Past Mental or Substance Abuse Issues? Four Pieces of Entrepreneurial Advice

As the old saying goes, anyone can start a business. Those who've had to deal with mental or substance abuse problems in the past certainly aren't excluded from that list, either.

Starting a business despite having a struggling past may certainly feel like a “me against the world” scenario, but it can be done. In fact, up to , signaling that you're not alone if you find yourself in the same boat.

Make no mistake: fighting self-doubt, depression, anxiety or withdrawals is not easy when coupled with the stresses of becoming a business owner. Does that mean you shouldn't try your hand at entrepreneurship? Absolutely not.

The first step toward making your business dreams a reality is first and foremost taking care of yourself.

In short, starting a business as someone with past mental or substance abuse issues means doing everything in your power to set yourself up for success throughout your personal endeavors. By taking the following steps “behind the scenes,” your business is more likely to thrive as you strive to work on your own terms.

Sort Out Your Medications

Starting a business is no excuse to neglect your well-being. If you're already taking medication for depression, anxiety or opioid dependence, for example, going cold turkey is obviously one of the worst decisions you could possibly make.

Before dropping everything in pursuit of the entrepreneurial dream, make sure you know exactly how you're going to deal with your health insurance and paying for your medicine. Likewise, be on the lookout for deals such as this to help maintain your medical budget.

Don't Go It Alone

Rather than be an island, make sure you talk out your entrepreneurial desires with friends and family. After all, you never know who might be willing to support your big idea or partner up to help fund your business. Talking with others can also help hone your expectations and keep yourself grounded: while there's nothing wrong with hoping for instant success, it pays to keep your business rooted in reality.

If you already go to therapy, you should consider continuing your sessions to about your journey. While therapists aren't necessarily business advisers, they can certainly help you sort out of your personal feelings as you focus more on your professional well-being.

Focus on Your Passions

Not everyone has the luxury of starting a business related to their passions. That being said, you should try to focus on an industry that at least has some personal meaning to you beyond dollars and cents. The more personally and emotionally invested you become in your business, the less likely you are to treat your entrepreneurial endeavors as “just a job.”

Know When to Pump the Brakes

If you feel that you're on the verge of a breakdown or relapse, it's important that you know when to pump the brakes on your business and focus on your mental health. While modern-day entrepreneurs seem to idolize the concept of business-owners who are working around the clock, you can't always expect to keep up the same sort of breakneck pace yourself.

Don't let a dark past hold you back from a bright future. With these tips in mind, you can ease into the entrepreneurial lifestyle rather than rush into a situation you can't handle.


Carmelo is a marketing writer and blogger helping small and medium size businesses craft winning content strategies. She's always scouting the web for new social media strategies and is slightly addicted to apps. When not tapping the keyboard, you are likely to find her in the park playing with her uncontrollably friendly Irish setter or trying out new vegan recipes.

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