It probably sounds like the best life in the world: being able to run a 6-figure business from your kitchen, in your pajamas, knowing you CAN have a glass of wine at 3 pm if you damn well feel like it, thank you very much.
Currently it’s 1 pm and I’m already thinking about that Gewurtzraminer in the fridge. It’s been that kind of day.
Because like any good thing, there are always drawbacks. There is always an opportunity cost. And for a lot of solopreneurs, that cost involves becoming comfortable spending hours, and hours and hours by yourself.
The Burden of Being Alone
I have days where I work 30 minutes on my business and then take off on some other project. Or drop whatever was on my To Do list that day and skip town. Or just…don’t do much of anything at all. All that freedom and flexibility is a boon, and a burden. It gets lonely over here, even with husband and dog to keep me company. Sometimes I miss the real world…and it makes me kind of grumpy.
When you’re mostly by yourself, it becomes a lot harder to make decisions and stay motivated. Self-discipline can become a laughing matter when you don’t reach out for someone to keep you accountable for achieving your goals. Becoming – and remaining – a successful solopreneur takes an overwhelming amount of willpower and self-motivation. Even the most intrinsically motivated people fall short.
Why Solopreneurs Get Lonely
Some of us HATE networking. Ugh. The whole idea of putting on something a size too small and heading out to drink really bad beer and eat those cheap chocolates they leave on trade show tables while exchanging business cards with someone you’re afraid might ask you to dinner is, well, just nightmare-ish. We retreat to our homes where everything is comfortable and even for a Skype video call, all that’s needed is a top with a decent neckline (who cares about those ketchup stains – they’re below the belt). But staying in our comfort zone (by the way, can you tell I’m an introvert?) often means we lack the daily social interactions we used to have in our J-O-B-S. And we get lonely.
Another habit I’m so guilty of is creating an impossibly long To Do list because I figure, hey! I’ve got ALL DAY to do this stuff, no one’s going to bug me! And then I become so consumed with doing the things on the list that I forget to go out, ever (did I shower this week? Hmm…). And then I justify not going out because I gave myself so much to do. Vicious cycle. Not healthy.
What You Can Do about Solopreneur Loneliness
The only way out of the loneliness trap is to get outside your comfort
- Attend a networking event. If that makes you cringe, choose a group that has nothing to do with your business – maybe a crafting group or a running club. Go to some event where you’ll find some like-minded people, and you’ll leave buzzing with ideas and energy. And maybe even a new client.
- Go shopping. Even if it’s just groceries, running errands forces you to interact with people, and that little bit of socializing will make a big difference in your productivity.
- Take someone on a date. Your spouse, your buddy or your dog – doesn’t matter, get out for some one-on-one conversation. Hopefully your dog can talk back to you.
- Hit the gym. And say hi to the girl at the front desk. And stand there until she says hi back.
- Pick up the phone. Forget Facebook Messenger or texting. Make a phone call and use your voice.
- Take a class. Double benefit: you learn something too 🙂
If you make time for all of these activities once a week, you’ll stop feeling like you live in a silo in the hills where Google Streetview hasn’t even been. You’ll probably also be more productive, healthier, and wealthier.
Now it’s time for me to follow my own advice, and go outside to talk to strangers.
But I’ll be back soon to read your comments. Have you ever felt lonely in your business? What did you do to handle it?