You start your own business from home for so many great reasons. You want to be your own boss, the flexible hours are enticing, you want to pursue your passion. Thank God there's no traffic to deal with, no worrying about what to wear everyday or dealing with office politics. But what catches you unawares when you start your business, is the loneliness. Even for introverts, who don't need to be with people all the time, there's still many times of loneliness. Sometimes it isn't so much “seeing” people, as it is talking with another human or just making that connection.
How do you take the loneliness out of working from home? Well this part is up to you. It's easy to get on with work day in day out and not make an effort, especially if you constantly feel like there's no time to do the things you need to do let alone socialising. For your wellbeing and so many other reasons such as productivity, recharging the brain and for the growth of your business, you need to take action by committing to connecting with others. Some of the benefits of socialising with others whether it's in real life or online is that you feel rejuvenated and inspired along with the feeling that there's someone else out there like you.
Some Ideas on How to take the Loneliness out of Working from Home
- Take your laptop off to the local café and do some work from there. Even if you're not having a coffee with with someone else, it's refreshing to be out of your home office and seeing other people walk in and out of the café. Go somewhere friendly and make it your regular “office away from the office”. You'll also soon find that your local café staff will welcome you warmly and it'll feel as natural as working from home.
- Find an accountability buddy to work with. You don't have to be in the same industry but if you both have similar goals then you can certainly connect online, talk about your current projects and encourage each other along. It's not always easy to make the first move but if you put it out there, you'll find others grateful to connect.
- Attend a conference. Attending a conference once or twice a year is an amazing way to take a little break from your business while making connections with others. Remember to also look outside of the obvious conferences in your industry and seek out events that can be helpful to your business in other ways such as Social Media conferences and blogging conferences.
- Not excited about traveling to a larger conference? There's plenty of local meet-ups where you can connect with other women in business. If you're in Australia, Women As Entrepreneurs is a wonderful website where you can find local meet-ups and connect with other women in business. Also check out the League of Extraordinary Women who run events for women in business. If you're in the USA, The Empower Lounge has a great list of the Top Networking Groups for you to join. If you're anywhere else in the world then Google is your friend, just do a search for “women entrepreneur groups” with your country or city name to find local meet-ups of other women who work from home.
- Make time to attend a seminar, listen to a speaker in your industry, take a sales class or writing class. Not only will this give you a much needed break from being on your own in your office, you'll also be rewarding yourself with the gift of education.
- Reward yourself with a mental break. It's so easy to work constantly when you have your own business from home, especially if you intersperse your “work work” with housework. Take some time out to do something for yourself that doesn't involve running errands. Go for a walk, go for a manicure, just get outside and do something for you. The easiest way to do this is to make an appointment with yourself. It doesn't have to take long, even if you're out for half an hour it can give you a break from that feeling of loneliness.
- Connect with other friends who work from home and set up a lunch or morning tea date once a week, fortnight or month. You can keep it completely ‘work free' for a total break or turn it into a mentorship group to talk about your week and encourage each other in your businesses.
- Get online. Now this one should come with a warning, it's easy to get caught up in online conversations and the next thing you know the whole day has gone. But if you can discipline yourself to a little time in the morning and a little time in the afternoon, then connecting with others online is a great alternative. Especially if you live in remote areas where going out to meet people can take the better part of a day. Try doing a search for Facebook groups not only in your industry but also Work At Home Mum Facebook pages and Female Entrepreneur pages.
Now it's your turn. I'd love to hear what you do to combat loneliness from working from home. Share with me what you do to connect with others.