You're listening to the life friendly business podcast. I'm your host, Erin Thomas Wong, business coach, mentor, author and founder of the cocoon VIP membership, empowering women around the world to build businesses on their terms. If you want to grow and scale, a business that works in harmony with your family and your life, this podcast is for you.
Today, we're going to be talking about something which isn't really talked about enough. And that's about how lonely it can be when you're running your own business. For many of you out there, just like me, you are a solopreneur, you are working alone, probably at home, and spending an awful lot of time in your own company. Now, don't get me wrong, the older I've got, the more I love my own company. But sometimes it can get lonely, especially when you don't feel like you have people around you who really get what you're doing, get the way that you're running your business understands the challenges that you're facing on a day to day basis.
I totally remember when my husband was in the corporate world, and he'd get home from work. And I would just have all this stuff stored up that I wanted to tell someone and I'd have verbal diarrhoea. And I'd be telling him the most boring things that had happened during the day. And bless him, he tried to show that he was interested, but he was tired and he had his own stuff going on. And you know, sometimes that can just make you feel even more lonely when you're trying to talk to someone about it. And you can see that they're not quite engaged with it. And if your friends don't run their own businesses as well, it's really hard for them to relate to what you're saying. And you know, you feel that you feel that and it can make you feel really, really isolated.
So when I started my first business, it was after having my first son, and I'd worked in television production, which as you can imagine, was incredibly sociable. I had people around me all day long, everyone was up for a chat, we'd you know, have a cup of tea and we'd stand at the water cooler, I'd speak to people on the phone, you know, these people that I worked with became my friends in real life. It was, it was everything. My job was everything. And so were the people that I worked with. And so suddenly, when you're at home, especially with a baby as well, because that changes things as well. You know, it can feel really, really lonely. And I think that's a huge transitional period of going from working in an office when you've got a team around you to suddenly being on your own and trying to run your own business and feeling this pressure that you have to be everything you have to wear all the hats.
Now you do not have to wear all the hats, but that's something we can talk about on a later Podcast. Today I want to talk about how you get over this feeling of loneliness and how you can create the kind of work environment where you can still get what you need in terms of human connection.
When I started my first business I was quite fortunate in that I am a bit of an extrovert. I'm not shy about being around people. And so I was getting myself out there. Obviously I was selling jewellery, bespoke handmade jewellery at the time, so I was going out and meeting customers. And I met Shelley who was another mom who I was making jewellery for and she was starting her own business. And you may have heard me tell the story before that's how we decided to start Ealing mums in business in West London, because we realise how many women there were like us who were building businesses after having children and wanted a support network. We also created events where they could showcase their products and services as well. So we created Ealing mums in business. And you know, I very actively created this community around myself have women like me, and it made all the difference. You know, I went on to, to launch further businesses because I felt like I had the support. I had people that I could talk to when I needed to brainstorm things, and when I needed reassurance as well. And then when we moved to Abu Dhabi, suddenly I was very much on my own again. And I really didn't feel like I had people around me who understood what I was doing. They didn't get what I was talking about. And I immediately felt massive isolation and this was, you know, quite a difficult time in our lives. Anyway, moving over to the Middle East with two kids from my husband's job. And I have talked about that in in Episode Two I think it is about my story. But that loneliness of being a business owner and not having a community not having the support is huge. And I know that I'm not alone with that.
And it was that experience in Abu Dhabi, that that was the catalyst for me launching the cocoon VIP membership, because I wanted to create a safe space online, that women from anywhere in the world could come and learn new skills to help them with their business and grow as a business owner and grow in confidence. And really benefit from the sisterhood that you feel when you're surrounded by like minded women. And, you know, the thing that they say about memberships is so true, they say that people come for the training, and they stay for the community. And the community in the cocoon is just incredible. And I think that the women really feel held in there. And that's what we miss, when we're no longer working for a boss, no longer working in an office. And suddenly, it's just us at home.
So if you're feeling lonely right now, it's probably impacting your business and the success of your business because actually, when we're happy, we are more creative, we can deal with problems much, much more easily, we are more resilient. So if you are happy, you are going to be more successful in your business. So you might not be lonely all the time. But if you're lonely some of the time, this is something that you could really take some action on, to change and to mix up the way that you're working because it will have an impact on how successful you are in your business.
So here are three things that you can do to beat the isolation of solo working.
Number one, mix it up, if you are used to just working at home, day in, day out, look at the activities that you're doing on a weekly basis. Now I understand that sometimes if you are taking calls, for example, I do a lot of mentoring calls, you need to be in a private place to do that. But I bet there are activities in your business, like social media scheduling, planning, those kinds of things that you could do at the local cafe, you could even venture out and drive half an hour and go to a new cafe, you want to be in places where there's a really nice vibe and where the staff are friendly. And the best thing is to go back to somewhere so that people get to know you and you can have that kind of connection with them.
Also, there's co working spaces, I mean, these are so popular these days. And they don't have to cost an arm and a leg, you've got the co working desk where you have to like pay a monthly fee. But then you also have pop up co working opportunities as well. So do have a look in your area, what's available to you. But also, you can just get out the house, there are going to be something that you can do on your notepad, for example, your CEO time, which I really, you know, recommend that people book in at least on a weekly if not monthly basis, to think about how your business is going right now, are you focusing on the right things, you can do this with a notepad and a pen and a cup of coffee, sitting on a park bench. Get out of the house, try and mix it up so that your days are not just monotonous of being on your own in your own home. If that's not what you enjoy. Obviously, some people love being on their own. But I'm talking about if you feel like actually, you know that you're feeling a bit lonely right now.
So think about what you can do each day that will bring you a bit of joy. You know whether that's just going out for a walk and getting a takeaway coffee at lunchtime, or taking your notepad or going to work in a cafe. Try and get out try and see other people have that human connection, even if it is just a polite chat about the weather that is going to help you mentally feel more resilient.
Number two, find your tribe. Now you may well have been to networking events that you just haven't really clicked with anyone. Or you might think networking is your idea of hell. I know lots of people who think that but I would say persevere because you will go to a meeting or you will go to a meetup and you one day will meet someone like you or a group of people like you and it will be worth the wait because surrounding yourself with women that lift you up or men but it's surrounding yourself with other business owners who lift you up, is absolutely invaluable as a small business owner.
So, look for your tribe. This is why I created the cocoon, so that it was a ready made tribe of awesome women and experts that you can join, it's right there, it's ready for you, you just need to take that action. And, you know, step forward. And sometimes I understand people can feel quite vulnerable in those situations. But I really think that in order to have human connection, if you're feeling lonely, you kind of do need to show a little bit of vulnerability. And that's good. That's a good thing, just to say as well about networking events, you know, people go to networking events with very different intentions. And you have people that go to networking events with the pure intention to sell. And I personally don't think that's the right intention to be going with, because networking is all about building long term relationships, it's about building up that know, like, and trust factor. And if you go to two networking events and think, Well, I haven't sold anything, so that's a rubbish one, then you're really going at it the wrong way, you should be thinking about networking in terms of building that human connection. And it is good for the soul to be around other people.
And number three, get support. If you're feeling isolated in your business, get support. Just because you are a solopreneur does not mean that you can't have people around you and that you can't ask for support. So when I say support, that's quite an umbrella term. There's lots of different elements to that. For example, if your business is at the point where actually you could quite do with some help, then you could get a VA on board. You don't have to put them on pa ye these are contract freelancers that come in and work for you. And they get to know your business. You have a team member that you can bounce ideas around with someone that cares about your business just as much as you do. And that is an amazing, amazing backup to have. Consider getting a business mentor. There are huge benefits to having someone outside of your business. Try and disseminate all the stuff that is going on in your head and help you to make a clear action plan.
If you're feeling lonely, because you don't feel like you have anyone to talk to that really understands. And that can really dig into your business and help you see the word from the trees, a business mentor would be an invaluable thing for you to consider. Another thing to consider is joining a mastermind. So I run the Evolve group mastermind, there is a limit of six women in the group. So it's really intimate plus me. And the idea of a mastermind is that you're combining the wisdom and experience of those women, it creates a space for you to celebrate your success when you feel like no one else really cares. And it allows you to have critical friends that you can bounce ideas off and that you know will give you honest opinions on the things that you need feedback on. And being part of a mastermind gives you the accountability and the love and support. Like you know, these women in the Evolve mastermind, they genuinely want you to succeed. This isn't about competition. This is about lifting each other up. So get support, whether it's in the form of a virtual assistant, a business mentor or becoming part of a mastermind, but reach out and get that support. Because if you can feel less lonely in your business, you're going to be happier and you're going to be able to achieve more you're going to be more creative, you're going to be able to give more to your customers and clients because you are going to have the backup that you need.
So I really hope that there's some useful food for thought in there for you do reach out on the Facebook group, or @lifefriendlybiz on social media and let me know what's resonated with you. Or if you've got any tips on overcoming the isolation of solo working please do share them with us. See you next week.
Does every wind feels slightly tinged with guilt? Do you have your best month ever financially in your business, but yet you feel like it's been at the detriment of your health or your family. The success and fulfilment you're looking for can only be enjoyed when your business and home life are balanced in harmony. It's time to stop trading off between life and business. It's time to evolve them both. Join me for our next 12 week, evolve mastermind where your work towards your next stretch business goal. While maintaining the balance across all areas of your life so that when you reach your goal you feel successful, not exhausted, behind or neglectful. It's time to take back the power. Find out more about the Evolve mastermind at lifefriendlybusiness.com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai