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The Psychological Stressors of Owning a Small Business in Canada

Matthew Gillies

I chose this topic because I would like to own my own business one day. This past semester, I found the Introduction to Psychology course really interesting, so I somehow wanted to connect the two: business and psychology.

In my preliminary research, I discovered 2/3 of the entrepreneurs running the close to 1.2 million small Canadian businesses suffer from some kind of depression. I wanted to know what was causing this as I do not want to become part of that statistic.

My research findings are:

• 75% of entrepreneurs reported feeling stress at work; 42% rated it as high-level.
• 80% reported symptoms of depression.
• Women experienced more stress than males.
• Entrepreneurs in the early stages of business experienced more stress than those in business for over 20 years.
• 60% did not seek professional help. Women were more apt to reach out for help.

Stress in general leads to mental health issues, namely depression and anxiety. There is a significant number of entrepreneurs that are impacted by stress and do not disclose it for fear of appearing weak leaders. Education with a focus on stress management is essential. It is time to destigmatize mental health issues particularly in cases where professional support is required. Asking for help should not be perceived as a sign of weakness. Balance and self care are key to the operation of a successful business.

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