By Anthony Dyson
In the modern business landscape, more and more people are deciding to bite the bullet and go it alone, by setting up their own companies or freelancing. And while there are of course several benefits of going solo, there are also downsides.
When you talk to small business owners and start-ups about the challenges they’ve faced in setting up their own company, you’ll nearly always hear of the initial financial burdens and the thoughts of imminent failure. What might surprise you, however, is that a significant amount of solo entrepreneurs find themselves feeling exceptionally lonely after making the switch from employee to one-man-band. How, then, do we tackle workplace loneliness so that we – and our business – can truly thrive?
Work with Other People
Co-working is a hot modern concept in which individuals can pay a small fee to work in a shared office space with other like-minded business folk. This is a great way to meet people in a professional setting, who may be able to help you out with work-related problems, or even open up networking, trading or funding opportunities. Many spaces also offer events for members, allowing you to widen your social circle.
Moreover, co-working ensures you actually get out of bed in the morning and encourages you to be more productive. The buzz of seeing others working hard and flourishing will only motivate you to do the same.
Move Your Meetings Offline
Just because you work remotely does not mean all your liaisons must also take place online or over the phone. When arranging meetings with business partners, clients, customers or potential leads, seek to get together with them face-to-face at their own home, in their office or at the local café.
Embracing in-person interactions will not only lessen your feelings of seclusion, but it should also help in building stronger personal connections with your corporate prospects, and in the competitive world of business, relationship building is key to success.
Join Networking Groups
There are thousands of business networking groups out there, giving entrepreneurs a whole host of opportunities to socialize, ask for after-hours help or receive impartial, constructive criticism from others. A simple Google search will yield many helpful results, while social networks like LinkedIn also have a plethora of groups available to join for free. Many of these are niche and cater to specific industries, so you will no doubt be able to find a group to suit your business needs – and if it doesn’t currently exist, why not create one?
Draw the Line Between Work and Play
When your office is also your home, it can become all too easy to blur the line between work time and ‘me time’. Without having fixed office hours like most of your friends and family, you might find yourself handling invoices at 9pm on a Friday night, instead of going out to dinner with your loved ones.
As such, although you work in a non-traditional way, you should still try to establish set office hours and give yourself deadlines like you would have in any other job. That way, can still enjoy a buzzing social life which fits in neatly around your business.
Adopt a Pet
There’s a reason why dogs are referred to as man’s best friend and that’s because they really do make great companions. So, while your interactions with fellow humans might be minimal inside of your working day, you can still beat the loneliness by adopting a fluffy workplace buddy if your situation allows for it. Moreover, having a pet to care for and take on walks will help in establishing a routine and ensuring you get up bright and early to crack on with your work. It’s a win-win!