Handling your emotions during financial problems

Your turnover might have fallen in recent months. Perhaps you had to temporarily close your business, or decided to keep the doors closed yourself. Such events can make you feel powerless. You might feel ashamed, or your pride might get in the way. Above all, you might just feel incredibly frustrated. How do you handle these common emotions? Business psychologist Lea Donselaar and KVK adviser Hans Litjens explain how to deal with it.

There are agencies, organisations, and people who can help you. For example, with resolving your debts. And with your well-being and emotions. To get your business back to financial health, it is important that you yourself are healthy. 


Uncertainty about the future of your business can make you feel powerless. This can make it difficult to look at your own financial situation objectively. An independent, fresh perspective is exactly what you need.

"If the financial overview is lacking, you are mopping the water off," argues KVK adviser Litjens. "Often you can't properly assess what steps to take. Therefore, discuss your concerns with others so that you get a better overview. This is not easy, but by doing so you will take the first step."             

Accept the situation and the emotions that come with it. That gives peace of mind. Litjens advises not to get stuck in the old situation. "The old path is no longer always the right one. Follow a structured roadmap or engage an adviser to get a clear picture."

Shame and fear of failure

If you are dealing with financial problems, you may be blaming yourself and feeling ashamed or guilty. Are you ashamed of the situation? Do you fear getting a bad reputation or are you feeling guilty towards yourself, your loved ones, or your employees? Here is what you can do:

"Entrepreneurs often work with goals. When you fail to achieve them, it may feel like you are failing. Go over what goals you set. Are these realistic? Aren't you setting the bar too high? This is more likely to happen than to fail. Look at the situation realistically, then you will feel less like you have failed." Litjens also advises focusing on your successes. Remember that you are your company's most valuable asset. "Without you, no business," he says.

When you have a lot of worries, it can lead to mental health issues. Lea Donselaar of the business Koers advises seeking help in time. "That's quite a step. You are convinced that you should be able to cope on your own and don't want to show weakness. Realise that these emotions don't always go away by themselves. Talk to someone close to you and look for help together."

Tackle psychological complaints

Various counsellors are there to help you with psychological complaints. You can find them here:

  • De Luisterlijn
    This telephone line is available day and night for people who need to talk. Completely anonymous and confidential. The Luisterlijn can be reached on 0900 0767.
  • MIND Korrelatie
    The psychologists and social workers of MIND Korrelatie offer anonymous, professional psychological and psychosocial help. They help you with mental complaints caused by financial problems and refer you if necessary. Call them on 0900 1450 or chat online.
  • The Red Cross
    In case of quarantine or home isolation, the Red Cross offers a listening ear, advice or extra help. They can be reached on 070 445 58 88.
  • 113 Suicide Prevention
    The helpline 113 Suicide Prevention is available to you 24 hours a day. Do you have suicidal thoughts or know someone with this? Then there are experts to help you. The line is completely anonymous and can be reached on 0800 0113.
  • MKB-noodlijn
    The MKB-noodlijn is for people who want advice or help with their business. This is an initiative of the entrepreneurs' association ONL and IMK. The line can be reached on 088 999 01 55.

Help with your business

If you are looking for advice and help for your business, contact the following organisations:

  • KVK Advice Team
    The KVK Advice Team listens and gives appropriate advice. If necessary, they refer you to other organisations. Telephone 088 585 22 22 on weekdays between 08:30 and 17:00.
  • Entrepreneurs sounding board
    Former entrepreneurs, managers and specialists with a specific field of expertise join forces in the Entrepreneurs Sounding Board. Telephone 070 349 0600 on weekdays between 08:30 and 16:30.
  • Your municipality
    Your debts are mounting and you see no way out. Debt restructuring may be a solution for you. If you have financial problems and are looking for help, contact the municipality where you live. They will work with you to make a plan that can get you out of trouble. Municipalities have a legal duty to help entrepreneurs with debts. Sometimes they outsource this to an external debt assistance organisation. No (additional) costs are attached to help via the municipality. They also support you with schemes that may offer you relief, such as an amicable settlement or debt restructuring. Call, email or visit the municipality where you live, and tell them you are looking for debt assistance.