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Managing a business with Multiple Sclerosis – Challenges and solutions

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The journey of an entrepreneur is often marked by dedicated hard work, persistence, patience, achievements, risks, uncertainty, fear, and challenges. The path takes on a new dimension when coupled with the complexities of living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or any other long-term challenging reality. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system, leading to various physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. However, many individuals with MS have shown remarkable courage by assuming the role of the business owner. This article examines these entrepreneurs’ unique challenges and explores practical solutions that pave the way for success and fulfillment while considering their health.

Embracing Selective Perfectionism

For those living with MS, energy conservation is paramount. Selective perfectionism encourages a conscious choice of where to invest one’s limited energy and attention. Instead of striving for flawlessness across the board, individuals can identify key areas that align with their passions and priorities. This approach grants the freedom to channel energy into tasks and activities that significantly impact their lives and matter the most to them.

1. Balancing health, family life, and business

Achieving a harmonious balance between sustainable health, family commitments, and business responsibilities poses a profound challenge for business owners living with MS. The unpredictable nature of the disease, leading to fatigue, physical pain and discomfort, cognitive difficulties, and emotional frustration, can disrupt daily routines and plans. 

Solution: Strategic time management 

Prioritizing tasks, setting realistic goals, and keeping a daily schedule of specific hours dedicated to work are essential. Business owners can also consider incorporating intentional quality activities with people from the close environment to foster meaningful connections, serenity, fun, and joy, nurturing their relationships and health while decompressing from the demanding juggling. 

2. Communication, networking and mobility

Effective communication and networking are paramount for entrepreneurs. Still, MS symptoms like lack of energy, mobility issues, compromised vision, an unreliable bladder, communication challenges due to speech issues or mental fog, and general overwhelm can impact these efforts. Attending networking events and meetings can be physically and emotionally demanding and often draining. 

Solution: Benefit from the use of technology 

Using virtual communication tools, implementing automated online processes, collaborating with virtual assistants, delegating tasks through available and affordable platforms, exchanging with other entrepreneurs online, and using AI (artificial intelligence) technology can facilitate and significantly reduce the workload. Adopting a mindset encouraging the thought that “it’s okay – and almost vital – not to handle everything alone.” Virtual meetings allow participation from the comfort of home, helping business owners balance between engaging professionally and meeting their health needs. Operating whenever possible from home is always a good solution, especially during days of excessive heat when MS symptoms can worsen. 

3. Managing additional expenses

Living with MS often entails additional and considerable costs not necessarily covered by health insurance, including, among others, medical expenses, medication, alternative treatments, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, coaching, expenses for self-development purposes such as seminars, books, and audiobooks to stay informed about MS and also for practical strategies to navigate daily life, home accommodations based on mobility, cognitive, and emotional needs, other types of supportive equipment, suitable transportation solutions, grocery and other shop delivery fees, and even capitalizing on higher-quality nutrition, which is crucial for MS patients and has a higher cost. Business expenses aiming to delegate tasks to external support to minimize the workload must be considered. All these expenses can strain business finances and add an extra layer of complexity. 

Solution: Financial planning and assistance 

Developing a comprehensive and precise financial plan that accounts for medical expenses, self-care, and business costs is vital. Medical and self-care costs must be prioritized and treated as a necessity and not a luxury to ensure the best possible health for the business owner so they can run their business. Additionally, when applicable, seeking grants, disability tax credits, and community support can alleviate the financial burden. Diversifying income streams within the business also under the form of passive income can also aid in navigating potential economic challenges. 

4. Saving and hacking energy

The chronic fatigue, brain fog, and compromised mental clarity associated with MS can significantly limit a business owner’s energy levels, impacting their ability to meet deadlines, make prompt decisions, and confidently manage daily operations. 

Solution: Flexibility and thinking outside the box 

Adapting the work schedule to align with peak energy periods can enhance productivity and fulfillment. Delegating tasks to team members or outsourcing support, utilizing productivity tools to work smarter instead of harder, and using time management techniques can help business owners maximize their output, especially during their periods of peak energy. Whenever possible, having flexible delivery deadlines with a mindset reflecting “if I cannot do this task today, I will do it tomorrow” will take a lot of pressure off while giving back a sense of control and accountability. 

5. Overcoming perceived limitations

Entrepreneurship and managing a business thrive on pushing boundaries and embracing risks. However, individuals with MS may wrestle with self-imposed limitations due to their condition, which could hinder their growth. The fear of the unknown of how tomorrow will look can keep their wings down. 

Solution: Cultivating a resilient mindset 

Building a positive philosophy that views challenges and failures as growth opportunities and as signals that it’s time to do things differently and overcome perceived limits or change directions. Seeking support, collaborating with coaches, and connecting with like-minded people and entrepreneurs who have overcome similar obstacles can provide inspiration and guidance in navigating the entrepreneurial landscape. A mindset that believes that “no matter what, I can do this, and I will do it my way” or “actually, this is not aligned with my vision anymore, and I choose to do something else with my time and life” can support those wings to expand to an unimaginable length. Even if it means to stand still and feel fulfilled. 

6. Stress and emotional dysregulation

The demanding nature of entrepreneurship combined with the challenges of MS can elevate stress levels and emotional dysregulation. The feeling that “no matter the accomplished steps, it never feels enough” can bring a sense of being in a hamster’s wheel and negatively affect the business and overall health of the owner. 

Solution: Mindfulness and emotional well-being practices 

Incorporating mindfulness techniques and behaviors, regular exercise – within the range of each person’s ability and energy, conscious breathing exercises, and engaging in enjoyable and heart-filling hobbies during free time can mitigate stress and promote emotional balance. Increasing self-awareness and turning full-time perfectionism into selective perfectionism can bring the power of control and freedom. Creating a supportive environment for needs and discomfort to be openly shared with business collaborators and family members can foster a sense of teamwork that reduces stress and other negative emotions. 


Managing a business while living with MS is a testament to the inner strength of humans that no matter what, they do not give up and follow their vision. While undeniably tough circumstances, these entrepreneurs tackle challenges with innovative solutions and tenacious determination. By balancing health, family, and business, utilizing adaptive technologies and solutions, considering all financial expenses, optimizing time allocation, embracing a beneficial mindset, and prioritizing well-being, business owners with MS can thrive and fly high. Their stories inspire others to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, regardless of the challenges they encounter along the way, proving that: MS could delay you but will not stop you. 

Do you need support to find balance between your health and running a business? I can support you!

Contact me today, and soon you will have at your disposal all the right tools and mindset to use your time and energy in the most optimal way so you can thrive in all aspects of your life.

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