How to Deal with Founder’s Depression after a Failed Startup

By Christian Erburu, special to Overdrive

Entrepreneur depression and founder’s depression are important topics to discuss. However, it’s even more important to understand the emotional roller coaster you’re getting on before starting your business.

Is founder depression a Big Risk after a failed startup?

Sometimes it’s just good to know that other people have gone through similar situations and found a way through. For a little support when you’re feeling down about your business, take a look some of this blog post by Zak Homuth or the Spundge notebook about Startups: Depression, Mental Health and Suicide. Many of these stories discuss life within an active startup that has yet to succeed, or fail. Cautionary tales of Ilya Zhitomirskiy and many other entrepreneurs that fall victim to stress and depression. It is extremely important to remember what motivated you to start a business in the first place.

What is your Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation?

The most basic way to understand intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is to think about those things that motivate you from within and those that come from the world around you. Intrinsic motivation could be things like the love of solving problems or the desire to share your expertise with the world. Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from the world around you. It is made up of things like peer recognition and monetary rewards.
As a startup founder, your life is focused on creating a new product or service for your customers. The hope is that this new business will be well received and liked by the world. Unfortunately, startups offer very little extrinsic motivation. There are often more rejections than sales. This bombardment of extrinsic demotivation can lead to stress and eventually transform your intrinsic motivation into depression.

How to keep yourself focused?

When your company is generating revenue it can be easy to confuse your success with monetary gain. However, it becomes more difficult to identify success with startups that are borrowing more than they are earning. Instead, focusing on other key performance indicators can help reduce stress by focusing on quantifiable achievements and extrinsic motivators. You can develop challenges and develop a competitive environment within your company based on these extrinsic motivators for yourself and your employees.

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