Let's face it, we all spend most of our time either on line, on the phone, designing a new product, managing our employees, or strategizing our next move. When doing this all-lone all of the time, it can raise questions of doubt and fear, which can lead to indecisiveness and procrastination!
What I have found, is that the general consensus of my experts suggestions below, is to get out of the office; go to Starbucks, walk your dog, join a mastermind group, find a networking group, bring on a Board of Directors, or advisory board, find a mentor, get on Face book or Twitter……or just pick up the phone and connect with someone.
While finding time to interact, we also must remember to joys of being alone when that works for you, the joy of being your own boss, working in your pj's if that turns you on, and all the millions of reasons you became an entrepreneur!
1. Woman's Best Friend
How I connect is: Rescue a dog...or two!!!
I assure you, you wont be lonely anymore!!!
2. Meet Nearby Solopreneurs
How I connect is: Get out of the "office" at least once a week. How to make it fruitful? Post invites on MeetingWave.com for proposed coffee meetups that describe the type of people you'd like to meet in your area. Create a profile with your background information and meeting interests without disclosing contact info.
Ask others to verify where they work or went to college before accepting your invite. You'll get notified when someone accepts and can say yes, no or ignore. Real Networking. Real Easy.
3. Cures for lonely solopreneurs
How I connect is: Fostering cats or dogs is a great way to cure the lonely solopreneur syndrome (LSS). It's not a permanent commitment and you will always have a grateful little buddy by your side! Contact a local rescue group for more info. Also- create your own station on Pandora Radio. That helps keep your energy up and is full of surprises, songs you haven't heard in years, old standbys and new stuff too!
4. Are you lonely as a solopreneu
How I connect is: I have worked by myself since June 2002 when I decided to go professional with my ongoing addiction to creating. I combat the loneliness as a being "solopreneur" a number of ways. First I joined an online team of artists that creates full time, just like me. We have an ongoing chats online, everyday, all day, they really are like my co workers. It has been wonderful to share the how we all cope. I also love music! Louder the better, I have pandora streaming all day, it is bliss.
5. Solo - the Way to Shine for Me
How I connect is: I have been a solopreneur, running a Lifestyle PR firm from my home for the last 12 years. I made this leap after a manager told me, to my surprise, that I wasn't a team player, so I made my own team. I used to be a singer and always coveted the solo and here I am - the soloist! When I first started, I made sure to plan an outing a day..a client visit, a trip to the post office, or hit the copier at Staples. This helped a lot with the transition. Colleagues are great sounding boards as well!
6. The Virtual Water Cooler
How I connect is: I definitely have a love / hate relationship with my home office. I mix it up at local coffee shops when I can. But day in and day out, Twitter is my social savior. When used with the right intentions, it is an amazing space filled with boundless opportunity. Twitter is often misunderstood, but it has been very good to me. I have met people that have grown into true and honest real-life friendships. It's definitely my virtual water cooler. Would love to meet you there!
How I connect is: Although I am, for the most part, a solopreneur, I have many other entrepreneurs that I work with regularly. By forming partnerships and collaborations, I've met many other mom entrepreneurs and formed some great relationships. There is a lot to be said for cross promotion and alliances. I encourage all of my clients to explore ways they can work with others on a regular basis.
8. Solopreneur..but never lonely!
How I connect is: Working alone never gets me down....in fact it allows me to be much more productive! No knocking at my door, no meetings, no interruptions. My days are full with calls, emails, and client work and so I never get bored. I get more done by lunch than many of my friends due in a normal full day! When I do want to interact with people, I either meet with colleagues locally for lunch or call some old friends and catch up. I love being a solopreneur and wouldn't have it any other way.
9. Social Media Keeps Me Company
How I connect is: When I need an opinion or input and all I have here is another computer screen, I reach out to a trusted social media posse. I'm fortunate to have a talented group of followers, many whom I now consider friends and colleagues.
10. Birds Of A Feather
How I connect is: Surrounding myself with other entrepreneurs helps me to not feel alone. It is even more powerful when you find entrepreneurs with skill sets different than your own. I've grown immensely by a strong relationship with an individual who is more sales oriented than myself.
11. Teaming Up
How I connect is: I'm an Etsy shop owner & I killed the blues by joining & being active in a fabulous Etsy team, EcoEtsy. I'm a business tip editor for the EcoEtsy blog which is a great way for me to share with all the members and non-members. I interact with members and try to support members when I know they will be at a show close-by. We share ideas and have common interests besides being Etsy shop owners we are all eco-conscious. The key is to find others who share something in common with you & your biz.
12. Get out there!
How I connect is: I'm regularly meeting with my clients in their offices, so I don't get lonely all that often. But when I do, GoogleChat is my lifeline. I have a few friends and collaborators that I can "bug" from time to time, and it makes me feel like I've got co-workers. It's a great distraction and a way to connect for a few minutes, without wasting too much time.
13. Get Social through Media!
How I connect is: Working alone at my desk, a fallen economy & no phone ringing, two years ago I wondered how much longer I would remain in business. It was lonely and discouraging. Not one to give up, I gave a last ditch effort of joining an online international collaboration dedicated to learning the ins and outs of the most popular social media sites. I made fabulous friends through the collaboration and Twitter & Facebook too. New venues created eg. webinars for those sites helped my business to soar!
14. Guilding the Lily
How I connect is: I am a glass jewelry artist and really enjoy being alone to be honest. Social interaction is important however for a business to grow, to keep our minds fresh and to keep us from going off the deep end. I joined several craft guilds which keep me in touch with other artisans who make their living with their craft. These groups host shows, have periodic meetings and allow me to share information and experiences with other artisans and to ask for help or advice when I need it .
15. Try Co-Working
How I connect is: Co-Working lodges are springing up in virtually every major city in the US and offer a great way to solopreneurs to meet up with likeminded businesspeople. These co-working lodges are essentially shared offices (think Starbucks without the noise and coffee) with WiFi and other basic business amenities. For a low monthly rate, you can get out of the house and meet other entrepreneurs with a variety of complimentary skills.
16. Place to place, face to face!
How I connect is: Working at home singing along to your favorite tunes is great, but humans are pack creatures! We need our community like they need us. I can't take my crafting supplies to other locations, but I CAN take my computer. Take an hour and work on your website in a coffee shop, or even shoot photos outside around the town. You'll be amazed how many friends you make just by being face to face! And how much more satisfying the day is after hot coffee and cheerful chatter.
17. Centered on self, not selfish
How I connect is: To produce a unique product, I have to be centered on my self when I work--no one else can get inside my head and create-- but that doesn't mean being self-centered. Knowing this, I actively brainstorm with other creatives and/or get out and volunteer.
18. Reach out to other freelancers
How I connect is: Although working from home by myself generally suits my introverted personality, it can get a bit lonely. To combat that, I've made many freelancer friends, and I keep in touch with them often by email and Facebook. We share ideas, support, and encouragement. Even though I've never met any of them in person, not even over the phone, I really treasure their friendships.
19. Don't neglect your social life
How I connect is: Between craft shows, trade shows, shopping for supplies and overseeing production l simply can't wait to spend some quite time in the privacy of my oh so comfortable home office.
Besides, with all the social media today liaising with fellow crafters, customers and friends is easier than ever.
I live working solo but even in the rare cases l do feel a little lonely taking the afternoon off to meet friends or attend a yoga class cures that instantly.
20. Save the Drama for Yo' Mama!
How I connect is: Working as a Solopreneur can get a little lonely at times. You work by yourself, day after day, month after month, and if your business is successful, year after year! There are no co-workers, no boss, just you and your ideas. So how do I cope with that, you ask?! My reply: Quite well actually! I worked for years in the health care field; busy doctor's offices with 15-20 employees, mostly women. Every ofc I worked in was the same, there was ALWAYS DRAMA! I am thankful to work alone, no drama!
21. Music + Videos= CREATIVITY
How I connect is: I've been a solopreneur for almost a year... I LOVE IT. I play music that inspires me (loud) and I put documentaries, sex & the city, foreign films and more on --in the background, watching inadvertently. I've found this juices-up my ideas and inspires me. Sometimes I catch myself laughing out loud to/at myself because I'm so how happy and like working this way!
22. Get out of the office
How I connect is: Do something completely crazy! Leave your office, where ever it is. Wild thought, I know. Even crazier, get involved in something that forces you to do so. Like a part time job (that's what I did), take a class, volunteer, or go to karaoke night every week. This is a great stress relief, lets you be social, gives you the chance to talk about your business with others, and helps the blues go away. Not to shabby. You may even come up with your next great idea while you're out there.
23. Get Me Out of the House!
How I connect is: Having worked as a solopreneur for almost 19 years, I've pretty much resolved the loneliness issue. I think it was hardest when I first started out and didn't know anyone to network with (this was very pre-Starbucks).
As I learned to connect with people, worklife became much easier. Now I meet colleagues for coffee or lunch, attend at least one networking event per week and am on the board my chamber of commerce. I don't have time to be lonely!
24. Face Time
How I connect is: Along with the usual social networking approaches (Facebook, Twitter, email, networking meetings), I like to beat a case of the lonelies by getting out of the house. Running errands, chatting with the grocery store or post office clerks; having face-to-face human contact is important.
25. It's OK to look....
How I connect is: As a solopreneur it can become lonely at times. How I over come this issue of not having any co-workers, I stay involved with family and friends. I'm active in my local church community as well as online communities with other women and men solopreneurs/entrepreneurs . Working alone has it's advantages and disadvantages. An advantage for me is that as a divorced mother, I can set my own hours and work out of the comfort of my home. A disadvantage at times, is missing the interaction with people.
26. Collaboration is key
How I connect is: Being a solopreneur can be lonely but i also need that time alone to get work done. I think the best things I do is be involved with other solopreneurs. I am a member of a mastermind group along with a collaboration group where we meet to work on projects together or alone but have others to bounce ideas and brain storm with. It is has been so valuable to have other team members and not feeling like I have to do it alone.
27. I have support and stress
How I connect is: I admit that I have a wonderful support system. My parents, sisters,husband and grandma are constant sounding boards for the things that come up day to day within my business. My mom sisters and gram even help with packing orders, brainstorming ideas and of course have been financially supportive with the launch of 4 sites and 3 brands in the past 3 years. Having said all of that, at the end of the day all the pressure is really still on me.
28. Get Out and Mingle!
How I connect is: I have a home-based business. My jewelry design workshop is set up in my basement so unless I make it a point not to, I can get buried down there. I joined a local networking group that offers all kinds of social events so I make it a goal to get to at least 2 events per month so I can mingle with friends, business contacts and more. My advice? Put your lipstick on and get out of the house!
29. The Power Lunch Hour
How I connect is: I am very outgoing and being alone is tough at times. I lose focus and don't treat myself well after a while. To counteract, I take a lunch break away from the office at LEAST 2 days a week-usually more. I make play dates with friends or other business owners if possible and just relax. Sometimes I take a walk or go to the library and browse. I then return with a clearer head, more energy, and the afternoon is much more productive. Be good to yourself in 2011, you will benefit in the end.
30. Don't Do Social, BE Social
How I connect is: In coaching entrepreneurs I see many that are great at social media/networking for business. Yet they completely are blinded by the opportunity to do it for themselves!
It's easy to find/build communities of like minded peers on and off the web. Here's 2 examples: online, I regularly do multi-user video conf. with a group of people I've met on Twitter. Offline, I've joined a community integrating faith & work in NYC that meets monthly (www.faithandwork.org/ei)
Find or create a group!
31. Reach Out and Touch Someone
How I connect is: When I became an entrepreneur, an assessment test revealed that one of my "motivators" in life is a "sense of belonging." Yikes! Striking out on my own meant no longer belonging to another organization. How did I cope? I made my competitors my colleagues. From the start, I reached out to build strategic alliances with my competition that today have become a community of mutual respect and support, providing resources, conversation, motivation and, most importantly for me, a sense of belonging.
32. Get out there!
How I connect is: I work from home, and I'm all on my own most days. It definitely can get lonely sometimes. I do a couple of things to make sure that I don't feel too isolated:
I get outside every day. Whether it's to take a walk, or go to a yoga class, I just get out there. This always energizes and refreshes me. Every week I schedule in a get together with either an industry contact or a potential partner/client. It's fun to talk shop and foster connections and this definitely keeps me from feeling lonely.
33. Lone Rangers Don't Ride Alone
How I connect is: Solopreneur doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. Beat loneliness by getting the focus off of YOU. Being alone is a choice, not a requirement for entrepreneurs. You can't sit behind your office window, waiting for the world to come to you. Get out there and be a part of it by helping others, networking, lecturing and getting involved in the things you love to do. When you honor your highest values in work and life, everything else falls into place.
34. Brownie Point Shopping Spree
How I connect is: Cash in those brownie points! Basically, I enlist my husband's company. After the kids are in bed, my husband sits within 10 feet from me while I work on crafts, photos, and tutorial posts. Sometimes he is helping me and sometimes he does his own thing. Either way, he is still there for conversation, ideas or pep talks. I don't feel so lonely with him so near.
35. New Environment = Creativity
How I connect is: To break up the monotony and loneliness of entrepreneurship, I make it a goal to work in different environments at least three times a week. Places range from my club house to coffee houses. I find when I get outside of my four walls, my creativity flows! Some of the best contacts and ideas have come from working outside of the office. :D
36. Get Outta the House!
How I connect is: The best way for this home office mompreneur to overcome “solo-tudeness” is to schedule time away from the office a few times a week. Whether it is to network, do research, or meet up with fellow entrepreneurs to share tips, you need time away. You probably did this when you worked for someone else, now you just feel guilty about it. Don't! It's a fact that the more time you spend overly focusing on something, the less creative you are. So, get outta the house and watch your business grow!
37. Of Course It Is Lonely
How I connect is: The most important thing a solopreneur can do to fight the loneliness blues is to develop a mastermind group or a collaboration team. These are like-minded people whose opinion you value and trust. You lean on them for support and advice and you do the same for them. Also, solopreneurs must be very deliberate about getting out and networking on a regular basis. Get out there and mingle, network and shake hands!
38. Get Closer to Your Clients
How I connect is: I have been a PR and marketing consulting off and on for 20 years, normally working from my spare bedroom. To get away from family interruptions and reconnect with other professionals, I have worked out a deal with one of my clients for use of a desk at their office. My business can be run from a laptop and a cell phone, and I find that sitting in a cubicle, surrounded by other working professionals, is a great way to stay productive, and my client likes having me on call when he wants advice.
39. It's Lonely at the Top
How I connect is: It’s always lonely at the top. Small business owners have no board to consult with or share decision-making. That makes it hard even in good times. But when the economy is soft, peer power is something one can’t afford NOT to afford. Consider joining a peer group advisory board. They usually get together once a month for four hours and act as a board of directors for each other.
40. Lonely doesn't always = alone
How I connect is: It's important to have a tight circle of people who 'get you' & what you're going thru. Sometimes family or 'normal' friends can't provide for us in this capacity; that's okay. Become success partners w/a couple of entrepreneurs you trust w/your business, & set weekly coffee dates to vent, shop for supplies together, you name it. Don't network just to network, don't leave the house just to get out. Beating loneliness is about surrounding yourself with the RIGHT people, not just people.
41. Not so "Solo"preneur
How I connect is: I have a good friend and fellow entrepreneur who comes and works in my office with me one day a week (on her own business); she calls my office "The Lizzy Loft" (a play on the name of a co-working space in LA) and we love having a collaborative and productive day; we have developed so many great projects together; it's great to bounce ideas and brainstorm on a regular schedule. We now have other friends who want to come work in "The Lizzy Loft"; it will be great!
42. The Solo Christmas Party!
How I connect is: After working alone for so many years it struck me this past holiday season that just maybe I DO miss the office Christmas party! (Honestly, I had never been a particularly big fan of the office party--for whatever reason.) I'm thinking that this coming year I may have to put out a request to my solo, Houston-based connections that perhaps we should host our own--Solopreneur--Christmas/Holiday Get Together!
43. Utilize Free Social Media
How I connect is: As a solopreneur, I actually enjoy working alone because I am able to focus and concentrate as I take care of the things that I need to get done. I do have concerns as my ministry is beginning to connect with other ministries, some of which are overseas. This means that I will eventually have to add staff. However, my best tip for how to handle feelings of loneliness is to connect with people on the free social media sites.You can post blogs that requires responses and connect with your friends.
44. Customers as Community
How I connect is: You are never really working alone. You are always connected to your customers. They are your community. Working alone offers the opportunity to create a real connection with your customers. This puts you at a wonderful advantage over larger corporations and gives your customer the benefit of being able to really know who they are working with.
The opportunity to develop such a personal connection with your customers will bring amazing benefits to your business and keep the isolation at bay.
45. It is LONELY out there!
How I connect is: Every month, I have lunch with two other people who are not competitors, clients, or referral sources. They are business friends. People with whom I spend the better part of the 90 minutes discussing the economy, technology, movies, concerts, and anything else that comes up.
Every month, we choose a restaurant that only one of us has been to before.
Every time we leave, I feel better; more connected, uplifted and informed afterward. And I notice that I don't feel lonely for quite some time..
46. I Kill 2 Birds With One Stone
How I connect is: As a solopreneur who works from a home office, I've found the best way to eliminate the loneliness that comes with the territory is to go to the gym every day.
Whether I do a weightlifting workout, or a group fitness class, I'm then assured of being surrounded by plenty of people, and it helps me stay fit at the same time!
Talk about killing two birds with one stone, right?
47. You Need a Board of Directors
How I connect is: I started my company over two years ago. Before too long, I ran out of people I could call when I had tough business decisions. Thankfully, I discovered the Boardroom Group, a group of women entrepreneurs who meet monthly. We’ve become each other’s Board of Directors, sounding boards, motivators, devil’s advocates, and true friends. The ideas and perspective these amazing women have given me have made a huge impact on my business.
My tip: Find yourself a board of women entrepreneurs.
48. Online Communities--Offline
How I connect is: For fifteen years, I've been participating in online communities, where I can get and give support across time zones and international barriers. And I find that when there's a chance to get some portion of the group together in person (say, at a conference, or a local meetup), the conversations go much deeper because we already "know" each other--and these are deeply rewarding ad rejuvenating.
49. Get Social and Network!
How I connect is: Social Networking sites like Twitter and Linked In are great ways to overcome feelings of loneliness. By building your online community of like minded individuals (usually people in the same niche), it provides you an excellent opportunity to network online with other entrepreneurs that are experiencing the same things as you! Best of all, you can log on between projects and it acts as a quick break to relax and recharge your batteries for the next assignment. I really feel connected!
50. Don't Talk Business ONLY!
How I connect is: Don’t be a businessman with everyone. Be a friend, spouse, cousin, peer, etc first! Don’t talk about your business all the time. Talk about them, ask them how have they been, or what’s going on in their lives. Not to say that you shouldn’t talk about your business but understand & respect the fact that not everyone is interested in your business. The key is if you don’t talk about it, they will be curious & ask you about & then you’ll have the opportunity to talk about your business.
51. Build Your Own Network
How I connect is: I decided to set up my own networking group for other women like me. I arrange monthly meetings where we share advice, support, cake and wine. We also use a facebook group and a twitter list to keep in touch.
It means I regularly meet new people who are in the same boat as me, but it also means I am surrounding myself with positive and motivated people.
52. Keep your audience with you
How I connect is: As a filmmaker, I find it kind of lonely to sit at the computer writing or editing, especially when I get to a frustrating part that just isn't working. But I've always got my audience in my head, reacting to the scene with me, and their often encouraging response keeps me going. (Of course, it helps that I make movies meant to put the audience to sleep.)
53. Make Hard Things Fun
How I connect is: Most solopreneurs are also introverts. Being introverted does not equal being a hermit. To keep work from becoming an onerous task, fun must be had. Meet Up groups are a great tool as you can create or join a number of them that are either fun or business related - or both. I created one called "Making Hard Things Fun" where we bring the work we hate to do and work on it in a group setting while doing fun things like taking dance breaks, being a cartoon character, etc. Fun is very motivating!
54. Alone, but never alone
How I connect is: I'm a solopreneur and I work alone. So how to break-up the doldrums and isolation? I located my art studio in office space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City. So I have the best of both worlds. I can get my work done, but anytime I feel I need to interact or see people, I simply take a walk. What was once a US Navy shipyard is now a large complex with office space for businesses and start-ups. There are dozens of companies in the complex. So despite being a one-man business,I'm not alone
55. Take Charge/Avoid Loneliness!
How I connect is: Entrepreneurs can face tremendous loneliness. But we can use our flexible hours to great advantage. Join some sort of social group, or a professional group like Toastmasters, which usually meets at lunch and will help you with your speaking skills. There are running clubs, travel clubs, photography clubs etc. in every city. Studies have shown that being part of a group that meets once a month brings one more happiness than doubling your salary! Hey, take a comedy class - it worked for me!
56. Remember to Enjoy!
How I connect is: Remember all the reasons you started your own company. Remember all the reasons you were miserable working for someone else. Can't remember? Jot them down and post them in your view line over you computer.
Now post all the things that you now can do. Join a dance/exercise class, a book club, a net working group. Call an old work collegue and hear the drama that you are not part of anymore.
You've done it, what scares most people silly, you are out on your own in your own business.Enjoy it!
57. Virtual Collaboration
How I connect is: I’ve worked from home since late 1994. Collaboration is the best way to overcome loneliness. Without human interaction, loneliness can turn into vagueness and procrastination quickly. Bring clients and associates into your office via Skype video chat and collaborate on projects in real-time using Google Docs. Once you’re making eye contact and getting facial responses when working together, there’s a greater sense of fulfillment and accomplishment to projects that speed right by.
58. Lonely? Try a webinar
How I connect is: Working alone has its ups and downs. To deal with that feeling of loneliness or lack of connection with real people, I will participate in interactive webinars or tele-conferences in which I can listen and speak or write in in a comment. Hearing others, whether or not I participate, makes me feel more like I'm with other people.
59. Middle Kingdom Makeover
How I connect is: "If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always got!" So, as an introverted, nomadpreneur writer in foreign lands, I've had to change my personality and habits to connect. I walk with a smile, make eye contact, "laptop it" in cafes, stroll a little slower through stores rather than my usual in and out, establish a routine in each new destination to establish familiarity, and most importantly, I act on opportunities, because regret is even worse than loneliness!
60. Become the Head of the Class
How I connect is: Conquer loneliness by going back to school - as the teacher. I run my business out of my home in Charleston, SC. Some days, my only company is my dog. I fulfill my need for human contact by serving as an adjunct professor at The Citadel. I teach one or two classes a semester in the evening. It's a wonderful way to get out of the house, to socialize with other professors, to share my skills as a communications professional with eager students and to earn some extra money. It's a win-win!
61. You're Not Alone!
How I connect is: Finding other, local women who run their own businesses and staying in touch with them is key: our school bus stop has yielded incredible business relationships that evolved to friendships over the years. We meet often for coffee and idea sharing (and the occasional venting) and we stay in touch via Twitter, Facebook, and more to keep encouraging one another. It's easy to feel isolated, but nurturing the personal relationships you establish will help keep you and your business forging ahead.
62. People, Coffee and WI-FI!!
How I connect is: I pack up my work and head to Panera. I get to re-fill my coffee mug as many times as I'd like (without having to make it myself!) and I get to see the same people often, doing the same thing as me! I might start a Panera Work Club!! Best thing? (Besides the coffee!) We all have an unwritten rule, we don't chat each other up if we see someone really focused. Best of both worlds!!
63. Get Back To Basics
How I connect is: Being a solopreneur is exciting!The rush of accomplishing the next goal is like nothing else but there are times I long to turn to someone next to me and share my excitement,thoughts and concerns. When that can't happen I do the next best thing and pick up the phone.No, e-mail or text messages do not give me what I long for. It's simply the excitement of bouncing ideas off another in quick, spontaneous conversation that fills the void and winds me up to move on to the next task and goal at hand.
64. Leggo my ego!
How I connect is: Bookend: When making difficult or complicated sales or business calls, check in first with a trusted professional confidante or colleague. This allows you the opportunity to flush out your strategy or nerves before executing the plan. Then after you've taken the action, check in again with the trusted confidante to discuss results and aftermath for feedback and post-mortem. This reminds us as business professionals that we don't have to work in isolation and that reaching out for support is ok.
65. Turn Off, Tune In & Win
How I connect is: Working solo, a computer the only router to the outside world, creates a dilemma: its isolation zaps creativity and leads to floundering--exerting energy without getting zip done. Familiar?
Stepping out on a business day to break the mind gridlock only led to guilt. Until I realized what these breaks rightly were: idea machines.
No matter your business, a periodic electronic "disconnect" can only help. Simply sitting at a screen will never goose your mind like a ramble out in the world.
66. Circle of Friendpreneurs
How I connect is: I have was in an all female study group in business school, and 5 of us became entrepreneurs (very unsual I know). When I get lonely, I choose a friend to call to gossip about anything BUT business! After a few laughs, and perhaps a few groans, I am ready to go back to my computer.
We're all in the same boat, so we understand the positive power of female bonding.
67. Join a Networking Group
How I connect is: Most of my business is conducted online and on any typical day do I rarely have any face to face interactions. My solution to this problem has been to join a variety of networking circles in my city. I have joined everything from entrepreneur groups, Toastmaster's International and even a weekly bar poker game. Participating in these groups allows for much needed social interaction and the potential of gaining new business clients. I am a solopreneur, while at the same time, a networkpreneur.
68. Knocking out loneliness
How I connect is: My way of dealing with loneliness is simple. Keep busy by always doing or thinking of something to grow the business. Even when I am sleeping I am also thinking about how to grow the business. I don't crave partnerships but I do try to form strategic partnerships that can be mutual beneficial to both sides. I also like to read uplifting stories like the Ted Williams story for example. Here is a man who was literally at the bottom. God is good.
69. Inspiration Locations
How I connect is: I took a leap of faith to begin my business in 2005. After being in retail, being alone and working from home felt like a dream come true until reality set in one day. I felt isolated. I brainstormed and created "Inspiration Locations". I have three favorites: 1) Coffee house where I can hear others chatting/socializing 2) Spa/Resort Location for Inspiration and 3)Mastmind Group ~ We meet for Dinner to share and motivate each other. All three feed my soul tremendously.
70. Don't be Tardy for the Party!
How I connect is: Collaboration is a key tool in my business to cure loneliness. Projects, parties and events are collaborated with solopreneurs with like minds and similar goals. We actually sell for each other as it is always better when others recommend your goods and services. These projects then entail conference calls and regular communication which always brings my energy and enthusiasm to a higher frequency.
Enjoying each other is a high priority and we become deep friends.
71. Community Involvement
How I connect is: Work and life are two separate things. I work at home, then I turn my computer off and leave the room. Sometimes I miss chatting with co-workers, but I found other ways for social interaction, and it is not Facebook. I volunteer at the local chapter of the Red Cross and the Humane Society, I work a few hours at a local church. I also belong to another church and those associations provide me a strong since of community; more than a typical office environment would. And I have a dog.
72. Connection is the key!
How I connect is: Having been a "serial entrepreneur" and a "Woo"/"Connector", I need people. I joined as an affiliate to a company that supplies great training & development materials and they have a quarterly conference, monthly phone calls, etc. In addition to feel more connected, I network in many different regular groups such as the Chamber, leads groups, business advisory groups, professional associations where I can get to know members on a personal basis. Payoff? Tripling business in 2010!
73. Solopreneurs Socialize
How I connect is: Having worked as a solopreneur since 2004 I have found different ways to combat the loneliness that may come along with it. Trade shows are great ways to collaborate with others in your industry. For instance, The Invitation and Stationery Alliance has meetings at each trade show during the year and it's a great opportunity to meet others in my industry.
So join a national or local trade group and participate. It's a great networking avenue to grow your business and meet new friends.
74. Good, Swift Kick in the Butt!
How I connect is: Your best weapon against the “lonely entrepreneur syndrome” is a team of accountability partners. When setting new goals or brainstorming ideas my loneliness (and procrastination) sets in, but my accountability partners help me stop hovering and take flight. All entrepreneurs should have a variety of mutually beneficial accountability partnerships. Inherent in the interactions is a socially stimulating exchange of skills, advice, and a good swift kick in the butt when it's needed.
75. Breaking the isolation
How I connect is: We traded off the office coffee connections to have control and follow our dreams. Now, a year later, we walk into our kitchens and only the cat will talk to us. And he can't even make coffee.
Those seemingly silly daily conversations actually gave us predictability and made up part of the fabric of our daily lives.
How do we replace that and still have our autonomy?
Break that isolation by having business relationships with women who have the same needs to connect and nurture you.
76. Working to music
How I connect is: I work alone and I find that music keeps me company--I prefer classic country or bluegrass. Most of the machines in my shop are from around the 1940's and they wouldn't approve of any new-fangled, current music. Oh, did I mention a little anthropomorphism also makes it seem less lonely?
77. SOCIAL MEDIA is the solution.
How I connect is: I work from home in PR and I have found the way to overcome lonliness is to use social media as my "virtual office cooler." When you work in an office environment, you have people buzzing around you all the time. Now I just log onto Twitter or Facebook and I can discuss industry news, issues with colleagues or chat about a new tv show I just saw. I feel more in-touch with whats going on and can express myself in a genuine manner.
78. Meet fellow solopreneurs
How I connect is: I find it helpful to meet with other solopreneurs. I have found supportive groups for women business owners and even specific to "mompreneurs". It's comforting to find out that you're not the only one struggling to balance work/home responsibilies. The women I've met through these groups encouraging and full of great ideas. I use them as a test group when I have a new idea for my business and spare myself heartache by nipping bad ideas in the bud early. And I share what I've learned too.
79. Take it Online
How I connect is: To overcome the natural lonliness of being an entrepreneur, let alone a startup with little capital to burn, ensure you're never alone by taking it online. My favorite: Twitter. Stay current, build relationships and collaborate; it's by far the best networking tool out there. Jump in, follow and participate - completely unlike facebook it's all about people you don't know. Word of caution: it's addictive. Make sure you sign on at least one day a week ..sign up to find out why!
80. Lunch - It's great
How I connect is: When I first started scrubadoo.com the isolation was one of the most unexpected surprises. You don’t work with anyone else, no one really knows what you are doing, and many times you are the only one that believes in your work. To help combat this I go to lunch, a lot. It sounds simple, but setting lunch meeting with other young professionals can provide a great sounding board, they can give great advice, and as much as anything else the companionship helps keep you from going insane!
81. Become a Public Speaker
How I connect is: Giving talks is one of the best ways to combat the isolation of working by myself. Presenting keeps my skills sharp, and brings in business, but the charge I get when I walk into a room of people who are gathered to learn with me about a topic of common concern is unparalleled. After many solo days, it's a release to connect from the podium, followed by networking and noshing. Does this drive in leads and revenue? Usually. Does it make me feel less alone and more engaged? Always.
How I connect is: In school, they teach you that you can become a firefighter or a doctor or a plumber - but they never talk about running your own business.
Any company you do get is usually in the form of employees, not peers.
After trying mastermind groups and conferences, I've realized that these are usually band aid solutions. Being lonely is part of the cost of being a solo-preneur, and accepting that is an important part of fully becoming an entrepreneur. The cost is well worth it!
83. Say NO to Networking(tm)
How I connect is: Think your loneliness will subside by attending networking events? NOT! Better to develop deep relationships with 10-25 people who're open to taking your calls on a weekly/bi-weekly basis—or have coffee/tea or lunch with you once a month. Each Friday, I create a list of those I need to connect with the following week—a close client contact, a dear friend, a business colleague—and then I reach out to them. I’m also attached to them through FaceBook and regularly respond to their comments.
84. Avoid the "Ostrich" Syndrome
How I connect is: When loneliness strikes, avoid going "ostrich," sticking your head in the sand and pretending that no one notices your absence. Isolation only leads to more isolation.(BTW, having a cast of thousands on-line does NOT prevent loneliness, even if it keeps you real busy!)
Get up and out DAILY. Vary your routine. Maximize new faces, places. Set/meet quantitative goals: e.g. 1 group event, 2 lunches, 3 social events per week.
Shake hands, pass out cards, "pay it forward" and smile, a lot!
85. Using 360 degrees of support
How I connect is: In addition to getting over your instinctive dislike of networking, make sure that you maintain your non-business spheres of activity. Set a minimum number of face-to-face human contacts - coffees, lunch, non-business friendships - every month, and stick to it regardless of how busy you are. Remember that you are human and that a basic human need is human contact. If you are in business to improve the quality of your life, don't let the business suck the quality of your life out of you.
86. Build Your Network
How I connect is: My strategy is to join groups like the Chamber or other networking groups. But don't just join - get involved! Go to mixers and luncheons. Take advantage of their training opportunities. Serve on committees & in leadership positions. Visit different groups in your industry from time to time, even if you're not a member, to stay in touch with what they're doing. Networking yields not only customers, but virtual partners for projects, vendors, & friends, as well as building my companies' brands.
87. You can MAke Mine a Million
How I connect is: I have joined Business Network Groups to be able to connect with other entrepreneurs. My Favorite Group which supports Women in Business is Count Me In/Make Mine a Million. They have not only provided an opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs, but they also offer funding opportunities and awards to women.There is a Yahoo group that the Awardees in this organization can communicate to one another in. This has proved to be an amazing tool to use for support when lonely or unsure.
88. Turn Lost into Win-Win-Win
How I connect is: At first, I worked from home to save on costs and missed the support of colleagues. I developed a home visit service which resulted in a win-win-win situation - I gained adult interaction with my target market and received sales & feedback on my clothes, my clients gained personalized service without leaving her home and my child received play time with other kids. Now, I share an office with 3 other eco child-related businesses. We collaborate and help promote/develop each other's businesses.
89. Take a Break
How I connect is: The key to staving off loneliness is this: take a break away from your office at some point in your work day. Meet a friend or colleague for lunch, book an exercise session with a trainer, take a yoga class, go for a walk or bicycle ride. Go somewhere/do something involving other people and/or nature. If time is an issue, start earlier or stay later; just be sure to factor a break into every working day. You'll feel better. Your work will benefit. Your psyche will thank you.
90. Teach a Class!
How I connect is: Entrepreneurship can get lonely - and tricky - at times. You want to make time for connecting with others, but feel perhaps your time is best used doing something more profitable.
Teaching a class gives you the best of both worlds. Teaching classes on relevant topics to my industry helped me with my need for connection and it positioned me as an expert in my field. It is a great way to sharpen your speaking skills, get free P.R., meet prospects, and just plain cool people! You oughta try it!
91. Bring your friends with you!
How I connect is: As children we transitioned from policeman to doctor, nurse, etc. How? We brought our friends with us, Commitment and Purpose.
Our most important friend is Purpose. Knowing your purpose puts your life into crystal clear perspective.
Next is Commitment. At breakfast we have eggs, and a committed pig. Commitment gives us the ability to turn our dreams into reality.
We always play with these two friends because, When Commitment and Purpose come together, there is Abundance.
92. Solopreneur stays social
How I connect is: Schedule time in your day to speak with your customers, partners, or mentors and stick to it! This does not include IMing, texting, or emailing. The idea is to get valuable feedback about your business while simultaneously fulfilling the human need to interact with others; in person conversations are ideal, but the phone is second best. Use this valuable time to bounce ideas off peoples' heads, test new pitches, or verbally joust about industry, politics, or gossip. Get out of the cave and talk!
93. Virtual Office Colleagues
How I connect is: As a freelance writer providing content to a variety of websites and print publications, I work alone in front of a computer. To combat loneliness one of the strategies I use is keeping a network of virtual colleagues. My network consists of other entrepreneurs and clients I keep up with on Twitter, LinkedIn.com or Facebook. Having conversations on chat, Skype or phone gives a sense of workplace interaction. Talk about last night's game or the business trends, just like in the office breakroom.
94. Back to School
How I connect is: My secret weapon is a college or university library. The vibe is possibility, inspiration, and bold idealism. I recommend the private study rooms. You get the feel of a private office yet benefit from the hum of activity, information and focus around you. Invite solopreneur colleagues. You can “meet at the office” one day a week and then take a meal or fresh air break together. It creates an instant master mind group as well as providing face to face socialization.
95. Pet Project
How I connect is: The best move I made for alleviating the feeling of isolation, besides joining Twitter, was to adopt a dog. This single act has given me a constant companion (now 2 constant companions!), forces me to get outside for at least 30-60 minutes every day to clear my head and thoughts and get much-needed exercise. And best of all, I am able to run my ideas by them, hear myself speak and not receive any unwanted feedback -- I think they think I am borderline genius.
96. The Four-Legged Assistant
How I connect is: I'm a graphic design-preneur working out of my house for over 13 years. I really enjoy working by myself, but having a "four-legged assistant" is a great way to combat that alone feeling. My 8-year-old flat-coat retriever Welly will "tell" me when he needs to be walked, so I get outside and talk to others along the way. Those periodic minutes outside make me feel less cut off from civilization. He also barks when the mail carrier comes, so I always make it a point to chat with them too.
97. Use social networking for goal
How I connect is: Don't forget to keep the "social" in your social networking efforts! mylifelist.org, the premiere social network for goal achievers, has a special place for solopreneurs to share their ideas and inspiration. So many people want to run their own business, and for good reasons, but you still need feedback and accountability to keep yourself focused and motivated. Lean on your social network, share your goals and your successes to inspire others. Your entrepreneurial journey is better shared!
98. Luxury Emerging Fashion
How I connect is: I remember a fellow entrepreneur saying its me and my four walls that sums up an entrepreneur's life. I am certainly no exception. But I am finding ways to overcome that. I have started attending networking sessions organized by Wharton School as well as Entrepreneurial and fashion meetups. I have also been taking the time to setup lunch meetings with friends. Some of these techniques have proven to be helpful not just in building business but also to overcome the feeling of lonliness.
99. Work Fast then Have Fun!
How I connect is: We start our own business to be our own boss, make our own schedule and leave the dull 9-5 job behind. Yet when we begin working solo, like machines, we wake-up and work from 9 to 5 which leaves time for lulls in the day and loneliness.
Every night before a work-day create your to-do list for the following day. When you begin working that day work right through that to-do list without distraction. When you are done, you are done! Even if its 3 pm - walk away from your desk and enjoy the day!
100. Soothing Sounds of Starbucks
How I connect is: I have found that working alone can sometimes cause a lack of accountability and motivation. When I first began as an entrepreneur I needed background noise and the company of other people. I left a very busy corporate job and the silence at my home office was deafening. I ventured to Starbucks one morning and found that it motivated and inspired me. I met all sorts of other entrepreneurs and my network expanded. Now I alternate between my home office and Starbucks it keeps me on my toes!
101. Exercise with others!
How I connect is: Sure, the most convenient way to exercise is to hop on the home exercycle or follow along on home video. But I have joined local Jazzercise and yoga classes to get out of the house and share part of my day with real people. Because these classes are written in on my schedule, I plan my day to attend. And because they end at a specified time, I'm more likely to get right back to work.
102. Create a YOU network
How I connect is: I think being a solopreneur enables you to handle feelings of loneliness pretty easily, but sometimes you forget to have FUN in a social way. Use the internet to help. CREATE a social network that revolves around your main interest! My choice was a social network around my papercraft creations. Yours could be ANYTHING. Facebook makes it easy to admin a page on your hobby, skill or idea. Pick ONE THING and stay specific. Make a "YOU network" that can't exist without you and ask others to follow.
103. Business Is a Contact Sport
How I connect is: Dress as if you were going to meet a client. It doesn't matter whether your office is inside or outside the home. Doing this not only puts you in the right state of mind, but it also allows you to take advantage of opportunities that arise.
Meet with others. Network. Have a cup of coffee or lunch with other businesspeople. This bolsters both your creativity and productivity.
Remember, business is a contact sport, and to be successful, you must be in contact with others.
104. Show Your Face
How I connect is: When working at home alone, it's easy to hide behind your laptop. To sit at home day after day in your PJs, "talking" to friends online and leaning on your furry friends for companionship. But eventually, you'll turn into the crazy cat lady, stumbling around in your tattered robe, muttering to yourself and starved for human interaction. So plan to get out of the house and interact with one human being, face to face, daily. Schedule a coffee or lunch with a friend to break up the monotony!
105. The Four-Legged Assistant
How I connect is: I'm a graphic design-preneur working out of my house for over 13 years. I really enjoy working by myself, but having a "four-legged assistant" is a great way to combat that alone feeling. My 8-year-old flat-coat retriever Welly will "tell" me when he needs to be walked, so I get outside and talk to others along the way. Those periodic minutes outside make me feel less cut off from civilization. He also barks when the mail carrier comes, so I always make it a point to chat with them too.
106. Lonely :(
How I connect is: I specialize in online start-ups, bringing grand idea's to life so IM often stuck working by myself on a laptop with an ipod keeping me company. No lunches with co-workers, office chatter or gossip :(
Not all is bad, I get to work from anywhere I choose as long as there's internet connection, make my own hours and wouldn't have it any other way. Being alone leave's less distraction and I tend to get more done so it's a blessing in disguise...
107. Don't work alone!
How I connect is: Surround yourself with others who can support the life and possibility inherent in your idea.
Through coworking, I've discovered a network that's accelerated my ability to focus and grow my company. Developing tight knit relationships has given me a true feeling of support that I didn't even know I was missing. Now I can solve problems quicker, bounce around ideas faster and I have quality resources and relationships I can count on.
108. Lonely Discipline
How I connect is: As an entrepreneur, I have an innate creative drive but it is discipline which ensures I have the commitment and consistency to get things done. I apply this principle to stay connected. I build into my work schedule, time slots for networking, volunteering and connecting. I seek out opportunities to meet others to learn, share ideas and build a good network. Being aware of the need to interact with others combats isolation and helps us deal with what we face as business people and as humans.
109. A Solopreneur's Best Friend
How I connect is: Nine years ago I made the leap out of the 9-to-5 world and into entrepreneurship. The first year of that journey into working as a solopreneur I realized that I needed some company to keep me sane, but it had to be an understanding and patient soul. Enter my dog and corporate mascot. She forces me to take breaks and go on walks, she gives the sterile office life and she is on-time and ready to greet me with a smile each work day morning. A dog is an entrepreneur's best friend.
110. Beating Loneliness w/ Facebook
How I connect is: When I need a little human connection to get me through the long day alone, I log onto Facebook and see what my friends are posting. I enjoy the brief online dialogues that give me a moment of human interaction without the commitment of a phone call, networking meeting, or luncheon. It's a quick contact without the guilt over stealing time from work. I create posts that may be fun or serious, but the goal is always to get people responding in ways that will satisfy my need for connection.
111. Call for backup!
How I connect is: Don't go it alone. Look to conquer feeling lonely AND improve your business at the same time! I recommend two things:
1. Hire a proven consultant to BACK YOU UP - someone who can help you advance your business & be in the trenches with you as those hard decisions have to be made; and
2. Explore a partnership with people who bring more value than what you can on your own.
I did both of these to form CXO Vantage - w/ partners providing executive consulting services.