Books Open Doors Insights #23: Pitfalls that Can Cause Depression for Entrepreneurs and How to Avoid Them

December 7, 2021

In this episode, Ellen Violette shares how unprepared she was for her entrepreneurial journey in the beginning and how her lack of understanding led to depression, the lessons she learned, and what every entrepreneur needs to know and do to avoid stress, burnout, and depression as an entrepreneur.

Resources mentioned

Book: How to Crush it in Business Without Crushing Your Spirit: How Entrepreneurs Can Overcome Depression and Find Success

Overcoming Depression for Entrepreneurs Facebook Group



Mailbox Power

3 Key Points

Everybody has setbacks in their business and early success can leave you ill-prepared to deal with them if you don’t understand that is the norm for entrepreneurship

Know that entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint and it’s important to enjoy the journey.

Envision your ideal day, and then work backward from there creating the business model that will get you where you want to go.


Hi, and welcome. You are listening to Books Open Doors Insights #23. I’m your host, Ellen Violette. If you ever get depressed as an entrepreneur, you are not alone. The first several years in my business, I felt alone, and over the years I suffered from depression at different times. I didn’t understand what was going on because nobody talked about it, but I learned some great lessons from it and I’m going to share them with you on this podcast. So, let’s do this.


[0:58] Okay, we’re back. Today I want to talk about overcoming depression for entrepreneurs. When I got on the Internet, I was very naive and I had no idea what it took to run a business. I did not have a clue about success and failure. I became successful very quickly. And then after a few years, things changed; and we had a recession; and I started to have more failures. And I had never failed at anything in my life. I was an A student and… I mean, I had a few disappointments, but basically, I did in school, I did well in the music business. I got a Grammy nomination. I won awards. When I first got into this business of being a book coach, I won an award. Like in my second year, I became an award-winning coach.

[2:02] And as I said, I just started to get known really quickly. I made a six-figure income by my third year, and I just was totally unprepared for the life of an entrepreneur.
And so, today what I want to share are some of the lessons that I learned and some of the things that went wrong that caused me to be depressed, and how you can either avoid them or overcome them, if you have found the same kinds of things happen for you.

[2:31] Number one is that in the beginning, you take on clients, and you don’t really know who your ideal clients are. And so, you start to have different experiences with different people and some of them are good and some of them are not so good. And if you start having a lot of them that are not so good, that can lead to depression.

And one of the things that happens, especially for women, and it’s happened for me, is that we are natural givers and we want to help people, and we have empathy. And so, when somebody comes to us and they say, “Oh, I spent all this money and I didn’t get the results.” Or, “This person ghosted me.” Or, for whatever reason, it didn’t work out. And then I end up feeling bad for them. And then I gave them a discount. And then I was the one who ended up feeling resentful in the end and depressed because I didn’t get paid what I was worth (and they tend to be the most demanding clients to work with). And so I no longer give discounts.Like if somebody comes to me and they paid the wrong person, and that’s not my problem. I can’t help them anymore because it just took too big of a toll on me. And so you have to be careful with that.

[3:52] The other thing that happened for me in my business was that when we do bestseller launches, we had control over all the pieces and then people would come to me and say, “Oh, well, I have my own website.” People. And then they wanted me to work with them. And inevitably it would end up being a lot more work and way more stressful because they wouldn’t follow my directions and they wouldn’t do what I wanted. So again, no, we don’t do that anymore. They have to use my people and I don’t give discounts.

[4:25] Number two is I don’t take clients (just) for money anymore. I used to do that. And I understand when things are difficult when you’re not making enough money, when you feel like you need the client, it’s easy to say, “I need this, and I have to do it.” And the truth is you don’t have to do it. There’s always another way. You can offer other things, get on the phone and call other people; do whatever you have to do, but say no to those clients that are just for money, because what’s going to happen is it’s going to be a big headache, it’s going to give you a lot of stress. In the end, you’re going to feel depressed and bad about yourself because you did something that was not in your best interest. So, no taking on clients (just) for money.

[5:08] Number three, for me, was changing my business model was really important. I learned how to do product launches when I started my business and coaching. And the thing with coaching is you have to be there all the time. And product launches, you have to launch every time and you have to fill it in order to make enough money to carry you till the next time. And so for me, I actually have done product launches just on my signature book-writing program thirty-two times. And I guess I’m stubborn because it took me until the thirty-second time to say, “That’s it. I’m done with this model.”

And so, you have to have a business model that is in alignment with what you want to do, and what do you want your days to look like? What’s your ideal day? And nobody talked about that when I was starting out, nobody said, “Oh, figure out what you want and what you want it to look like, and then work backward.” No, they just said, “Here’s a model that works. Do it.” And it was called Teleseminar Secrets. I did a lot of webinars, teleseminars actually in the beginning, and that was it. It just reached a point where it just didn’t work that well anymore. So, figure out what your business model is, what you want your ideal days to look like, and then work backward.

[6:34] Number four is to stop going on marathon networking calls or blasting calls with the energies. It’s exhausting. And/or just let the person know you’re leaving early because you’re not going to be on that long. One of the things that I’ve found that my attention span, I can go about an hour and a half, and then it’s just overwhelming; it’s exhausting, and I’m not my best self at that point. And it’s just too long and it’s too much. I started to feel like I’m worrying about what other people think if I leave before it’s over, and I’m just not willing to do that anymore. That was one issue.

The other issue for me was I was going on a networking call where the person just had such high energy and it was moving really fast, but it wasn’t that, it was just that I felt like she was screaming at me all the time and after an hour and a half of that was exhausting as well. And I just decided that was not a good networking place for me to be.

I was in another networking group for a very long time, which is actually a local one. And then they went virtual with COVID. I would recommend people and work with people and give good testimonials for the actual group, and I didn’t get anything in return for years. And finally, I said, “This is ridiculous. This time I could be spending it doing something else that’s giving me a return for my time.”

And the irony was, is that I ended up hiring somebody in that group who’s a chiropractor who comes to your house. And so we were talking and I was telling him how I wasn’t going to the group anymore because I hadn’t really gotten anything out of it. And he said, “Well if it makes you feel better, I’m thinking about writing a book.” Anyway, we started talking and we ended up doing a barter. So, I did get something of it, but again, you really have to look at the time you’re giving in exchange for what you’re getting out of each networking group that you are spending time in because your time is valuable.

And again, the other thing I want to say is, it’s depressing when you’re always recommending people and helping other people and nobody returns the favor or even thanks you when you have done something for them so, that’s it. Okay.

[8:54] Number six, increase the automation in your business with some low-cost tools. When you’re a coach and you’re making a lot of money, it’s really easy to keep putting off automating, putting off systems. And then what can happen is you reach a point where you absolutely need them, where you’re exhausted, where you’re burned out and you don’t have them. And then you have to go back and do it when it’s really difficult for you to do. So, it’s much better to do it before you reach that point. So automate…automate your business as much as you can.

And again, that goes back to evergreen, because when you make it more evergreen, you are automating. You can also use… I use Infusionsoft. My link to that is, what is it? You can build campaigns in there so that you have automatic emails go out. That’s another way to automate. There’s also a referral system that you can use to stay in contact with your clients and with your strategic partners. (You also get 50 free cards to send out a month.)

And I also have a link to that, which I can’t think of off the top of my head, but I will put it on the transcript page. You can use social media tools like Hootsuite. So, there are lots of different ways that you can start to automate your business. So, think about the things to start that are easy for you to do. Maybe the ones that don’t cost that much are better for you to start out. Sometimes, that can be penny-wise and pound-foolish because some of the things maybe that cost more can actually get you a lot more bang for your buck, but you’ll just have to look at your budget.

[10:35] Number seven, when you coach and you don’t have a business automated, you work hard to get clients, and then you work hard with the clients and it feels like you’re on a treadmill going nowhere. And that caused a lot of depression for me…like there was never a break. And again, that’s especially true when you use a product launch model. So, the key is to get off the treadmill again. So, really automating your business. Also, having a high-ticket offer, which is something I talked about last week, are really things that help you avoid some of the things that can be really depressing. Again, these are things that are specific to entrepreneurs, but what you want to do is prove your concept and then simplify, create your Evergreen system. And as I said, I talked about this last week in Insights #22, and to learn more, you can listen to that podcast at

[11:38] Next is number eight. Stop being in a hurry to get the end result. Like you have to enjoy the journey and being an overachiever myself, I pushed myself way too hard, way too hard. I was always in a hurry to get to the result. And in the meantime, I was ruining my health, I was exhausting myself, and I was not enjoying the journey. By that, I mean, going outside every day, getting sun, making sure I drink enough water. Just taking care of myself and just having the small wins and celebrating them…whatever it is that makes you feel good about your journey. One of the things I did was I have a little enamel box and when I get a win, I put it in there. And then at the end of the year, we open them up and I get to look at all the great things that happened. Because it’s so easy to think about the things that didn’t go the way that you wanted, especially when the year’s over and if you didn’t make as much money as you wanted. You look back, “Oh, I didn’t get there.” But what about all the wins that you had? So again, stop being in a hurry, enjoy the journey, know that it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

[12:44] Number nine is learning to say no. And actually this one, the more success you have, the more you’re going to have to learn to say no because people are going to throw more and more things at you. Everything from wanting you to come into their groups, wanting you to be on their calls, wanting you to promote them in some way, and especially, wanting to sell you something. I see this all the time. People can… I don’t know. Tell that I’m a coach that has some money and I’m constantly getting hit up to buy this and buy that and buy the other thing. So,you have to learn to say no, and for me, this is an ongoing thing. And because I’m like everybody else, sometimes we get sidetracked by shiny objects, and then I have to pull myself back and go, “No, I know what the goal is. I know what I have to focus on.” Stay the course. So, saying no is really important.

[13:41] And then number 10 is to get more intentional about the learning that you do and stop overlearning. I’ll say overbooking learning opportunities, like that was really easy to do with COVID because there were so many, last year and this year, so many challenges, virtual three-day events, and they were all either no cost or low cost, and I learned a lot actually. But then again, it goes back to what are your goals? And then, what are the things that are moving you towards those and getting rid of the rest of them?

It’s so easy when you see something that goes, “Oh, make a million dollars in two minutes.” I saw one the other day now with NFTs. The guy… What did he do? He spent like $380 or something and he made twenty grand in forty-eight hours. I mean, that’s crazy. That’s insane. And so right away, “Oh, let’s do that.” But it’s like, no, that’s not what I’m trying to do. So again, you’ve got to be intentional about what you’re learning, not overbook learning.

And another thing with overbooking learning, I did this one week, a few weeks ago, not on purpose. But I had actually signed up for a three-day event back in July. And it came up right at the same time that I had just gotten into another course. And then while I was in that course, plus I had that three-day event, plus there was another course that came up that was just like a 90-minute workshop. It was $27, and it was somebody I had been wanting to study with for two years. And that came up at that same time as well. So, I did do that and I did miss some of the trainings. And even the one that I did back in July, I missed most of it, but I had to set my priorities. And then, I just was burned out after that week. I ended up in the ER with a ton of pain in my shoulder, because my neck had tightened up. And then, I had to just go, “Whoa, let’s not do that again.”

So,what I did was I went into my scheduler and I just started blocking off huge swaths of time so that can’t happen again. So that when something comes up, I can look and see, “Okay, do I have time to do this or not? And is there something else there?” So that’s really important, is be intentional about your learning and schedule your time, so that you leave enough time for you.
And also, I am a recovering learning addict. I know there have been times when I’ve been hiding and learning, like it’s so much fun to learn, but then I wasn’t taking action. And like most people, I can look back and see that there are trainings that I bought over the years that I never did anything with. I think everybody has some of those, but now I don’t do that anymore. I try to just do things that are on the path of what I’m trying to do, and then also make sure I get through them. And that’s a good thing to do.

[16:27] And then 11 is stop doing things in your business that you’re good at, that you could delegate or outsource so that you can increase the time that you’re working on your business instead of in your business. That whole idea of, “Oh, well, I’m good at this and therefore I should do it.” No, that’s not true. Like for me, I used to do a lot of the editing, and then I realized I was spending hours and hours and hours editing. And that was not the best use of my genius, and it was also not the best moneymaking opportunities for me. So I stopped doing it and I’m so glad. I hired people who are just as good or better at doing it than I am that are now on my team. So I really want to encourage you to do that too. It’s about letting and letting other people do some of the things that either you don’t want to do, but also things that you’re good at, but it ends up making you give time for money and we don’t want to do that. We want to give value for money.

[17:32] And then the next one is accepting that I’m never going to be perfect or do things perfectly. What that comes down to is really accepting your flaws, seeing who you are and who you’re not and being okay with it. Like for me, I’m just not the most organized person. My husband is way more organized than I am. And when I was a kid, my mom used to say to me, “If your head weren’t attached, you’d lose it.” And I’ve always been like that. Maybe part of it’s being a dreamer, being really creative, not caring about the details and being more of a big-picture person.

And so, sometimes it’s hard for me to work in my business and I need people who keep me organized and people who keep me on track or my scheduler, my Full Focus Planner. I have tools around me and people around me that can help me because I know what my weaknesses are, and I’m trying to minimize them so that I can maximize what I’m good at. And you should do the same thing.
And also, just know that your clients, they don’t care about your flaws. What they care is that you’re getting the results for them. So when you’re really good at what you do, just focus on that and don’t beat yourself up for the things that you’re not good at or when you make a mistake. And when you do make a mistake, you say, “Oh, I made a mistake, and I’m sorry.” And then you go on, that’s it. And just know that if you’re a creative person like me, we tend to be less organized because our minds are so busy and they’re being creative. So, love yourself for that.

[19:12] And then not comparing yourself to others. This is hard for me because I’ve been doing this a long time. And then when I see these people come up, who haven’t been doing it as long as I have and they’re way ahead of me in “certain ways”, sometimes I get upset with myself. But again, for me, sometimes it goes back to understanding that we have different skill. Like it’s harder when you’re creative, but you don’t have the business skills. Let’s face it, it’s harder. It took me longer to learn that stuff because first of all, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And second of all, I got in at a time when it was easy. And so, you didn’t have to know until things changed and I had to know. And so, I struggled for a long time and I’ve been honest about that. That it was not easy for me to do the business side. I would much rather be being creative all the time.

I’ll tell you, I was even on a call the other day with one of my partners that I’m helping him write his book. And his book actually is on how to hire people, and he’s brilliant at it. And I listen to him… Sometimes, I’ll have clients who are making millions of dollars, and I listen to them and they just think completely differently than I do; their brains work differently. And so you can’t really compare yourself to them, but sometimes we do. Or, you’ll see somebody on Twitter and they just started and they made all this money. Well, guess what? I did the at too, when I first started because when you get in, there will be certain things that are working and you learn those things. The problem is that most people don’t realize is that things are always changing and it will change. That’s why it’s really great to have skills like being an author where writing a book is never going to change. Like the process that I teach, you’ll be able to use it forever. It’s not going to change. It doesn’t matter what happens on the Internet.

So you can’t compare yourself, number one, but number two, you want to make sure that you create skills that will help you no matter what happens in the marketplace. Sales skills, being able to close somebody on a call, being able to write great copy. Those things don’t change.

[21:18] Some of these have been really hard lessons for me, but it’s so worth it. I’m just a work in progress like everybody else, and one of the things I love that one of my clients said was, “I am flawed and I’m worthy. I am flawed and I’m worthy.” And because sometimes we think, “Oh, I’m not good enough,” because we’re comparing ourselves or because it’s not automated or because we’re feeling exhausted or because we’re depressed, whatever it is. And so you’re still worthy, you’re still worthy.

[21:51] What I want to say about that though and I didn’t say this at the beginning, is people don’t like to talk about this stuff. And so that’s why I thought I was alone like I was the only one going through this stuff. And then, little by little, I started hearing through the grapevine hell, this person wasn’t happy and that person wasn’t happy. And somebody was making millions of dollars a year and I was hearing she was crying herself to sleep every night. I’m like, “Oh my God, this is crazy that nobody is talking about this.” And now it’s a little bit better. People are more willing to be honest about what’s going on because now authenticity is seen as a good thing. But even within that, people still sometimes don’t want to tell the whole truth or they don’t want to tell it till they’re through it or whatever.

But at that point was when I decided that something had to be done. And that’s when I decided to put together this collaboration book called How to Crush it in Business Without Crushing Your Spirit: How Entrepreneurs Can Overcome Depression and Find Success. And that became a number-one bestseller when I launched it in 2017.

Well, it’s now going into 2022 and I’m updating the book. And so, what I want to do is, first of all, I want you guys to know that there is a group for depression that I started. It’s You’re welcome to join us there. I hope that you’ll get a copy of the book, but what I want to say is that I will give a free copy of the new version of the book to the first ten people who email me at That’s and put the “Depression PDF” in the subject line. That’s “Depression PD”. And I will give you a free one in exchange for just an honest review once we publish the book or republish the book. So, when you email me, then I’ll have your address. And then I will let you know as soon as it goes live, and then you can go in and give a review.

Also, there are just lots of stories from other entrepreneurs who have gone through different kinds of depression or for different reasons, have told their stories, and have told what worked for them. And so if this is something that you deal with, as I said, I’ve given you a bunch of things to look at in your business, in this particular Insight #23, but also, read the book and maybe some of those will resonate with you as well.

So, it’s hard to be successful when you’re depressed. And so the reason I wanted to do this is I want to help people get through these issues as quickly as possible. And just know that I know like on one of the stories, what was holding somebody back was really childhood trauma. And if that’s the case, then you might need to seek some professional help. But otherwise, these are just all common things that lots of entrepreneurs go through. You are not alone, and I just would like you to have your best year ever in 2022.

[25:09] Also, to get the transcript, go to,, and there you’ll be able to see the links to the recommended resources and read the transcript there.

And if what I’ve shared here makes a lot of sense to you and you’d like to write a book or want some help overcoming some of the issues that I’ve talked about on this episode, you’re welcome to book a call with me and we can set up a chat to see if we’re a fit and how I can help you. To do that, set an appointment at“>, and I’m happy to speak with you. That’s it for today.

Till next time, Bye-bye.


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About the Author

Ellen Violette

Ellen is an 3X award-winning book, including being named one of the Top 20 Book Coaches of 2022 by Coach Foundation. She's also a multiple #1 bestselling author, a 3-time eLit award winner, podcast host, and a Grammy-nominated songwriter. She has been helping entrepreneurs increase their credibility and expert status, become #1 bestselling authors, and make a bigger impact in the world since 2004. Her mission is to make the world a better place one author and one book at a time!



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