For many female entrepreneurs, the transition from a busy corporate office to running your own business is a mix of excitement and trepidation. Overnight, you become responsible for sales and marketing, PR, HR, accounts, networking, business development, budgets, and so much more.
On top of the physical tasks of starting your own business, you are also faced with the emotional isolation that comes with being a one-woman band, possibly working alone from home.
In 2018, Epson surveyed 1,000 UK freelancers and discovered that 48% admitted to finding it lonely, and 46% said it was isolating. 32% said they missed the social side working in an office can offer, and 29% missed being part of a team.
It might seem, from these figures, that running your own small business isn’t as much fun as you initially thought. However, being in charge of your freedom and time can be worth the stress. For now, let’s look at how spending time alone and working at home with little interaction can impact you and your business.
What is loneliness?
Loneliness is an emotional response to being or feeling isolated. It can cause you to feel alone, empty, and worthless when left unchecked. This emotion can impact our mental health by exacerbating anxiety, depression, and mood. On a physical level, loneliness can manifest in fatigue and chronic pain.
The recent Pandemic has also effected the opportunity for you to take part in social engagement activities, driving you further into isolation than ever before.
Those feelings of isolation can be amplified if your customers are not booking your services or buying your products, or if funds are tight. In turn, this can lead to procrastination where your business suffers from a lack of input. You can read more about procrastination in our recent blog post, Why Imposter Syndrome and Procrastination are Common Issues for Women in Business.
What can you do to prevent loneliness in your home business?
Recognising that you are feeling cut-off and isolated is an essential first step. It puts you back in control and able to find ways to combat these feelings before they cause deeper issues.
Alternatively, anyone who has launched a new business on their own will appreciate the amount of work that this venture entails. If you’ve never set up a business before, how do you know what needs to be done? What processes are required? Who do you call when you have a problem? These questions may pile up and cause you to feel isolated as you have nobody to turn to. Loneliness begins to settle as you learn to cope alone.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
How Women’s Business Networking can help
Case Study: Meet Sue
As a regular networker, Sue knows the importance of being a member of several groups. She reconnected with Sharon Louca, founder of Women’s Business Networking, last year and decided to attend her ladies networking session. The level of support Sue received from the other members in the group was like nothing she had ever experienced before. Sue found the relaxed and friendly environment to be hugely beneficial and was never afraid to ask for help and advice.
Sue needed to network in different areas and build a client base as she had recently started a new business. She understood that people buy from people and wanted to get to know her clients in a community environment. Coming out of employment in a shared office to then work from home was overwhelming. She felt isolated from the world and didn’t have any colleagues to bounce ideas off, confide in, and get support when needed.
Joining the Women’s Business Networking group helped Sue feel supported. She knew that anytime she needed advice, wanted to share a success, or confide in someone after a bad day, there would always be a member on the end of the phone. As Sue’s business has grown, she was able to collaborate with other members of the group to create strong administrative and back-office support.
“I love connecting with like-minded women and business owners. I’ve been able to build trusted relationships, boost my professional development, and build a wider network outside my usual circles. I can highly recommend WBN.” Sue Green, Rixgreen.
Top 4 Tips on how to combat isolation as a small business owner
- Change of scene – working from home is a great way to save money, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stay at home 24/7. Take regular breaks away from your desk, office, and house. Whether it’s an afternoon off, an hour of exercise before lunch, or working from a coffee shop, a change of scene will help you feel more connected with the outside world.
- Use a co-working space – there are plenty of places available that rent an office or even a desk, in a communal area where the buzz of an office environment can make all the difference. If you can’t use a co-working space but feel that background noise would be beneficial, you can download the myNoise app and enjoy the sound of a coffee shop, rain, or white noise playing as you work.
- Just say no – securing clients and making money is a good business goal to have, but don’t get so busy taking on work that you don’t leave yourself with any room for enjoyment. Saying no to a meeting so you can spend time with your family is not a bad thing. Meetings can be rescheduled.
- The power of networking – a fabulous way to combat loneliness in business is to connect with like-minded women who understand the way you feel. Building relationships within the business community, whether that’s done face-to-face or virtually, is a beneficial way of preventing loneliness and isolation.
At Women’s Business Networking, we support all small business owners to ensure they never feel alone and isolated. Empowering women, keeping them connected, and uniting each member is just one way we can help combat loneliness in business. To find out more about our membership or to book onto one of our networking events, please get in touch via our website.
“There are times in business when we need reinforcements. A friendly army of like-minded people who can walk by our side. Who will listen to our thoughts, reflect on our dilemmas and successes ad cheer us along. Sharon not only brings her own extensive business knowledge but also has attracted experts from a wide range of business arenas. We are in safe hands in this group. We can share our troubles and our joys. And this is invaluable in today’s complex business environment.” Alison Taylor, Global Business Development.
Do you ever feel isolated working for yourself? Do you miss the social aspect of working in a big company? If you have any tips, please feel free to share them and help others overcome loneliness and isolation in their business.