Solopreneurs explore mental/health barriers and positive ways forwards


A while back, an interesting conversation started up in the comments on this blog.

Professional tarot reader and business mentor Theresa Reed shared a punchy, common-sense article about getting out of your own way when it comes to your attitude to money, offering advice that many of us need to hear if we want to make our businesses sustainable.

If you are making more than enough money, you can take better care of the people who depend on you.  You can give back to the world and serve more people.  You can be a source of help to your community. And living without anxiety about money means a peaceful life, which feels pretty damn good.

Look, you don’t have to be rich to live a rich life.  But you do have to clear away negative money beliefs if you want to have an abundant future.

I absolutely agree with Theresa’s message. Yet of course, as in all things, it’s not that simple for everyone. Mental health, chronic illness, race, poverty and other barriers can bring additional challenges for many folks, yet this is rarely discussed in the clamour of blogs focused on entrepreneurship.

Enter you guys! Three readers – each at very different stages on their own solopreneurial journeys – stepped up and shared their own experiences of entrepreneurship in the face of mental/health barriers.

1. Mental illness and entrepreneurship: Owning nonstandard narratives


Tarot reader Siobhan Renee shares a raw and honest essay on finding ways to make depression and anxiety a visible part of her story.

I’m still owning all the parts of myself: crazy lady, black woman, intuitive, queer, pervert, the bastard parts we normally hide, if we can. I wanted to make the case that as they are claimed, these parts become part of my nonstandard narrative. That my shame becomes my superpower.

By the way, Siobhan published a follow-up piece on her own blog, in which she shares a tarot spread and reading based on the experience described at the start of this piece: Face Up Journey – A Narrative Spread.

2. How Restorative Journaling Helped My Business to Flourish (Despite Chronic Illness)


Professional writer Esme Wang – a name many of you will know – is a self-employed writer, novelist and facilitator. She also lives with Lyme disease and schizoaffective disorder, a combination of conditions that often confines her to bed. In this essay, she explains how journalling is a key part of working through those bouts and keeping her business moving.

3. Making your own way down the bumpy road less traveled: Navigating the road blocks to getting started with a Tarot business


SJ looks at how on earth to find the energy to get started piecing together and actioning all that must be done to start a business, whilst at the same time dealing with chronic illness.

Tarot is meaningful to me. Blogging is meaningful to me. Understanding herbs, crystals, and aromatherapy is meaningful to me. So how do I turn my life into an anti-capitalist-but-still-fulfilling my needs kind of life, where I have enough money to eat well, take my medications, keep myself sheltered, and have a bit left over for some frippery and glitter?

And one more… 

Follow Your Arrow: Virtual assistant Lizzie Goddard on managing entrepreneurship with chronic illness


Coincidentally my fortnightly solopreneur column on Autostraddle, Follow Your Arrow, this time focused on a business owner who lives with chronic fatigue syndrome, yet has found ways to run a thriving, sustainable freelance business as a virtual assistant.

I’d love to keep this conversation going.

The barriers many of us face to starting or running successful businesses – and the many and wonderful techniques folks have found to help work past these – are missing from popular discussions on entrepreneurship, even a field like ours, which is focused on ‘wellbeing’. I want this blog to be a platform for those stories – if you wish, please use the comments below as a space to add your own experiences, ideas and suggestions.

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  1. ktreu says:

    Honestly, talking to my therapist about my own burgeoning business has been extremely helpful. She’s got a lot of ‘coaching’ background as well her psychology PhD, so we strategize, make lists, and she’s always mindful about my own mental health and ensuring I’m getting a good balance!

  2. Oak says:

    This was really useful! It’s helpful to hear about how folks manage mental health stuff and limited energy. It sometimes seems impossible to me, and it’s great to hear about other folks’ strategies.

  3. I would love to start my own business/portfolio career but I’ve found the energy needed to do so whilst also working for someone else has been prohibitive. Does anyone have info/stories/resources they can share about getting started??

  4. Erin says:

    I love your blog and words so much! I’ve been struggling to believe in myself enough to follow through with making&selling my artwork while also trying to overcome depression. I’m currently reading “Make Art Make Money” by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens and she challenges the idea that art and business are mutually exclusive. She uses Jim Henson as an example and says rather than creating art in order to get rich, he used most of his earnings to fuel his art and create more. Also, I’ve recently realized that although money is a necessary evil, the internet allows us to connect and build communities around shared interests and support each other emotionally or financially, which in itself is a radical act of anti-capitalism.

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