Running a business by yourself doesn’t mean you should spend all your time alone.
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Being a solopreneur can be difficult. It means long hours hustling by yourself with no coworkers to bounce ideas off of or shoot the breeze with. Even if you enjoy spending time alone and find you work best solo, loneliness can still take a toll.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.”
If you want to improve not only your mental health but also your physical health, make connections with people. These four tactics can help with solopreneur loneliness.
1. Participate in online groups and communities.
Psychologists have found that the more people feel connected to a group, the more satisfied they are with their lives and the stronger their sense of purpose and security. You can make connections as a solopreneur by participating in online groups and communities. Even chatting with people through a computer screen is better than not talking to anyone for days on end.
Joining an online professional group might even get you valuable business advice and insights. For instance, if you own a web design business, you can search for online forums and groups on Facebook or LinkedIn that are specifically for web designers. Since the group is filled with like-minded individuals, you can ask questions, share ideas or get feedback from other members.
2. Work outside of your home.
Working from your home office everyday is isolating. For a change of scenery and the ability to interact with people face-to-face, consider working outside of your home once in a while. Try a coffee shop, restaurant or public library. You could even invest in a coworking space that will provide you with a real office environment where you can work alongside and mingle with other solopreneurs and freelancers.
You might even do your best work when working outside of your home. According to New Scientist, research has shown that a moderate level of ambient noise, like quiet chatter, the clattering of plates or the whir of a coffee machine, improves performance on creative tasks.
3. Attend conferences and networking events.
Attending conferences, workshops and networking events allows you to meet other professionals in your industry as well as boost your skills. You don’t need to travel or have a big budget for this — there are likely many events in or around your own city. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Development Center for details on local events. You can also use a tool like Meetup to find local meetups relevant to your industry. If none exists, start your own! Perhaps other solopreneurs in your area are feeling lonely too.
4. Use your interests and hobbies to connect.
Not everything has to be about business. Why not use your interests and hobbies to connect with other people? If you’re interested in fitness, join a group training class instead of hitting the gym by yourself. Enjoy painting? Go to a group painting class. Like reading novels? Join a book club.
Participating in a social activity unrelated to your business might even give you an opportunity to connect with people without thinking about your business for a while. It might also provide you with an outlet for your creativity or a way to destress. In fact, a study by Matthew J. Zawadzki revealed that “engagement in leisure has a wide range of beneficial health effects.” Participants in the study had more positive moods, less stress and lower heart rates when engaging in leisure than when not.
Just because you run your business by yourself doesn’t mean you should spend all your time alone. Use these tips to avoid loneliness as a solopreneur so you can grow your business and keep your spirits up in order to do the work you must to succeed.