In the fast-paced world of running an asset or commercial finance brokerage, where every decision directly impacts your bottom line, it’s easy to lose sight of your own mental well-being. The pursuit of autonomy and work-life balance can often lead to brokers neglecting their mental health, inadvertently trapping themselves in a cycle of anxiety and stress. As Mental Health Day approaches, we shed light on the prevalent mental health challenges faced by brokers and share award-winning strategies to combat them.
The Weight of Being a Broker
Many individuals venture into an asset or commercial finance brokerage, seeking greater autonomy and a healthier work-life balance. However, the relentless pursuit of success can lead to self-imposed pressure and isolation, exacerbating mental health issues such as burnout, stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression.
Burnout: Time for Everything and Nothing
Burnout looms when brokers attempt to do everything at once, racing against time, meeting client demands, and prioritising income over their well-being. The solution lies in carving out dedicated time for yourself, nurturing personal relationships, and creating clear boundaries between work and life. Sometimes, turning off the phone can be the most liberating act of self-care.
Stress: The Multitasking Challenge
Multitasking is a common source of stress for entrepreneurs. The anxiety of managing numerous tasks and worrying about the potential for failure can be overwhelming. The key is to set realistic business growth goals and focus on tasks within your control rather than expending energy on futile battles.
Loneliness: The Isolation of Being Your Own Boss
Brokers often find themselves working remotely, acting as the sole earner and founder, and learning in solitude. This isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness. Combat this by actively seeking support from peers, networking, and engaging in professional communities.
Depression: The Silent Struggle
The relentless pressure of running your business can sometimes lead to depression. It’s essential to prioritise self-care, recognising that periods of sadness are normal but persistent low moods are not. Seek professional help if needed, as your well-being is paramount to your business’s success.
Your Well-Being Matters
As the saying goes, “make time for your wellness, otherwise you’ll be forced to make time for your illness.” Prioritise activities you enjoy, especially outdoor ones that provide essential daylight during darker months. Set firm boundaries between work and personal life and develop strategies to cope with stress triggers. Remember, it’s okay not to be okay sometimes.
Supporting Your Team’s Mental Well-being
For those with larger brokerages your employees’ mental health is just as crucial as your own. To support them effectively, engage in open conversations, listen to their concerns, and avoid projecting your perspective onto their experiences. Encourage a flexible and understanding workplace to accommodate their needs.
Recognising Signs of Struggle
Pay attention to your and your team’s behaviour. Unusual signs like slow responses, lack of motivation, or behavioural changes can indicate mental health struggles. Don’t be afraid to reach out to support services and charities like Mind, the Samaritans, or your GP.
It’s easier said than done when it comes to being proactive about managing your mental wellbeing. All to often, as a broker, the signs that you aren’t doing well can go unrecognised before it’s too late. Try and stick too a set schedule or routine and recognise that you may need help or assistance at particularly busy times like month, quarter, or year end. Especially as winter approaches, try and get outside for fresh air and daylight at least once as day. If you are a member of a network or an association, take full advantage of connecting and talking to your contacts and mentors, many of which would have faced similar challenges. Be kind, to yourself, your customers, funders and family and friends and give back where you can.
In conclusion, as a broker, your mental health is your most valuable asset. Prioritise self-care, seek help when needed, and if you are fortunate enough to run a larger brokerage, extend your support to your employees. After all, a thriving business begins with a healthy mind.
Asset Finance Solutions and Synergy Commercial Finance are networks that promote excellence in asset and commercial finance broking. Our “Broker in a Box” solution has been fast-tracking the start of new finance brokerages for nearly 20 years. If you have been working in asset or commercial finance for three years or more and are considering setting up your own business, we would be happy to share our expertise with you.