When I gave my 5 weeks notice (yup, that’s how terrified of “the leap” I was), many of my family + friends would talk to me about how I would deal with the shock to my bank account. We covered topics like savings, retirement, health insurance costs, client deposits + more. But one thing no one covered — and one I never thought about — was the isolation of being an online entrepreneur.
Working by yourself, for yourself, in an online space is the perfect setup for getting lonely fast. Add to that Wisconsin winters full of snow storms + ice that keep you inside for days, and it’s no wonder I struggled with isolation big time.
I quickly started talking to my dog (Pixel wasn’t around yet) + word vomiting on my boyfriend the second he got home. When I did leave the house, I would awkwardly talk to anyone + everyone for as long as they’d let me — usually, it was the person ringing up my food order, not someone best for spending 30 minutes discussing life with.
Prior to making the change to full-time business owner, I would have labeled myself an introvert who was a touch socially awkward. Losing my primary source of human interaction (my coworkers) made that exponentially worse.
I honestly did not see it coming, but isolation is hands down the hardest part about being an online entrepreneur for me.
Fear not, it’s not all doom + gloom! There are ways to combat the isolation that comes from interacting with clients + peers only through your internet connection.
This one can be tough because the comparison trap is oh-so-easy when you see post after post about amazing success that you may be struggling to have. But if you can find a small, supportive + active group of peers, it can be an invaluable resource.
For me, this has been a select few facebook groups + slack channels. I connect with fellow site creators, but also fellow online entrepreneurs. If the point is to avoid the isolation that comes with operating an online business, who else is going to understand that struggle? Other folks that operate online! Plus, a benefit of connecting with other industries is that there is more opportunity for collaboration + serious out of the box inspiration.
I’m not an affiliate + still use the free account. I just know that Skype has been so helpful in combating the day-to-day isolation that I struggle with.
Not every client call needs to be a giant production, but what can it hurt to hop on a video call instead of picking up your phone? Yes, you may have to brush your hair, but as long as your camera angle is right, you certainly don’t have to change out of your stretchy pants. (clearly speaking from experience here.)
Depending on where you live, this can be tough, but finding networking events for other business owners is a great way to get face-to-face connection with other humans. It doesn’t have to be a networking event specifically — workshops or trainings are great options as well.
In fact, my work wife Morgan + I feel so strongly about getting as much face-to-face time with our peeps that we are hosting a free workshop in Madison, Wisconsin at the end of the month. If you are in the area + want to join us to help fight that isolation, register here. We’d love to meet you!
Life outside of work
*Gasp* …There’s life outside of your business?!
Jokes aside, it’s all too easy to be consumed with work when you are the business. But I can tell you, one of the biggest weapons in the fight against isolation has been a routine of human connection that doesn’t relate to tiny blue orange.
The biggest impact has been the communities that I joined when I became a member at a local yoga studio + also at a CrossFit gym. The exercise is great for many reasons, but the group class environment is what helps me not feel so alone!
Other things that help have been activities planned with friends (where I can’t talk business) and regular chats with my mumsy. If you don’t have opportunities like that, find a local meetup (that isn’t business related) + check it out.
At the end of the day, I love the alone time I have. It helps me focus, be productive + not worry about how I smell. but it’s important for my sanity, and the sanity of those living with me, to connect with humans outside of email. It doesn’t have to be a daily task item either. For me, getting out of the house for a group exercise class or event 3 times a week is more than enough to feel like I’m not locked in quarantine forever.