I’ve been in this entrepreneurship game for two years, and one thing is certain. It’s very lonely. During the day I work manual labor jobs and at night I work on my business (I even have a 3rd job sometimes). With so much time spent working. I get very little time to spend with people. As a hardcore extravert this feels like death sometimes. One thing I do know, is entrepreneur loneliness is definitely a thing.
This is for multiple reasons, but most entrepreneurs that I know are focused. Almost to a fault Many of us forget we need social connections to keep going.
I believe things will get better, and I know things will turn around. On my fridge I have a dry erase board, and I write notes to myself. The current one reminds me that I’m playing the long game and it’s not even half time yet.
But it doesn’t help when I’m fighting a battle. I’m tired and I’m alone.
Remember that most businesses take 3-5 years to get off the ground. Once they’re off the ground you might have a better work life balance, but that depends on the business. Currently at 1 1/2 years, and I laugh daily about a ‘life’ balance.
Before I get into my tips and tricks for handling entrepreneur loneliness, I’d like to answer some simple questions people continue to ask me. Some are from small business owners and other people.
Entrepreneur Loneliness; How Does It Happen?
Most Entrepreneurs work by themselves or on a small startup. These companies don’t have a huge staff (or even a staff). Entrepreneur loneliness starts because they work by themselves for long periods of time. Often without seeing another soul.
This is mostly due to entrepreneurs being passionate about their project. If you aren’t passionate, I’m sorry but you probably won’t make it. If you find yourself in that position, rework your plan into something you can be excited about. Then it’ll become a labor of love.
Keep in mind that I’m speaking in generalities, and there’s always an exception to the rule. Below are some questions I get asked regularly by other business owners and curious people?
Entrepreneur Loneliness Is Something You’ll Feel Eventually?
I can only speak for myself and a few close friends here, but it’s been a long lonely road. I’ve had people ask me if I’m trying to ruin my life. Or when am I going to get a real job?
These questions always hurt, especially when the person asking is someone I’m close to. But I’ve got a passion in my heart, and I need to pursue it. To me there is no other path except forward.
You’re Not The Only One.
I can’t speak for the future, but the last few years have been lonely to me. My dream is to hire a couple writers and start a few more websites. I already have name’s and URLs picked out for two of them.
But that’s a dream, and I don’t have the time for that now. Also, you can’t live in the future when it’s still being built. (fun fact: it’s always being built)
However that doesn’t mean you should stay lonely your entire life. Below I’m writing some tips and tricks to maintain your social circles. After all, some of your best ideas and encouragement will come from friends and family.
Collaborate With Others; Ending Entrepreneur Loneliness
As one who is new to this entrepreneurship game I didn’t know what I was doing. To be honest, I still have no clue and feel like I’m flying blind. However I have surrounded myself with a group of smart people, and I’m not afraid to ask questions. Even if they seem stupid to me.
There’s a lot of ways you can find people to collaborate with. I’d suggest finding some workshops in your area you can join. These workshops can be on any topic you’re interested in. Or need help with. You’ll never know who you can meet if you stay at home frustrated.
Also ask around, the people around you might have a skill set you need. There’s been a few times I’ve reached out to friends and they’ve introduced me to someone who solved my problems. Almost instantly too.
Entrepreneur Loneliness Can Be Reduced Through Communal Office Use.
Another option you could use to collaborate is to find a communal office. These offices are amazing. These spaces aren’t focused on one company but are an office building where entrepreneurs go and work. In most of them you can rent out desks and work spaces get coffee in a break room, or rent a board room.
I work out of a WeWork Office. In it people rent space and have communal areas where they come to work. If I need something out of my area of expertise, I can notify the network and get a referral.
Everyone around you is working on their own thing and there’s no boss to ask you about TPS reports. I’m looking at renting space in one of these soon as they are a great way to meet likeminded individuals, stay pumped and excited about your business.
Schedule Time Off
I hate schedules and usually work until I’m done. However, I know that I need a break. So I have a certain day of the week off, and two week nights are blocked off for time with friends and family. This is done for the following reasons:
- You Need To Recharge And Be Around People You Love.
- Your Brain Needs A Break. Just Let It Relax
- It Helps With Focus, And Drive. You Can’t Always Be In The Top Gear
When you schedule time off, it helps you recharge and gives you time to spend with others. It’s essential to the creative process, your social sanity, and the people around you (yes think of them too).
Most entrepreneurs throw this rule out the window the first time things get crazy, but those are the times you need to break and refocus.
You can’t keep that pace up forever, and this isn’t a sprint, you’re in a marathon.
Work From A Coffee Shop
I’m currently typing this from a Caribou Coffee . While I have my earbuds in and music playing. I see people all around me. I know this seems distracting but to me it feels nice. Even though I’m focusing, I’m still around people and the loneliness fades away.
I should add this is the Caribou I visit regularly too. I know the baristas and even some of the other regulars. This day to day interaction helps me stay sane, and I can keep writing. When I was writing Hurricane Jerald I met strangers in coffee shops and some of them would proofread my book.
You never know who you’ll meet and who can give you advice.
Side Note: If You’re More Of An Introvert That’s Okay, I’m Not Saying Start Talking With Random People. Just Be Around Them. It Might Help Fight Your Loneliness.
It’s Okay To Cry. Most Entrepreneurs Do.
Ok I haven’t taken a poll on this, and I’m not sure how honest people would be about it either. However as I’ve been trying to build my websites, I’ve cried a lot (more than I’d like to admit). I call my failures, “Learning Experiences,” and I’ve had 7 of them in the last two years.
Side Note: This is the only way you’ll ever see me use the word failure. Everything can be learned from, and if you learn a lesson from and fix the problem. You didn’t fail, you’re on the path to success.
When you realize your current project is a “Learning Experience.” It’s okay to cry. Shit happens and you’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this. Sometimes I realize too late and hold on to long (My Shopify store). It’s never a failure, if you learn, adapt, and grow stronger.
This is how success happens. You keep learning and growing. It doesn’t happen overnight.
I put this option down because sometimes you’re in over your head. When I was creating this website, I needed to find a web developer. I had no knowledge of how to make a WordPress site. So I called a friend. He gave me some basic tips and then I began to create. I watched hours of YouTube videos, looked at a lot of themes and got confused by CSS.
But eventually it all came together, and then I made a 2nd site; SnoFall Gear and things got easier…slightly easier. Maybe after 20 sites it’ll be simple.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Then find someone to fill those gaps in. If they’re a friend who’ll do it for free that’s awesome, but sometimes you’ll have to hire a consultant.
If you want to succeed, give every avenue a chance.
Being An Entrepreneur Is About Passion Not Loneliness
This is what I keep reminding myself. I have a 4 year degree from the University Of Minnesota and spent a few years after that as a project manager.
I’m not lacking job opportunities, but sometimes it’s tempting to leave my life as an entrepreneur. I’ll find myself dreaming about the safety of a weekly paycheck. However, I love what I do, it makes me happy, and fulfills my life. I wouldn’t trade anything for it, and I’m building my future.
If you can describe your business like I just did. You’ll be alright. Keep pressing on and focusing on the things you need to do, learn from your mistakes.
Remember to take care of yourself as well. Don’t forget to subscribe to my page below for updates on my latest blog posts.
- Collaborate With Others
- Schedule Time Off
- Find A Coffee Shop Or A Place With Public Wifi
- Cry A Little Bit And Learn From Every Experience
- Be Passionate About Your Business
- Get Help