Skip to content

Financial stress

It is common for anyone working in business to be stressed about their business finances at some point.

Unpredictable income, cash flow and delayed payments are common experiences for people working in small business, and can put you at increased risk of poor mental and physical health and family conflict. It is also often compounded by other aspects of running your own business, such as high work demands and longer hours.

There’s always another new pressure coming every day, whether it’s the rent being due or the registration on the company vehicles being due, or the insurances being due as well as the occasional bad paying client. It’s that roll-on effect of never being able to get your head above water.

Ben, entertainment industry

For some, financial stress can also be a barrier to seeking support for mental health concerns. You may feel like you can’t afford treatment, or that you are unable to take the time off work to get the help you need.

If you are feeling like you’re struggling to stay on top of things financially, there are ways you can protect yourself from the strain both mentally and in your pocket.

Beating financial stress: It’s not just about money

Financial stress is a form of stress that can impact on you and your health. By focusing on self-care and prevention, not only will you alleviate some of the symptoms of financial stress, but you’ll be more resilient when pressure mounts.

Minimising financial stress will also help you work more efficiently during business hours and allow you to be present in your home life.

Click here for some tips on dealing with financial stress:

  • Organise, categorise and schedule your finances: Good records make it easier to manage money. There are a range of free tools and education available online to help organise your finances.
  • Get help for managing finances: This might be financial advice, financial counselling or if possible, someone to help manage your finances. Consider the benefits not just monetarily, but for your wellbeing and peace of mind.
  • Make a plan and set short and long-term goals: Planning and goal setting will help you see in advance when finances might be strained and allow you to deal with issues before they lead to stress.
  • Keep personal and business finances separate: Many business owners dip into their own pockets to top up business accounts or vice versa. Try to keep separate bank accounts, credit cards, and legal identities for business, or at least keep a good record of when you’re using personal items for business and replenish them when you can.
  • Don’t panic if you make mistakes: All small business owners are human and we don’t always get things right. If you make an error, work to resolve it quickly and move forward. Try to keep the big picture in mind.
  • Deal with debt: If debt is a serious concern for you, consider whether there are ways to negotiate, consolidate or plan a settlement. It’s always better to deal with debt early before it becomes a bigger problem.

Click here for financial help and assistance for small business:

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)

Information for small businesses facing financial difficulty.

This is a website for the Australian business community with information from all three levels of government in Australia. It is a simple and convenient entry point for information, services and support to help businesses succeed.

My Business Health

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) has developed a website, My Business Health, to support small businesses and family enterprises. Pulling together a range of resources, this website gives you easy access to tools, templates and tips to manage stress and proactively run your business.

Australian Tax Office (ATO) – Support in difficult times

The ATO offers a range of options and services for small businesses facing financial and other difficulties.

MoneySmart - Managing Debt

A Federal Government-funded website that offers financial guidance on managing debt, including support options available.

Services Australia - Payments for businesses

There are several Australian Government payments that support businesses and employers in particular sectors to deliver services.

Get professional support

This is often easier than you think. There are a range of free services available to assist with financial stress, or you can talk to your GP about ways to manage your stress. If you can’t speak to a professional during business hours, consider using an e-counselling service.

Explore the Ahead for Business Directory of useful numbers and websites for when you need personal or professional help.

Further reading


Crisis counselling for financial stress, available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Call now: 13 11 14

MensLine Australia

This is a telephone and online counselling service for men with family and relationship concerns. MensLine Australia are experts in men’s mental health and suicide, anger management, family violence, healthy relationships, drug and alcohol abuse and other men’s health concerns.
Contact the service on 1300 789 978 or via MensLine online chat and video counselling.

More Resources