The Truth About Entrepreneur Loneliness
Being an entrepreneur is amazing, exciting, thrilling…
But it also has a dark side.
Being an entrepreneur can be the loneliest job in the world…even more so if you are working from home.
I am so familiar with this feeling and it can be so hard to reconcile it. On the one hand, there are so many amazing things about being an entrepreneur… fulfilling your dream, working for yourself, following your passion. On the other, you can find yourself feeling isolated, misunderstood, uninspired and unmotivated.
These feelings of loneliness are not to insignificant…whether an entrepreneur or not. Loneliness is a critical condition. It leads to stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Loneliness can rear its head at any stage of your entrepreneur journey. In the early days, you find yourself working ridiculous hours, making little if any money but needing to sink funds into your new endeavour. You also find that you need to explain every decision you make to people that don’t necessarily understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
As you build your business and bring on a team you become responsible for so many other things. Having an engaged, productive team who understand your business. Making decisions that will benefit everyone, for growing and scaling your reach.
Ever heard the saying “it’s lonely at the top”…well there is a reason for that.
Loneliness leads to isolation. It leads to loss of inspiration, motivation, clarity and direction. It can bring about poor decisions making and a distorted perspective.
The reality of entrepreneur loneliness hit me about 6 months into my entrepreneur journey. It was around this time that the reality of what I was doing sunk in…
I’d left my part-time corporate job to be in my business full-time.
I was beyond excited and felt like I’d arrived. I was out on my own, my own boss, doing my own thing, writing my own rules.
My family and friends were very supportive and encouraging of my business.
But I had started to feel the pressure and weight of expectations that I was placing on myself. I was also missing the security of a full-time, consistent income. But mostly I was second-guessing many of the decisions I was making.
I tried to explain how I was feeling to my family and friends. While they encouraged me and listened, they didn’t truly understand.
It’s hard to explain something like that to someone that hasn’t experienced it. They try to be helpful and supportive but they don’t ‘get it’… They have no benchmark of experience to base their comments on. And unfortunately, sometimes these comments only reinforce feelings of loneliness…
How can you feel lonely when you’re with someone, speaking to someone right then and there? If you’re feeling so bad, why not go and get a job again? It’s okay…a lot of businesses don’t work out, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. I wouldn’t even try to do this, I’m not disciplined enough!
Reaching out to someone who understands is so important. And it’s the thing that made a huge difference in how I was feeling. I found my tribe. A community of like-minded women in various stages of their journies as entrepreneurs. And so many of them knew exactly how I felt. They had experienced the loneliness and isolation I was describing. I was so encouraged by their stories and suggestions on moving through those feelings.
I want to share with you some of those suggestions, in case you’re finding yourself in the grip of loneliness.
Find your tribe
Social media is prime real estate for finding a community to surround and support you. But if you can’t find one that’s a perfect fit…start one!!!
Find an accountability partner
Someone to hold you accountable to your direction, to your goals, your intentions and aspirations. Someone to celebrate your successes, cheer you on and be a motivator and support to you.
Get out into your community and find some real-world connections. Networking events are great opportunities to connect with and find support from other entrepreneurs and business owners in your area.
Coworking spaces are becoming more and more common. If you’re an entrepreneur that works from home, locating a coworking space in your town or city can bring you into contact with many other entrepreneurs.
There is so much power in nature. Being out in the fresh air is amazing for productivity. It can also reduce the symptoms of loneliness, depression and anxiety.
Get a change of scenery
Getting outside of your normal working environment can help. Why not grab your laptop and go and answer some emails, or write some blogs from a local cafe.
If you have calls with clients via phone, change it up and introduce some video chats to your day. Seeing someones face rather than just hearing their voice can make a surprising difference in how lonely you feel.
Remember why you started – you started this journey for a reason, but often we lose sight of that. Refocus on what propelled you in the first place, recentre and ground your vision around your ‘why’.
If you are feeling lonely please know that you are NOT alone!
I get that this is tough and sometimes you feel like throwing in the towel. But you’re here doing what you’re doing for a reason…and you don’t need to feel isolated as you take this journey.
Know that I understand, and I’ve been where you are, felt how you’re feeling.
Until next time lovely one.