The first year in my business full time, I was working really hard and kicking lots of goals, but I found that it was lonely. I mean really lonely, in ways I never expected. When you are in an organisation, you have the safety of processes and policies but when you step out into your own thing, it’s just you, and you are reliant on yourself and only you to make decisions. I find that invigorating because I can change directions as easily and quickly as I like, but not having someone to bounce ideas off can be tough. You gotta go and look for that support system.
What if you don’t find like-minded people to bounce ideas around with? I am not sure about you, but when I wasn’t connected with like-minded people, I felt like my ideas weren’t tested in a way that would help refine them. You know that old saying “two heads are better than one?” Well I reckon about five heads are better than one!
Here are three simple steps I used to overcome the loneliness:
1. I found like-minded people
I looked really hard to find “my kind of people”. This took a lot more time than I had anticipated and I found them in the most unexpected of places. My list of characteristics I was looking for was not huge but there was a list. I was looking for people who were kind, honest, saw that community over competition was the best, were driven to achieve, and were open to a relationship with me.
There are various avenues you can find your people- local council small business networks; co-working spaces; online communities or forums such as Facebook groups that are especially great and can be very niche to specific industries or locations.
2. I sought advice from people ahead of me
I found people who were a couple of years ahead of me in their business. This was really important to make sure that they had already been through it and could guide me if I needed it. I have a few business mentors now and each are able to offer advice on a variety of areas of my business needs.
3. I asked for help
Asking for help was difficult for me. I am a self-sufficient human being, so I really struggled with this but you know what? I just needed to get over myself and put it out there when I needed the help.
Connection is so important when we work on our own. Connection is the antidote to loneliness.
This is a great article to help you think about some more ideas to cure loneliness: Feeling Lonely? 5 Ways to Sure the Entrepreneurship Blues
Oh, and I also created a program that helps other business owners and women in management roles connect with each other, get inspired, help each other and learn from and with one another. Thriving Women was created to fill the gap of connection.