Entrepreneurship is lonely

Zahn Abreu Entrepreneurship Articles 2 Comments

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Robert Frost, 1916
We all like the glamour that comes with the word Entrepreneur – striking it out on your own, being your own boss, forging your own path, making it happen…on your own. Yet Entrepreneurship is often painfully lonely.  This is especially true for those starting out on this journey, but also true for the MD who must still make those difficult decisions – on their own. Loneliness can creep up on you and engulf you.  It can sap all your energy and leave you feeling like you have no more to give. It has been the death of many Entrepreneurial businesses long before the money has dried up.
New studies show that loneliness can have a detrimental impact on your health and can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer. Loneliness can also lead to depression which leads to the Entrepreneur rejecting themselves and all they have achieved thus far. It makes us feel like there is no-one that cares and makes us wonder what we are doing.

Am I failing?

Our modern lifestyle has added to these problems by making us believe that we can supplement social media for meaningful conversations.
So how do we address it? A first step is to identify it. This will not make it stop, but it makes us aware of the problem and it helps us to address it.  There are feelings that can intensify this loneliness, feelings of having failed friends and family members or employees. A large debt hanging over our heads or even the looming doubt over the most recent proposal. Feeling that you have failed others around you makes you even more vulnerable.  It increases the sense of being on your own.
These feelings come standard with being an Entrepreneur.  Yet, they are not unique to you.  They are felt by all humans in some form or another. Failure is part of our human DNA, we will all fail. It is how we fail that defines us.

Make the time and reflect

If you know that loneliness is real for you, then make time to work on it.  As Entrepreneurs we spend a significant amount of time on our business, but neglect time on ourselves.  Without the energy to drive your business there will be no business.
Realise that you are more important than your business.  And then change your behaviour to align with that fact. You have to spend time in placing yourself and those who care for you, first.

Meet other Entrepreneurs

Co-work spaces are a great place to meet likeminded people who understand what you are dealing with.  As a bonus you might find yourself connecting and sharing some business ideas while you do. Places like Regus Open Workspaces or Workshop 17 are all good places to potentially meet people and strike up a conversation.

Find access to a mentor or a business coach or an older wiser business friend

Starting out I made it a priority to surround myself with wiser, older and more experienced entrepreneurs.  I have acquaintances who do better than me, who have lost, who know failure and who know success.  These people are not the glamour entrepreneurs that we see in the magazines, they may have run a business before and crashed out.  Try and avoid people who are too busy for you, who keep telling you how much money they are making and who make it seem like Entrepreneurship is effortless.  The Wolf of Wallstreet is a miserable example of what the lie of Entrepreneurship can do; this is not the type of person you want to hang out with.
Loneliness can be real to the Entrepreneurial journey, it may always rear its ugly head, but it can be stared down, just not alone.

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