Across several surveys, one of the top reasons entrepreneurs cite for starting their own businesses is to work for themselves. By nature, entrepreneurs like to do it all themselves. While this is an admirable trait, it attributes to a greater sense of loneliness for the entrepreneur. And unfortunately, it’s all too common.
So, how can entrepreneurs combat the pervasive issue of overwhelming loneliness?
Naturally, your instinct might be to go it alone, but by doing that you run the risk of isolation, which almost always leads its close cousin, depression. Rather than isolate yourself, take on a partner. You’ll have someone more relatable to talk to and you’ll have the opportunity to work with someone with complementary skills.
True, partnerships are hard to make work, but they’re the best way to go when attempting to alleviate entrepreneurial loneliness.
Find a Community
There is often no greater remedy to entrepreneurial loneliness than finding community with like-minded individuals.
Through social media (Facebook groups, Twitter lists, etc) you can grow and nurture an online community in which you can form close relationships, seek advice, and meet other entrepreneurs to collaborate with. You can also expand your entrepreneurial community by going out, networking, and making real-world human connections. You can do this by attending:
- Business Lunches. A business lunch is a great way to get out of the house to share ideas with fellow entrepreneurs.
- Conventions. Along with one-day seminars, conventions provide opportunities to meet other business owners and discuss common problems and their solutions.
- Professional Organizations. Professional organizations are full of contacts who have similar interests.
Change the Scenery
For a lot of new small business owners, renting an entire office space is completely out of the budget. But, fortunately, there are better alternatives to the lonely work space wedged into the corner of your bedroom. Consider sharing a studio with other like-minded entrepreneurs or renting a desk at co-working spaces.
If you’re not looking to change up your office space, a simple dose of green will do you well. Fresh air and nature are great for productivity and strategic thinking, and it’s been proven to alleviate symptoms of depression, loneliness, and anxiety.
Prioritize Important Relationships
As an entrepreneur, you won’t be able to balance the entrepreneurial hustle while being friends with everyone. In fact, you’ll find that if you don’t pay enough attention, relationships with loved ones will suffer when you’re on your grind. Make it a priority to maintain and nurture important relationships, and I’m not just talking about potential investors or titans of your industry.
While these business relationships are important, they’re not nearly as important as remaining close to loved ones and maintaining relationships with a group of core friends. There’s nothing wrong with acquaintances or new friends, but you’ll be far happier and far less lonely if you focus your energy on prioritizing relationships that are important to you.
Loneliness can manifest itself in the form of physical symptoms such as pains and aches to heart palpitations, panic attacks, low energy and lack of motivation. Loneliness is as bad for health as a long-term illness. So, get healthy, and let others in on the experience of entrepreneurship with you, and you’ll find it’s one of the best things you’ve ever done.