Take a break, study urges entrepreneurs
“Inexperienced entrepreneurs actually become more stressed when they take a break from their work because they’re not able to completely remove themselves mentally and they feel guilty about stepping away,” said co-author Maw-Der Foo, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.
The study defined experienced entrepreneurs as those who had at least one prior startup experience, no matter the duration or whether it was successful or not, Foo said.
“If you are an experienced entrepreneur, you know the value of stepping away from the problem for a moment,” Foo said. “No one has really studied whether experience in a venture actually helps in coping, so these are new and somewhat surprising findings.”
The study also found that combining breathers with productive time on the job – finding a balance – further improves the mental well-being of entrepreneurs who take breaks.
The study, led by Marilyn Uy while she was a doctoral student at CU-Boulder, looked at the effects of two coping mechanisms called active coping and avoidance coping. Uy is now an assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
“In active coping, you take the bull by the horns,” Foo said. “If you have a problem, you face it. If you lack sales, you make sales calls. If you lack funds, you seek out investors.
“Avoidance coping sounds negative, but it’s not. It means getting away from the problem for a moment. You go watch a movie, go have coffee with friends or go on a vacation.”
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