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It can be lonely being self-employed – but it doesn’t have to be!

It can be lonely being self-employed – but it doesn’t have to be!

Running your own business has a number of benefits, but one of the biggest drawbacks can be a  feeling of loneliness and isolation, especially if you have left the corporate world to start up on your own.  Suddenly that infrastructure of supportive colleagues, water cooler conversations and sandwich lunches has gone. No more Christmas parties or Friday nights at the local pub to cement that feeling of belonging.  Before you know it the loneliness has become an unwelcome guest in your new existence. So how do you go from being deprived of support to having a wealth of it to call upon? The solution is to create your own community of like-minded people. Taking action and having a positive attitude is key; you can’t wait for them to turn up of their own accord.

If you follow these recommendations you will soon find that your unwelcome guest has left.

Approach the Competition

Try to attend at least one networking meeting a week.  Set yourself a target to speak to a certain number of new people at each meeting.  You need to determine into which category your new-found colleagues fall; identify those you want to follow up in order to get business and those you want to add to your support network. You may just find that those people who become part of your support network become clients – people buy from people they like.

Moxie Business Club

Women Unlimited has a great business club for SMEs called Moxie. It is unlike those networking associations where you are force-fed the business cards of everyone else sitting in the room and then put under immense pressure to sell these services and products. At Moxie things are very different. Not only do you get the opportunity to network in a relaxed atmosphere but also draw upon the wealth of talent in the room to act as a sounding board for your business.  How often do you get the opportunity to have three or four successful people in their own field spend quality time helping you think through the challenges you are facing and how to arrive at a successful solution that works for you? At Moxie you get real insights from businesswomen who know that being successful matters not just to them but to all fellow Moxie members.

Try something new

Join social groups and make sure you try something new.  There is nothing like stepping out of your comfort zone to make you realise just how fantastic a human being you are. Imagine the richness you will bring to your conversations as well as the new friends you will make.

Social Network

Social networking is a great way to reach out, not just to people in your own field or geographic location but all over the world who share common business interests. You will be amazed at just how many people work independently and how encouraging they can be when you are having a tough day, especially if they have been through the same thing you are going through and have come through successfully at the other end.

Add interest to your working environment

There are spaces in and around London that provide touchdown work spaces and meeting areas, such as Hub at Kings Cross. Not only do they provide you with an opportunity to work but also to connect with people and learn. Don’t forget about the convenient wireless connection available at your local cafe. You can work uninterrupted for several hours and hold a meeting in its convivial surroundings.

Join forces

Create your own distribution group of professionals. For example, if you are a freelance web designer join forces with an accountant, a PR specialist, a marketing consultant and an IT specialist, amongst others. You can recommend each others’ businesses and meet on a regular basis so that you support each other and share information from a business perspective.

Get Support

A coach can be instrumental in helping you to solve the loneliness issue by working with you to think through your plan of action and your approach to creating your community of support. Your coach can challenge your thinking and make sure you widen your network and the parameters within which you operate. Make this one of your coaching goals so that in every session a few minutes are used to explore your progress.

One Step at a Time

At first all of this may seem a little bit daunting and time consuming but it can be achievable if you take one step at a time and plan effectively. You’ll be surprised to find how quickly you can enrich your environment and ensure that your self-employed status is vibrant, energised and no longer a lonely one.

 

About the Author: Carole Bozkurt, The Blueprint Practice.  I have over 20+ years marketing and sales experience. In addition, I worked in a business coaching company for nine years; they pioneered executive coaching in the UK. The focus of their coaching was on helping people achieve succcess in both the corporate and SME world. I am also a business coach and a number of my clients are SMEs.

carole@blueprintpractice.com

 

 

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About Carole Bozkurt

Hi there, I'm Carole Bozkurt, founder of The Blueprint Practice and a Visibility Strategist. All of which means I am passionate about helping female business owners to stand out in crowded markets so they can attract great clients and establish lasting working relationships. My clients range from start-up operators through to business owners with more than 10 years of hard work behind them. I work closely in support of people who are determined to see their businesses reach new levels of development and growth. The reason I can help is that I have 20+ years of marketing and sales experience. Developing any business and maintaining growth is never easy but with the right approach and a roadmap to success anything is possible. I work with my clients to bring clarity and purpose to the way they operate and plan for the future, with a particular focus on getting core business messages right and avoiding confusion. My clients take away a personalised toolkit designed to keep them focussed on the road ahead and away from wasted investments and the pitfalls of becoming overwhelmed. Above all, I do what it takes to ensure that my clients have a solid foundation for growing their businesses and maximising their own potential. If you would like to have a chat on any subject then I’d love to hear from you. Contact me via my website at blueprintpractice or email directly at carole@blueprintpractice.com

10 comments

  1. Hello Carole,
    I agree that being a home business entrepreneur can be lonely. Additionally, if, like me, you have young babes at home it can accentuate the fact that you are not talking to enough adults!
    These are all great tips, I wish I lived in London so I could join your Moxie Club – sounds cool! (in Australia so bit of a commute!)

    • Hi Rachel – thank you for your comment. I have been to Australia a number of times as my sister lived in Melbourne for 10 years. Australia is a fantastic country and brilliant for bringing up children. Which part of Australia do you live in? Very happy to check with my Nephew and wife what support options are there for you in the way of business club and ones that support mums, also my sister sed to work for Telstra and still has many contacts.

      Hope you are having a great time and watching the Rugby in neighbouring NZ.

      Many thanks. Carole

  2. Hi Carole

    I actually prefer being self-employed than working in a corporate environment.

    I don’t miss the water-cooler chats or the dreaded office parties. It’s because unless you are the boss, you cannot chose who you work with. I am not saying I didn’t like all the people who I used to work with, far from it, but 40 hours a week in close proximity to the same people was something I couldn’t go back to. I actually found it quite stressful.

    Being self-employed gives you the choice and the freedom to choose who you want to network and partner with. I think your tips and ideas are brilliant…I will be putting these into practice myself.

    Also, you can take the best bits of relationships and expertise from a number of people with different backgrounds and fields. You do have to be proactive in getting out there and not staying in your own little bubble when self-employed.

    Thanks for the great ideas!
    Sarah

    • Thank you Sarah for your comment. It really is uplifting when people respond with their thoughts and can further enhance the viewpoints in the article. I have a few more articles coming out over the next few months so do hope you will keep reading and let me know your views – it’s great to get feeback.

      Many thanks Sarah and have a great week. Carole

  3. It was a weird feeling reading your introductory remarks because they have been true in my own business life. I am self employed and in a field that is becoming smaller and smaller. So loneliness has at times crept in. Trying to find people in my field of business locally is very difficult and oftentimes they are the competition.

    Because the economy has slowed considerably here in the United States, I have had to make my business part-time and I have also gone back to work for a large company part-time. But what’s nice is now I have the best of both worlds. I am still independent but at the same time I am around others socially and for support (even though the working fields are not related). It has made a difference, but I wasn’t really aware of it until reading your article.

    You have given some great tips to try and I may incorporate the Social Networking idea and see if I can find others around the country who do the same work as I do. This may open a few doors that I had not counted on before since they won’t be my local competition.

    • Hi Chris

      Thank you for taking the time to read my article and also share your insights. It can be difficult if your market is small as you have described. Would you consider connecting with your competitors, if you haven’t already done so, this might add a good support base, even though they are your competitors.

      Thank you again for reading my article. Carole

      • I’ve tried that before but the problem is we all sub-contract for the same companies and it can get pretty cut throat. But I did at one point link up with another company that performed other work that I no longer did. They would refer me and I them. But I learned later from customers that I had referred, that they were overpriced and not very service oriented. So I broke off ties with them. But you have my wheels turning now and I may try some other ways to set up a support network. Thanks again. Chris

        • Hi Chris

          Glad you wheels are turning – I would be really interested to hear how you get on.

          This might just help further with your thinking. I know several sole-entrepreneurs that have set-up their own support group. The group meet once a month to once every six weeks. Each person has a different business offering life coach, pr, designer, accountant, insurance etc and together they support each other. It’s about sharing ideas, concerns and challenges they are facing and undertake practical things like review a presentation so they individual has had an opportunity to practise before delivering to the client. They also promote each other’s services and I agree with your point that you have to know what that the quality of the work they produce as its your reputation on the line when you recommend someone, My observation is that once the group has bonded and created a trusting environment it’s a lot easier to get a better understanding on these things.

          Would you consider creating your own support group? That way you can invite the people to it who are like-minded and share the same values as you.

          Hope this give you food for thought. Many thanks and have a great weekend. Carole

  4. Thanks for sharing such a great article and on such a relevant topic.

    Yes it can be tough when you leave the corporate world and start out on your own, but I think you need to stay completely focused on exactly why you made the move and build on that at every available opportunity.

    The opportunities for meeting new people in the online business world is staggering and I believe, far more empowering than anything I’ve ever encountered in offline business. Finding this page and your article is a good example of that.

    So thank you again for the great ideas,

    Best wishes,
    Carol

    • Hi Carol

      Thank you for reading my article and sharing your views.

      I agree that staying focussed is important and engaging with people online is a great way to break the loneliness gap especially for people who live in remote places, work different hours than the 9-5 or have a shorter work day – it’s a ‘must’ and in some cases a lifeline. I would also add that having face-to-face interaction with people who are in a similar positions, sole-entrepreneurs, can be a very rewarding experience and beneficial to your business. If it is possible, I would urge business owners to engage in some type of face-to-face activity by creating something that works for them and their working environment.

      Many thanks Carole

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