27 Jan 3 Ways to Combat the Loneliness of Being Self-Employed
For all the great reasons (and they number in the hundreds) to be self-employed, there are the pitfalls. One of the most common I hear continually is: It’s lonely being self-employed.
If your particular business keeps you at your desk, loneliness in the form of “being alone” can be strong. There’s no co-worker greeting you in the morning on the way to her own office. There’s no break-room where fellow employees gather to talk about their lives, families, or the latest episode of Downton Abbey. There’s no spur-of-the-moment Happy Hour with “work friends” after putting in a long day. And even though you accept it, you struggle with the fact that those things were sacrificed on the throne of entrepreneurship when you set out on your own.
There are other forms of loneliness when it comes to being your own boss as well. These have less to do with lack of social contact and more to do with the fact that there is no one to whom you can “pass the buck.” You’re it. You’re the accounting department, the fulfillment department, the marketing, advertising, and PR departments, and of course, you’re Human Resources. This one is typically the hardest for the self-employed because let’s face it, you can really give yourself a hard time when you are consistently showing up late to work!
But, I believe that self-employment doesn’t have to be lonely. Here are three ways I’ve found to inject human contact and the feeling of shared responsibilities into your sole-proprietorship:
Consider Changing Your Workspace
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, there are many different ways you can interact with people while remaining self-employed. One option is “shared-office” rental options. I understand keeping your expenses low is a priority. But companies like Regus, with four locations in South Carolina, specialize in options for “solopreneures.” You will encounter other people just like you as well as be able to take full advantage of the many amenities Regus offers, such as high-speed internet, conference rooms, and a business lounge. So, while you’re still fully “owning and operating” your company, some of the benefits of working in an office environment are taken care of for you.
Regus is just one example of this shared office space option. There are also private offices around that are always looking for office mates to share the cost of renting the space. Many of these options also come with the same amenities. Put it on your To-Do list to check into these options in your area.
Join or Initiate a Mastermind Group of other Entrepreneurs
While joining groups geared toward business owners is, in general, highly encouraged, I’m talking about a more specific kind of group. If you aren’t familiar with it, the term “Mastermind Group”, it was coined in the early 1900’s by Napoleon Hill to describe “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” It’s another way of saying “a group of people who come together to share knowledge and have a common purpose in mind.” (Chris Drucker has a great POST on not only how to start and run a successful mastermind group, but all the benefits of it as well.)
An effective mastermind group can help replace the “team” that a self-employed person feels is lacking. When you gather together people all focused on growing their individual businesses and helping others do the same, you will find you get tips and ideas in all departments of business – marketing, business growth strategies, and even software recommendations. (You’ll greatly appreciate this when you’re wearing your IT department manager hat!)
While the onus to implement the ideas and strategies you are presented with in the group is still on you, you will leave encouraged, re-energized, and ready to see some progress from your efforts. I have benefitted in countless ways from the mastermind groups in which I have participated.
Vary the Projects and Focus of Your Work Each Day
Basically, this means don’t work entire days on just clients projects, or outstanding invoices, or advertising plans. Instead, give your brain some variety each day. There is something about the way our brain just works better when we keep our energy level an attitude up. When you find yourself stuck, or getting frustrated with what you’re currently working on, give yourself permission to move on to a new task (even just temporarily). You’ll find you’re much more productive, and your spirits are vastly improved when you apply this principle.
As I said in the beginning, as a solopreneur myself, I have encountered the loneliness that comes with it myself. Once I began to do these things, the loneliness is a thing of the past. Don’t forget to invite God into your business as well. I’m sure He will have a few great ideas himself!
I have an upcoming webinar geared toward issues facing women in business of all types. If you want to make sure you don’t miss the information about that as well as other up and coming events, connect with me now. You can follow my blog right here on WordPress, Like my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter. You can also sign up to receive my newsletter HERE.