Coping with business overwhelm as a self-employed highly sensitive entrepreneur (HSP)

How to nurture and soothe your high sensitivity so you can thrive when self-employed.

It’s so hard not to fall into that frantic business overwhelmed trap that modern business life so easily induces as a self-employed Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)  – Podcasts, Instagram adverts, people doing way more things than you, courses you need to go on, books you need to read, places you need to go. If you are self-employed and a highly sensitive entrepreneur then you will struggle with this more than most people.

SELF-EMPLOYMENT for sensitive entrepreneurs

If you don’t take a step back you may have found that the things that used to bring you joy as a self-employed entrepreneur don’t anymore. Or you may feel like you’re trapped and overwhelmed in a business that you originally started to bring you more freedom and flexibility so you can slow down and enjoy the simple things!

I know that’s one of the reasons why I started my own business as I always felt too highly sensitive for modern workplaces. I just couldn’t seem to function in a regular 9-5 and I constantly felt like I was trying to keep up with the pace of everything and felt constantly overwhelmed. Self-employment has been a great fit to honour and work with my high sensitivity.

The past few weeks I’ve noticed myself feeling this self-employed business and life overwhelm again – constantly rushed, constantly like I’m trying to keep my head above water and aching to just do nothing and breathe, but then struggling to relax as I have so many ‘should be doing’s’ in my head.

as a self-employed highly sensitive person it’s
important to bring slowness back into your working day

If like me you feel that those little moments of simple joy have stopped lighting you up then I have a few tips that have worked for me to soothe my highly sensitive self-employed soul, and I’ll be doing them again now as I have slipped back into that rush rush rush mentality!

Savour your self-employed work and enjoy the process

I’m going to stop thinking I should only spend this long on something and having deadlines I force on myself and just enjoy the process of creating. So, go back to what you loved doing as you became self-employed. If it’s writing do that and enjoy it! For me I love designing so I’m allowing myself time to play and experiment on jobs, using my iPad and Procreate to add illustrations and painted textures to projects and do what I do best! If you have a product, what passion sparked that idea?


Stop and do something simple and grounding for highly sensitive entrepeneurs

I know when I get like this it’s hard to do nothing. I accept that it’ll take time for my highly sensitive nervous system to calm down. This morning I did some yoga, left my phone switched off, sat and just ate breakfast and noticed the beautiful peace and birds tweeting. Then I sat down and started to write this blog feeling much calmer.

Later on, I will treat myself to an afternoon walk or when it’s warmer just lie down on the grass. As a highly sensitive person you don’t need expensive holidays or retreats, it’s often little things that bring you back to you! I’m accepting that there’s always something to be doing but I can’t do it all so I will get done what is essential and go refuel myself.



accept that the self-employed business overwhelm will pass

Do one thing at a time to stop feeling overwhelmed as a highly senstive self-employed entrepreneur


I am the master of flitting from business task to business task so this is a hard one! But I’m making an effort to start something and just do that one thing. I’m typing this on my iPad as it’s easy to click from tab to tab and avoid work. Find something that works for you and focus. One or two hours of intense focus, which is one of your highly sensitive gifts, give you that feeling of achieving something as opposed to beating yourself up over a to-do list that is never finished. 


A to-do-list that is never finished is a big source of self-employed business overwhelm for highly sensitive people HSPs, so don’t overload yourself. Put on one essential task and two others for the day and leave it at that. Drop the overwhelm guilt when you have to leave something for the day. It will get finished eventually.



Create your own self-employed boundaries


You are in control of your business and you should protect your highly sensitive nature as it is a gift! If you are constantly feeling overwhelmed in your business then make some changes to bring back control. I hate getting calls so if you feel the same, then set up a Calendly like I do and choose when people can contact you. I need clear days to really focus on creating and I also get a little nervous before new calls so limiting those to a couple of days a week really helps. 


You can also install ‘pause’ apps for your inbox so you only check your email twice a day. Email is a constant source of distraction so doing this can give your mind a break to truly focus on what you need to get done.


If you are feeling business overwhelm with all the comparison to people on social media then delete the apps from your phone, turn of notifications and even turn your phone off. Your highly sensitive brain and nervous system need chance to de-compress and one of the major sources of business overwhelm is the constant stimulation from our phones.

as a sensitive entrepeneur say thankyou for all those small things in your business that light you up

Practice gratitude as a highly sensitive person in business

When frazzled and feeling that business overwhelm I sometimes get all negative and moan! So I make an effort to be grateful and either write three things down each morning or think them in my head. If I’m stressing over a client job I’m now trying to reframe it and think of something I’m grateful for.


Stay true to your roots and create a strong brand

Knowing who I am as a brand, what my business stands for and what makes it unique (my brand WOW) means that I can create a business on my terms and people find my organically. This takes away a lot of the overwhelm that comes with networking, social sharing and a lot of the extroverted business activities.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed I know that my strong brand, website, blogs and courses are also working for me and that I don’t need to be constantly ‘out there’ promoting. Branding has drawn people to my business effortlessly and as a highly sensitive person who doesn’t enjoy selling this has been a key influence in crafting a calm business!

Creating a memorable brand that stands out from the noise and attracts the right type of people has meant that my daily business activities feel a lot less overwhelming for my highly sensitive nervous system.


The best ways to beat business overwhelm as a self-employed highly sensitive person (HSP):



  • Add slowness into your working day to beat overwhelm
  • Savour your work and enjoy the process
  • Stop and do something grounding when you feel overwhelmed to soothe your nervous system
  • Set yourself better business and life boundaries to help with that business overwhelm and honour your high sensitivity
  • Do one thing at a time when you are feeling overwhelmed
  • Practice Gratitude to re-frame your task
  • Create a strong brand that does the hard work for you and instantly connects with people
  • Work with a coach or mentor who understands highly sensitive entrepreneurs if you struggle to create boundaries and want to create shifts in your business


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