxtaposed with partners and friends telling you that you work too hard and need to take time off. You can’t win.

As a result of the ever building pressure, the first thing that founders tend to let slip is their wellbeing, both from a mental and physical standpoint. They’re feeling so pressured to make sure that everyone else is happy that they put their own well-being at the bottom of the pile. But you’ll soon realise that you can only burn the candle at both ends for so long, something’s got to give. And if it doesn't, that's when you need to be concerned about the health of your founder and the future of the business.

Another aspect to look at in terms of founder wellness is loneliness. It sounds very cliché, but it can be lonely at the top. Especially if there is only one founder running things.


Why is it important?

  • They influence the employees

Your founder is also the biggest influencer on the rest of the employees in the business. If they are close to burnout then how do you expect them to motivate and inspire the rest of the team?

  • If the founder isn’t healthy, neither is the business

Your focus should be on your founder’s health because if they aren’t healthy and happy in their job then it’s not going to be possible for them to run the business.

  • It’s not just about money

These days, investors need to offer more than a financial reward to retain employees. Founders are in demand and thus investors need to offer more than their competitors to get the people they want. This comes in the form of wellness packages and other benefits that will positively impact the founder’s life both in and outside of work.

But remember that wellness is not the same as mental health. If the founder or anyone else in the company is suffering from mental health problems, it’s essential that they seek professional help.

If you want the business to thrive then you have to put founder wellness at the forefront of your priorities.

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