Why Mental Health is a Key Pillar to Success for IT Businesses
It’s often been said: ‘It’s tough at the top’. An essential part of being a successful entrepreneur is dealing with the highs and the lows of being a business owner. The price of hard work is the toll it takes on our mental health.
It requires constant effort to ensure your business runs smoothly through an ever-evolving industry landscape, as well as mature and grow, despite client and employee turnover.
It’s vital for IT business owners to ensure they are offering the most innovative technology solutions to ensure their clients remain competitive and that their data is safe.
Recent Industry Pressures
Digital transformation came to the fore during and after the pandemic.
Many organisations took to this working-from-anywhere ‘life raft’ as a means to ensure their businesses would be more sustainable, should another national lockdown come into effect.
But along with this massive surge for portable IT solutions came huge amounts of stress for IT service providers. And that stress is just one example of the ways in which IT business owners can be driven to burn-out. That’s being pushed to your limits for so long that you crack under the pressure of it all.
Mental Health and the IT Industry
While giving a presentation on mental health to an audience of managed service providers, he revealed that 1 in 4 people suffer from a diagnosable mental condition in any given year.
Following the presentation, he was approached by a number of men and women in the audience who had all struggled with their own mental health, and that it was a relief to find out that they weren’t alone.
Mi Crow are a video-based online training platform tailored for MSPs and their clients.
One of the many training courses they have on offer is centred around Mental Health in the Workplace.
It’s important to recognise good mental health as one of the pillars to being a successful IT business owner.
You need to have a good support network in place – you don’t have to manage your mental health alone.
Aside from speaking to a professional therapist, there are a number of useful resources out there available to help you.
Here are just a few:
1. Attend a Local Peer Group
Peer groups are a great example of places where you can share your pain points and frustrations.
There are professional organisations that you can join or become a member of that also do this.
The Tech Tribe have regular local gatherings where you can attend and meet other MSPs and IT business owners.
2. Read About How IT Business Owners Manage Their Businesses Effectively
Reading about how others like you deal with their stress is a great place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed or out of your depth.
These will help with the root causes as well as manage the symptoms of your stress.
There are lot of useful nuggets of information in:
And if a humorous approach is something you find helpful, then you should read this blog post from Paul Green‘s MSP Marketing:
3. Use Technology to Improve Emotional State Visibility
There are a number of apps and tools that will help you with your mental health.
There are far too many great apps to list, but here are a few that we use here at Team Tubb:
- Moodbeam – a smart wristband that allows you to track your emotional triggers so that you can monitor your emotional state
- Geekbot – a Slack Plugin that asks you a few accountability questions each week
- Truth Tuesday – a check-in for the team to leave a comment or emoji response to how they’re feeling
4. Podcast Interviews that Promote Good Mental Health Practices
Listening to others who have experienced their own battles, and have overcome them, can be a great comfort.
- TubbTalk 65: Chris Brogan – Mental Health for IT Business Owners – In this podcast, Chris Brogan, the best-selling author and keynote speaker, talks to Richard Tubb about the stigma of mental health for business owners, and how to deal with depression ‘red flags’
- Evolved Radio 73: Eric Rieger – Managing Mental Health – Host Todd Kane talks to Eric Rieger of Webit about some of the challenges he’s had with mental health, as well as some of the management practices he uses to help
5. Other Things That Help Improve Mental Health
There are other things you can do that will drastically reduce your stress levels, which impact on your mental health, including:
- Get back to nature – The combination of exercise and fresh air will invigorate and recharge you, and both are proven to reduce stress
- Switch off phone notifications – Notifications during breaks and after hours can be intrusive, so get into the habit of turning them off. Also, leave your work phone at home when you’re on holiday, and to reduce screen time at night, charge your phone downstairs
- Balance energy intake – reduce stimulants in your diet and get to bed at a sensible time. A full night’s sleep will often reduce stress
- Tactile and creative hobbies – hobbies which involve your hands and result creative output will reduce your stress
Reducing the Stigma of Mental Health
One of the main conclusions Richard Tubb draws in his piece for the Mi Crow Partners newsletter is that, as an industry, we need to do more to raise awareness of the growing mental health crisis affecting IT business owners all over the world.
We must also do more to reduce the stigma of addressing mental health issues in the community, and help each other to face our battles without judgment.
Mental Health Resources Mentioned in this Article
- Video: Moodbeam Product Demo on Youtube
- Article: Geekbot – Remote Team Check-ins
- Resource: A Comprehensive List of Mental Health Resources
- Resource: Tech Tribe Local Gatherings
- Resource: Rehab 4 Addiction
- Podcast: TubbTalk 65: Mental Health for MSP Owners
- Podcast: Evolved Radio ERP097 – Managing Mental Health
- Blog: This MSP faces Burnout – and can solve his problems with these 3 steps
- eBook: Mental Health Foundation: Best Ever Mental Health Tips Backed Up By Research
- Website: Mi Crow – Mental Health in the Workplace
Though some of us are alone on our entrepreneurial journey, it doesn’t mean we have to fight our battles with mental health alone.
The more we open up about our vulnerabilities, the more we relate to each other as human beings.
Yes, we’re in business, and yes, there is competition. However, we should learn from others who have walked these lonely paths before, and use their wisdom to advance beyond. We are here to enjoy our lives, as well as make a successful living.