In this article, highly sensitive CEO Kellie Daab shares why the highly sensitive person should consider starting a business and three things to watch out for while doing that.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. That’s common knowledge. But the stakes for highly sensitive people may appear to be even higher. Should highly sensitive people own and operate a business? Or will their sensitivities hold them back from the success they seek?
This is the question so many HSPs face when considering starting a business. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
So, let’s get one thing out of the way right now. Highly sensitive people make fabulous leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners.
Why HSPs Make Great CEO’s
Simply put, trait math. That’s right. Grab out a business planning calculator and type this in.
Depth of Processing + Empathic and Intuitive + Sensing Subtleties = The Perfect Entrepreneur.
The magic of entrepreneurship is about finding holes in products and services and offering a solution that sets you apart.
Your ideas are deep, you have a gut feeling, and you can see areas of interest that are underserved!
You already have the formula for entrepreneurship in your DNA! Literally!
All of the superpowers you possess as a highly sensitive person will ultimately turn into the superpowers of your business.
If… you’re careful of a few things…
Just because you have the DNA of an entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily mean that the O in Elaine Aron’s D.O.E.S. acronym won’t be equally as loud and noticeable.
Every superhero has a sort of kryptonite and overwhelm is ours!
Overwhelm as an entrepreneur can take on a lot of faces. What will be most important is for you to walk into entrepreneurship aware of your tendency to become overstimulated. This awareness will then allow you to build a business that honors your sensitivities from the very beginning.
When it comes to starting a business as a highly sensitive person, overwhelm is a choice! Sounds a bit controversial I know but bear with me.
Avoiding overwhelm as you start your business really boils down to listening to yourself – and only yourself.
Be careful of how much you choose to take in, who you compare yourself to, and what you think you “should” be doing in order to be successful.
Most of the advice from gurus won’t work for you. Therefore, allow yourself to listen to that strong intuition, make space for your depth of processing, and focus on the subtleties that make you unique.
As a result, you’ll find yourself with tools and knowledge that will keep you from succumbing to hustle culture.
I wish I could tell you that I had a magic cure for overthinking. I don’t. In fact, I’ll probably overthink telling you that I don’t have a cure for overthinking in an “expert” article.
But… it’s true. There’s no way to prevent overthinking as a highly sensitive CEO! It’s going to happen!
That’s why I’m not asking you to STOP overthinking. In fact, my goal in “warning” you about overthinking as a business owner is to inform you that you are going to need flexible, sustainable, and repeatable tools that will help you to understand your overactive mind.
I use tools like pattern building, dynamic planning, and meditation to help guide my business decisions.
The tools you implement for your business may be different – and that’s the point.
The best way to “manage” overthinking as a highly sensitive entrepreneur is to befriend it.
Therefore, allow yourself the spaciousness and the time required to develop concepts, ideas, offers, and service responses without guilt, fear, or concern.
When you allow the space to process, digest, and release you’ll be able to create more impactful and intentional products and ideas.
And then… you’ll find yourself back in superpower mode.
This is one of the most crucial insights to remember as a highly sensitive person who wants to start a business.
You’ve probably already come to terms with your relationship with boundaries as a highly sensitive person. But you probably didn’t anticipate how being an HSCEO (highly sensitive CEO) tests your boundaries more often than you have the strength to bear.
Business ownership at its core is about saying yes to the right things and no to the wrong things. Its up to you as the owner of the business to know precisely and definitively which of the millions of options are just the ones for you!
As your business grows, so will the opportunities for yes and no. You’ll likely soon find yourself doling out more yeses than you or your business is capable of managing in conjunction with your sensitivities.
In fact, you might find yourself overcommitting, undercharging, and overworking just simply to meet the demands of your yeses.
That is why HSCEOs must first and foremost set clear and solid boundaries and focus on slow business. For instance, in business these boundaries can look like standard operating procedures, open hours, communication expectations, and meeting availability.
In my business, setting boundaries would have been limiting travel, speaking, and guest appearances. Caught up in the excitement of business growth, I let my personal time, space, and energy boundaries buckle under the weight of the expectations of others.
One quick way to maintain your boundaries is to keep a NOT TO DO list. This list is equally as important as your action list but gives you an easy and visual reminder of what you know in your heart you do NOT want to do.
Remember, every yes has a price tag. How much are you willing to spend?
Go Ahead And Start That Business As A Highly Sensitive Person
If you were looking for some encouragement, I’m here to cheer you on as you start off on your journey as an HSCEO!
Just keep these few things in mind! Be mindful of your sensitive tendencies. Take care of your mind and body. Prioritize the things that drive your passion. Love yourself first.
You’ll soon be well on your way to highly sensitive business success!