When you start a new venture, it's a frantic and ever-changing journey of launches, stretch goals and (hopefully!) rapid growth, all of which require you to be the driving force for success.
In other words, your free time has gone the way of dinosaurs and VHS tapes, your friends and family can barely catch a fleeting glimpse of you and you can't remember the last time you were able to just cut loose for an evening and have some fun.
Few people will tell you before you start that the life of an entrepreneur can be an incredibly lonely one. It's vital to take care of yourself and work on your wellbeing as well as your business.
If you're feeling a little isolated, use a few of these pointers and start reaching out:
4. Find your tribe.
Clearly ‘finding your tribe’ is easier said than done, but there are ways you can streamline the process. After all, it’s really important to have people to talk to about what’s going on in your life.
Part of what can be so lonely for an entrepreneur is that your nearest and dearest don’t ‘get’ it. They may not fully understand your chaotic business lifestyle, the stress of investment rounds and a team of people ultimately relying on you to keep things going and put food on their table. Talking to them about your day can feel alien to them, and unfulfilling for you.
You can find fellow entrepreneurs via MeetUp groups, or networking events in your area. You’ll be able to find common ground and even work through similar challenges you’re facing, all while working to form valuable business connections that could be mutually beneficial down the track.
3. Team up.
Entrepreneurship can really pile on the pressure, especially if you’re trying (or forced) to do it all yourself. And the act of letting go can be difficult in itself.
However, finding a co-founder can be beneficial for so many reasons: you can’t be good at everything, so finding someone with a skillset complementary to your own is great for your growth trajectory, you’ll have a close confidante and another person invested in your success. (And if you’re not sure what talents you need to look for to compensate for your blind spots, tools like F4S can help you identify the best co-founder for you).
If you’re not quite at that stage, participating in a co-working space can give you similar access to people on a similar path, and can keep you immersed in a supportive and motivating environment.
2. Do something for you.
Sometimes, loneliness isn’t about needing other people. Perhaps you miss a sense of freedom, or you have a yearning to engage in a favorite hobby.
Yes, you’re busy - busier than you thought possible - but it’s crucial to your well-being to make time for something that gives you joy, no matter how small. It could be a weekly yoga class, it could be a commitment to read two chapters of a good novel every night before bed, it could be taking just a few minutes out to meditate and ground your thoughts. Just be sure to make a little time to switch off from work - you’ll be better for it.
1. Speak up if you need help.
An isolating life can manifest itself in a variety of unhealthy ways, and anxiety and depression can be one of them. In fact, it’s known as a scourge in entrepreneurial circles.
It is normal to feel anxious at times, or despair over a setback. However, if you find these feelings overwhelming you, it’s critical to acknowledge them and know it’s okay to seek help. Emotional honesty can be liberating and you may even find that people in your network feel similarly.
Your mental health should always be a priority. Don’t ignore it.