Lonely Entrepreneur: Battling Isolation when You Have a Home Business


7 February,2012

For many, starting a home business is a dream come true. You can work from home, set your own hours, and not worry about office politics. However, there are also challenges to working from home. One of the biggest challenges is overcoming a feeling of isolation when you are an entrepreneur.

Loneliness in Your Home Business

When your career path leads you to work from home, you don’t have the same social opportunities that are part of the traditional workforce. Indeed, many people enjoy the way they can connect to others at work. When you work in a more traditional job, you see your co-workers, have social interaction at the water cooler, and you probably even interact with customers.

When you shift to working from home, you all of a sudden don’t have that social network at work. You can’t talk to your co-workers on a lunch break. You don’t get to share chit-chat over the desk in five minute snatches. For some people that can mean a feeling of isolation that eventually becomes overwhelming. If you work from home, you need to be aware of this challenge, and prepare to combat it.

Reduce Feelings of Isolation when You Work from Home

There are strategies you can employ to avoid feelings of isolation when you work from home. If you work for someone else, and you telecommute, you can only do so a couple days a week. Arrange to come in to the office once or twice a week so that you still get that social interaction with co-workers.

If you are an entrepreneur, you might not get the opportunity to go into work and interact with others as often. During your work day, there are two main ways that you can battle feelings of isolation:

  1. Engage people online: I belong to a Skype group of online friends. We chat about our businesses, but we also chat about things happening in our lives and in popular culture. It’s a lot like the water cooler in a traditional work environment. I can connect with others — and they are others with common interests. My online buddies go a long way toward combatting feelings of isolation as I work from home.
  2. Try co-working: One of the up and coming trends for home business owners and freelancers is co-working. You go to an office setting that is outfitted with high-speed Internet access. Usually, you have to pay some sort of a fee to participate, but it can be worth it. You are in an environment with other entrepreneurs, and you can feel that sense of connection. You don’t even have to go every day; schedule a slot once or twice a week, and you can make some good connections.

You can also battle isolation by making up for it later. Get involved with family and friends when you can. Take a lunch break and go out with someone. If you have a life partner and children, make sure you stop working when they get home and spend quality time with them. Once or twice a week, go out with friends, or join a book club or participate in some other activity.

The key is to find some sort of human interaction that can help you feel connected to others so that you don’t feel as lonely during your work hours at home.