Running a business can be a lot of fun. But it can also be a lot of work and stress. Often, entrepreneurs and business owners wear “busy” as a badge of honor, and there’s competition to be the person who works the longest and hardest.
Because of this tendency of entrepreneurs to glorify a “work until you drop” mentality, there are a lot of business owners out there who feel stressed out and lonely. If you’re constantly running on empty and don’t have anyone in your life who “gets it,” you’re certainly not alone. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re caring for yourself and your business at the same time.
Build an Online Community
How many entrepreneurial stories have we heard that started out in someone’s kitchen, basement, or garage? A lot of business owners start small and work from home for years before adding staff and expanding to a formal office space or business location. Working from home might sound like the dream to those who face a commute each day, but for entrepreneurs who have done it, they know it can be isolating to be home alone all day long. Or, even if you’re not working from home but are out and about running your business, you can feel like you’re all alone in your struggles.
Fortunately, the internet allows us to connect virtually with other people who are in the same shoes. Sites like Reddit and LinkedIn help you find others who are either in your industry or on their own entrepreneurial journey (or both!) so that you can share ideas and get advice.
Having an online community is a great baseline for staying engaged, but it’s also important to get out there and meet people in person! You may get invitations to networking events through your online community, and when those opportunities arise, seize them! You could also consider joining a site like Meetup, where like-minded people arrange in-person gatherings in their cities or towns.
You can also consider signing up for a co-working space. Not only do these spaces allow you to get out and meet other entrepreneurs, but they also give you the flexibility to add more space to your contract if and when you’re ready to expand from solopreneurship to a bigger operation. And, a lot of co-working spaces hold networking events, so you can connect with people in your "office."
Some members of our team visited a co-working space to hear one of our previous Growth Lab Show guests, Julian Placino, talk about sharing your story, and there were a lot of business owners in attendance who were able to network!
Focus on Your Health
Business owners often feel lonely because they’re used to putting business first and themselves last. Focusing on your mental and physical health can make a huge difference in combating the stress and loneliness business owners often feel.
Carve out time to establish a morning ritual that starts you off on the right foot. Meditation, exercise, and some quiet time before diving into your overflowing inbox or checking tons of voicemails can go a long way to establishing a sense of calm that will continue throughout your day.
Here's a nice video if you need a brain break!
Make Time for Family & Friends
Your loved ones want to see you achieve your dreams. Their support can be hugely energizing, so it’s important to make sure you’re setting aside time to see your support network.
This is the kind of thing that entrepreneurs often overlook, bumping their lunch date with a friend over and over to make space for calls with investors, meetings with customers, or presentations to prospects. But spending time with those who love, understand, and support you is just as critical to your long-term success as any business meeting, so resist the urge to keep shuffling them off into the distance on your calendar.
Business ownership can be a lonely road, but it doesn’t have to be. Building community with those who are on a similar path, taking care of yourself, and making time to nurture your personal support system are the keys to beating the downside of business ownership.