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How to Stay Sane as an Entrepreneur in Costa Rica.  Entrepreneur burnout exists no matter where you start a business, but Costa Rica has proven to challenge the sanity of even seasoned business owners. Things like slow processing of paperwork, unrelenting heat and flaky employees are just examples of what may start to drive you bonkers. Not to mention, if Spanish is your second language it could add extra stress during that learning curve. But don’t fret — it’s a great time to start a business in Costa Rica. We’re sharing five helpful tips for staying sane and making your entrepreneurial endeavor a success.

1. Learn not to ask the “WHY” question

You can always expect the unexpected here in Costa Rica, so it helps to be adaptable when things don’t go as planned. Learn from it, but don’t waste too much energy trying to rationalize. Focus on finding alternative solutions to move forward, instead of dwelling on what went wrong. You’ll save yourself a lot of needless stress if you can master this, because roadblocks (literal and figurative) are going to happen a lot here. Holding onto anger about your expectations not being met will not help you progress; it will just slowly eat away at your sanity. Try to value progress over perfection, and let limitations push you to get extra creative with the resources you do have in order to achieve your goals.

2. Practice gratitude & patience

When you’re feeling a bit kooky from trying to figure out how to send your first factura electronica, take a deep breath and remember why you wanted to run your own business in the first place. Be grateful for your freedom and independence. If you are a foreigner, think about how lucky you are to be able to open a business in another country. Practicing gratitude will help keep you motivated and positive through the challenges. With a little patience, you can stay calm and try to see the bigger picture when you’re about to lose your cool. 

3. Maintain a healthy balance

Keeping a healthy work-life balance is a classic struggle for entrepreneurs. When you run your own business, it’s much more of a challenge to separate work and personal time. Working on your business around the clock is a sure path to burnout, but you can’t sip cocktails on the beach all day either, as tempting as that may be in Costa Rica. Try to set some boundaries and a stick to a schedule. Focus 100 percent on work during that time, and then fully disconnect from everything work-related in your free time. If your business is often done in the digital world, be sure to put all those devices away and get out into nature to truly detach and recharge

4. Connect with other local business owners

When you work for yourself, you don’t have an instant support network of coworkers like you would at many other jobs. Not having a team to lean on through challenges can be isolating, and loneliness can lead to an entrepreneur’s descent into madness. Here in Costa Rica, where half the people you come in contact with are on vacation or retired, it can be especially hard to form a network of friends who you can relate to as an entrepreneur. If you’re feeling all alone in the challenges of entrepreneurship, seeking out other business owners to connect with, vent to and share tips with can be very therapeutic. (Look for the “Entrepreneurs in Costa Rica” group on Facebook!)

5. Know when to hire help

Spending too much time trying to do something that is outside your skill level will lead to frustration quickly. Part of being a successful business owner is knowing when to delegate tasks. The passion you had for your new venture will soon turn to lunacy if you handle every tedious task that an employee or freelancer could take off your plate. The same goes for when you start spending excessive time and energy to learn something like building your own website, instead of hiring a professional to handle it. Not only will you have a more professional finished product, but you won’t go crazy trying to do absolutely everything yourself.

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The Howler Magazine