The part of Solopreneur that stands out is “solo,” and that is true in more ways than just one. Not only are you the only person actively working in your business, and responsible for everything, but you generally perform all your business-related tasks alone. And that can be bad.
An important study conducted by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at the University of California San Francisco, discovered that 30% of entrepreneurs in a test group experienced depression, compared to 15% of a control group comprised of non-entrepreneurs. Surely this number is at least the same, if not worse, for solopreneurs who do it all.
Recognizing and coping with loneliness – which appears before a full onset of depression – is something all solopreneurs should strive to do. It’s easy for busy solopreneurs to be so focused on achieving success, that they experience a surprise onset or breakdown. Protect yourself with these 15 suggestions for beating loneliness as a solopreneur.
Attend Conferences and Workshops
Attending a conference or workshop affords you the opportunity to learn new things for your business as well as meet and make important connections with new people in your industry.
Feed Your Interests
Get out and participate in a group or club that fits your interests, either work-related or just as a hobby. There are quilting groups, model airplane groups, martial arts classes, dance classes, church groups, writers’ groups and more out there that welcome new participants.
Prioritize Your Social Life
Get out and be with other people. Acknowledge that this is necessary for your mental health and needs to be a priority. You will not be happy spending a week alone in your house writing content! Accept your desire to be social and add social time into your schedule.
Establish a Routine
Working a routine for your business that includes set hours for work means that you will have free time. Stick to your routine and shut off business after hours. And, within your routine, you should include breaks for meals, exercise, and resting your eyes away from screens.
Find an Accountability Partner
An accountability partner is someone who has similar business goals and is willing to discuss your business. Meet with them regularly, and call even more often, to share progress, problems, and encouragement. Being answerable to someone is valuable on many levels.
Meet with a Coach
Participating in a coaching program gives you access to a group or forum with all of the other participants. Most coaching programs have regular events and mastermind calls that will provide human interaction and the opportunity to make friends. Hiring a coach for private sessions will also make you feel supported and less isolated.
Make Dates with Friends
Find a friend to meet you for breakfast, lunch, or coffee on a regular basis. This provides a great break and time to converse over a meal. Even if you’re alone, taking a break at a local coffee shop will give you a change of scenery and make you feel part of the community.
Join a Gym
Being a member of a gym is another great way to make you feel less isolated. If you go at the same time every day, you will begin to recognize your fellow exercisers. Participating in a class, or hiring a personal trainer, will give you added attention for mental and physical health.
Meet Clients in Person
Rather than communicating by text or email, meet with clients and colleagues over coffee, lunch, dinner, or drinks. Even a teleconference can feel like meeting in person and stave off loneliness and isolation.
Get Outside and Walk
If you can, walk outside your house and enjoy the neighborhood. You may also be able to find a walking partner, so that you can get exercise while you socialize.
Listen to Voices
No, I don’t mean those weird voices in your head. Listen to the radio or audiobooks. Follow podcasts, YouTube channels, and Facebook Live broadcasts. Invest in online education. Hearing someone else talking will make you feel less isolated.
Coworking spaces are flexible offices that provide meeting, desk, and kitchen space for freelancers and independents. It is an office environment where you can chat in the kitchen, network around a table, or spend private time at a desk. More official than a coffee shop or library, they encourage connections between occupants.
Collaborate with Another Solopreneur
Find someone with a complimentary skill set and work together. It can be wonderful to have a creative partner with which to share, work, and learn. You can always learn something from someone else, and every solopreneur is looking for new was to create passive income streams. Build one together that benefits you both.
Attend Local Networking Events
Your local Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Center, professional associations, and many other groups have regular networking events. There are also Meetup Groups on virtually any topic. You can join an existing meetup group, or if one doesn’t exist in your area or on your topic, start your own.
Be a Lifelong Learner
There’s always something to learn that can help your solopreneur business. Expand your knowledge by taking a class on email marketing, how to build a website, or how to use your accounting software. Many colleges offer solo courses on a variety of business-related subjects, as well as seminars and conferences.
How do you prevent loneliness from creeping up on you as a solopreneur? Or maybe it has and you are just now realizing it. What can you do today to get out and interact with the world around you? Do it! Then, share how it went in the comments below. You can also share your favorite way to combat loneliness and depression. Our readers can benefit from your experience, so share and help someone!