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Balancing the highs and lows of entrepreneurship

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Mental health tips from a small business owner

Though finances are a crucial part of running your business, setting yourself up for long-term success goes far beyond choosing the right business banking platform. Sustainable business growth requires focus, leadership, and the ability to keep showing up day after day, ready to give your best.

For that to work as a small business owner, you need to find ways to prioritize your personal well-being, specifically your mental health. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 50% of entrepreneurs deal with mental health issues, and more than 70% are directly or indirectly impacted by mental health issues.

To promote mental health awareness and provide tips for business owners like you, we spoke to Bluevine customer Dr. Chloé Hom Bañales, founder of Ascended Alchemy.

Below is a Q&A-style recap of our conversation, featuring a number of helpful tips for prioritizing your mental health and balancing your personal life with running a business.

Dr. Chloé Hom Bañales, founder of Ascended Alchemy.
Dr. Chloé Hom Bañales, founder of Ascended Alchemy.

Tell us about you and your business.

Hi!  I’m Dr. Chloé Hom Bañales, a Chinese-Mexican-Korean-American woman, and founder of Ascended Alchemy.  

Having overcome clinical depression and debilitating anxiety in my own life, I’ve dedicated my career to guiding high-achievers in their journey from exhaustion and burnout to clarity and fulfillment.  I specialize in helping high achievers transition from the ‘boss babe’ hustle mindset to embodying the essence of a ‘soft CEO’ — a harmonious blend of peaceful productivity, compassion, and Heart-centered leadership.

Through personalized subconscious reprogramming work (and for my in-person sessions, esoteric acupuncture), I empower my clients to navigate life’s challenges with authenticity and purpose. My approach focuses on fostering holistic well-being and sustainable success, ultimately guiding individuals toward a life of harmony and fulfillment.

As a small business owner, how important is it for you to prioritize your mental health and well-being?

A quote that I often share is, “Our energy can be our greatest asset or our greatest liability.” If success is important to you as a small business owner, your mental health and well-being must become a priority.

Moreover, it’s crucial to recognize that prioritizing mental health and well-being goes beyond self-care alone.  Just as our businesses require diverse roles to fulfill their duties effectively, we as individuals also require community support. Building a network of peers, mentors, and like-minded individuals can provide invaluable resources, guidance, and encouragement on our journey to holistic well-being and success.

Essentially, our well-being serves as either a metaphorical ceiling or a platform for success.

Absolutely.  They directly impact each other.

Research from David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., states: “The energy of our blocked-off feelings re-emerge through our autonomic nervous system and causes pathological changes leading to disease processes.” Our thoughts and emotions have a measurable impact on our physical health which influences productivity, problem-solving, and sense of engagement.

Hawkins goes on to say, “A negative feeling instantly causes a loss of 50% of the body’s muscle strength and also narrows our vision both physically and mentally.” Imagine that when someone is in a state of heightened anxiety, decision-making becomes more challenging, communication suffers, and morale dips because they physically feel weaker and their ability to see what resources and possibilities they have available to them are compromised.

Knowing this, as a doctor and small business owner, I do my best to manage my energy and calendar in such a way that I can show up in the greatest service for my clients, students, and community.

How do you balance the ups and downs of owning your own business?

Balancing the highs and lows of entrepreneurship requires honesty and emotional resilience.  I like to say, “I either win or I learn.” It’s all about perspective and what we choose to focus on that determines how we experience this journey.

To ensure that I stay focused and resilient, I’ve implemented systems for tracking progress, setting realistic goals, and celebrating achievements – no matter how ‘small’ they might be.  This not only keeps me motivated but also provides a tangible reminder of the progress I’ve made, even during the challenging times.

Furthermore, I’ve learned to prioritize my physical health and seek support from mentors, trusted peers, and my community during difficult experiences.  Recognizing that during ‘low’ periods, I might not be able to see all of the possibilities and resources available for me, I lean on my strong support system for valuable insights, perspectives, and, when needed, some ‘tough love’ or encouragement.  My community plays a crucial role in helping me navigate the inevitable ups and downs of being a business owner with compassion and radical responsibility.

Is achieving work-life balance possible as a small business owner? What’s your secret?

At this point in my career, I’ve come to realize that achieving work-life ‘harmony’ is more fitting than the traditional notion of ‘balance.’  Just as we adapt our nutrition, routines, and clothing for different seasons, our approach to business must also evolve based on our goals and circumstances.  By embracing flexibility and adaptability, we can navigate the ever-changing landscape of entrepreneurship more effectively.  Recognizing that what works in one phase may require adjustment in another, we foster greater harmony between our work and personal lives, ultimately leading to increased fulfillment and success.

One way that I apply this is by setting quarterly goals. After I have added my personal events to my calendar, I refine my business goals based on my ideal lifestyle. Essentially, building my business around my life instead of building my life around my business. This ensures that my business endeavors align with my personal values and priorities, creating a more sustainable and fulfilling approach to entrepreneurship.

What’s the top habits you’ve found most helpful for maintaining and improving your mental health?

There’s a concept from Taoism called ‘wu wei’ that resonates deeply with me—it translates to ‘effortless action’ and suggests aligning with the natural cycles and rhythms of life.  In this context, I’ve found that prioritizing high-quality sleep, strength training, and practicing surrendering to the present moment have been the most helpful habits for maintaining and improving my mental health.

No matter how diligently we eat well and exercise, if we neglect quality sleep, our body isn’t able to effectively utilize nutrients or fully recover from stressors. Especially in today’s ‘work from home’ environment, unplugging and allowing our bodies to recharge is crucial for showing up fully in our businesses and relationships.

Quality sleep is essential for our brain’s glymphatic system to clear toxic waste, crucial for cognitive function. Likewise, strength training not only builds physical strength but also fosters mental resilience. Just as we gradually increase weights for sustainable progress, building our businesses requires steady, intentional growth.

And then there’s Wu Wei—the antidote to old hustle mentality habits. It’s about aligning with inner wisdom rather than exerting force. This is the essence of what I help my clients achieve – connecting the strength of their mind with the wisdom of their body. Just as I guide others on this journey, I also prioritize my own holistic growth. At least once per year, ‘take a dose of my own medicine’ through a Breakthrough Session and Integrative NLP Coaching, shedding unsupportive narratives and emotions to step into my next level of leadership in my Zone of Genius.

Ultimately, it is a commitment to continuous growth and alignment that fuels my passion for supporting others in their journey of greater clarity, fulfillment, and success.

Get even more helpful tips from inspirational women entrepreneurs.


This content is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice of any type, such as financial, legal, tax, or accounting advice. This content does not necessarily state or reflect the views of Bluevine or its partners. Please consult with an expert if you need specific advice for your business. For information about Bluevine products and services, please visit the Bluevine FAQ page.

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This content is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice of any type, such as financial, legal, tax, or accounting advice. This content does not necessarily state or reflect the views of Bluevine or its partners. Please consult with an expert if you need specific advice for your business. For information about Bluevine products and services, please visit the Bluevine FAQ page.

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