By Rosalyn L. (@msrosalyn_official)
Yes, you can expect to work long hours and deal with cash flow issues in the early years. But one aspect of business ownership often comes as a surprise, and, if not managed carefully, can become all-consuming.
I’m talking about the sense of isolation that comes from going it alone.
It’s a common experience for many small business owners, particularly for sole proprietors or home-based business owners. But it’s also especially true of business owners who have chosen to leave their nine-to-five jobs to pursue their dream.
Gone is the nurturing team environment and the motivation that comes from working with others. And while many people work better alone, for others the pressures of business ownership can leave them feeling overwhelmed, isolated and alone â€“ impacting both their work life and their personal lives.
Whatever your business type or wherever you work, here are some tips for managing the trials and tribulations of working alone and being your own boss.
Make Networking Work for You:
Love it or hate it, networking in business is essential. Whether you are an independent contractor; a home-based business owner; or have a fully-fledged presence on Main Street â€“ networking can get you out of the day-to-day silo of business ownership and help you overcome your sense of isolation.
The trouble is, networking gets a bad rap â€“ it’s perceived as schmoozing, if not downright self-serving. But the truth is networking can be invigorating and rewarding. Humans are social beings. They thrive on contact, shared experiences, and helping others. Even if you just hook up for a coffee with a former college buddy who has also taken a similar path into business ownership â€“ the opportunity to share and learn from each other can help alleviate the sense of being alone in business.
Find a Mentor, or Become a Mentor!
A mentor is someone who has been in your shoes, and successfully walked the walk of business ownership. He or she can provide informal advice, guidance, and motivation. But how do you find a mentor?
Sometimes it’s a matter of getting to know fellow, non-competing business owners or seeking the free mentoring services of a professional associations. Finding and Working with a Business Mentor is important. Learn how to approach him or her, and receive tips for getting the most out of business relationships.
Alternatively, could you become a mentor? Mentoring can be a mutually beneficial relationship that places value on your experience and provides a reason for you to focus on the positives, share your wisdom, and place some perspective between you and your day-to-day business operations.
Take the Weight off Your Shoulders â€” Build a Team Focused on Collective Success:
In business, powerful teams not only drive results, they empower, challenge and motivate employees to learn, grow and participate in the collective success of the business itself. If you are an employer, changing your management style to focus on building an empowered and motivated team can help alleviate the stresses and strains of solo business ownership, and even help your networking methods.
If you Work from Home â€“ Take Control of Your Demons and Distractions:
One of the symptoms of feeling isolated as a business owner is a lack of motivation which can lead to easy distractions and a lack of productivity. This is especially true for home-based business owners who wrestle with: 1) Working in a physically isolated manner, and, 2) Managing the conflicting demands of business and home life.
Taking steps towards managing your home-based business routine, your workload, and your day-to-day schedule can have a big impact on how you cope with these demands, and provide much-needed time on your calendar to balance everything out for you.
Connecting with others will give you the boost of inspiration you may be lacking.
Stay Inspired and be encouraged.