Had a bad day? Here’s a few tips to make it better

I’m convinced that entrepreneurs have more bad days than most people. Where most employed people have to worry about keeping their job if they don’t perform, we have to worry about losing everything, even if we do perform!

Entrepreneurs have usually invested thousands of dollars of their own money, hundreds of free man hours, and they seem to have an unlimited supply of energy and encouragement for their employees.

But not getting those clients, not making that sale, or not getting a deal can mean that you’re going home without a pay check. Employees come first – you come later.

So yeah we have bad days pretty often.

In return, we expect the pay-off to be bigger. We expect to be able to retire by 35, to have endless streams of passive income, and to turn the tables and start investing in new startups. Some entrepreneurs will reach that level, some won’t. Here’s some tips I have learned to use to deal with bad days.

1. Time out

You know that feeling you get when you’ve worked for 30 hours on something, but, for some reason or another, it’s not good enough or it doesn’t work? That’s a sign that you need a time out. Go outside, take a walk. Stroll down to the dairy and buy an Arizona Iced Tea (not a product placement, just really good!). Play some music if you’d like.


Listen to a podcast, or an audiobook. Listen to Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day,” for all I care. Either way, clear your head, take a good look at the situation, then tackle it rationally.

2. Communicate

Communicating about the source of your bad day is therapeutic. Don’t bitch and moan. Just communicate about what’s causing the problem to someone you can trust. You don’t want to be spilling gossip to your competitors or potential clients, so be careful who you talk to.

3. Read

Sometimes it’s good to read about what others have done. Look at how hard things were for them before they made their breakthroughs. It’s usually fairly invigorating.

I don’t really read those inspirational quotes that you’ll find on any given entrepreneurial site when I’ve had a bad day. When some tech billionaire is saying that if it came down to his last dollar, he would spend it on PR or advertising, I find it very difficult to not cry bullshit. You’re going to spend that money on food and rent, son. Don’t lie.

I find INC.com to be really good and sensible.

4. Exercise

People who exercise a lot are generally very docile because they release a lot of their frustration by burning calories. I’m not talking about the roided-out gym sharks. I’m talking about the lean and healthy people who exercise regularly. Exercise is scientifically proven to make you feel better by releasing endorphins. WebMD said so.

You’ll be surprised how hard you can exercise when you’re frustrated. While you’re perspiring heavily all over the gym equipment, you’ll often find new ways of thinking about your problem as you turn it over and over in your mind.

5. Be positive

Many people take the phrase “be positive” to mean that you should only focus on the positive. The world is not perfect, so focusing only on the positive is unrealistic.

What happens in our brains when we get frustrated or we are disappointed is that the emotion builds up like water that’s flowing into a dam. It gets bigger and bigger and the pressure rises and rises until you’re stressed out and irritated, and you break. That’s no bueno.

Being positive means realising that somewhere, someone has it much worse than you do right now. Being positive means that you know that there have been thousands of people before you who have felt the same way. Being positive means you objectively weigh up the positives and the negatives.

Positive: I don’t have a boss who is an asshole, I have beer and pizza at home, and I have friends who are there for me.

Negative: I just lost $150,000.

See? It totally works!

6. Deal with it early

It’s difficult to recognise when you’re becoming stressed, because, as stated in #5, it builds up gradually. When you first recognise that something or someone is starting to stress you out, that’s when it’s time to act. Don’t wait until you’re tweeting out depressing hashtags. That’s too late.

7. Drink? Smoke?

This is a dangerous one, especially for entrepreneurs. Yes it will make you feel better. Yes it will allow you to calm down. And yes, it will become addictive because you will most certainly continue to have bad days. My advice: don’t do it. You’re probably not going to listen to me though, so be careful!

What do you do to relieve stress? What do you do when you’ve had a bad day? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Charlie Ferris says:

    “When some tech billionaire is saying that if it came down to his last dollar, he would spend it on PR or advertising, I find it very difficult to not cry bullshit. You’re going to spend that money on food and rent, son. Don’t lie.”
    This line made me laugh way too hard! Great writing 🙂

    1. Jose Mathias says:

      Thanks! 🙂

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