Stress-Free Ways to Hit Your Professional Goals This Year

March 5, 2019

by Amy Collett

At the start of each new year, many people pause to set goals they’d like to achieve in the upcoming months. If reducing stress and improving work-life balance are on your to-do list for 2019, you might consider switching up your career. According to the American Institute of Stress, numerous studies have shown that work-related issues are the leading cause of stress among American adults these days. Although these findings might sound grim, there are plenty of ways you can take your professional life to the next level without wearing yourself thin.

Taking the Leap into Business Ownership

If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own business, this year might be the year to experience the freedom and flexibility of entrepreneurship. Of course, before starting your own business, you’ll need to have a solid business idea. When it comes to deciding what type of business to start, your passions, interests, and talents can provide some ideas for a unique product or service you might offer.

Love computers? Take an online coding class and start building websites on the side. Good at math? There are plenty of people who would be willing to pay you for tutoring sessions. If you’re good at something or have a marketable skill, it could be a great place to start.

Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to become your own boss. There are many eCommerce platforms out there that let you sell products and services to anyone in the world over the internet. Sites like Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace let you build your own website in minutes – without any coding knowledge or design skills! Best of all, these snazzy-looking sites work great on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets. That’s a must because over half of all online purchases are made from mobile devices – and the growth of mobile technology has even outpaced the human population!

According to Oberlo, dropshipping can be a great model for taking the leap into eCommerce. Dropshipping is a popular eCommerce model where you find unique products you’d be interested in selling online. Rather than manufacturing or even storing the products yourself, you simply add those items to your online store. Customers place the orders through your website, and you pay the product supplier to ship the item directly to the customer. Because you never have to handle the merchandise, this can be an easy and lucrative way to venture into business ownership.

Securing the Funding

Many people dream of starting their own business but are held back by finances. Although eCommerce businesses like the dropshipping model have relatively low overhead, other businesses have significant startup costs. If you’re starting a brick and mortar retail business, for instance, you’ll need to invest money in a retail space, physical products to sell, a computer with point of sale software, and employees to help with the business.

If finances are holding you back from achieving your entrepreneurial dream, a simple solution is to apply for business financing. Loans, grants, business lines of credit, equipment financing, and even crowdfunding are just a few of the many options available. If approved, small business funding can help improve your cash flow, which will give you the confidence you need to move forward with your business plan. Best of all, the extra cash flow can greatly reduce stress and enable you to reach business goals sooner.

Coping with Stress

Whether you work for yourself or have a regular 9-to-5 job, some level of workplace stress is inevitable. Although stress is typically viewed as a negative, it isn’t always as bad as it’s cracked up to be. For instance, some types of stress can be a powerful motivational factor. According to Robert Walters, a small amount of stress can even be healthy for our careers.

If your work environment is stressing you out to the point that it’s interfering with your ability to do your job, however, it might be time for you to plan your exit. Career coach Jenny Blake recommends taking on a side hustle, such as working in the gig economy or starting a freelance business, as part of your exit strategy. In addition to helping you save up money for a nest egg, your side hustle will help you supplement your income once you leave.

A solid exit strategy gives you the peace of mind in knowing that your current situation is only temporary. In the meantime, develop proper coping mechanisms for dealing with daily stressors. Start by taking note of what triggers your stress each day. If it’s a supervisor or colleague, practice setting healthy boundaries. If your workload is causing stress, practice work-life balance and make sure you’re taking enough time to unwind after work each evening.

Whether you’re planning to start your own business or stick with your current 9-to-5 job, it’s crucial to maintain a solid support group. You might ask trusted friends and family members for help or talk to a licensed professional for advice. By crafting an exit strategy, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and having a financial plan in place, you’ll be on track to achieve your professional goals this year.

Amy Collett is the creator of She aims to provide professionals and entrepreneurs the extra boost their branding needs.

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