Being an Entrepreneur Can be Lonely:
We’ve all been there. We have dreamt of being a business owner, creator, or CEO for years and here we are at the launch. As the days of preparation come to fruition, we are ecstatic and petrified to put ourselves completely out there and go for it. The first few months we are overwhelmingly busy getting our baby off the ground and running. And before we know it, the truth hits us like a brick wall. Being an entrepreneur can be excruciatingly lonely. The appeal of working for yourself, with no one to report to begins to fade and the reality that all of this is YOUR responsibility begins to sink into your consciousness. We wonder who we will share our wins and failures with and who we can hold accountable to not making quarterly sales goals. The weight of the world is on our shoulders and we hesitate from sharing our unpleasant feelings in fear that sharing will illustrate we have made a mistake or are going to fail in some way.
We are not alone! These are normal feelings, and only a few of what I have experienced. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, but there are things we can do to surround ourselves with an extended team to support our initiatives. This is so important to our long-term success and fulfillment, therefore building your team could be a top priority in the planning process of launching your business.
It begins with being strategic and intentional with selecting what I call “your clan,” those who are going to cheer you on and pick you up when you fall. These folks should be trust-worthy, supportive, and honest. You’ll need to be vulnerable and you may need different folks for different reasons. For example you might get a coach to help you achieve your professional goals, and a neighbor you hang out with to reignite your inspiration. You might have a mentor who can specifically share information related to your business and then call your grandmother on the weekends for that feel-good moral support. A few key partners to have in this journey might be:
A best friend or group of friends who know the real you and with whom you can be vulnerable with
A therapist to help you manage the stress, fear, and emotions that arise being an entrepreneur
A networking group you can share ideas with and be inspired by or who share your personal and professional headaches
People who enjoy the same hobbies and play – yes play is critical to your success! Join a running club, or a pottery class, whatever your inner child desires
People in your industry who are already doing great things – we can always learn from each other
A collaborative workspace to get you out of the house and your jammies and around anabolic energy
A spiritual community to help you remain centered and connected to yourself, the community and your values
Employees, partners, or supportive teams
When professionals think about who they would want in their clan or on their team, they often overlook the relationships they currently have. Our romantic partner is key to our success. Start with those who are already closest to you and begin to assess. Are you sharing your dreams, plans, and worries with them? Why or why not? Are they someone you can problem-solve with or ask for a hug after an exhausting day? What do you need from them in relation to your profession and have you asked them? Having an honest conversation about what starting your own business will look like and how you’ll stay connected can be helpful ahead of time.
Family, family, family! Some are supportive and others not so much. And guess what, you do not need everyone’s blessing to do your thing! What’s unique about us entrepreneurs is we take risks and see things that might not be seen yet by others. Don’t let their speculation bring you down…or anyone’s for that matter. On the other end of the spectrum, you may have an unbelievably supportive family, or family members who want to be too involved or want to work with you. Use your intuition to guide you when it comes to family matters.
My coach taught me to surround myself with eagles. There are a lot of pigeons….folks who will take your energy, bring you down, put you down and not reciprocate your efforts. We must be selective and mindful with our time and energy. It’s very easy in the beginning to become overwhelmed with the marketing and networking for the business, but there are only so many hours in the day so it’s best to choose wisely.
Using a planner, I like to schedule 5 meetings a week with eagles (like-minded individuals with positive energy who have big dreams and want to make a difference). I make sure my values are first and foremost represented in my calendar. For instance, date night with my husband is written down under Friday night, taking my son to drum lessons and all his activities, plus family time is penciled in. My work outs are scheduled. You are more likely to be strategic and productive when everything is accounted for and scheduled in. Allow room for the unexpected and analyze why you did or did not follow your schedule.
Starting a business can feel like being pulled into a blackhole and before we know it we are lonely, over-booked, and maybe even unhealthy, which is why getting ahead of these potential challenges can provide support we’ll need on this journey. All while keeping us connected to our values. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, as that is an act of strength.
If you or someone you know would like some coaching around taking care of the self while launching a business, growing a business, or balancing work and life in general, please pass my information along.
Take good care!
Brooke Jean, MA