Overcoming Loneliness in Entrepreneurship

Being a business owner or entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding endeavors one can pursue. It takes great ambition and confidence to step out on your own. But as professionals, we rarely discuss the loneliness in entrepreneurship — and that goes much further than just working alone.

According to Growing Organisations, entrepreneurs and business owners commonly experience one or more of the following issues:

  • Watching other business owners and feeling they know what they’re doing and are getting ahead while you feel a bit lost and inadequate.
  • Making all decisions alone and wishing you had someone to bounce ideas off of and get genuine, fresh perspective from.
  • Consuming so much information and advice by yourself from online and print sources that you actually get analysis paralysis and don’t move forward.
  • Encountering opposition from loved ones and friends who simply don’t understand your world.

In an article by Dr. Pragya Agarwal for Forbes.com, she states, “loneliness leads to depression, stress, anxiety, and a range of mental illnesses.” So how do we overcome loneliness? Check out these six ways you can combat it:

1. Get outside.

Even if it’s just for 30 minutes, the change of scenery will do wonders for your mind and body. Take your dog for a walk, run a track with a friend, or go to the beach by yourself. Simply make time to enjoy the outdoors to combat those feelings of loneliness. Erica Price, a certified therapeutic recreational specialist at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital in San Diego, says that being outside can improve your health and well-being by lowering your blood pressure, reducing stress, boosting your mood, supporting graceful aging, and more.

2. Establish office hours.

We live in a culture that celebrates “busyness,” but does that mindset really help us in the long run? When we work nonstop, not only do we feel depleted, we often miss out on the important moments for the people we care for and we don’t get that time back. What does work-life balance mean to you? Create a schedule that gives you time and space to get your work done and also enjoy life. Your friends and family will thank you for it.

3. Create new social relationships and nurture the ones you have.

We all need human interaction. There’s no amount of work that will take that need away. While you nurture the relationships you have, make time to build new ones too. During our ILS Virtual Experience, T.D. Jakes spoke with David Steward, John Hope Bryant, and Byron Allen during the “Global Economic Roundtable” and one of the common themes to emerge from their conversation was to connect with those outside of your network. You never know what you might learn from someone and how that may lead to new opportunities and new relationships, so seek out opportunities to connect with new people.

4. Move your meetings offline.

We’ve come to rely on Zoom and Google Meet during the pandemic, but as we transition into a new phase, try conducting meetings in person, if you can do so safely. An article posted on WeWork.com lists some of the benefits of meeting in person, such as clearer communication, fewer interruptions, stronger relationships, and increased trust. Explore ways to take your business offline as well. Participate at events as a vendor, rent shelf space in an existing brick-and-mortar store, or host a pop-up shop — all great ways to connect with new people while building your business.

5. Consider coworking spaces.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the many benefits of coworking spaces include increased productivity, networking opportunities, and a boost in creativity. Similar to going outside, utilizing a coworking space gets you out of your bubble and helps combat feelings of loneliness in entrepreneurship. You’ll have opportunities to be exposed to new people and perspectives and you may meet someone who could become a potential business partner or friend.

6. Get help.

One thing about entrepreneurship is that we feel no one can relate to us so we isolate ourselves even more. At ILS, we’re strong mental-health advocates and we encourage all leaders to seek therapy to address loneliness in entrepreneurship and how they can overcome it. Visit Psychology Today to find a therapist in your area or online.

To watch the “Global Economic Roundtable” session from our ILS Virtual Experience, visit ThisIsILS.org for replay options.

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