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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Balancing the Startup Lifestyle: The Myths & Truths

HappyMaven Dismantle the Myths of ‘Startup’ culture and look at what it really means to grow a sustainable business whilst working remotely in the competitive startup market.

In 2019, almost 2,000 startups were founded in the UK every single day, totaling 672,890 throughout the year. With this vibrant ecosystem of business ownership and growth in mind, what makes this nation of startup founders tick and how does the culture of entrepreneurialism impact the business’s health and the physical and mental health of those within it?

We at HappyMaven believe that good business starts with employee wellbeing, from one-person startups to international conglomerates. 

We’re exploring some of the well-versed myths of startup culture, and some of the stark truths of starting a business and what this really means for the founders and the people who they engage with. 

We initially wrote this article on 10th March, with the threat of Covid-19 lurking menacingly, but not yet unsettling our daily lives and putting unprecedented stresses on society as we know it. Now just 4 weeks on, some aspects of the lifestyle of a startup founder is being replicated across the world, with Coronavirus causing more people to work from home than ever before.

We may even experience a permanent change in working patterns with companies embracing a more flexible approach to remote working and digital technologies such as video calling to support collaboration once life rebalances after lockdown is lifted. 

Myth #1: No more 9 to 5

So you’ve finally left the rat race of your 40-hour a week job, grueling commute and the politics of everyday office life, ready to embrace flexible working and perhaps even, getting a seat on the train in off-peak hours. Bliss!

Working flexible hours is a luxury many full-time workers long for, being able to fit their work around their personal commitments, achieving the optimum work-life balance. Having a business of your own and working on your own terms may seem like a way of achieving this pinnacle of success, however many startup founders will concur, that with the sole-responsibility of operating and growing the business and paying yourself a livable salary now falling solely on your own shoulders, the structure of a 9 to 5 career may seem like an attractive option. 

You’re no longer answerable to a boss, but now directly to your own customers and most intimidatingly, to your own expectations. However motivated you may be to power through and continue working into the small hours, It’s important to sustain a healthy work-life balance, to truly benefit from rest and time off to allow your mind to regenerate to be able to produce excellent work when you’re on.

Learn more about how to make Remote Working work for you here.


Myth #2: Do what you love

You’ve seen it written in neon lights, in graffiti and more times than necessary on inspirational Instagram posts. ‘Do what you love’ is intended to be an uplifting phrase, inspiring people to transform their lives and dedicate their career to a cause they believe in and enjoy, resulting in untold gratification. What it doesn’t say, is that once you’ve started to ‘do what you love’, there’s a whole lot of business that you ‘do because you must’, such as filing taxes, marketing, meeting investors, hiring staff, writing contracts, working nights and weekends… the list goes on.

Many startup founders find that they ‘wear multiple hats’ to service each part of their business and retain control, however, this practice ultimately leads to burnout and a total loss of control. The healthier and smarter option is to outsource aspects of the business to specialists to allow you to truly focus on channeling your energy and expertise into doing what you love. 

Listen to Suki’s experiences and advice about burnout here.


Myth #3: Be your own boss

Starting a business brings the autonomy of designing workflows and growth plans around your lifestyle, answering to no one but yourself and your customers. However, as your startup grows and the business requires more than just you and your unique set of skills, you may have to become the boss of other people, which comes with a whole new set of responsibilities.

Many founders foster a culture of working as hard as possible to reach their next business goal, however, with the responsibility of managing a team and their wellbeing, the business’s working practices need to reflect the wellbeing of its people. If you want to retain and nurture your team, startup founders must implement a true culture of respecting a healthy work-life balance and prioritise development, both personal and professional for their employees. 

Learn more about wellbeing at work here.


Over half of startups dissolve within the first five years of trading. Many different factors contribute to this challenge to survive, however, building a sustainable team around a driven leader and a viable business concept is a strong foundation for success. We at HappyMaven, are here to help founders navigate their growing business and support their dedicated teams to thrive in the competitive startup marketplace. 

Discover more about how HappyMaven can provide best practice guidance, coaching, and consultancy for startups who are scaling their teams to create sustainable businesses and happy employees. 


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